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October 08, 2014 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-08

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r8, 2014// The Staemen 5B

t was just a joke, really. If
I got to know some cool
people, maybe even go
on a few dates, that would be
a bonus, but it wasn't the goal.
That's what real life is for.'
I don't remember what day
or even what month my life on
Tinder began, but I remember
the first night vividly. Fol-
lowing a friend's tweet ques-
tioning the ethicality around
Tinder, I got one immediately.
It was an impulse decision. I didn't think
about the potential cons of getting the app
when it meant a chance to meet girls.
I learned more in my first night on Tinder
than I did in an average month of school. I
learned that, like it or not, Greek Life is an
exceptionally photogenic organization; I
learned that there are at least six different
ways to spell Courtney; I learned that judg-
ing people can be way more fun than it lt oks.
I learned that no matter how much stigma
surrounds Tinder, the bulk of my female
friends had crafted their own profiles, I also
learned that girls near me actually find me
attractive. Huh.
I also learned, quickly, that it's still a cold
world for shy, awkward boys. Even on an app
where mutual attraction, location and age
are clearly stated, conversations don't start
themselves. I learned that even if a girl is
interested in you, she is capable of stopping
and giving you a digital cold shoulder simply
because the extra y in "hey" or the sideways
winking face in your opening message was
too forward.
But the most important thing that I
learned over the course of that year was the
saddest one. No matter how stupid I found
Tinder to be, I simply couldn't stay away.
They say not to let school get in the way
of your education, so I wasn't going to let my
classes get in the way of me refining and mas-
tering my Tinder bio. Day by day, I'd scour
every decent photo of myself and look for
ones that sent the "right message." Was my
black-and-white photo of me in a cutoff flag
football uniform giving the cool and edgy
look I wanted? Or would the photo of me
coaching and smiling with one of my nine-
year old swimmers on my shoulders give off
the friendly-guy look that girls might crave?
I weeded through my photos while
using every marketing and communi-

cations lesson I knew to perfect the accom-
panying 240-character bio. I constantly
searched for the right mix of bragging about
my accomplishments and being laid back or
even 'cool,' giving enough information for my
readers to understand who they were dealing
with, but holding back just enough to pique
their interest and make them ask for more.
Not too long, not too short. Not too serious,
but not too goofy either. My professors - who
thought I was merely texting or on Facebook
- would've been so proud to see the critical
thinking that went into every word on Tin-
der.
Clearly having too much free time, I:
attempted to acquire as many matches and
carry as many conversations as possible.'
I joined Tinder in a state of confusion and
boredom, but now I was hooked.
The first few days were simple enough;;
swipe right now, ask questions later. For me,
the most desirable trait ina woman on Tinder
is mutual interest. That's it. If you don't run:
at my weirdness, neediness, or bad puns, it's
very likely I won't ever leave.
After attainingmanyrmatches but with few
strong connections to show for it, it became
clear that there were too many matches to
keep track of on Tinder. SoI developed some
rules.
Like an elite internship, the rules were
arbitrary, but something .had to be done.
Mirror selfies, fishing pictures, being Cana-'
dian, having large tattoos Or using emojis to'
describe your lifestyle would result in a left-'
ward flick of my all-powerful thumb. The
same could be said for girls who posted too
many "moments," or were named'Darlene.'
I realized now that the goofiness of Tinder
had faded, and there was an end-goal. Past
generations finally decided to settle down
after years of exhausting dating, I was ready
to settle down on Tinder after three weeks. If

take
Tinder
past the explo-
ration stage, I
needed to streamline my efforts.
This didn't mean looking for love or "the
one" per se, just more than the typical small
talk that ended somewhere between learning
what they studied and what they thought of
their hometown.
Checking out matches and making small
talk aren't necessarily premium forms of
entertainment, but they're safe and easy to
do. Little attachment meant little risk. Once
conversations got going though, my lifetime
spent avoiding talking to girls started to take
its toll. I was in trouble.
It seemed no matter howI played my cards,
I would've been better off folding. There were
the times I corrected girls' grammar, times
where I somehow thought insulting the Chi-
cago Blackhawks would increase my chances
of a date and the time I thought comparing a
girl to a teddy bear would be a sweet compli-
ment. Tinder was designed to make my love
life more efficient, not my stupidity.
I eventually found success on Tinder. The
biggest complaint about Tinder is the horni-
ness of male users. It took the app years to
develop a photo-sharing feature, and the
report button gets increasingly visible with
each successive update. These two trends are
not coincidental.
Which left me as a weirdo who sucks at
small talk but can keep it in his pants. Did I
stand a chance after all?
The rejections piled up, but so did my
determination. I had invested too much time
into this game to stop early. Like a gambler
glued to the slot machine, I resisted giving
up, assuring myself that my luck was bound
to turn around at the next swipe. This led
to mass messaging, copying and pasting the
same lines to dozens of matches and unsuc-
cessfully counting on the law of averages.
This all went on for longer than I care to

ILLUSTRATION BY MEGAN MULHOLLAND
admit and would probably still be going on, if
I hadn't realized how shallow Tinder was in
the most devastating way possible.
After roughly 1500 matches and hundreds
of mostly meaningless conversations, I had
finally found someone I "clicked" with. So
much so, that I spent an entire Friday evening
in front of my phone, chatting with her about
everything.
Mercifully, she suggested after hours
of conversation that we go grab pizza
and talk in person. A DATE!
Ecstatic, I put on shoes and
real clothes with an enthusi-
asm that my 8:30 accounting class would've
killed for. I returned to my phone to see a
rather rare message.
"Wait hold up ... how tall are you?"
Without blinking, I responded by explain-
ing I was 5'11." I'm not wowing anyone with
my height, but to me there's no reason to lie or
fudge details. Could I have rounded up, even
an inch? Yes. Should I have? Apparently.
"Lol," she replied. Adding a quick "nvm
then" a couple minutes later.
After a moment of sheer confusion, I found
out that she was 5'8," and considered boys
under six-foot "just friends."
Sound weird? Unfair? Moronic? Unfath-
omably shallow? Welcome to Tinder.
Unsurprisingly, that pretty much did it for
Tinder and me. I know that isn't a normal
situation, but the fact that I actively engaged
in a culture where fortune favors the shallow
(and tall, I guess) finally sunk in. I was out.
Yes, there were the casual hook-ups Tinder
was designed for, but were they worth it? Not
once.
Sadly, that's what made me keep com-
ing back for as long as I did. I'd learn later
in a psychology class that the potential for
"success" kept me swiping, even when the
rewards were few and far between. Because
in Cupid's latest, cruelest and shallowest love
game yet, I couldn't stay away.
I still have Tinder buried in the apps on my
phone, but every time I push the red flame
icon, I take it with a grain of salt.
Gone are the days of carrying 14 con-
versations at once, of using Tinder all over
the country 'just in case,' of obsessing over
whether or not I should refer to my academic
pursuits as "Michigan Business" or simply
"Ross."
At long last, I have returned to the real
world, and that isn't a joke.

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