12 February 2019
Tinder, Bumble, Plenty of Fish; they’re apps we all seem to have, yet harbor a certain level of embarrassment toward. In fact, an estimated 50 million users currently have tinder accounts worldwide, 79 percent of which being millennials.
Yet for some reason, even in the era of online shopping and social media communities, online dating is still so stigmatized. There is a level of shame associated with meeting people unconventionally that tends to be reflected in the interactions that happen on dating apps like Tinder.
Tinder was first introduced in Sept. of 2012 and is responsible for around 1.5 million dates per week and 26 million daily matches according to the app’s website. Needless to say, Tinder is clearly getting a lot of use by college-age people, but there still seems to be a level of hesitation
This week, I reactivated my Tinder account in order to determine whether or not the general hesitation surrounding the app in my case was from genuine concern, or fear and hearsay.
Reactivation was easy, and before I knew it, I was swiping. Something that I can say is whether you have had good experiences with Tinder or not, the app itself works really well and is not difficult to use. It puts the user in communication with a fair amount of people at a time, making it simple and efficient.
On my second day of swiping I matched with Jason. Although I had already spoken with several potential dates, Jason struck my attention, because his questions and conversations seemed more experimental and creative. Instead of the generic “Hey (insert random emoji)” approach, he immediately asked me about my bio and sprinkled in some corny—but effective—jokes.
Within the next few days, Jason and I made plans to go on a date that weekend. This was met with typical first date nerves, but for some reason the prospect of going out someone without ever having met them came with a unique set of concerns.
What if they aren’t who they say they are?
What if keeping conversation in real life is harder than behind the screen?
What if they kidnap me?
However, these worries quickly slipped my mind once the actual date started. After we had the expected awkward few minutes, the online aspect faded away and it became a normal date. No bells, no whistles, no kidnappings. At the end of the day Jason was just a person. A person who like so many others was looking to find their someone.
It became clear to me as the date went on that meeting on Tinder did not make the date special, weird or unique at all.
When I got to the sushi restaurant a little bit early I was surprised to see that he was already there saving a table. Walking up to him was the hardest aspect of the meeting part. This was the moment when the Jason I met and liked on Tinder could turn out to be a total creep, or not like me in person at all.
Luckily, that is not how this turned out.
He seemed nervous, but was still able to contribute to the conversation. After the initial weirdness of sitting with a stranger weared off, he was actually pretty funny.
We talked about school, his family and our goals in life. Within the first half hour, talking became easy and there were thankfully no prolonged silences. We were able to get into less surface level questions, and I told him about this article (he found it hilarious that I would be writing about him and insisted I forwarded him the link as soon as it came out.) There was one moment after the meal was clearly over, and the restaurant was starting to close that felt kind of uncomfortable. I couldn’t really tell if the end of the meal meant the end of the date.
As we made our way to the cars, he thanked me for coming out and we went our separate ways. I remember feeling distinctly satisfied with the date, but also not entirely interested in repeating it. It felt like a normal first date, regardless of the unconventional meeting.
Although I do not foresee a long-term relationship with him, going on a date with Jason offered me an interesting insight. Widespread embarrassment or fear of Tinder use is a real shame. Our online identities have become so valuable, that not using them to find potential dates out of humiliation could rob out meeting some interesting people that we otherwise wouldn’t.
[Editor’s Note:] The names in this article have been changed in order to protect the identity of the subject.