It was July of 2015, my month of catastrophic, world-shattering, life changes. Yay!
With not getting into it too much on this post, my wife at the time told me she was gay and, almost immediately, I did what any man free from the shackles of marriage for the first time in ten years would do.
I created a Tinder account.
Anyone in their 20’s or 30’s that’s currently married or in a long-term relationship knows EXACTLY why Tinder was my first bastion of hope in an otherwise ugly and pain-filled situation. It’s a place where Newly Single people flock to, because when they were in a relationship it just sounded and looked like so much fun.
And I was no different. I was that guy at the bar hopping on my buddy’s Tinder account, swiping on girls for him and writing witty, sexy and oftentimes, completely inappropriate shit that, for some messed up reason, seemed to get the best responses back. I remember asking a girl whether she bleached her butthole and, to everyone’s amazement, she didn’t respond with a “Wow, you’re a fucking creep,” or an “I’ve called the Edmonton Police Service. They’re tracking your phone as we speak.” Nope. She came back at my friend with a “haha, maybe. Why do you ask? ;)”
What the fuck?!
So of course when I turned single, I wanted to ask ALL of the world’s women whether or not they bleached their butthole, because now there was no heaping wife guilt associated with saying things of this nature to someone. Only the associated guilt of feeling like an absolutely terrible person, which I often feel like on a daily basis, worthy or not. So no big deal.
From afar we, the Newly Single, see Tinder as that golden beacon of hope at the end of a shitty relationship, that glorious place where dicks and vaginas are looking for their mate for a night, or a week, or a month, or for ten minutes behind your friendly neighbourhood 7-11 where some poor 16 year old kid is emptying the grease trap out back, all the while wishing he’d taken up that newspaper route instead.
The reality is much different for us Newly-Singles.
Tinder is NOT awesome.
But . . . it’s also not evil either.
I have met some of the worst, some of the best, and some of the most fucked up people over the last two or so years than in the entire decade previous, and while that doesn’t seem that bad, there is one reason, above all else, that I will tell Newly Singles to STAY THE FUCK AWAY from that cess pool.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself, friends, family, my dick and even girls on Tinder that I was going to delete Tinder. Inevitably I have actually deleted it, but that usually only lasts a week, maybe two, and I’m back on there with bells on, a fresh new photo and a new, witty, and terribly tasteless, profile write-up. As of writing this, I am currently in one of my “I quit Tinder” phases, and it’s lasted maybe two days (I’m really not sure. The days, baby . . . I lose them without you). I’m going through legitimate withdrawal, and trust me: I know what the fuck that means.
I’ve successfully quit smoking four times, which maybe only means I successfully quit smoking once since . . . well you get it.
A few months back I realized that I had a few “minor” alcoholic tendencies, and promptly removed all liquor from my house and then proceeded to cut my drinking down to once on weekends. That also severely sucked, and boozy sweats and migraines followed. I felt that addictive pull with both of those substances, and I’m here to tell you that Tinder gives me the same feeling, that same addictive pull.
So now that we’ve established that Tinder IS addictive, let’s talk about WHY:
Tinder is a Video Game App
While the 2016 revenue generated by game applications isn’t in yet, in April 2016 the prediction for video game only purchases was projected to hit $100 billion.
That’s a lot of zeroes, folks. So what did the brains at Tinder do? They used the same tried, tested and true model.
Most video games from the app store reward their players with tokens, stars, coins or chests full of goodies. A few of these include the Clash of Clans games franchise and that stupid Candy Crush bullshit that single mothers and bored housewives just can’t get enough of. There’s nothing strange about this reward system. It dates back to the old arcade games where the player was rewarded points for progressing through levels and killing bad guys.
However, Tinder doesn’t have points, or coins, or chests (er…wait?).
No, it has something even better. MATCHES.
If you’re unaware how Tinder works, the player has the option of swiping YES or NO on any profile, and if that person you swiped YES on also swipes YES on your profile, a glorious thing happens:
Oh yeah baby . . . you feel that dopamine level sky-rocketing? GIMME MORE MATCHES *drool…*
And so on it goes. You can keep swiping, matching with people, building your self-confidence and getting those hits of dopamine so integral to your short-term happiness. You can, of course, talk to the people you match with, but in my experience that typically takes away from the fun of Tinder. It’s much easier just to collect those matches, wait for that amazing little PING! every time you get a new match, receive those hits of dopamine, and revel in your awesomeness for a while until reality seeps in and you’re still alone jerking off to an episode of I Love Lucy with a belt wrapped around your forearm.
