Online dating will always be shunned and sniggered at, like the fat kid from school that no one spoke to. Dating apps are usually hidden, stacked between photo-editing apps and to-do lists, away from prying eyes, pudgy fingers and awkward questions.
It’s simple. It’s completely against the idea of a textbook romance — meeting someone at a party or at the local bookshop, bumping into each other, and falling head-over-heels in love with each other at first sight.
But that’s where you are wrong.
If you think your next big love isn’t hidden behind a mesh of profiles on the dating app of your choice, there’s a very big chance he’s not waiting for you at the bar with free drinks (and if he is, there’s a chance he might give you chlamydia). Conventional ways of finding love are dying out and for good reason, because we just don’t have the time (or the hope to leave things to chance).
Say hi to Tinder. She’s swiping right on you already.
What it is: Tinder is the It-girl of dating apps, the one that all the others want to be like, and secretly hate. Like the nagging aunt, it shows you picture after picture of suitable men (and women) – because perfection doesn’t come easy, and here, it can come more than once. But what sets it apart from the nagging aunt in question?
Tinder has a strict ‘no-judgments-passed’ policy, which comes to play as you test-drive your way through the sea of suitable men. Well, no one said that finding a potential mate was easy. They aren’t all Planet Romeo.
How it works: You can swipe right to ‘Like’, or turn left to ‘Oh-I-don’t-think-so’. Tinder is a clearance sale of Facebook profile pictures. You collect the ones you love, and ignore the ones you don’t. But then, the pile keeps on growing, and you don’t know what to do. Unless someone collects you too.
Intellectually, can Tinder be considered as the online dating app for the people who have given up on online dating?
Truly so. Unless you are my friend, Kartik.
Last month, the 29-year-old copywriter came across Rajeev — he was handsome, gay (and not sexually fluid like the boys on Bro), ran his own start-up, and at 6’ 2” (Rajeev’s profile told him), he was a lot taller than Kartik was. Was he the light at the end of a tunnel of d*****bags and dimwits? More importantly, could their mutual love for Rihanna, Banksy and Humans Of New York account for total compatibility in the romance department? Probably not, but maybe Tinder could help them meet halfway there (not literally, like in the case of Happn).
Kartik (super) liked right and waited.
And waited. And waited. He waited for all of 23 days, seven hours and 42 minutes. Rajeev never matched back. Obsessing over a text message is a little crazy, but when you’re in an online relationship (or not), that’s really all you have. Are you allowed to feel heartbroken if you’ve never met someone in person?
If real-life relationships are taxing and nerve-wracking, the ones you find here are only better – every curve ball that life throws at you, Tinder throws two. The biggest of them all: How do you answer the classic – ‘How did you two meet?’ – milestone that every couple that meets through Tinder dreads.
It’s simple. You tell them you met each other at Starbucks.
What I like about it: Unlike most dating apps for queer men (and women), Tinder doesn’t allow immediate, unfiltered communication. No more message requests. No more unsolicited dick pics. No more ‘I-see-that-you-are-50-metres-away-wanna-hook-up?’
Chat (and ultimately cuddle up) with only people you match with – not that there’s a guarantee a man won’t turn out to be a d*****bag after 50 texts full of witty prose.
What I don’t like about it: Like most good things in life, finding true love on Tinder doesn’t come free. See, Tinder might be your best bet to meet your future plus one, But Tinder Plus (or Gold for the select few who can afford it) is where you strike gold, no puns intended.
Unlimited right swipes? Hell yes. Rewind the accidental ones? Obviously. That one-off (brilliant) chance to skip the queue? Definitely. 3X chances of finding a soul mate? That’s a third of the catfishes you have to wade through before you find your Prince Charming.
Now I was always good at math, but these numbers don’t make any sense at all.
Bonus feature: They say a picture speaks a thousand words, but Tinder’s extensive library of GIFs and customised emojis can write a book. Cat got your tongue as you flirt your way with the hot travel photojournalist who you (super) liked? There’s an appropriate ‘wanderlust’ GIF in there somewhere.
Tips to follow: As a single gay man, do you still think that the quintessential dating app is the only speed bump on your journey towards finding a fulfilling NSA (no-stress at all) relationship?
Make an effort with your profile. Your vital stats and sexual preferences might get you sex in 30 minutes or less, but a soul mate? Not so much.
Stop using the app only after midnight – you are not fooling anyone when you want to meet for a date in the middle of the night. In your bedroom.
Stop tlking lyk dis 2 ppl online.
Be nice, be charming, be yourself – but most importantly, be kind, rewind.
Who is it for: Because the worst of us need a fairy tale to believe in.
For all the times you don’t find a Fairy Godmother to help you on your quest to seek true love, Tinder swipes right in and saves the day. She’d even give you a makeover if you have Tinder Gold.
But that’s another story.