Tinder. If you’ve been living under a rock, it’s a social media outlet for people to meet other people, mostly for courtship purposes. If you’re a commoner like the rest of us, I know what you’re thinking. Tinder. A place for desperados, perverts and hookup-seekers extravaganza. And I completely agree with that impression. Or at least I did agree.
Recently a friend of mine decided to venture herself into Tinder. No, she is not old. No, she doesn’t own cats. Yes, she is a perfectly awesome, single, gorgeous accomplished girl. Her motivations were probably for a social experiment (lucky for me, the best type of social journalism is one that includes personal research, so in this piece she is my representative). She put her picture up and declared her criteria, and off she went into this brave little adventure.
First of all, you’re quite right. Tinder really does have weirdos with strange fetishes. People also use Tinder to look for hookers (even in Malaysia). We saw a married guy publicly announcing that he was married but looking for hook-ups that he will generously pay for (yeah I’m talking about you ‘Joe’. Boooo). This fed into my already tainted impression of online dating. It seemed like an internet black hole sucking in guys who are social rejects. But then this friend of mine gave it a shot to confirm/defy our initial thoughts, so here is where I got it wrong.
Tinder has a decent collection of normal people! As we browsed through we saw normal looking guys looking for normal relationships. There are executives and doctors and drummers and teachers, and they did not look half bad either. They look like the kind of guys you would otherwise bump into at a shop or library or at work. Some of them started saying hi to this friend of mine, and some of them were even transparent enough to give her access to their Facebook accounts to show that they are not creepy or the Prince of Nigeria.
She even managed to snatch herself a date with a cute doctor. Although the date, unfortunately, ended up as average and they didn’t further pursue it. They guy was nice and made an effort to drive all the way into the city to see her for coffee, and albeit the leather jacket he had on (perhaps to impress her) to the point of sweating profusely in the KL weather, it did not really work out. Nevertheless, the point to make here is that she did manage to get a normal, decent date out of a very sceptical-looking online dating outlet.
What did I learn from this? I learned that although I must admit that the whole concept of online dating isn’t still entirely digested by me, it is a completely legitimate, appropriate and fine way to meet new people. In a world of social media dominance where we do businesses, keep in touch with friends, read the news and even learn how to cook online, why is it such a taboo thing to meet someone online too? Granted, there will always be weirdos and creepy guys in that virtual reality, just like how there will always be weirdos and creepy guys that you meet in real life. You do your due diligence, be smart about it and take a leap of faith. Just like how you would do it in the real world.
By the end of it I concluded that Tinder is a decent idea, but one that I personally could not jump into for right now. I am a high anxiety person with a difficulty to decline an approach, too cynical to ever judge a person properly via views of an online profile, and certainly not ballsy enough to meet someone for a blind date without being able to check with his friends to see if he owns a secret collection of stuffed dead animals. But I did find a new type of respect for this friend of mine, as she had indirectly helped me to shed my initial impressions on the online dating scene. More importantly, she showed me that you should always do what you want for yourself, despite what may be a taboo review of people around you or a personal fear of trying something new in life.