Oh wait a second. That sounds just like fucking heroine.
Tinder is Easy and Accessible
Like any good addiction, Tinder is so simple and easy to get your hands on that even Sloth from Goonies would have no problem setting up an account.
Tinder takes 2 minutes to download, 3 minutes to set up an account and, once you’ve successfully removed your soul and readied your dick pics for any potential matches, you’re off to the races!
You can do Tinder on the bus, in the bathroom at work, during Christmas dinner or even pop on there during a two minute commercial break. And once you get into the habit, you won’t even recognize that you’re doing it!
Every day I found myself walking out of my condo, locking the front door and then slipping my hand in my pocket to grab my phone so I could swipe right on a few hotties and potentially get that super awesome dopamine kick I’ve been talking about. At the top of the elevator I would be hopeful, and then by the time I hit the main floor I would either be disappointed or running on a temporary high. Both of which, mind you, are completely bullshit and empty.
But it’s like cigarettes – any adult can pick them up, when you crave it Tinder will always be available to you immediately, and the shot of “feel good” is quick, beautiful and meaningless. Need I go further?
Tinder has Mystery
When you match with someone, your mind races:
Is this person real?
Do they have revealing photos because they want to hook up?
What do they like about me?
How do I play this?
Could this person be my soul mate?
All you get to go on with a profile are (at max) six photos and a very short write-up. Most people jot down one or two sentences, and as the male in the equation, you’re obligated to message first and use what limited information you’ve gained from their profile to either prompt this girl for a hook up or delve deep and actually try and create something meaningful.
So you essentially have to judge the shit out of this person before you even speak with them, and all you have going for you is that they matched with you and find SOMETHING appealing about your profile. Personally, I go Sherlock Holmes on their ass, scanning profiles for any clues about who they are, decide whether or not I’m being iceberged* by well-taken photos , and then proceed to type something crafty and hopefully on point.
I am TERRIBLE at this. Sometimes I think I would be better served, and I would waste a lot less time, simply asking “DTF?!?!” to the girls that I know are just looking to hook up. But alas, a part of me finds the detective game a whole lot of fun, and it feeds the addiction. And really, the whole hook up planned through a handheld device thing terrifies me anyway.
So I realize, at the conclusion of writing, that I’ve still managed to make this whole Tinder thing seem pretty awesome. Why isn’t this wicked app on my phone RIGHT NOW? What am I doing wasting my time reflecting on my poor life decisions when I could be MATCHING?!
If that’s the message you’ve gotten from this, then I’m either a terrible writer or you just completely missed the point. I’m here to tell all you Newly Singles that, like any addiction, the fun runs its course and you soon tire of it and wish that it would stop occupying your thoughts and, more importantly, your precious, valuable time.
And, keep in mind, this is just ONE negative aspect of Tinder. I could write a whole blog post on the reported rates of sexually transmitted diseases floating around the Tinder-verse and the close calls I’ve had and, thankfully, avoided because I’m fucking paranoid and overly safe.
Newly Singles, take my advice. I’ve walked the path of Tinder, and while it was fun for a while, it soon became a full-blown addiction, even if I was getting fully-blown a few times a month.
In fact, it’s still an addiction. I’m just writing this blog during a moment of clarity, and while I hope that the allure of Dopamine-Infused Matches, Easy & Meaningless Happiness and Blind-Date Mystery can be held at bay, I know there’s a chance I might falter. If that happens, leave me behind, fair reader, and go to a bar, get fucked up, party like it’s the 2000’s, and grind up on someone as you listen to Lil’ John repeatedly ask you all of those hard-hitting, life-reflecting questions.
*Iceberged (ahys-burg-ed) - Seeing only 10% of someone in a Tinder profile and not fully comprehending that the other terrifying 90% is buried beneath the camera lens. Occurs when a single, desperate individual takes 134890 photos, manages to catch the right angle in one of them and then shows up on the date looking like the person that ate the person you were supposed to see.