The Dating Game: Relationships In The Age of Tinder

      The rules of dating are simple… said no one ever. In 2017 we have witnessed a lot of change driven by social media, change that absolutely includes how we date. Long gone are the days of meeting someone through friends. No more do we find ourselves stuck with our work colleagues as potential ‘baes’. The social age has struck, and with apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, people have never been more connected. Online Dating especially has undergone a technological revamp with apps like Tinder and PoF,  enabling us to bag a man anywhere that has a decent Internet connection. Whilst this revelation of digital connection is brightening the futures of many young people (including myself), there is still one question that is puzzling me. Why is it so bloody difficult to date in 2017?

            Ladies and Gents, I can’t be the only person in their early 20’s that is bored of the endless swiping sessions that usually lead to no interaction, a creative chat up line, or (the best outcome) ‘send nudes’. So, I ask again, how do we date in 2017? Well, the most obvious is a download away. Yep, you guessed it folks, Tinder!

        The mobile app Tinder has become massively popular today. A simple swipe can declare your like or dislike of someone (brutal right?). Although, the drawback surrounding Tinder is that it doesn’t seem to take dating seriously. In her article ‘Is Tinder Online Missing The Point?, Gemma Styles emphasizes that Tinder seems to attract ‘mobile F*!£? Boys’, which results in a lot of unsuccessful Tinder sessions, that personally leave me feeling like simply an object for sex. Wygant, for The Huff Post, also observes that the style of Tinder, the continuous swiping based on our initial attraction of a person, ‘feeds the caveman part of the brain’. It is sad to hear personality is no longer a key factor in finding a potential date. If someone doesn’t have a specific look then they are swept to the side (literally). The emphasis placed on ‘swiping’ tears us away from engaging in actual conversation. So instead of getting to know somebody, we make a judgment based fully on a carefully picked out profile picture. I argue that Tinder can offer an instant ego boost. We sometimes forget that the picture cards on tinder are real people (Unless you’re being catfished, but that’s a whole other story).  I’m sure a lot of us have had that moment where the guy with the amazing profile pic pops up as a match, we get a sense of achievement, and we think to ourselves ‘that Tinder session was worth it’. But is Gemma right? Are we missing the point? Usually, that initial match is ignored, and we continue in our swiping quest. Why don’t we start a conversation?

        In my experience (and in Gemma’s) Tinder fails with the conversation side of things, promoting the swiping game over actual interaction. Tinder conversations, for me, usually don’t last long. Especially when they send those special three words that every girl wants to hear, ‘send nudes please’. So how do we combat this?  Never fear, Tinder is on the case! In March 2017 ‘Tinder Online’ was launched. Although it is still not available in the UK, Tinder Online seems to change the layout of the app. Don’t worry, we are still able to have our swiping sessions, however, as Styles claims, the online edition seems to invite us to message our potential matches more easily, with the addition of a chat sidebar. Gemma continues to add that the online version implies that our Tinder sessions become more deliberate. I completely agree with this, Tinder mobile is something that passes the time. We can swipe any time purely for our own entertainment. When it comes to searching for love (which is possible on Tinder, my sister and her BF are very happy), Tinder online seems to separate those time wasters from the people who are actually looking for a date. Even though Tinder online is a step forward, there are still some negatives.

        My issue with the Tinder age is that we are basing our ideas of a future date on unrealistic goals. This is amplified in Achey Breaky Heart Zine (The Chirpse Issue), in an interview with Sylvia Duda. Sylvia admits that in her time online dating ‘she wouldn’t reply to anyone shorter than 5’10’. Now ladies and gentleman, don’t lie, we are all guilty of this. I will happily admit that tall, dark, and handsome is the dream, and if someone didn’t fit into that online then see ya later! In this digital age, this thought is enhanced, allowing us to be more selective about what we find attractive. Honestly, I think the technical evolution of dating has made finding a soul mate extremely complicated and clinical.

           We can safely say that if our camera skills are not up to scratch, and our profile picture portrays anything but perfection, we will probably be swiped left along with other unsuccessful candidates. Dating in 2017 has become a game, which worries me. Unfortunately, I don’t have a successful way to play this game, and I wouldn’t even know where to start anymore. My dating game has been uneventful for 3 and ½ years, I’ve dabbled with Tinder, but every time I click that download button, I end up regretting it. Whilst Instagram is very efficient at reminding me, there are perfect relationships to be had out there, at the moment I’m just not interested. I’m enjoying the single life, its allowed me to be me, and do stuff without having to fully commit to any plans. I envision dating as a game of snakes and ladders, its just chance if we land on a ladder, but we have to try our best to dodge those pesky pythons!

By: Katrina Zajac-Roles

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