Do you have a secret crush on Jesse Paul but are too afraid to post it on C.C. Compliments or tell him in person when you see him studying in Tutt? Looking to branch out from your campus options to meet some locals or Air Force cadets? Just when it seemed the iPhone could do everything for us, an app was born that lets us like or deny people based only on arbitrary attributes—and gives hardworking students validation without leaving the library.
Described on Tinder.com as a “fun way to break the ice,” Tinder is a “dating” app that is low-key enough to appeal to the college crowd. Its design is simple: the app draws basic information from Facebook, such as first name, age, mutual friends and interests, and a handful of profile pictures to create the Tinder profile. You’re then shown pictures of potential candidates and after a quick once over, you can either “like” or “reject” potential mates. If you are lucky enough to be “liked” back, Tinder will notify both parties that a match has been made; you are then given the opportunity to chat with your newfound prospect.
While some Tinder users are on a legitimate prowl to find a mate, often hilarity ensues. A chat may begin with a dirty message, a question about your profile picture, or even a proposal to meet up, date, or get married. Pick up lines once more have a role in first impressions and can reveal a lot about a person’s intentions. For example, I was matched with Jamison, 26, who took a forward strategy, leading with “What’s going on tonight?” at 5 p.m. on a Friday. Needless to say, it was easy to discern that he was not looking for love.
Once you have browsed for long enough, you begin to decide which qualities get the “like” and which get the axe. For myself, anyone who is under 20, over 26, or who has guns or significant others in his picture is out of the question. Conversely, having a picture that includes skiing, dogs, or grandparents will almost always get you a “like” in my book. Some people (myself included) feel that liking someone with whom you share too many mutual friends defeats the purpose. Others choose to only like people who share common friends and interests.
Although many familiar faces can be seen on Tinder, it has not yet attained Instagram or even Snapchat status. When asked if she used Tinder, junior Dominque Saks replied “Tinder? Like the wood?” Others have found the app an appealing accessory in their romantic pursuits. A 2012 CC graduate, who wished to remain anonymous, found that Tinder is helpful in making the shift between the CC hookup scene and the real world.
“Random hookups go away after college, so we need to revert back to traditional dating, but we don’t know what that looks like,” she said. She has been matched with mostly young professionals and recent grads, which has proven to be a success so far. “No one has been overtly douchy,” she said.
After meeting matches on organized dates and even in chance encounters, she maintains a positive view of the app. “It breaks down barriers, in a good way,” she said.
Still others use the app for its entertainment factor. Junior Krysti Kiesel has been using Tinder for the past few weeks, and while she isn’t interested in any official meet ups, Kiesel finds it entertaining. “It’s complementary when people like you back,” she said. Senior Sam Brody added, “It’s the creepiest, weirdest, most hilarious fad of this month.”
Singles aren’t the only Tinder users, however. “Tinder lets you fantasize about leaving the CC bubble, about what your real-life dating options might be under different conditions without having to face the reality of what those options might actually look like,” said a junior girl, who also wished to remain anonymous. “It’s so low-risk that I can be on Tinder out of curiosity, or to have a shared experience with my friends, and not take it seriously. I mean, I currently have a boyfriend and I have no intention of cheating, and I still find Tinder mesmerizing. It’s almost a way to show myself that I have chosen the best possible partner.”
If most of us have no intention of actually meeting people on Tinder, then why do we use it? Though it may seem superficial, many feel they need validation from time to time and it’s reassuring to know that someone out there will find them attractive based solely on a profile picture. Additionally, the setup of the app eliminates the possibility of facing outright rejection, which allows for low-stress interactions.
Colorado College is known for a student body of generally attractive, intelligent, and interesting people; when you have a lot of similar options, you are less likely to settle. Once we are out of this homogenous environment, finding a person who is attractive and intelligent but also shares your interests may not be as simple, geographically at least.
Though it often evokes a visceral reaction, online dating is gaining greater acceptance. Tinder is one of the first dating services to be effectively marketed to our demographic, and although it seems silly and unnecessary now, apps like Tinder may ultimately play a significant role in our romantic interactions it the future.