The Tinder Generation

I think that the birth of Tinder and its quick rise in popularity can tell you everything you need to know about my generation and its attitude toward sex and dating. And the fact that it has become the norm and an accepted form of online dating has created a ripple effect into dating as a whole.

You must be hot. You must be easy. You must be game.

If you’re not, I can just open up my phone, swipe right and meet up with someone else.

Just like anything else that has been made easier with advancements in technology, why would you want to try and meet people the old school way when you can just shop for people online.

And that is what Tinder is. It’s online shopping for people. There are so many options that aren’t even offered in the store! You don’t even have to interact with someone if you don’t want to! You just swipe, text, and meet! It’s so awesome!

It cheapens dating and makes people seem disposable.

I can’t believe that so many people I know use it and think it isn’t at least somewhat problematic. You can call me a prude, you can call me judgmental, and you can say I’m not hip to the future of dating. But in my experience, the people I know that use Tinder are fresh out of a breakup, need to get laid, or are bored. File all those people collectively under a bold headline that reads: Lonely and Desperate. In the moments when I’ve been lonely and desperate I’ve actually considered downloading it.

If you are lonely and desperate and don’t use Tinder, you will probably find some other similarly impersonal method for getting your rocks off. You might go to a bar and pursue the prettiest, drunkest chick in the room. However, at least you have to exercise some sort of effort and have a decent amount of game. Tinder makes everyone the laziest version of themselves. Guys send out pick up lines to 20 different girls and go with the one that responds. With a never ending arsenal of supply and demand, you will probably never strike out.

I was on Reddit the other night at around 3am, as I tend to do when I can’t sleep, and I came across a sub-Reddit entitled “Showerthoughts.” Someone posted this thought: “The worst part of Tinder is that it only helps you meet people who are at a place in their lives where using Tinder seems like a good idea.”

Many people who commented argued that it’s about being “sexually open-minded” and knowing what you’re getting and keeping your expectations low. In my opinion, it’s bad enough that we are called the “hook-up generation” now we are going to be called the “hook-up with total fucking strangers without any real-life interaction beforehand generation.” We might as well be Joaquin Phoenix in the movie “Her.” Let’s just skip even being with real people and have phone sex with operating systems!

One guy on the comment thread told this story: “a buddy of mine who is about my age – late 30s – met a girl on tinder who is 21, a law student at NYU, from a rich family, and smoking hot.
she came over to his place on a friday night for their first date. they smoked and talked for a bit before she asked him if he wanted a blow job. he obliged. she obliged. now this 21 year old beautiful overachiever comes over on the odd weekend, blows him and leaves.
as a married dude with children i find tinder more awe-inspiring than the northern lights.”

There have always been girls who are like this since the beginning of sex. However, my fear for my generation and especially for the generation behind me, is that in order for girls to compete we feel we must dole out blow jobs and smiles and pretend not to care. Because if not, you’re getting replaced by someone who will.

It may not be that serious of a problem. Maybe Tinder simply amplifies problems for you that are already there. And maybe I really am a prude and way too judgmental. But social media in general makes dating very challenging as it is. I don’t want to have to compete with the 75 strangers’ photos on your phone if I don’t impress you. And I especially don’t want to have to feel like I’m too challenging because 15 out of those 75 girls are DTF RIGHT NOW.

There was an “article” on playboy.com that several of my male friends were reposting on Facebook entitled, “16 Tinder Girls Who Totally Get It” and featured beautiful young women with bios that read like this: “I am the perfect booty call boyzz! I play lots of softball so don’t worry I know how to stroke a bat and play with balls but I mostly like them in my mouth!” This bio was from a 19 year old.

Another one reads: “Kind of girl you would take home to your mom but would blow you on the way there.” This is just a hunch, but she probably gets lots of right swipes.

Sex sells, as it always has. But don’t those make you just a little sad? Because Tinder is based solely on how hot your picture is and how witty and/or sexy your bio is, it’s showing women that it’s the only way men will be into them. It’s like selfies. If you aren’t validated by a bunch of strangers liking your photo it’s probably doing some damage to your self-esteem. It’s their choice to be involved, of course, but how could that not trickle into how they handle themselves in real life?

Just like all online dating in general, I get that it’s an easier way to meet people. But somehow society has managed to meet people and date and get married before there was the advent of the internet so I don’t know why we find it so challenging now. Oh wait yes I do. It’s because, Tinder. People would rather have their noses stuck in their phones swiping left and right then look up and around at all the people they meet on a daily basis.

