Image: Samantha Ombregt / Flick
Image: Samantha Ombregt / Flickr

Why I’m swiping left on dating apps

I think it’s time we recognised that dating apps are more hilarious than they’ll ever be effective. Tinder is the top grossing app in the Apple App Store Lifestyle Category. It registers more than 26 million swipes per day as of 2015. Tinder is literally everywhere. Just a quick Google search returns results of Etsy shops selling mugs printed with ‘I’m so glad we swiped right’. Nauseating.

72% of millennials aged 18-22 admitted they used Tinder

I don’t think dating apps will ever be a truly respected platform for finding true love. 38% of users are aged 16-24, which suggests popularity amongst the University-age bracket, and when surveyed by LendEdu, a huge 72% of millennials aged 18-22 admitted they used Tinder. However, only 4% were interested in finding a relationship. Three principal reasons come to mind to explain Tinder’s popularity: dating apps are extremely accessible to us, there is no commitment involved and, finally, they make us feel validated when someone deems us ‘hot enough’ to swipe right.

As a veritable master of it myself, I can attest to the fact that everybody loves procrastination. With our phones in our hands all the time anyway, it’s probably a nice bit of afternoon entertainment perusing the local singles. What if you see someone you know? Ooh the thrill! But realistically, quite a few swipes are being made when you’re getting hammered at pre-drinks and your mate’s grabbed your phone to let someone know you think they’re ‘sexy ;)’. This is why I can’t take it seriously.

My main gripe with Tinder is how much weight it puts on your physical appearance

The ‘no-commitment’ angle is understandably a great advantage of Tinder, and free dating apps in general. Messaging someone who’s in your area for a casual hook-up has literally never been easier-you can even see if they’re a Warwick student too. If you don’t know the person then it’s even better for a no-strings thing, if the risk of seeing them in a booth in the Learning Grid is one you’re willing to take.

However my main gripe with Tinder is how much weight it puts on your physical appearance. Yes, romantic first impressions in real life are based, in part, on looks. However meeting someone for the first time online, and having just a few pictures of you to form an idea of your personality, is one of the reasons I think the app is shallow and too far removed from reality. There could be hundreds of people seeing your profile every day and swiping left without you even realising, undoubtedly judging you because of the way you look. On the flip side, the rush of someone swiping right makes us feel ‘good enough’, because that right there is solid hard evidence that someone thinks you’re attractive. If people are rating me on something, I don’t want it to be looks. That gives a lot of power to an individual to think they’re ‘hotter’ and thus out of someone’s league. It’s all a bit petty for me.

Have you ever heard people tell you that they met on Tinder? In my experience they giggle a lot and look sheepish whilst doing so…

Tinder is a time-filler that gives you a bit of a confidence boost, but will ultimately remain a joke.  Have you ever heard people tell you that they met on Tinder? In my experience they giggle a little and look sheepish whilst doing so. A friend once specifically avoided telling me about a date because he met the girl on Tinder. It just can’t have more of a place in our lives than for casual sex or comic relief, and frankly we’re doing ourselves a disservice if we reduce ourselves to being judged by a bunch of strangers on a phone screen. We deserve better.

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