The classic love-story is dead. Heartbroken singleton in a bar meets the love of their life on the same day they got dumped? Dead. Boy bumps into girl and knocks her books to the floor on campus, their hands touching sensually and igniting the spark of a beautiful relationship? See ya later. Instead, we’ve settled for the immediate gratification afforded by Tinder, allowing users to select their ideal (or good enough) partner in a series of photos and short, well edited biographies. I think this movement of relationships from the real to the digital could be the beginning of the end for meaningful dating.
It’s not all bad
It would be unfair for me to tear holes in Tinder without paying it its dues. Tinder has successfully made it possible to meet more single, like-minded people. It’s made it possible to find no-strings-attached sexual partners. It has also provided a way for people who feel too uncomfortable to approach people in real life to find potential partners. These are all commendable things that seek to increase human connections. However, these are small comforts in comparison to what I think Tinder takes away.
The increase in vanity and the decline in genuine interest
There’s nothing wrong with initial physical attraction, or even wanting your partner to be attractive; it is the basis of our biology to want the best-looking partners. However, the speed through which it’s possible to write someone off based on a single photo is abhorrent. It looks streamlined and efficient from the outside, but these value judgments based on such criteria is gross, seeing personality and emotional connection as unnecessary distractions. Never even mind that the best-looking photos are exactly that; this person’s best-looking photos. You’re not just seeing someone dressed as well as they can be, like in a real life, but the literal best angles and filters they can find. Tinder’s over-reliance on vanity and under-valuing of the person inside the body should concern us.
A database for weirdos
Remember all those times you’ve been harassed in a club, or approached by someone in a bar who just don’t want to talk to? Well, those weird bastards have now got a whole database of horny singletons to literally scroll through. They can hide behind their screen, saying the things they need to say and showing off their best parts, their sociopathy evading detection. They couldn’t do that before; their gropey tendencies were a good indicator that they weren’t Prince/cess Charming but, with two phones-worth of distance between you, these sickos have a great way of getting to you.
Your own narrative
I know I criticized Tinder for its encouragement of vanity, so narrative shouldn’t be something that I value, but it is. I’m a hypocrite; sue me. But seriously, imagine telling your grandkids your love story, sponsored by Tinder (TM). She dragged you in with some well-positioned cleavage shots, he got you with his witty caption about how he’s a cat rescuer and that he would save your pussy any day. You really connected over chat, discussing how you both LOVE Netflix, and then you had passionate Snapchat sex well into the early hours. What the hell is that? Tinder has robbed the imagination and spontaneity from dating, replacing it instead with a quick way to orgasm. I don’t doubt that many relationships begin with one-night stands; sex is a so intimate and encourages all the hormones we associate with love, it’s inevitable. But this strange phenomenon of nutting to a phone camera and screen is the exact opposite of intimate, robbing sex and, as a result, love of some of the most exciting parts.
Perhaps this is where we’re headed as a society: a series of short-term relationships with less emotional baggage. This is not a moral panic by any means, it’s simply assessing the trend we have towards instant gratification that we’ve been afforded by the internet. However, to me, relationships seem like something we should be investing time and effort into. We shouldn’t want to get rid of those gut-wrenching butterflies we experience when we approach a beautiful person in a bar and ask for their number. We shouldn’t write someone off just because their hair isn’t exactly what we’re looking for. We shouldn’t want to get rid of that beautifully sickening feeling of wondering whether they like us as much as we like them. We should embrace the human side of dating and not let the phone screen rob us of it.