“Looking for a girl with low standards and no gag reflex!”
Those honeyed words on a profile were my introduction to the modern dating phenomenon that is Tinder. Understandably, they did nothing to disprove my long standing opinion of the increasingly popular app (“Christ, I’m not that lonely”) but after a pal revealed she actually found her boyfriend after a fateful right swipe, I swallowed my pride and pressed download. I mean, it’s 2014 – does anybody meet their other halves “in a bar on a night out with the girls” anymore?
But unlike on a night out with the girls, I can actually appear as something other than “wasted” and “desperate”; in fact, I could even go for “alluring” and cool”. I decide these are my game plan. However, I also don’t have much opportunity to drastically improve my appearance, which is really the only thing which really matters on Tinder; users are able to select matches based only on their photos. So instead of being able to whack on some falsies and a filter for a photo that seems in any way alluring or cool, the app automatically connects to my Facebook page. I closely examine my profile picture; a selfie (will they think I’m vain?) in which I am smiling with my mouth closed (will they think I’m one of those smug types?) with paint on my face (will they think I’m immature – and not in a cutey, endearing way?)
Already it’s overwhelming and I second guess my every move. Oh well – maybe the men won’t be thinking so shallowly once they read my cool, alluring profile!
“Hi, I’m Flo. I’m a student at Gla-“ no, too bland.
“Howdy there!” no, too oddly sinister.
“19, Glasgow uni, writer” hmmm, yes. This seems inoffensive.
After swiping through a questionable number of topless selfies, I’m feeling fairly disenchanted with mankind. Not one of them seems like the type who would want to stay in and marathon HBO dramas over a Marks and Spencers ready meal with me. Most profiles are uninspiring (“add me on snapchat!” “Like a laugh with mates!” “Just looking for a chat!”) and even though yes, to judge people on their looks is totally superficial and something I do not agree with; it’s still kind of the point of Tinder, and nobody’s standing out on that front, either. So I end up picking a few faces at random – all of whom rather miraculously “match” with me in a matter of seconds! YES! I AM GOOD AT TINDER!
But one thing I am not good at is making the first move. Still, feeling gutsy one evening, I finally pluck up the courage to message one of my matches. However, I am faced with yet another almighty obstacle that could ruin my chances of scoring the elusive “Tinder date” – how the hell do I speak to these people!? I need to convince this mystery Tinder man almost immediately that matching with me could quite possibly be the best romantic move he’s made.
Wittily, I decide to write “hi!”. He doesn’t respond.
A few days later, and he never does. Neither do the others my friends have egged me into talking to. Irritated now, I try to assume my matches are simply too overwhelmed by the intensity and intelligence of the conversation I am offering them. But instead I resign myself to what could be the unfortunate truth; maybe I’m just not a person that people on dating apps would find attractive. It isn’t a nice thought. I decide to hate Tinder.
But one night after a few pints of Magners, I find myself boldly acquainting with my virtual dating nemesis once more – my cider glasses are well and truly on, and it appears they’re working pretty well, too, because one guy doesn’t seem quite as terrible. His profile is refreshingly self-deprecating, he smiles in a way which doesn’t seem to quietly hint “go on gal, swipe right and I’ll motorboat you if I get the chance!” and quite refreshingly, there’s not an ab to be seen. He stands out.
I suddenly find myself not feeling quite so grave over the state of mankind, and swipe right.
So will it be love – or at least like – at first swipe? You’ll have to tear your eyes away from your own Tinder matches to find out in the next issue.
[Floraidh Clement – @FloraidhCC]