If you’re above the age of 13 and don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Tinder. If you haven’t, let me give you the low down on it.
Tinder is a smartphone app described by my mom as “match.com for college kids”. It’s a dating app that consists of swiping left or right depending on if you’re interested in that person or not. It’s not just for college kids, although it is wildly popular on campuses due to a large concentration of people the same age all in one area. It’s original use was for finding “the one” but, it seems to be used by college kids for finding quick hookups without the stress and pressure of actually leaving your dorm. Understandably, it’s users have developed a nasty reputation: that you’re desperate for sex.
I’ll openly admit it. I made a Tinder. I had just recently dumped my boyfriend of a year and I thought “Why not?”. I quickly learned that it wasn’t just for relationships or hookups. It provided a whole lot of drunken fun with my best friend. One night, after coming home from a party, we decided to mess with people. You know, just silliness. No one on Tinder is actually serious about it all. After drunkenly swiping right on random guys and messing with the ones who were still up, we called it a night and went to bed.
The next day, I was sitting at a Starbucks, drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte like the white girl I am, when I got a message from a new match. Probably one from the night before. I had been getting them all day and most of them had just been ignored. This particular guy decided to open with something along the lines of “Pretty eyes, a great body and a sense of humor? You must be a triple crown winner!” in response to my equestrian picture. I rolled my eyes so far back into my head that I saw my brain. I had no choice but to respond with an “Oh god” that was just dripping in sarcasm. Something in me decided to keep talking to this random stranger.
Turns out, we weren’t complete strangers. After a bit of talking, it came out that we were from the same home town, went to rival high schools, and played the same sports. We obviously had to meet to gossip about all the people who both knew and wonder how we didn’t know each other. We met at a very public Starbucks and talked and talked until we were eventually kicked out because they were closing.
This Tinder stranger became my boyfriend of three months now. The never ending battle with Tinder’s reputation began the very first day. I never thought that the question “how did you guys meet?” would make my stomach tighten a little. Hearing the judgement in voices and held back snickers caused us to totally make up a story of how we met to avoid the weight of the college campus Tinder reputation. I’m not great at keeping secrets and eventually broke down to everyone I knew. All of my friends were fine with it. They had met him, they knew he was a great guy. My mom’s response was “So? It’s like match.com. You don’t think adults use that for hookups?”.
My question is, why hasn’t meeting people online been fully accepted yet? Even if it is Tinder? In this age of technology, why not meet more people? If it weren’t for Tinder, our paths would have never crossed. So I’ll say it out loud: my college Tinder experience turned into a relationship! And I refuse to be ashamed of it.