Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] What’s The Fuss About Tinder? – Vanessa Tai

Tinder is a hot new dating app, and it’s looking to change the face of Internet dating. But is it all it’s cracked up to be? 

I was recently having drinks with fellow Material World co-founders Denise and Lili, when Denise asked me, “Hey, so have you heard of Tinder?” I must have given her a blank stare because she continued excitedly, “It’s this new dating app, but how it works is quite different. Basically, you’re shown profiles of the people within a set distance from you. And because your Tinder account is connected to your Facebook account, it accesses pictures from your Facebook page. If you like what you see, you swipe right. And if you don’t, just swipe left.”

Hmm, interesting. So it’s kind of like playing Hot or Not with a huge pool of strangers. (Well, they aren’t really strangers, since some of these people may be on your Facebook friends’ network.) And c’mon, let’s admit it. Don’t we all secretly play Hot or Not in our minds when we’re out socialising? No? Just me?

Anyway, I was intrigued enough to download and play around with the app that very evening. Here’s my verdict:

1.  It’s so simple

Unlike other dating sites or applications that require you to fill in long questionnaires about your personality, or where you have to sift through hundreds of “I’m juz a simple guy” profiles, Tinder cuts through all the crap to show you what’s most pertinent – how the other person looks. And it’s not about being shallow either. After all, in face-to-face social interactions, the first thing we notice about the other person is their appearance. Yes, of course it can be argued that in real-life interactions, we may look past the person’s looks if he/she is funny or interesting to talk to. But hey, if everyone had the time to go out and meet people, would we still be on Tinder?

2. There’s less risk of rejection 

Although it’s hardly a taboo for women to make the first move anymore, we gotta admit it still stings a little when you “wink” or “wave” at a potential mate, and don’t receive a reply. Or worse, if you crafted a witty and thoughtful message, only to receive … stone cold silence. With Tinder, you’re only taken to the instant messaging feature if both of you swiped to the right. That way, at least both of you are already mildly interested. In the spirit of full disclosure, I only got matched with two guys during my one hour of fiddling around with Tinder, but we didn’t message each other in the end. (My excuse? It was 2am. I couldn’t think of anything more witty than a “Hi,” so I decided to roll over and sleep instead. Very romantic, I know.)

3. It eliminates the creep factor

Any woman who’s put herself out there on dating sites will know the horrors that lurk on the interwebs. From obscene pictures to persistent messaging, there are some really creepy men out there. I like the fact that on Tinder, the only people who get to message me are people I’ve already sort of “approved”. As an added security measure, you get to see if you have any mutual friends with the dude before swiping right or left. In fact, there were a couple of guys I thought were cute but because they were mutual friends with people I don’t really care to associate with, I swiped left instead.

"Hmm ... cute or not?"

“Hmm … cute or not?”

4. It’s mindless fun 

Because you’re just swiping right and left, it becomes like a game that you whip out any time you have a few spare moments. I downloaded the app onto my iPad, which I hardly bring out with me, so I don’t check in much. But for people who have it on their phones, it becomes something they do to pass time. In fact, some articles indicate that the average user checks the app 11 times per day for seven minutes at a time!

5. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, Tinder probably won’t work for you.

As fun and convenient Tinder is, it’s definitely not the best platform for those looking for a serious relationship. I mean, yes, you could be one of those exceptional cases where you meet the guy offline, hit it off, fall in love, the whole works. But this “swipe, swipe, swipe” style of browsing through potential mates feels more like an online shopping experience than an earnest search for a life partner. I guess Tinder is a nice-to-have tool for our hook-up culture. That said, like a casual hook-up, it’s fun and stress-free but ultimately not very fulfilling.

What are your experiences like with Internet dating? Share with us in the Comments section below or Tweet me at @VannTaiTweets! 

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Vanessa Tai talks about navigating the often-confusing world of singledom. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. 

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