People will argue that Tinder is only supposed to be used for hook-ups. But so many others will argue that they know someone who met their current boyfriend/fiance/wife on Tinder. Maybe they are true stories, maybe they are just urban myths to make people feel better about themselves for using the app. Or maybe that’s just what we have to accept about our generation. That the sexual relationship comes first now and then comes the real relationship.

Obviously my personal opinion isn’t going to stop people from using Tinder or make it go away. I guess my real fear is that I will be forced to join Tinder just to keep up.

How to Un-Single Myself

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If you’ve been keeping up with my past posts at all you know how much I LOATHE the idea of online dating. I don’t want to succumb to the idea that love can’t happen naturally anymore, even in a place like Los Angeles. I think that “shopping” for dates is gross and that just because people constantly have their noses in their phones doesn’t mean I can’t still meet people the old-fashioned way. It’s weird and scary and way too desperate for me. 

So naturally, I signed up for a 3 month subscription.

It was against all my better judgement and resistance and I wanted to cancel it 3 days after joining. But my friend joined a couple months ago and met this really amazing guy that she’s going on her 6th date with as we speak, and another of my friends has been dating a guy for a year that she met online. So I thought I might as well try it and just SEE. As my friend said to me, “you don’t have to go on any dates if you don’t want to.” 

Yeah, I don’t ever want to. Not with a guy I met online. However, on a Friday night 2 weeks ago I was sitting at home watching “Dateline NBC” like a grandma (I may as well have been knitting too) and felt a pretty major earthquake. I suddenly realized that I am almost 30 and might die alone after being crushed by a bookcase during an earthquake and I don’t want that. 

So I joined.

I immediately regretted it. 

As soon as you get online, there are 3 dudes trying to “chat” with you by using the lamest pick-up lines on the planet and your inbox is filled with 90 emails. I applaud these dudes for really combing through my profile and saying things they know would interest me, but it just feels so FORCED. They don’t know who I really am and I don’t know who they really are and we have to go on a blind date to figure the real person out? Hell to the no. I would rather sit on a cactus in the desert while drinking Sriracha sauce.

I decided that maybe the way to do it is for ME to approach guys I find interesting to expedite the process of finding someone cool, but even after refining my search, I couldn’t even find ONE guy that interested me. I was like Marnie on season one of “Girls” going through her ex-boyfriend’s Facebook pictures:

“Ew.”

“No.”

“HELL no.”

“Gay.”

“Stupid.”

Ugh. The problem is obviously not online dating, the problem is me. And I’m really trying to hone in on the specific issue with dating that I have. Am I afraid of moving on? Am I afraid of not being in control? Am I afraid of being vulnerable? Am I afraid of intimacy? 

I think the answer is yes to all of those. I am a rare case of fucked up. I hold myself up to this ridiculous standard that no one can reach even if they do everything right. I say I want a real relationship with a real man, and then when I actually go on a date with someone perfectly great I look for reasons to end it immediately. “Oh, I’ll just tell him I’m not ready to date. Or that I’m just really busy right now.” Then I end up drunkenly sleeping with some other guy on the reg that I met out at a bar and end up trying to make him my boyfriend even though the only nice thing he’s ever done for me is buy me a coffee at Starbucks that one time. 

It’s just so much pressure! Traditional dating is so formal and nerve-wracking to me. I always have this vision of a relationship just accidentally forming because we were working on something together and became friends, then lovers, then exclusive. But I know that the only way to un-single myself is to throw away that vision and stop being so narrow-minded. I know I need to see dating as a fun opportunity to meet someone new and not as something I HAVE to do. 

The funny thing is that as soon as I joined the dating site, I met some guy at my health food grocery store who got my number and has been trying to set something up with me, and I was messaged on Facebook by a guy who is the brother of a girl I went to high school with and new to LA that wanted to grab a drink sometime. I guess by just making the commitment to be more open I naturally gave off that vibe to people in real life.

I still don’t want to go on those dates, but I will, because I am desperately trying to get over that FWB guy I accidentally fell in love with. The only way to do that is by distracting myself with someone new. So I am going to suck it up and try to enjoy myself with new prospects for as long as it takes. I really do want a relationship and I really am probably not going to get that by throwing myself into my work and waiting for an opportunity to come along by chance. It’s not that hard, I don’t know why I keep making it so. 

I’ll probably still have those Marnie moments a couple more times until my online dating subscription runs out, but I gotta stick to my instincts and not go that route. It’s just too unnatural for me. (I will probably change my mind again in a year if I’m still single, so don’t hold me to it, haha.) 

xx