“Tinder is how you meet people. It’s like real life, but better,” promises the popular app. Its creators claim that the moniker of a “hookup app” was not exactly what they were going for, but they can relax; not everyone is downloading it with casual intent.
For those looking to pursue a romantic relationship in the 21st century, Tinder is often the first stop. Acting as a low-risk tier of the dating world, the app allows users to mull over potential mates in a rapid-fire way that didn’t previously exist outside of speed-dating events. It takes the chance out of meeting someone and puts the control of your romantic future in the palm of your hand, allowing you to connect with people beyond your social circle or community. The absence of social cues permits people to be bold without much risk to their ego and, perhaps the most appealing aspect of Tinder (or any dating website for that matter), is that it eliminates the preliminary formalities of determining how much you have in common with a person of interest. After all, in real life, we don’t walk around wearing sandwich boards that advertise our religious and political beliefs, favourite pastimes, and the type of relationship we are looking for. Tinder saves you from that headache. With this in mind, it is no wonder that Tinder says it’s better than real life.
Given that it is marketed towards a generation that has grown up expecting quick and efficient results, Tinder’s vast success is of little surprise. Millennials do everything online from banking to shopping to pirating things that they aren’t willing to wait or pay for. But in the interest of cutting wait times out of meeting someone, are we ready to relinquish the one thing that Tinder can’t give us? What about the magical “how we met” story? Judging by some Tinder bios, it doesn’t look that way. Placed there as though it’s the closing line of a sales pitch, “We’ll say we met at the bar.” often appears at the bottom of the laundry list of likes and dislikes. A general reaction would be to attribute this to misgivings over using technology to meet someone. But let’s look at it from a broader perspective: along with the unnerving act of approaching someone, Tinder robs from us the serendipitous encounters that led to our own conceptions.
With every technological advancement that directly impacts the way we do things, intrinsic elements of the human experience slip through the cracks, failing to be adequately replicated by logarithms. For the sake of economizing love, some are willing to forfeit the conventional “how we met” narrative. For the hopeless romantics, meeting someone in real life still feels all the better.