6B Wednesday, December 10, 2014 // The Statement
"Playing with matches, a girl could get burned":
Tinder on a college campus
by Giancarlo Buonomo
famous by association:
everyone should want a beard
BY MARIAM SHEIKH
Editor's Note: The students in this article
asked not to be identified by their full names
for privacy concerns.
Te are living in a world dominated
by social media. There are the
classics, like Facebook and Twit-
ter, young upstarts like Yik Yak and Erodr,
serious ones like LinkedIn, and not-so-seri-
ous ones like Vine. These platforms all have
differing functions, yet they all share a key
feature - a brilliant psychological insight,
really. Users can approve others and be
proved themselves, whether it be through
likes, favorites, retweets or endorsements.
The best part is that it's simple. A like is a
like. There's no "ehhhhh" button.
If Facebook and Twitter succeeded
because they assuaged some of the anxieties
of social interaction, then it was inevitable
that a social media service would arise that
took some of the anxieties out of romance:
Tinder. Launched in 2011 by students at the
University of Southern California, Tinder
has a relatively Spartan design, consider-
ing its decidedly Athenian purposes. Users
can log in via Facebook and create a profile,
Mich consists of four or five photos and a
short description. They then are given an
extended slideshow of other profiles of users
in the area, which they can then swipe "left"
if they don't like what they see, or "right" if
What shows up in this slideshow is just
the username, age and first photo. You have
to click on their profile to see the other pho-
tos, their description, and because Tinder
is linked to Facebook, what mutual friends
and interests you have. Two people will
match if both swipe right on another's pro-
files. If two people match, they can then
message each other.
Tinder's function appears to be relatively
straightforward. Match. Message. Meet.
It's fun to consider the possibilities. Paris,
gallivanting around Lakonia, matches with
some chick named Helen, and after a few
days of texting invites her out for a ram-
horn of wine. Romeo swipes right on "Jules,
14, Verona." Your parents' first date was a
But upon closer inspection, not everyone
is on Tinder to fit a quick movie-date/hand-
9W into their schedule.
LSA senior Isabel started using Tinder -
to meet romantic partners. But she soon ran
"I started out with women only," she said.
"4But) because I am really just interested
in women, I found that it would run out of
people to show me really quickly."
Tinder allows you to pick which genders
you want to show up in your feed, and then
only matches you with people who have the
same preferences. So in Isabel's case, she
was only being matched with women seek-
ing other women.
"I never seriously considered the idea of
actually meeting people. Maybe just going
on dates, but for me, it was really just for
fun, a distraction, something fun and weird
to pull me out of the lonely state that I was
in," she said.
In fact, she did go on one Tinder date.
"It was just so funny, because I had never
imagined myself meeting up with a strang-
er I had
met on the
of it, for
on a date,'
sought out people, men and women, just to
talk with them. But she matched with far
"For every five women I swiped right on,
maybe one would match, but for every five
guys I swiped right on, it would be like four
out of five would match," she said.
This is to be expected. Tinder keeps
records of all their activity, and they esti-
mate that while men swipe left 54 percent
of the time, women swipe left 84 percent of
Isabel swipes right on a guy if he looks
like he'll be fun to talk to. But, in her opin-
ion, most men seem to have other aims.
"If I don't express some sort of romantic
interest in them after even a few lines of
conversation, oftentimes they'll stop talk-
ing to me," she said. "Really I just started
talking to guys because I was bored, and
thought it would be funny ... it's like a game
that takes up my time, if I'm like waiting for
a bus; it's filler kind of activity," she said.
But there's more to it than meeting the
occasional conversation partner.
"There was someone whom I was inter-
ested in, in real life, and I didn't know her at
all - I had never talked to her, I just know
her because she works at some place that I
.If the age-old truth is that attraction
is complicated, then the new, but equally
conspicuous one is that talking online is
easier than talking in person. You can be
lying in bed, unshaven, with a thin film of
pizza crumbs and sweat forming on your
chest, and stilllbe witty and seductive
"I think the
that it pres-
you'd expect: he'd swipe right on girls he
thought were cute, and beamed when they
matched with him.
"It's a thrill," he said. "When you get that
notification, you'll be like 'shit, this attrac-
tive girl thinks I'm good looking - alright!"'
When it comes to typical Tinder encoun-
ters, Tommy claimed to only pay attention
to the picture.
