I’m Ditching Tinder for Bars
Maybe I am a little old-fashioned or out of touch, but I feel more connected as I unplug.
The internet is a great tool for many different vices, especially for scoring casual sex. I love the internet. I am highly addicted and plugged in virtually all my waking hours. It’s my soap box, my main source of information, and where I view and archive juicy pornographic photos. I have been online for just over half of my 29 years, but have only recently learned to be more efficient and selective in how I use it. No more cat videos. Well, maybe a few, but I try to focus on expanding my mind and keeping up on current events. That being said, I also have carnal urges that lured me into the crazy world of Internet cruising. The plethora of people to peruse online opened up a whole buffet of potential sex partners.
Every time I have moved cross-country to a new city, social media has been my crutch to meet people. In 2005, I moved to Boulder, CO to escape a biker gang that was threatening to murder me. The bikers eventually apologized and said “no hard feelings,” but I said to hell with it, bought my ticket, and took the ride. In my new hometown, I used Myspace to find new friends. I ended up meeting up with some of them, driving my shitty old Subaru into the suburbs of Denver for rendezvous. If they were charming, I would see them again, and we would definitely have sex.
The Internet made it much easier to meet people outside my social circle. It also made it possible for me to date several people at once without anyone being any the wiser. This would never have been an option in the small town that I had left behind.
Recently, upon leaving the same little town and again moving to another city, I utilized the internet to fill the social void. Only this time, there were many more options than Myspace. At first, I wasn’t really sure how to go about finding new “friends” again. I didn’t want to use Facebook; people are much more guarded on Facebook than on Myspace, or maybe things have just changed over the years. I used to feel that I could contact any stranger on Myspace without it being awkward. Now, when I get a request from someone I know peripherally but don’t speak to IRL, I mull it over for a few days before allowing or rejecting the request.
So cruising on Facebook is definitely taboo – it comes off as creepy and I would never feel comfortable messaging a stranger to hook up on that platform. I was struggling to figure out the appropriate channels to meet new people and complained to my roommate: “I need to rub up against something other than my dildo Clarence.” He told me about Grindr, which I admit I had seen on Queer as Folk first, but had forgotten about. I decided to Google the equivalent of Grindr for women. That’s when I discovered Tinder, and started swiping left and right.
My first encounter happened during Portland’s 2014 “snowpocalypse” when the entire city shut down. All my plans went out the window as events were cancelled all over town. I met a young man I’ll call Mic at the bar by my house. He was heavily tattooed and very handsome. We hit it off really well and talked for several hours as we consumed hard liquor. The bus lines happened to stop running early that evening because of the snow and he was stranded in my neighborhood, 70 blocks from home. I invited him back to my place where we quickly shed our clothes and hopped into bed with each other. It was effortless. Mic was a very competent lover and we both enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. In the morning he packed up his belongings and trekked home.
I ran into Mic a few times after that; he was cordial, but when I texted him to suggest another meeting he got reticent. I tested the waters by mentioning that my friend Molly was in town and then he became very interested in meeting up. So I deleted his number and decided to try another. My next two dates were a bust – there was no chemistry and I ended up leaving after a single cocktail.
As I was experimenting with this app I noticed that it encourages or at least facilitates a certain narcissism and desperation in its users. You better be not only photogenic, but also funny, because that is all you are being judged by. I have done a bunch of random modeling over the years and happen to have some pretty great photos of myself, and I shamelessly used the most captivating ones. I also chose to be very vague in my description of myself. “New in town, looking for fun. Love science, talk nerdy to me.”
I perused the ladies and fellas in my area basing my swipes solely on fuck or not fuck. I didn’t want to get to know these people – if they were prudes I would move on. I wasn’t here to make friends; I was here to fuck, so I treated them all like cattle, branding them one way or another.
When you meet someone online the etiquette is completely different than when you meet someone at a bar; you don’t have to respect them as a human – they are just words and pictures on a screen. That’s why some guys have no problem just asking for tit pictures or sending dick selfies. I am assuming their logic is to try and weed out people who don’t just want sex. But the lack of eloquence is off-putting. That is no way to try to get into a lady’s panties. I may be kinky as fuck and all about getting down, but if you don’t have the finesse to make it interesting, you are out of luck.
I had an unfortunate encounter with a guy who after a few dates told me he was in love with me. When I cut off contact, he texted me a barrage of rude and harassing messages, as if that’s how you woo a lady. I kept thinking: “You are crazy please stop!” Luckily he has since disappeared, but for a few months he would send me random texts at bar time trying to coax me into hanging out. I just ignored his texts and hope not to run into him ever again. The crazies are definitely out there; I always meet new people at a neutral location with lots of people around so I can assess my date’s mental status before going any further.
Tinder connects people geographically, showing you people who fit the criteria you have specified and displaying your common interests as determined by comparing your Facebook profiles. The user can select the radius, gender, and age range of their preferred matches. Tinder then triangulates your position and filters people for you to view. By swiping left you discard them, and swiping right you show interest. You will only be able to chat with them if you’re each other’s match, meaning you both swiped right. Tinder then archives your matches in a chat window so you can communicate with them at any time.
Talking to friends about their Tinder experiences I realized that some people use it simply for the instant gratification it provides. I saw the telltale screen on a friend’s phone recently and asked them if they used it to hook up with chicks. They said no, that they used it because it was addicting, like a game. It made him feel good when a hot girl wanted to chat with him. He never met up with any of these women, or planned to, but used the app as a confidence booster.
My friend Abby said that when she felt she needed some attention, she would take a Moment to get gratification. A Moment is a picture that gets broadcasted to her matches. They then can like it or comment on it. The Moment might arise new interest in people who weren’t hooked by your initial conversation.
The trend toward using apps like Tinder rather than meeting people at bars makes it easier to find people with common interests. But none of the people I met online became friends or longtime lovers. I also realized that this app might do more to degrade my self-esteem than improve it. It seems unhealthy to base my self-worth off of an app rather than real-life qualities, to accept such a skewed and simplistic perception of myself. In no way could my online persona accurately represent my value to potential mates.
It is much easier to attract sexual partners if you have self-confidence, and self-improvement only breeds more confidence. I opt to work on being better and try to be my most authentic self. It is so much better than the alternative. I would rather meet people through mutual friends or at a pub then through some online mechanism. Fuck Tinder.
I have given up the narcissistic Tinder app opting to meet people IRL to fuck. It has worked out much better – even if people are still calculating their mannerisms and appearances. I love technology and everything it has afforded me, but I have really started to garner an appreciation for the analog and the level of intimacy that it provides. Maybe I am a little old-fashioned or out of touch, but I feel more connected as I unplug.