Before Tinder

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Over 6 feet tall; brown hair; beaming white smile; blue eyes; athletic. Swipe right. Fiery red hair; tattoo sleeves; retro white glasses; nose and lip piercings; ocean blue corduroy pants. Swipe Left. 

Since the early 2010’s, Tinder and other online dating sites have allowed the singles in society to have a platform with access to all of the eligible bachelors and bachelorettes in their area. With just one swipe of a finger, the user can find a “match” and begin intimate communication with this person. For those who are extremely busy, introverted, or struggle with a short attention span may find that Tinder is preferred to previous methods of romantic interaction.

Before Tinder, meeting new people and going on dates required a lot of bravery. If one finds another person appealing, in order to initiate conversation with them, they must physically go up to them and ask for their number, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. For some, this endeavor may be difficult. People fear rejection and embarrassment and those who lack self esteem do not even build up the courage to ask; they could let negative self talk dissuade them out of the feat. On Tinder, however, if one finds another person charming or likeable, the initial connection can begin simply with a swipe right. If the users both swipe right and “match,” then they both know that they find something about each other appealing and can start communicating without the initial embarrassment that in-person affection may generate. Additionally, swipes are anonymous. The user will never know if someone swiped left on them, which serves to take away the fear of rejection.

Previously, people usually dated within the community that they belong in. Whether it be someone in a high school class, church group, workplace, or friend group, people set their eyes on someone and ushered up the courage to ask them on a date. Nowadays, tinder allows for people to meet a diverse group of people that they would never have met before. The app allows for more options: different ethnicities, different towns, different hobbies and interests. If someone does not have any mutual interests in their own community, the internet can allow for people to branch out and meet others that could be a potentially better match.

Physical dates and norms also adapted with the implementation of Tinder. Previously, the man would traditionally ask a woman out to dinner or to the movies. He would pick up the woman at her home and introduce himself to her parents. On the Internet, however, gender norms are broken, people do not have to meet parents immediately, and people can more clearly set their intentions about what they want. This shift in traditional norms has also served to create “hookup culture.” Since people on the Internet can be clearer about what they want, they can simply message someone to ask to meet-up and engage in sexual activity with no strings attached. With Tinder, people can get instant-gratification that in-person relationships do not always allow for. The new culture has created the implementation of non-exclusive situationships and stems away from traditional values of commitment and trust. The “hookup culture” that is sometimes facilitated on Tinder has also fabricated a joking atmosphere on the internet. Memes are created about comical tinder profiles and amusing, sexual messages through the app. People sometimes lose the privacy that non-internet dating allows for. Hypothetically, anything that you say to someone on social media can be screenshotted and sent to friends or “memed.” 

Moreover, before the addition of Tinder in our society, dating was more real. People made intimate connections with prolonged eye contact, physical touch, and face-to-face conversations. Physical touch is especially significant in a relationship; if there is no spark between the couple, the connection will not prosper. The internet can do its best to reveal physical compatibility but can never confirm it like real-life can. Nowadays, profiles are the only form of information that users have on potential suitors; however, people take extreme measures on their social media profiles to get swipes right. They wear revealing clothing and use photoshop to make themselves look more appealing. The user may not be receiving the “real” version of the person that they would meet in person. While some may not be genuine and even “catfishes,” a user can learn a lot about a person based on his/ her profile. These include songs, passions, school, employer, favorite stickers, and links to other social media accounts. Before Tinder, a couple would learn this information about each other over the course of several weeks in what the dating app can provide instantly. Some may prefer the old-school way of doing things, while some busy and impatient users may prefer skipping the talking stage with people who they don’t seem to find any interest in.

In dating, Tinder helps save time, provides fast communication, takes away fears of rejection and embarrassment, allows users to meet more people and branch out of their comfort zone, and allows for a new “hookup culture” that some people prefer. None of these commodities would not be possible without the use of technology and the internet. However, there are some downfalls to this new method of dating. While it is sometimes beneficial to hide behind the screen for anxious suitors, hiding facilitates bullying, “out of pocket” language, cat-fishing, and embellishment. Will this new era of profiles, swipes, super-likes, and “skip the line” features completely eradicate the old-school way of doing things in the future?

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