To Tinder or Not to Tinder?

Just last week I had the great pleasure of discovering the new dating app called “Tinder.”  I suppose I am a little late in the game, as my friends in more forward-thinking cities like Chicago or NYC have been “Tindering” for some time now.

To give you a little background, if you haven’t Tinderized your life yet, this app takes your first name, age and profile picture from Facebook and creates a mini profile for you.  You can change the pictures and add a little “About Me” section as well.  It also shares any “interests,” a.k.a. anything you have ever “Liked” on Facebook and matches them to guys (or girls) that you are searching.  You can pick the age range and distance directly from the GPS on your phone to find people you’d be more willing to date in your area.

And so, with all my pictures carefully chosen and a clever one-liner in my “About Me” section, a ventured on to check out the men in my city.  I opened the app and immediately a guy’s face pops up.  His name was Kevin, he was 25 and he loves the outdoors.  He was an average looking guy and we had similar “interests” in Cardinals Baseball and the Saint Louis Zoo (how precious).  At the bottom of his simple profile, there was an “X” on the left and a heart on the right.  I click the heart.

Why not, right?  Everyone likes to know when someone thinks they’re cute so I figure I am boosting his ego a bit if anything else.  As soon as I click the heart, a new screen pops up that says “You’re a Match!”  My eyes light up with joy and now I’m addicted.

On Tinder, if a guy likes your picture and you like his, this new matchmaker screen pops up and the communication lines have opened.  You can message each other and talk about whatever you think the other person wants to hear.

This is where my problems begin.  I highly dislike text message conversations.  No one can tell how funny I am in a text message.  My cynical tone falls flat against the screen of my phone.  I end up sounding like a huge bitch or a giant idiot…or both.  It’s usually both.  I feel like even saying “hi” I sound like an ass and thus, my conversations with any new guy ends instantly.

My first match, Kevin, messages me instantly and says the ever so eloquent, “Sup?”  I immediately start to dissect his question.  How should I respond? Should I sound equally dumb so that I don’t intimidate him with my intelligence?  Is he asking how I am feeling or is he asking what I’m currently doing? Does he like, really want to know about my life?  I decide to respond with the equally blasé, “Not much. You?”

Twenty minutes later, I stare at my screen, refreshing my Tinder every thirty seconds or so, waiting for Kevin Tinder’s response.  Since you can’t see last names, I gave everyone the last name Tinder.  Still nothing.

Okay, so, he hated me.

Our future relationship is officially over.  I decide to return to the Tinder profiles and forget about Kevin Tinder.  It wasn’t meant to be, I decided.  I swipe through a few more guys before I find a new future boyfriend.  This time I think I will have a more interesting response and that will keep him interested.  But what would be interesting? I could tell him I am watching a funny movie.  Guys love funny movies.  Or maybe that I am about to go to the gym? (Even though we all know I am sitting here with a bowl of popcorn and a bottle of wine).

I have not been then stressed about a conversation since my last job interview.  Every word mattered and one slip could turn to radio silence.

I’d bee on Tinder for a full 24 hours before I told my girlfriends about my new obsession.  I wanted to have at least one ongoing conversation with a guy before I let them in on my secret dating strategy.  As fellow outdated St. Louisans, they were equally unaware of this new Tinder World.

One friend quickly met Keith Tinder, a Navy officer new to town.  My friends also gave their guys the last name “Tinder.”  It was our not-so-subtle code that we met said guy on Tinder.

They became equally obsessed.  It was like a bad drug.  No, it was like the bad side effects of a good drug.  It was the hangover without all the fun of drinking.  There was a moment of euphoria upon finding a match, knowing a guy out there in the world thought you were cute and then thirty seconds later you crash into reality and you’re back on the search to find someone to match with.

Craving attention from a cute guy or being told you’re beautiful is not a new thing for women.  Or men, really.  Who in this world doesn’t like being told they are good-looking?  It’s a universally wonderful feeling.

