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20 Minutes On Tinder

Who do you love? Or who do you wanna love? Tonight?



By now, most of us are thoroughly familiar with Tinder. Shoot, a swipe could get you a ticket to Burning Man these days. With over 2 million downloads, it’s the most ridiculously easy thing to install. Within minutes you’re perusing potential suitors for a date, a conversation, a laugh, or a straight up booty-call even though the tinder co-founder and CMO Justin Mateen insists the app isn’t for hooking up.

Out of curiosity, I downloaded the app on a Saturday night when I was waiting for my date. I was reticent, but, it’s like, why not stock the cabinets if your table fruit might be in danger of nearing it’s expiration, ya know?

The first thing I noticed about Tinder is that it kind of really wants you to log in via your Facebook account (or via your phone number) though it’s TOS agreement states it will never post anything about your Tinder activity so your Mom and all of your Aunts can more or less see that you’re cruising for man-meat.

The second thing I noticed is that is shows your true age. No holds barred and whichever profile pic you have up at the time.  After a little finagling, I was able to tweak my Tinder profile to my liking, put up a more suitable picture (not the one of me and my friends to avoid the “which one are YOU question?”)

Third observation: It matches your likes. So if he likes NAS, Kill Bill, Rodeos and Carole King, you’ll both know immediately. Not a bad feature at all, really.

What I found was that Tinder was more or less like Plenty of Fish or Okaycupid on steroids. You get a flurry (one after the other) of pictures, you can swipe “NO” if you’re just not into him/her, and “YES” if you want to give it a go. Pretty straight-forward. Very instantaneous and whatever algorithm that the folks at Tinder have set up certainly isn’t geared towards substance or age-appropriateness (it kept matching me with 21 year old men that were mutual friends with my nephew–talk about feeling like an old, cat-lady creeper. But apparently, you can tweak that too now.

Safer than a bar? This is not your Mama’s dating culture.

When I explained to my friend that the app geo-tracks your distance to your potential spouse/friends with benefits, she balked. “That’s pretty creepy,” she said.

Essentially you choose gender (male, female or both), then decide how far of a distance you want them to be (10 to 100 miles away) and how old (18 to 50+.)  You can also add a tagline to describe yourself and add more photos for people who want to learn more about your appearance before making their choice. Easy. Valet service.

Swipe left if you’re not into them. Swipe right if you approve of someone’s appearance.  If you fail someone, they won’t be able to contact you. But if you both swipe right, you might be meeting the love of your life at the local bar in the next ten minutes. And as careful programming would have it, once you pass someone, Tinder will often tell you if the other person chose you back and puts you right into a one on one interface with dude/lady.

The only problem I felt talking to these guys was that any kind of substantial conversation is nearly impossible. I’m asking one about his career while getting virtually elbowed by another for my phone number by this other guy who doesn’t even live in the same state as me.  You can, of course, block people, and certainly there were some interesting conversations, but they only went so far for 9:30 pm on a Saturday night.

I bet that app would overheat my cell phone’s CPU at 2 am. I didn’t dare go on at that time. In fact, the mental energy of the back and forth with this guy and that guy..and maybe this one, felt all a little too food-courtish to me.  I suppose it’s great if you’re looking for something quick and easy, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to get to know anyone on a deeper level on there, although some folks on the internet have sung it’s praises: “I met my husband (wife) online,” in much the same way POF and Okaycupid hail similar stories. Anecdotal? Yes. Possible? Possibly.

I’d say it was more interesting than Candycrush and the 20 minutes didn’t suck the my life’s chi straight outta me. I saw some nice shoulders. No one was disrespectful, but as soon as I deleted the app, I put on my heels and went out and met a girlfriend. I started to feel like you can spend your night on Tinder trying to search out “the one” only to be disappointed.

It is, after all, online ‘dating” or “fucking’ or whatever people want to call it.

I think it’s great, if that’s your thing. And who knows? Maybe I’ll give it a go some other time, just not right now.





About Plavia Rantham

I was born in little town near the Appalachian Trail, raised on Sweet Tarts, Solid Gold and home-made, Cabbage Patch Dolls. My neighborhood bragging right was "Best Linda Blair impersonation" which wasn't so much an impersonation as it was my feelings about growing up surrounded by rednecks who didn't like "black music." I'm now a freelance writer living in NYC.

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