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. 

[If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like]

1. [Love In Lines] To Thine Own Self Be True
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3. [Love In Lines] Deadline For Love
4. [Love In Lines] The Fear Of Getting Hurt
5. [Love In Lines] Choosing Not To Worry

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Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] To Thine Own Self Be True – Vanessa Tai

material world_shakespeare

Recently, I read an xoJane article where the writer tried to figure out exactly why she’s been single for the past seven years. Some of the reasons she thought contributed to her long-term singleness included being an “open and self-deprecating book on first dates” (she would bring up her weird clubbed thumbs, or her dependence on anti-depressants ), a propensity for falling for men who weren’t attracted to her, and even the fact that she was overweight. “However”, she writes, “If my weight truly is playing a preventative part in this dating shitshow, it’s probably not the number itself or how it looks on my frame. It’s the insecurity that has come with not feeling I look my personal best.”

In her article, the writer also mulled over whether she should make any changes to her lifestyle/personality in order to get out of this dry spell. While she’s not sure if the reasons she cited in her article are truly the reason why she’s still single, she’s adamant about not deviating from her natural self just so she can appear attractive to someone she’s attracted to.

Misguided Dating Advice 

What I felt like doing to that douchebag date.

What I felt like doing to that douchebag date.

I can certainly relate. Over the years of being single, I’ve come across plenty of (well-meaning or not) people who tried to give me advice on how to better attract the opposite sex. A male dating coach that I interviewed for a story told me I needed to grow out my hair, and behave more feminine-like in order to be attractive to Singaporean men. Another time, I had a disastrous first date with a guy I met online simply because I “made the mistake” of telling him I’m a supporter of AWARE’s work. He went on an anti-feminist tirade, which only got my blood boiling and sparked off a rather heated argument in the middle of P.S Cafe. Needless to say, I quickly wrote both of them out of my life (only to use as fodder for articles like these).

Singletons, perhaps you’ve experienced something similar? Maybe your well-meaning friends have advised you to play down your career achievements when out with men, or your mum has nagged you to lose weight “or you’ll never find a man”. Whatever it is, you’ve been made to feel you’re either “too much” or “too little”, and that you have to work hard to achieve the affections of a man.

Do We Really Have to Change Ourselves In Order To Snag A Man?

My first instinct would be to say, “No, of course not!” Why should you change something that’s so fundamentally you just to get someone to love you? If you change, and that person falls for you, does that mean he’s in love with someone that’s not authentically you? And what happens if you “fall off the bandwagon”, so to speak?

However, as I wrestle further with the issue, I realise it’s not so cut and dry. First, it’s not that easy to effect a change. As someone who’s tried to change the way I speak (I’ve been told that my voice is too low and monotonous), I can tell you it’s easy to fall back into old habits when you’re not consciously making an effort to change. Second, even if you really make a permanent change, there’s no guarantee that men will suddenly come a-knocking. And third, even if they do; if they fell for the quieter, more gentle and feminine version of you, are these really the type of men that you want to spend the rest of your life with? Don’t you want to be with a man who celebrates your true self, foibles and all?

Stay True To Yourself

Let your true self shine!

Let your true self shine!

At the end of the day, the crux of the matter doesn’t lie in why you’re making these changes, but the type of changes you’re trying to make. If you’re trying to improve yourself by exercising more, attending a personal grooming course or learning how to be a better conversationalist, I guess it doesn’t matter as much if your original intention was to snag a potential mate. That’s because you are bettering yourself in the process, which helps to boost your self-confidence.

But what if you’re making changes like dumbing yourself down during dates so as to pander to your date’s ego, or if you find yourself suppressing “negative” emotions like sadness or anger around men so as not to appear “unstable”? I think you’ll soon find yourself tired and frustrated, because you’re not giving your true self the freedom of expression. Even if you eventually find a partner to settle down with, how long can you keep up this charade? And even if you can keep it up, how happy will you be?

Perhaps I’m idealistic. Or perhaps I’m still on the lackadaisical “take it as it comes” side of my 20s. But I don’t see myself making drastic changes to my personality and the way I do things just so it’ll get me more suitors. Men will come and go, but I’ll always have to live with myself, and I don’t think I can settle for anything less than honesty.

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. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

[If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like]

1. [Love In Lines] Choosing Not To Worry
2. [Love In Lines] Unrealistic Expectations
3. [Love In Lines] Deadline For Love
4. [Love In Lines] Where Are All The Great Guys?
5. [Love In Lines] The Fear Of Getting Hurt

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Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] 5 Things Single People Hate – Vanessa Tai

Don’t get me wrong, there are many things I like about being single – namely, the freedom to do anything I want – but there are times where being single sucks. And no, it’s not being the only singleton at a coupled-up party (although that kind of blows too.) After speaking to several of my single friends, I’ve put together a list of things that really peeve us single folk. Can you guess which is my top peeve?

Not all single women are variations of Bridget Jones, y'know.

Not all single women are variations of Bridget Jones, y’know.

1. People assuming that all you want out of life is to get attached
I may be generalising, but this is especially prevalent for women. You can be highly successful in your career, but people will still ask, “Oh, but how’s your love life? Anything exciting going on there?” Yes, I get that they’re probably concerned (or nosey) but to me, it just sounds like my relationship status is the most important factor when calculating my worth as a person.

2. People saying things like, “You just haven’t found the right person,” or “You just need to make more friends.”
Whenever I hear something like that, I’ll think, “No shit, Sherlock! And here I thought I was single and alone because of my ugly, warty face or my despicable personality!” But if you proffer any sort of sarcastic response, you get labelled as a bitter old spinster. You just can’t win!

3. When friends tell you to “stop being picky, or you’ll be left on the shelf.”
Of course, the first thing you’ll feel is annoyance. But when the irritation has settled, self-doubt starts to creep in. “Could they be right? Am I really too picky? If everybody is attached, there must be something wrong with me!”

4. The assumption that there’s The One
I’ll admit it, when I was younger and way more idealistic, I used to believe there was One Person out there for everyone. Until a particular Sex and the City episode where Miranda tells Charlotte holding out for that ONE soulmate is too dangerous because the probability of never meeting him is so high. That really opened my eyes that there’s no one perfect partner; it’s more of finding someone who’s suitable and both of you working hard to make the relationship work.

5. People assuming you’re just bitter whenever you talk about being single
I’m sure you’re familiar with this scenario: A single woman makes a bold declaration that she’s perfectly content staying single for the rest of her life … and people will make snarky comments ranging from, “She doesn’t know what she’s missing out on,” to “She just needs to get laid!” I’m not even going to try to defend myself or my fellow single friends here, because no matter what I say, people will still form their own assumptions. All I’m going to say is, we can’t even begin to know what goes on in people’s minds so let’s all curtail our judgment, shall we?

Fellow singletons, what are YOUR pet peeves? Tell us in the Comments section below!

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. One of her favourite “single gal” activities is eating like a feral animal in public while reading a book. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets

[If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like]

1. [Love In Lines] The Fear Of Getting Hurt
2. [Love In Lines] Singlehood and Self-Pity
3. [Love In Lines] The Question I Dread The Most

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