I was having dinner with a friend of mine, let’s call him Karl, at the Arts Club a few weeks ago when we came upon the subject of Tinder. You see, Karl is circling his 40s and is one of those eternally single guys who dated models in his 20s, a TV celebrity in his 30s – which was serious until it wasn’t – and is now pure and simple ‘single.’ We all have one of those friends, don’t we? Edging his 40s and still unable to settle down, roaming the streets of London entertaining his married friends with his Tinderadventures.
Tinder is a slight obsession of mine, since I am 10 years too late for this cyber-phenomenon (remember the days of Speed dating and Match.com? I even missed those days) and I have often wondered what Tinder-dating is actually like. Would I have been a Tinder-dater if I had been single during Tinder-Time? Would I have been mostly swiping Right or swiping Left? Is it just an instant hook up or relationship worthy material? Who are all these Tinderers? It is actually fascinating, considering Tinder started only just over 3 years ago.
So, Karl gave us a Tinder Tutorial and explained how it all worked for us Middle Aged Tinder Virgins. He showed us the profiles of some girls he had swiped Right for: there was everything between a 5 and a 10. Karl didn’t seem to know the difference between a 5 and a 10, I thought to myself. One woman had for a profile picture, a picture of her enormous double DD cleavage. Classy, I say. He laughs. Perhaps this was why he is still single, I tell him. Sometimes, for the fun of it, he swipes right 10 times in a row just to see what would happen, he explains.
He had also been ‘around the world in Tinder’ he tells me, using it even when he was in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo on business. (Apparently Tinder New York is more about instant sex, whereas Tinder London has more ‘looking for a relationship’ members). This is truly a global app, I think to myself. The ‘Uber’ of dating. He even went places where he had no more swipes to do! He actually came to the end of Tinder, who knew you could actually get to the end of Tinder?
I ask him if Tinder actually works and he tells me that apart from one Tinder-relationship he had for two months, it is soul-destroying. He was having 15 simultaneous conversations with 15 different girls but was not planning on actually meeting any of them. He just wasn’t interested in any of them but wanted to stay ‘connected’ so that he had someone to talk to when he was lonely or bored, without having an actual, IRL, demanding relationship.
Another friend of mine also on Tinder told me about one Tinder relationship she had with a guy she had met once but he then never made an attempt to meet again but would send her photos of where he was traveling and send random texts to see how she was doing. I wondered what kind of need this was fulfilling in these people’s psyches, if it wasn’t even about sex.
I began to wonder what the point of Tinder was until my husband came home and told me about the actual magic of Tinder: his recently divorced friend came raving to him one night about the merits of Tinder. He had just gotten divorced and was needing some ‘loving’ from someone, anyone, to lift him out of the deep self-esteem-hole he had gotten PD (post-divorce). Enter Tinder-Loving-Care, when two swipes make a right, and rebound sex/attention is on tap. For a divorced, middle-aged father of 2, with a social life solely based on happily married couples from ‘couple dinners’ with his wife’s friends, Tinder was a godsend. Instant TLC at the swipe of a screen, nothing like it for morale and self-esteem boosting.