Have you heard of the new dating craze? (Yes I’m aware that sentence makes me sound at least a million years old. I’m ok with it.) It’s called Tinder and it’s a smart phone app that allows you to scroll through pictures of people’s faces and pick them off based solely on their looks.
One of my friends has been using it and apparently having a hilarious time chit chatting to random hot strangers. When she told me she was using it I gave a lovingly disapproving groan. She told me that another friend of hers said that it’s really no different to meeting people in bars because that’s all you do in a bar. Check someone out physically and decide if they’re worth talking to based on their looks. At first thought, I’d be inclined to agree.
Except for me personally, that’s not my truth. Now I’m certainly not saying that I don’t appreciate the male form on a physical level. As long as I draw breath I will find men physically attractive. But for me it stops there. It’s kind of like looking at a car. I should note at this point that I’m about as far from being a petrol head as you can get, so if you are, this analogy might be lost on you.
When I look at a supercar I can see it’s beauty, the craft that went into creating something powerful and sleek and sexy, and how it oozes cool-ness. But it doesn’t get me hot under the collar. I just look at it and think “Oh that’s nice!” and then go on with my day.
So when it comes to meeting boys out in bars or at festivals or wherever else young folk go to meet people these days, I’m looking for the guy who looks like he’s having the most fun, regardless of what he physically looks like. I’m not saying this to be all righteous and pariah like. As I said, men: love ‘em. Bradley Cooper, Gerard Butler and half the boys down at the rowing club, case in point.
But their physical looks alone don’t get me hankering after something deep and meaningful. For me physical attraction deepens intensely when I get to know someone. In fact, in the majority of my relationships, both casual and serious, I wasn’t particularly physically attracted to my partner before we got into conversation. It was then that I fell head over heels for the boogly eyes, roman nose, bushy hair, skinny legs or ghetto bootay. (In fact if I cared less about the privacy of the people I’ve been romantically involved with I’d provide a pictoral line up so you could see the proof of my varied and indiscriminate choices!)
That said the issue I take with Tinder is that it’s not even about the people you decide to connect with. It’s about all those people, those potentially amazing people that you are passing by, saying no to, based on whether they look good in their photo. Because let’s face it, they might be stunning, but if they haven’t got the art of Instagram down there’s no guarantee that it’s going to come across on the app.
At least in a bar you have half a chance of seeing someone's personality shine through as they laugh and joke with their friends, play crack shots at pool or dance with giddy enthusiasm to Gangnam Style. On Tinder you're dismissing whole chunks of humanity more easily than you were dismissed when it came time to pick the football / softball / debate / delete as applicable team at school. And we all know how shitty that felt.
Quite frankly, who are you to know that the guy you just said a mental no to based on his crooked smile and hook nose is not the most interesting, loving, funny, exciting, honest, caring, sexy man you will ever meet?
That's why, for me, Tinder or any other website or app that encourages you to pick off people based on their physical appearance is really not going to do you any good in the long run. Unless of course you are looking to have several potentially meaningless, potentially profound, who knows it's really pot luck when you're choosing people based on the arrangement of their facial features, hook ups that may or may not lead to what you are or aren't looking for. Honestly if that's where you’re at right now, go on with your bad self and have lots of clean safe fun! That is always my caveat. No judgement, just don’t kid yourself that it’s a smart way to meet someone you want to have a genuine relationship with.
I refer you to this interview with Dustin Hoffman where he sobs because he realises through the experience of acting in drag for Tootsie how many interesting women he has likely dismissed during his life because they didn't fit the ideals of beauty that we ascribe to at this particular time and place.
What do you think of Tinder? Have you tried it out? Have you met your soul mate there? Or do you prefer going to dinner dances to meet potentials mates? Tell me!