It’s been quite some time since my last blog, but it was not without good reason. I have been dabbling in the ever so popular internet dating circuit. In my book, A Black Girls Guide to Dating White Men, I mentioned that I don’t like the idea of internet dating and I’d much rather meet people face to face. So in this 8 month adventure, I’ve decided to meet you internet lovers halfway by downloading an app on my phone and creating an account with the new and popular Tinder, Inc.
Tinder is a free app available for download on your iPhone or Android that launched September 2012. Once you’ve entered your Facebook login information, you are immediately available to the world for judging and possible love (?). But I’ll get in more detail about that later. Once you’ve set your account preferences, which I suggest you do first or else who knows what the system will suggest for you, the app then shows you potential suitors, one by one, based on geographical location, mutual friends and common interests. If the persons photo and/or age doesn’t tickle your fancy, you swipe left until you run across that lucky person that stops your thumb dead in it’s tracks.
To find out more about the person that caught your eye, you can open their profile with a single tap. Yep, I said it, you get to tap that! Hopefully the profile will offer at least four other photos and more information about the person. However, it seems many don’t get the point of creating a profile because sometimes you see two group photos leaving you to wonder whose profile you’re even looking at. Also, if you’re in Southern California prepare to see men posing with Tigers! I ran across this an incredible amount of times and the only conclusion I’m able to come up with is that there must be a book on the market that told these poor schmucks, “it’s a must have when internet dating.”
When you do finally see what you like, you swipe right. Now, this doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically get to talk to this person. You have to wait until that person also swipes your profile to the right. When that happens, you’ll get a wonderful alert; It’s A Match!! Then it’s up to one of you to start the conversation. This is where people start having a hard time with internet/app dating etiquette.
I’ve talked to some of my male friends who have told me that they never write the first, “Hello.” I also have female friends that believe the same. Even with cleaver reminders from Tinder like, “What are you waiting for? How long until you send a message? If you don’t ask, you will never know. What the F@ck are you waiting for?” These connections could stay stuck “match limbo” for months until someone takes action or does their Tinder cleaning and deletes the other completely. I have many from 7 or more months ago, just waiting, as I don’t believe a woman should make a first move in this situation. Well, unless she wants to go on a date with a guy that has no balls. Moving on…
The other part of this story is that Tinder is VERY addictive! At first I took the time to read the profiles, but by the end I was swiping left so fast I would get pains in my thumb. All while humming Beyonce’s “to the left, to the left.” Needless to say, I had been tinderly addicted! But having ongoing conversations with over 30 men started to occupy what little time I had. The first day I signed up I had three dates. One for lunch, one for dinner and one I met for late night drinks. Let me be the first to say that not all Tinder folks are looking to “hook up.” Many are seeking a relationship. You’ll find quite successful men on this app and have lots of fun! Therein lies the problem readers. I couldn’t stay focused. The men were awesome. But since I had so many choices, match numbers growing daily, nothing “real” progressed. I could have an insightful conversation with someone one night and forget about them the following day. I’m sure that went both ways, because there are just so many options. At a rate of 10 million matches per day, this app keeps it’s customers busy.
It wasn’t until a recent match asked me “So, how is Tinder working for you?” My response was, “Great!” And then I paused. It had been 8 months and I was still on this damn app with a steady pattern of; Left swipe, Left swipe, Right swipe, Date. Was it really that great? I had met exclusive worthy men who definitely fit the characteristics of what I was looking for but the problem was, I was unfocused and would remain unfocused until I could muster the strength to pull the plug. With this app it is easy to forget the guys/girls that you’re interested in, because you barely know them when you’re getting to know each other, just like you barely know the next five cool people. So everyone stays on an equal playing level. That mixed with your everyday life, dating A.D.D becomes common and you end up missing out on the person that you’d been searching for. The reason you signed up for the app in the first place.
I don’t only speak for myself. I’ve asked a few more people if they were having the same problem. They didn’t realize that they were having a real problem until I mentioned it. One even signed off the night after our conversation.
A larger dating pool is a great thing, but if you’re allowing others to swim laps in between you and someone you should be focusing on, it’s time for you to get out of the water! If that person doesn’t work out, you can always dive right back in!