Love in the time of Tinder

Graphic by Joshua Awolade

Graphic by Joshua Awolade

I want us all to imagine a foggy time deep in the shadows of human history. A time before “yolo” and when “selfie” was not an official word in the Oxford dictionary.

This is a time when relationships were weaved from face-to-face conversation, not from a simple swipe to the left or right.

Indeed, this is a time before Tinder.

In some moment within this prehistoric period, your parents met, found a connection and later conceived you.

They could’ve met at a party, they could’ve been set up or they could’ve bumped into each other at the grocery store. Hell, they could’ve been tripping on acid at Woodstock.

The point is they met face to face, not hidden behind a strategically selected profile picture showing just enough cleavage or the perfect six-pack with great lighting to construct attraction. They met outside the artificialities of the digital world.

Launched in 2012 and with almost 50 million active users, Tinder is currently one of the most widely used apps.

Unlike other online dating services, Tinder only supplies three simple features: pictures of the candidate, age and a brief description.

Users who are within a certain distance of each other are matched up and invited to storm up a chat on the messaging service.

Sure, it brings the term “booty-call” to a new level, but it also supports the superficial interconnectivity that is replacing opportunities for real intimate conversations, and potentially, dare I say it, real romantic relationships.

I am in no way condemning social media — the digital global village is full of fascinating and promising potential, allowing people everywhere to unite in ways that would never be possible if not for the evolution of networking technology.

On the contrary, I am criticizing the shallowness of an era where a few pictures, an age display and a brief description is all it takes to determine whether or not we want to get to know someone.

My intention isn’t to give you a “don’t judge a book by its cover” rant either, because I’m sure you’ve been fed more than enough of that throughout your life to satisfy your appetite.

The truth is, we all have our own Tinder radar uploaded into our brains.

We see someone, we decide if we’re attracted to them and — just like swiping left or right — we either pursue the person or move on.

The difference is in real life it’s easier to get a better image of what you’re really going to get.

Though many people have the app on their phones to guide them on their adventurous quest to get laid before sunrise, some users sincerely use it to meet their match without having to go through the strenuous motions of setting up an online dating account.

Either way, computer dating is much like walking into a casino and using the coin slots.

You feel the trifling hope of winning big, but the odds seem completely out of your control.

I guess it’s just easier to meet new people when you don’t actually have to meet them.

It’s as logical as diving off a cliff with the justification of only living once.

For those true love searchers on Tinder, desperate to meet your perfect partner, I wish you much luck in the blinding gamble of relationship compatibility.

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