And yet, just like online dating websites, Tinder already has a bad rap.  Online dating is much more prevalent now, but there are still plenty of people who are skeptical of anything other than the old fashion 3D dating game.  If you’re not running into your future husband in the grocery store or at a happy hour, it’s just not right.  One of my married girlfriends was particularly against online dating.

“How do you know they are who they say they are?” she asked.

“How do you know the guy who buys you a drink in a bar isn’t a murderer?” I retorted.

I agree, it’s easier to make yourself seem more interesting online, putting up your best pictures, properly doctored through Instagram; where in real like “what you see is what you get.”  And yet, there are stigmas when it comes to meeting people in the real world as well.  You can’t meet anyone for a long-term relationship at a bar, those guys just want to get in your bed and out the door before the sun comes up.  Maybe at the mall? No, he’s obviously gay or shopping for his girlfriend.  The grocery store?  Maybe, but what is he buying?  All junk food? No thanks, he’s probably a lazy slob.

Stereotypes are everything.  And everyone everywhere is prone to snap judgments.  It’s nearly impossible not to scrutinize every little thing people do and say.

After five stressful days of half-assed Tindering, I decide to drop my account.  Not because I am against online dating, but I found that the guys on Tinder might be as skeptical as I am.  What if I am not the blonde in the picture?  Or what if the picture is four years old and twenty pounds lighter?  I suppose they don’t know the reality that is me any more than I know about them.

And besides, my sarcastic nature is so much easier to take in person than on paper.  I think I’ll take my chances at the grocery store.  You can find me in the booze aisle.  Er, was that too much information?

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Go Big or Go Home

If you have never seen the movie, The Girl Next Door I highly recommend it.  Actually, I enjoy most corny, funny, obnoxious movies; including Legally Blonde, Easy A, House Bunny, Grind…heck we could even get musical and throw Across the Universe in there as well.  But the one theme they all have in common, my favorite thing about each of these movies, is the “fuck it” attitude of the main characters.  The title players in these movies take chances, make moves and do what makes them happy, even if it doesn’t quite follow the standard quo.  In Girl Next Door, Matthew falls for a girl in the porn industry and turns his average world into chaos.  But instead of losing control, he just goes for it.  In all these movies, the characters just go for it.  Now, I know these are movies, fictional stories and fictional lives, but that doesn’t mean I can’t follow a similar theme!

I think one of my first, “just go with it” moves was packing up and heading to New York.  Two of my friends moved to Chicago around the same time.  We just packed up are lives and moved to a new place to try new things.  Yes, saving money is important, and bills are always stressful.  But I think what stresses me out more than having good credit or having all the newest stuff, is missing out on the fun things in life.  Like going to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade every year (even if it means playing hookie), tweeter pic2taking random trips to visit friends, visit family.  I would hate to be held back by money, even if I don’t have it.  So I don’t mind working crazy hours in the food industry and writing, writing, writing until 2am, if it means that when I look back at everything I did that year, I’m smiling.  Because if you aren’t enjoying yourself, what is the point?

There are so many movies with this attitude, and books as well, that tell you just to let it all go and go for it.  Even TWILIGHT talked about it!  When Jessica gives her graduation speech, her theme centers around action and changes and new beginnings.  “Change your mind and change it again,” she says.  And she is right! And you don’t have to be in high school to change your mind, either.  You can be 45 years old and decide to do something different; cut your losses, and move on with a happier attitude.  If I only live to be 50, or if I make it to 110, I want to know that I had the best time I could possible have.

Like Ferris says, life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it.

And like they say In Girl Next Door, when you look back, you’ll want to know, that the juice was worth the squeeze.

Cover of "The Girl Next Door  (Unrated Ed...I LOVE CHEESY LINES AND CORNY METAPHORS.

That’s really all I’ve got tonight.  I am having a live in the moment kind of attitude tonight, and I thought I would share it.  I think if more people did things that made them happy, and thought less about how the future will turn out, they might enjoy their lives a little more.  So go out and do something crazy, in a positive way!