In a distant (maybe real distant) future, it’s my wedding day. There I stand, hopefully hairline still intact, beside my best man, probably my best friend Shizz, who I’ve known since I was 6. One of us asked the other to play one day and we been friends ever since. Even as our lives took different paths over the years here we are as men, his hairline not intact. It’s been gone since we were like 20. My brothers would probably complete the roster, what’s a man without his family. Most importantly, they would all know the golden rules, that it’s swing on sight for anyone trying to Dwayne Wayne my wedding. Swing on sight for anyone trying to propose at my wedding. Weddings ain’t cheap, B. Across from me would be her wedding party, her best friend who at this point is more like a sister. Maybe it is her sister. Her homegirls, her council, maybe her line sisters (God if you’re listening, don’t send me no more Greeks). They’ve been there from picking out her first date outfit in the group chat, talking her down when things got tight, and now we all here. Then comes my beautiful bride to be, who I saw on an app, liked her pictures and swiped right. That’s just how we do things now.
I’ve spoke before about my dislike of dating apps (then I met someone not on a dating app so maybe this is just part of the process). More appropriately I’d call them swiping apps with not much dating to be had. It’s a necessary evil because where are the single people? On apps. As of this year, there are 50 million people on Tinder. 50 million people finding love (or otherwise) via swipe, perhaps the most primitive gesture the human body can muster. An endless deck of cards and no matter how unimpressed you are you can’t help but keep swiping because maybe this one is the good one. Whether you swipe left or right, the immediate reward of a new profile releases dopamine and encourages you to keep going through the oddly satisfied pile of potentials waiting for one that actually intrigues you. Nope, okay that one…Nope…hmm this one looks interesti… Nah, never mind. Why does she take pictures so close to the camera, why are hers so blurry, is she black or tanned? Septum piercing? Pass. Don’t I know her? I wonder if she swiped right on me already. (Ok, so this did happen once, I had swiped right we matched but I hadn’t messaged yet. I get to work the next day and I see her in the cafeteria. I may or may not had unmatched her after that. I’ve seen her around since then but we haven’t spoken. It’s a little weird) And you swipe away without giving much thought to the actual people depicted. Maybe you’d like him if you had met at a concert because 5’9 is taller in person, maybe she’s just bad at pictures. You’re looking to meet someone but just casually rejected 25 people in 2 minutes with a thumb motion so how serious are you really?
No surprise, studies show that swiping apps are incredibly ineffective in finding relationships. 18%, about 1 in 6 people. It’s a slot machine. You won’t get what you’re looking for but the addictive simple nature of the app will keep you engaged, and advertisers just trying to advertise without any regard for your cuffing season dreams. Hell, they’re incentivized for you not to meet someone. They can see you tend to swipe right on a certain type, so why not spread THOSE ones out and put them behind an ad? Not much unlike the casino, the game isn’t for you to win, it’s for you to play. Which is why the first thing you see when you open Tinder the first thing you see are not your matches, not even yourself, it’s a new face to swipe on. Happy swiping.
Not to go all Black Mirror about it, I’m sure with the proper level of expectations, it can be fun. I think take a flattering photo, I’m quick witted and not a creep… theoretically I should clean up on there. But I go on for a few days, play the slots, most of the time I’m swiping right on women just to see if it’s a match or not (I attract a type) and then deactivate until the next time I get bored. I also think that maybe I’m just too old for this shit. The median age of Tinder and other swiping apps is 26, while the median age of more traditional dating sites like Match is 40+, which leaves me kind of in the middle too apathetic on swiping and too young to be dating y’all divorced aunties on E Harmony. Which leaves me, going back to the basics. Link with the squad, find a wave, and ask the cute girl at the bar what she’s drinking? That looks good. Or, maybe I’ll just get a puppy.