"If I did see someone with a particularly
long bio, I'd hold that against them. I mean,
this isn't a datingwebsite; this is Tinder," he
When he did match with someone, he'd
usually lead with a simple "Hi, how are
you?" and see where the conversation pro-
gressed from there, noting that interest in
hooking up would eventually become obvi-
Tommy's typical strategy was to talk for a
day or two over Tinder's messaging system,
and then ask for the girl's number, which
indicated an escalation in interest. They
would then talk for another day or so.
"You have to flirt," he replied. "If you're
not someone who likes to flirt, then you're
not going to have a good time on Tinder."
When he gets confident that a girl was
interested, Tommy suggests that they meet
up at a neutral location. Inviting a girl to his,
house would be too presumptuous.
Neutral locations were the stereotypical
date spots: movies, dinner, coffee, even a
walk in Nichols Arb.
"It's like a blind date," Tommy explained.
"You're meeting someone new, you're mak-
ing pleasant conversation, but the whole
time, the subtext is that you both find each
But why jump through all these hoops, if
you've already acknowledged that you find
each other attractive?
"You go through the formalities. You
don't just go up"to them, shake hands and
then start making out," Tommy explained.
"There's still a human interaction to it. It's
not just 'Let's meet and bang.'"
But what would Tommy do if the girl sug-
gested they skip the dinner and small talk
and head straight for the sack?
"I'd be a little creeped out by that," he
replied. "I think you want to assure each
other that you just got the app for the hell of
it, and that you're not just perverts."
"I think everyone's embarrassed to say
that they met someone on Tinder because
it's artificial," Tommy said. "It's not play-
ing by the rules; it didn't exist in the past;
there's nothing romantic about it. There's
no movies about people meeting on an app
and ending happily ever after."
But then again, were there ever "rules" in
the first place?
THE THOUGHT BUBBLE
began this column discuss-
ing the much-welcomed epi-
demic of the man bun. So it
only seems fitting that I close the
semester with an ode to another
very welcomed trend. The past
week marked two things: the
and the unfor-
tunate end T HE
to No Shave
Now I realize
that this sen
timent may AURA
not resonate ,.
with everyone. SU K RO
I have been on
Yik Yak enough THE B
to know that
cup of tea. But
can we take a moment to appreci-
Guys expect girls to embody
every aspect of femininity. So, I
think it's only fair that women
expect men to embody what it
means to be masculine, and ladies
and gentleman, the beard is key.
Maybe it's my New York roots or
my Brooklyn obsession, but men
with beards are far more alluring.
Especially at Michigan, a clean-
shaven guy just screams immature
frat star, not that there's anything
wrong with that. But for me, not
so much. Mysterious guys with
manly beards just radiate a vibe of
late night coffee chats and indie
movies - a far cry from a night in
a dingy frat basement.
Right now as I write this in the
Fishbowl, I see them everywhere:
frat stars and
- beards alike,
is a certain
R E IS aura that sur-
TA IN beard.Hip-
-T-AT ripped olive
T-shirt, a ring
)UNDS or two on
)U NDS each hand,
E A R D boots - there
is a sense of
out being too
overtly full of
and the need for adventure amid
the mundane tasks of college life.
Take a step back: Jared Leto,
Jake Gyllenhaal, Justin Theroux,
Michael Fassbender, Jon Hamm,
Ben Affleck, the guy sitting across
from me at the Fishbowl - all bet-
ter with the scruff, all possessing
the mighty power of the beard.
For this phase of every college stu-
dent's life, a man with a beard is
three things: your parents' worst
nightmare, the best few months of
your life and a check mark off the
bucket list. So, why the hell not?
"It's important to find someone who really likes you for who you are. I think you need
that personality chemistry... so if you're dorky, you need to find that dorky girl who
you're cool with."
-JOHN DOHERTY, ENGINEERING SENIOR
PRINTS: FAN MAIL
ents itself as a game ... But is it a game?
You're interacting with this virtual version
of somebody else, and you kind of have to
remember that there are real people, with
real expectations and hopes and thoughts
and ideas, but the social distance makes
them seem like they're not real people," Isa-
It's hard to keep-that in mind; and unset-
tling to realize that the person on the other
end may not grant you the same courtesy.
For LSA junior Thomas, Tinder was both
a test and atool.
"I'd just gotten out of a relationship and
wanted to bounce back a little bit," he said.
"I wanted to know that I had the capacity to
hook up with people, that I still had game."
Unlike Isabel, Thomas used Tinder like
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BY ANDREW FULLER-