Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tinder On the Fire

Swiper No Swiping
“When I was a kid, it felt like they made something new everyday. Some gadget or idea. Like everyday was Christmas. But 6, billion people. Just try to imagine that. And every last one of them trying to have it all.”
Born September of 2012 in sunny California to a group of enterprising young men, this dating app made for the smartphone has lived up to its namesake in spreading like a wildfire across not only this nation but to many other countries.
What part of our humanity provided the spark for this blaze? We want to connect with each other. But not just that, we want to have the admiration of our peers. We want to know that we are liked, “I only wanted the gratification of knowing that I was wanted, that someone else found me attractive”.
Hot-or-Not was the predecessor and required some extra effort to sign in and create a profile. Tinder is only minutes from downloading to liking and being liked. It’s easy and semi-anonymous. Using connections from Facebook, without actually posting to your wall, Tinder will show you seemingly endless potential matches living nearby. Real people with real pictures showing off? For the horny 14 year old that’s just a simple Facebook account away from passing the must-be-18-or-older limit. Just be sure next time you swipe that they really are as old as their profile says.
But what if you actually want to meet and find real connections and maybe even a relationship? Some friends will tell you of their knowing someone whose boyfriend or girlfriend was found on Tinder. Or some may even have stories of getting married to someone they met on Tinder. There’s no questioning you can find that golden one by knocking on a thousand doors. It happens. But how many stories of duds and sometimes terrifyingly creepy dates are being passed around? Unless it’s worth a few laughs then those will never see the light of day.
What happens in the mean time?
It’s abused for free food, such as one woman who created a whole game out of it.  “The latest data shows that women are pickier than men. They swipe left (say no) three times more often than men do (46 per cent of the time versus 14)” so women are treated to what seems like an endless buffet and men are left to feel like meat. And how many actually end up on dates with people they match up with on dating sites generally? According to the Pew Research Center, only about a third.  And if you want more proof as to why Tinder isn’t actually about dating, read this (let’s judge each other! Except in the comfort of our own home), and this (a 36 hour stint on Tinder according to a woman).
Sometimes humor is said to always have some basis in truth. The next two are links to videos, with their respective titles.
Why this happened isn’t necessarily as significant as the fact that it has and is still.
What does this mean for young Latter-day Saints?
The short run? Fantastic, with low expectations and a time cap.
The long run? Bad news bears.
Where Tinder is concerned, the cover is what matters. One need not look farther than Utah county to see that high achievement culture when pitted against itself breeds stereotypes of pretty faces hiding knives behind their backs. Not a pretty sight. There is no need to perpetuate or feed Tinder into a culture already ablaze with judgmentalism. Now, it’s obvious that making snap judgements about people and situations is not leaving our evolutionary makeup anytime soon, it keeps us safe and warns us to potential dangers. How else will you know if that shirtless, faceless ab machine really wants to discuss your life aspirations? Many of us are already quick to assume and create or enforce stereotypes, instead of the long and difficult process of considering each person can be different. Once a player always a player, right?
As for the men who start with a genuine desire to mix and mingle with the beautiful ladies of Tinder, they get tossed in the meat Grindr and this is what we get in the long run. Insecurities and itching doubts of self-worth. Is it any wonder so many men have reduced their expectations to using it for hooking up, a quick fix for their carnal appetite?
So women swipe less than men. This could be a result of men having decided, “This is only good for one-night stands”. Lowered standards means any mildly attractive woman will do, and the only way to find success is cast the line often, or swipe more often. With matches piling up for women, it can seem as though popularity has suddenly burst through the doors and carried you away on a wave of overwhelming “likes”. It’s infectious. It’s Tinder on the already existing fire of egocentrism. You must be quite the looker, why else would so many men want you?
As a Latter-day Saint, how does that sound? Doesn’t it jive with your ideas of self-worth being based in the fact that we are all children of God? It mixes about as well as fire and ice.
How you use the app will ultimately determine your opinion of it. My bet is that if you’re a man, you’ll come to find disappointment and discouragement while deciding it may only be useful for hooking up. If you’re a woman, you’ll be left with an inflated ego and more men chasing your skirt then you can shake a stick at.
While you’re at it, throw that stick.

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