Tinder. Many have written about it, very few have survived it. While I actually know a handful of people who have found a meaningful relationship that outlives the doomed one-night fling, the horror stories that I’ve both heard and regretfully experienced through Tinder lead me to one inevitable conclusion: it doesn’t work. Or if by some ‘right swipe’ of Tinder luck it does work, count yourself as being incredibly fortunate. You may be one of select few people who are impervious to getting tired of answering the tell-all opener, “So, what do you do with yourself?”
There are the obvious bad endings that may arise from a Tinder experience. Conversation may fizzle, person A may disclose to you that they have a foot fetish that you’re not so okay with. Or that babe who’s into snowboarding and taking cute photos with their pet puppy actually has a girlfriend, her name is Nina, and she’s going to kill you.
Then there are the sneakier horror stories. These are the horrible tales that seem to come from nowhere and make you really question your ability to judge people. It was all pretty pictures with graffiti backdrops and hipster undercuts until something went awry. How did I end up having a three-day argument with this dude about Australia’s current climate policy? You find yourself questioning at 2am on a Tuesday morning. I just wanted to get some dick pics and call it a night. *
But the most perilous of topics to raise on Tinder, the one theme that will unavoidably lead you into unchartered territory, into the realm of no return in which no soul is safe, is the topic of feminism. IRL (In Real Life), I’ve become expert at tracking the progression of a conversation as it spirals into a feminist debate. What may have started as innocuous commentary on Ali G ends up leaving everyone within a 2-kilometer radius of the conversation feeling awkward, going silent or shirking away from any opinion whatsoever. Under the shroud of anonymity, however, the big boys come out to play.
I have to preface this by saying that my experience with Tinder has mostly been with guys aged 22-35 (don’t judge me for liking a silver fox), and so it may be an unfair critique of this particular demographic. I’m sure plenty of guys who use Tinder have come up against a similar amount of virulence when they try to initiate a harmless conversation about gender politics with their prospective lady friends.
Don’t actually ask me how feminism gets on topic; trying to trace the origin would be as futile as extracting meaning from the comments on Kim Kardashian’s Instagram photos. All I know is that I’ve come across all the misogynistic, malevolent, misinformed, misguided, ambivalent, deluded and apathetic individuals on Tinder that I ever hope to encounter. No more. Please. And it’s not like I am even that strident in my opinions. I make a concerted effort to be as diplomatic and appeasing as any young girl should when trying to woo her male counterpart. I listen to what they have to say. I offer a counterargument as pragmatically as my emotional mind allows. I do everything I can to understand their viewpoints. Except when they tell me they voted for Abbott. That’s automatic unmatch. (Sorry, Liberal Lads)
So I guess from these experiences (some of which have caused guys to hurl some of the most offensive insults anyone has ever said at me), it sort of gets me questioning how a young, politically minded woman is meant to navigate the online dating sphere. And in a much broader sense, it has me seriously wondering exactly what types of maligned viewpoints some people house, only unleashing them when the social media buffer can protect them.
What is a young feminist to do? My first advice is to get off the app. If it’s true love you seek, join a club, scope out your workplace or ask a cool friend to bring some of their other cool friends to a social gathering.
If it’s a bit of fun you’re after, get accustomed to lots of drugged up giant cats, gun-wielding macho-men, pictures of snowboarding (seriously though, why?), and unique character descriptions that run along the lines of “love to travel, love hanging out with mates, love the outdoors and I’m taller than your ex. P.S. Follow me on Instagram”.
*note: never actually want dick pics – even at 2am.