Tinder is astonishingly shiny and new to someone who first encountered internet dating back in the day of MSN chat – remember that anyone? It is set up as a virtual card game where a photo card flashes up, you swipe it to the left for NO or right for YES. After every card it asks if you want to keep playing or, if you have made a match, to send a message to that person.
Its success is built on the double match conceit: you can only message someone if you have both clicked YES to each other, thereby avoiding wasting time or energy in pursuit of anyone who isn’t already interested in you. You have to say YES or NO immediately, allowing you to trawl through hundreds of potential matches in a few minutes. This leaves no room for error: already I’ve clicked NO on someone I meant YES to and vice versa, watching the cards fall into the wrong side, left wondering where they go, those NO cards. Maybe they come round again, maybe they don’t: the virtual equivalent of someone glimpsed riding the down escalator whilst one passes them on the up one.
Tinder has received criticism as “the shallowest dating app” yet – (The Guardian probably. Will check). Critics say it encourages casual encounters. A friend has already told me that just looking at it made her “feel dirty” and that the men are all on there for casual sexuals. As an opening sally I have received:
“Aslong (sic) as I have a face you’ll always have somewhere to sit.” – one tick must be given for correct apostrophe use I guess.
“Why don’t you come over and we can fuck?” – this from an innocent-looking twenty four year old.
Such opening gambits are not new online of course, I tell myself, remaining optimistic that there will be enough boys with different ideas about playing this new game to make it worthwhile – indeed, some of the men say on their front pages “not looking for casual hook-ups” or my favourite so far “I’m a man, not a slab of meat.”
Of course I’m going to stick to certain rules:
1. Meet them in a public place
2. Don’t meet them after dark
3. Keep my phone on and charged – tinder drains the battery, due to the location service enabling apparently.
4. Let a friend know where I am
First date today I think. Fingers crossed it’s not a disaster!