The Most Interesting Woman in the World, my good friend V, has decided to officially grace us with her online presence! Instead of my bumbling attempts to consolidate her pearls of dating wisdom (she affectionately calls me her “Dating Hawk”; I, in turn, have lovingly dubbed her “Sensei”), she offered to contribute a post to the site, in which she begins to reveal the little known secrets to effectively navigating one of the ubiquitous and most high profile apps of our generation’s lifestyle: This, ladies and gents, is her guide to Tinder:
Tinder: It scares your mother. This is reason enough to love it.
Tinder is basically the most fun thing in the world; it has many wonderful uses, as well as a bonus “skeezy” reputation as a “hook-up app.” Most people know by now that it’s a app that allows you to look at 6-image/500-word profiles of people in your general area and swipe right if you like what they’re working with, or left if they seem creepy-weird instead of fun-weird. You can date them; you can gawk at them; you can just tell them all of your problems until they stop responding to your messages. What you do with this app is pretty much your own problem.
Your mom definitely thinks Tinder is just for “hooking up.” She heard it on the Today Show or Wendy Williams and she knows all about kids these days and their internet hook-ups, although they definitely never did things like that when she was young, no sir.
Tinder is a dating app, just like any other dating app. If you want to use it to find people to hook up with, then do that. If you want to use it to find people to go on a date with, then do that. Whatever, I’m not telling you what to do with your genitals or time. I am, however, telling you that if you want to hook up with randoms, you can use okCupid, lame clubs, or yoga class to meet those people. Tinder certainly does not have the monopoly on people who want to bump uglies with you and then never talk to you again.
Let’s explore the multifarious uses of this magical world:
People watching, aided by technology.
Unsurprisingly, it’s fucking fun to check out who is within 3 miles of you and 25-33.* I suggest this both as a group activity, and a fun travel activity.
Wondering if the neighborhood you’ve wandered into on vacation is hip or too hip? Look at Tinder. See how many people have perfectly maintained high-and-tight haircuts. In group pictures, is everyone holding a craft cocktail? Are 1/3 or more of profile pictures staged in front of street art?
If you’re near your home base, it’s never a bad idea to throw back a few drinks with your besties and survey the population. Sure you could do this irl in a bar, and you probably are.
Weirdly, it’s also a good conversation starter: “Hey, cute person sitting next to me at bar, do you think this potential Tinderella (P.T.) is a serial killer?” L’s and I deffinnnitely met some boys when we were Tinder-ing in a bar one Wednesday night in Nola. They came up to us, and we ended up trading phones with them, swiping left and right on the ladies we found to be the most datable while they swiped away on our phones.
This is self-explanatory, but I’ll expound anyways. Go on Tinder. Swipe right on some people. Some of them will swipe right on you. Look! Others find you attractive! You don’t have to talk to them. You don’t have to do anything, but know that you still got it.
Sometimes these people are awesome but maybe you’re in the best relationship of your life so you can’t exactly take on any sidepieces. They will still say nice things to you like: “Hey, I want to braid our mohawks together like the last of the Mohicans.” A real girl sent me that message, and it was adorable. I’m not sexually into adorable, however, so it did not go anywhere.
What to look for in a Tinder profile (assuming you actually want to talk to the person, not just “hook up,” as your mom says)
As L’s and I are aspiring art historians, I’m going to break down what makes a good profile when all you’ve got to work with are a few pictures:
1. How many pictures did the P.T. Post? Are there, like two, and one looks really good and the other is blurry? This person is not worth your time swiping right because they put absolutely no effort into their profile. Probably a shell profile, used only for people watching; they’re not looking for anything. If for some reason you do swipe right on one of these, and they message you, just realize that it’s probably not a great sign that they don’t want you to know what they look like. Possibly a serial killer.
2. Is every picture on this profile a selfie? They have no friends. They want to tell you all of their problems and will introduce you to their mom on the first date. Pass.
3. On the other hand, is every picture a group shot? Can you even tell which one is Ryan, 27? If they’re all hotties, swipe right. #goldmine
If some are weird-looking, Ryan, 27, is the weird-looking one, and his hot friends are all happily married.
4. In a six-picture profile, did they choose to include the one from 2007 where they’re posed with a mustache drawn on their finger? Do most of their pictures appear to be from ’07? Pass. They’re fat now, or at least swollen with reminisces of a simpler time because they’re living in the past.
5. Is the P.T. holding an electrically-colored drink and leaping in multiple pictures? If so, ask yourself if this is the kind of person who you want to associate with in public, or if they’re going to give you a wedgie at the bar to show how “uninhibited” they are.
How to make your profile dope
This part is easy:
1. Choose a variety of pictures where you are NOT holding your little cousin.** Yes, you have family members. Yes, children are cute. Yes, most people want to to have a kid or killer robot or whatever eventually, but it still looks like that’s your kid, and I’m not even going to read your profile.
2. An attractive profile usually includes a variety of images, including ones that show your face, ones that show your (fully clothed) body, snapshots of you doing things alone or with friends, and maybe a selfie if you have a strong eyebrow game. Stay away from childhood photos. There’s time to break those out on the 45th date if things get that far.
3. The focus of the first picture should be you. It can be your face, or a picture of you doing something/being somewhere nice looking, but don’t choose one where the camera was so far away that you’re just a speck or generic person shape. Don’t use a selfie for your first picture if you can help it. These just never look as good as pictures taken by other people.
4. The second picture can include other people, hopefully people who you look happy to be around. A group shot is also a convenient way to include a full body image.
5. The first and second images are the most important ones. Just don’t get too creep-status with these, and you’re good. Vary the previously-mentioned types of pictures for the next four images.
Basically, if you choose a few pictures that show you in a flattering light with people you like, wearing outfits you like, being places you like, your P.T. is going to end up inferring a lot about who you actually are and how you interact with those around you. The thing that makes Tinder so great is the brevity of the profiles. Realistically, there is no one magic formula to finding a relationship that works, but finding someone on Tinder is a lot more like finding someone irl, compared to other dating sites that rely on hundreds of irrelevant questions. Sure, you might find someone who likes the same obscure ’90s sci-fi tv shows as you, but that’s not nearly as good as finding someone who will take care of you when you’re sick or who has an arsenal of corny jokes at the ready to make your mom laugh when they meet her. I—skeptic that I am—think someone’s behavior is the most important factor in finding an enduring relationship, not their responses to a questionnaire.
What to say in your profile’s 500-word block text might happen in a later post.
*Assuming that you set the app to show you people within 3 miles of you who are 25-33.
**Also, dudes, stop setting your first photo to one of you holding a puppy or kitten. Everyone likes puppies and kittens. It doesn’t make you look sensitive; it makes you look uncreative.