Tinder is, for me, a lot like fishing. I can do it while drinking, and I’m always so excited to get started. Basically, you have to choose the bait you think most attractive to unsuspecting prey (I want that to sound less creepy but really it can’t, that’s just how it is). You cast often and deep and hope for a bite. It’s all fun and games until you catch something. What comes out of the water isn’t usually something I’d be proud to hold in front of a camera. Then you find out you hooked it through the eye, or the hook is swallowed. Things go from bad to worse until you are crying on the dock covered in blood watching the last gasps at life of what was moments ago such a promising event just minding its own business in the mysterious depths.
For those of you unfamiliar, Tinder is a mobile ‘dating’ app. Dating has to be quoted the same way as when you tell people you are an ‘entrepreneur’ when really you don’t have a job that produces a pay check. The stigma surrounding the app is that it is primarily for hook-ups with randos (as was explained to me by my 19-year-old cousin). It’s free to download and use unless you want “Unlimited play.” That is a direct quotation from the service, and I hope the individual that came up with those exact words has my 5$ a month going directly into his pocket because it works on a couple clever levels.
I am not here to tout the merits of the app for ‘dating’ or otherwise (my return on investment makes me think buying into Lehman Brothers would have been a better idea). I would like to share some of my experiences, albeit depressing at times, in hopes that others may benefit from the wealth of knowledge and experience I have gained (over the last two weeks).
The concept is very simple to understand if you can tell left from right. Someone in the design studio at Tinder HQ simplified it further into a red x or green check as if that would drastically increase the usability. When you download the app, it hooks up with your Facebook account. This allows Tinder to pull photos for you and also download a list of all the things you liked when you were 16, but haven’t since managed (for instance, my interests include Boxcar Racer, Sealab 2021, and Mountain Dew among others). As far as I can tell, editing your Facebook is the only way to disable your Tinder profile interests, but as long as no one has the same interest, they would never know I love Law and Order. There is also an ‘about you’ section where you have 500 characters or emojis to detail your interests in sports, beards, and whether or not you are DTF.
Setting up your profile is very important (as important as anything on Tinder can be). You don’t want to let Tinder grab a bunch of photos of you and your ex or of that time you passed out on the couch and everyone stacked as many items as they could on you. You have to customize your layout to fit your target audience. That could be you shirtless in front of a mirror, you riding a 4-wheeler, you holding up a dead animal you killed, or in my case, me holding a (living) puppy.
The ‘about you’ section is optional. Again, this is audience based and practically no one reads it anyway (see above: why cover photo is so important). If you write something about how ‘faith is important’ you are going to immediately limit your potential for matching the other, more hedonistic, sex. Lots of bios are blank and for a hook up app, that’s probably best. Who cares if you are a dog person if you are going to see them for less than 4 hours in your lifetime anyway? Even if dogs killed my parents I could fake interest for a night for all you stuffed into that bikini in photo #3.
Finally you can set your preferences on matches: men, women or both and distance. I use a 30 mile radius because I’ll be damned if I am going to drive any further than that to try to impress a stranger. Set an age range you are comfortable with but be warned, after 31 things start to get weird.
Once you are all set up on the profile front (literally it shouldn’t take longer than four and a half minutes), you are ready to start swiping like a Dora the Explorer villain. It’s a numbers game, people. The more you swipe right (that’s the green check incase you aren’t keeping up) the more matches you will get. Blasting right is a valid Tinder strategy but it’s like not distributing your Christmas list to the family; you are going to end up with a bunch of shit you don’t want. I tend to use an amount of discretion that is inversely correlated with my BAC. Use your best-ish judgment and good luck to you.