I first downloaded Tinder during December of my sophomore year of college. I distinctly remember the day because I painstakingly selected my most attractive photos that showed me in a variety of contexts, and I swiped left and right to the point of fearing that I might have carpal tunnel. That following Spring, I downloaded Grindr. Since then I have tried Jack’d, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, Hornet, Surge, and at least one or two more that I have forgotten. What have these apps taught me? Too many things to share in just one blog post… I’ll try to share though
- People will ignore you. A lot. Some people use these apps only when they want a hookup, some people only go on when drunk, and some people download them as a joke and never use them again. Additionally, many of the apps are full of glitches and offer shoddy push notifications at best.
- I am apparently more attractive to men than women. Now several other factors could be involved in this one too. Alternative options include: I look gay to women, men have lower standards on dating apps than women, etc.
- People really like to have sex. I’m not really about the whole “casual encounter” thing, and I don’t begrudge you if you are, but I’m not. It just is not really something I’m interested in, and that makes it hard to meet someone especially when so many of the people on the apps only want that.
- People feel a lot less responsibility for being decent human beings in the cyber world. Would you say incredibly rude or forthright things to someone at a bar or in the park? Maybe you’re in the small minority that would, but a huge number of people are much more candid on dating apps. Many men also send pictures of their genitals, and I doubt that guys are just whipping them out left and right in clubs.
- Objectification can affect everyone. We hear a lot about women being objectified in our culture, and it’s truly awful. On dating apps, no one is safe though. As a man who chooses not to label his sexual orientation, I have received a lot of attention from gay or bisexual men. Although much of it is positive, I feel reduced at times to my face or body and receive no validation of my personality or words.
- Our society shames people for using them. Is it really acceptable to be seen using a dating app? Most people would probably venture a “no”, and they would be correct. When I casually check my Grindr at the gym or around friends, I always feel the need to turn my phone toward myself in order to hide my activity because I do not want to face the judgment that might ensue. Upon reading this (if they ever do), my family might be surprised to learn more about some of my experiences since I feel slightly ashamed to discuss them at length.
- Even though it’s not as “real” as face-to-face communication, it can hurt just as much. When you get ignored enough, objectified, insulted, or find yourself on the other side of things because you realize you might also be a shallow shell of a human being on some level (sarcasm intended), it sucks.
While not an exhaustive list of the lessons I have learned from my time, this is a good start. I have not met anyone from a dating app in approximately 6 months now, and who knows if I ever will again? Maybe I’ll just delete them all and end up back on them again in two weeks when I get bored… It wouldn’t be the first time (sadly).