I decide to kick off this experiment with Tinder for a few simple reasons:
1. Cost. It's free!
2. Social acceptability. I can actually talk about it in public. Quite a few of my peers, so to speak, are already taking part in its hormone-ridden festivities. Just trying to fit in here!
3. Amount of pressure. Zero. It caters to a commitment-shy community. This one works as both a pro and a con. I am less than enthused at the prospect of entering the world of "GrindR for straight people," but I do enjoy the whole, you-can-get-out-at-any-time-and-pretend-the-whole-thing-never-happened aspect.
The set-up process is bizarrely simple:
1. Log in with Facebook. I halt at this initially -- not quite ready for people to know I'm doing this. It swears it won't post anything to FB; I choose to believe it. (It doesn't. Link away, little one.)
2. Add 6 pictures. Ahh decisions, decisions. I select a smattering that I think properly showcases my sense of humor, adventurous spirit, adorable personality, excellent style, and oversized eyes. Ahem.
3. Tagline. Pithy and witty is the way to go in Tinderland. Thank God. Mine goes through a couple changes in the beginning, but I eventually settle on a quote from my favorite book, Point Counter Point -- along with a note about my height. You're welcome for saving you from the very public humiliation of hugging my waist?
4. Set your age and location preferences. If you don't do this right away, you'll find yourself wondering if it's legal for you to be feeling certain feelings about a 19-year-old's shirtless selfie. Hypothetical situation.
5. Swipe away! Right swipe means you like 'em, left is a solid pass. This takes a bit of getting used to, and can lead to some unfortunate mis-swipes on both ends. I'm lookin' at you, Mr. Oxford Comma. Our conversation would have been so straight forward. Alas, I accidentally swiped left and then frantically swiped right to go back, but in Tinder there is no going back. Instead, I ended up giving a big ol' heyo to this guy:
...It's a sloth.
It doesn't take long to figure out why this "game" is so addictive. As girls, we're accustomed to doing a quick sweep of the room, scouting potential options, and generally being disheartened by the fact that we can see over every man's head. Just me? The point is, there are a finite number of options at any given locale. On Tinder, the options are seemingly endless. Your dream guy is just one to seven million swipes away! And the inexplicably validating ego boost that comes with every "You have matched!" is not something to disregard.
It also doesn't take me long to figure out that I am much pickier than I originally thought. And that pore size is a total dealbreaker. Left swipe, left swipe, left swipe, PAUSE.
The man I'm currently sort of crushing on in real life is staring back at me from my iPad's screen.
For some reason, I thought Tinder avoided your first-degree friends. Apparently, I thought wrong. Cue: Panic mode.
Like any normal person, I immediately BBM a screenshot to my best friend and close the app -- and then open the app to amend my profile to try to make it a little funnier. Why is his tagline better than mine? Ugh. I would bring nothing to this relationship. And then close the app again.
BFF: Is that CRUSHFEST MATT??
Me: Hahaha YES. I don't know what to do. I closed Tinder LOL. Why don't they have a skip option?
BFF: Omg. You have to say yes. Obviously.
5 minutes pass...
BFF: Did you??
Me: It's still sitting there.
BFF: You like him! And it's Tinder.
Me: Haha exactly! Those two things weren't supposed to go together.
BFF: Worst-case scenario, you find out he likes you too.
Me: True true. Thank you voice of reason.
BFF: You're ridiculous.
Me: Ahhh it matched! Hahaha. This game is too stressful.
BFF: Hahaha! Yay! Now you can go on a date! He liiiiiikes you. He wants to kissss you. I love this game!
Me: Hahaha now we can pretend this never happened?
BFF: What are you so afraid of?
Me: Oh god. So many things. If there is one thing I have learned in this twelve-hour period of online dating, it is that I am terrified of SO MANY THINGS.
BFF: I mean I see that now! This could be a really great experience for you.
Crushfest Matt sends a cute, friendly message. I overthink my reply in attempt of greatness and land depressingly on mediocre.
I hate this game.