From full-blown relationships to one-night stands, Tinder is changing the dating game for good.
“Is your vagina a horcrux? Because I’m pretty sure I’m obliged to destroy it.” It’s not everyday you’re faced with a pick-up-line-Harry-Potter-reference hybrid but if you are, you’re probably on Tinder. Tinder, thought by some to be an app solely for sexually frustrated twenty- to thirty-somethings, has burst into the dating world and no one is safe, not even Olympic athletes in Sochi. “Tinder in the Olympic village was next level,” 23-year-old American snowboarder Jamie Anderson admitted.
In Australia, the app is downloaded more than 1000 times a day, and, according to Joshua Metz, Tinder’s Aussie brand manager, 4 per cent of Australians are on Tinder. “Most of my friends are on Tinder, and we love it we have met some really interesting people we wouldn’t have without it,” says Dimi Aronis, 21.
If you haven’t heard of Tinder, (how is that rock you’re living under, by the way?) it turns online dating into a game – the aim being to “match” with a hottie of the opposite sex by showing off your best side in no more then five photos.
“Apps like Tinder are most certainly changing social and sexual interactions,” says Gia Ravazzotti a sex therapist from Conscious Intimacy. “Tinder makes hooking up easier, more accessible and increases anonymity. People who may suffer with social shyness or struggle to interact on a face-to-face level are able to access willing partners to date, socialise with and have sex with,” says Gia.
“I know for me, I am really awkward in a bar and hate approaching girls so Tinder means I can pick up from the comfort of my bed with a box of donuts in hand,” Anthony Skinner, 22.
But while the convenience of Tinder can’t be underestimated, it does have its dark side.
“I do hear stories of disillusioned users who sometimes feel inadequate, sad, offended and discouraged,” says Darlinghurst psychotherapist Brandon Srot.
“I think that it is important for users of such apps to be aware of the different reasons that people use them and I encourage them to not be too disheartened if there is a disconnect between these motives,” he said.
Sarah Hewitt, 21, agrees with Srot. “I met up with a guy because I thought he was after a relationship like I was. Turns out he was only interested in a one-night thing,”
Tinder’s founder and CEO, Sean Rad, defends the app, saying it is actually a lot like real life.
“When you walk in to a restaurant or a bar you throw out these signals of interest, and if these signals are reciprocated you can walk over and have a conversation what ensues from there is up to the individual,” he told CNN. “That’s exactly how Tinder works, the user defines how it works and how it’s being used.”
While this is true, a lot of girls still believe Tinder’s superficiality is doing everyone a disservice. “When you’re judged so openly solely on your looks, it’s easy to see why your confidence might take a battering,” says Carla Pennington, 28. “I don’t think that can be a good thing for people’s mental health.”
Brandon Srot says, “I implore users to maintain a healthy and confident grasp on their own beauty, sense of love, self-esteem, wellbeing and confidence, and to not allow these wonderful, personal attributes to be determined by a simple swipe on a dating app.”
Will Tinder give you your happy ever after?
“I met my boyfriend six months ago on Tinder” says Jess Launder , 22. “We spoke for one month before we officially became boyfriend and girlfriend; I’ve never been happier.”
Useful it may be, but the topic inevitably attracts sneers from trolls and users alike. See this one for example. – Bree Hetherington
Top photo from Nathan Rupert’s Flickr photostream.