Tinder Isn't good for meeting anyone


I think about the maths behind of Tinder sometimes. These are no official figures, but I'd say - based on my experience and that of friends - they are quite fair assumptions.

You swipe through one thousand prospects, whereof right on a hundred or so. Fifty match up with you, if we're optimistic. Twenty send you a message and you message 10 others, and hear back from two of them. That leaves 22.

Three are bots or just illiterate. Five say something gross about some aspect of your anatomy. Four say "hi" or some variation thereof - and aren't attractive enough to get away with it - they too may actually bots. One seriously opens with “9/11 was an inside job”. One, you don’t respond to fast enough, following him sending three messages, the last of which was “Hello? :/“ which is the biggest red flag you’ve ever seen. The remaining eight seem worth chatting on with.

Two disappear after a couple of exchanges, maybe to resurface somewhere between one week and three months from now with "sorry got busy/went out of the country/went on vacation, would love to meet you!". Two don’t live here and are just visiting, looking for someone to show them around. You have exchanges with the remaining four, two of which fade out after long conversations that leads nowhere. They ask for your number, too late, and you decide you don’t like them very much anyway. The other two actually move to texting.


It Takes 3000 Swipes To Maybe, Maybe Get One Person’s Ass In The Chair Across From You.

One is so busy that when you try and schedule a date, they cancel three separate times. The last standing prince charming, you schedule a date with, kind of rolling a three-sided die: they ghost, they forget, or they actually do show up. Therefore, it actually takes 3000 swipes to maybe, maybe get one person’s ass in the chair across from you.

Three thousand swipes, two seconds per swipe, translates to a solid one hour and 40 minutes of just swiping - if you don’t stop to actually look at their profile - to go on one single puny date.

You might attribute these terrible odds to any number of things about me pesonally, and I'm sure there are people who find more success than me. People who order men to their flats for dick appointments are far bolder and much less afraid than I am that prince charming could be a kleptomaniac or serial killer. Or at least more confident that they could manage that situation... But I am a nice normal person with the line "tell me how you feel about avocados" in my profile. People love talking about avocados, and I don't think think I can do better than that. Still, Tinder and its peers are so much thumbwork just to get one person to physically show up for a date.

While a logarithmic scale of success (1000 becomes 100 becomes 10 becomes 1 — I asked Tinder to confirm these numbers, but they never answered) is damning, what I focus most on is these matches. Amongst 150 matches, individually sorted and approved by two different people, one actually transforms into a meeting. With Tinder and such apps, I don't actually meet anyone, considering the number of people I reach mutual approval with. My theory is simply that Tinder isn't actually for meeting anyone.

Ponder upon the way people used to date: you spend two hours getting all dressed up, perhaps pre-game a bit to take the edge off, physically go to a bar, rub up on other people, talk, signal, and eventually go home with someone. Or not, if you’re just there for validation. Every night you did it, you mustered your A-game of appearance and social skills.


My Profile Depicts Me As The Most Attractive I’ve Ever Looked, The Most Popular I’ve Ever Been, Doing The Most Interesting Things I’ve Ever Done.

On Tinder, I am always a perfect projection of my A-game appearance and social skills. My profile depicts me as the most attractive I’ve ever looked, the most popular I’ve ever been, doing the most interesting things I’ve ever done. Men have locked down the perfect-storm profile pic of all these attributes, targeted to our cultural moment: them rock-climbing shirtless with friends... I can get validation for this, my best self any time I open the app, without leaving my couch. No need to get dressed up or project interest or aloofness or whatever I think he thinks I think he thinks I think he is actually interested in. Someone will validate the person that I already am, and once they do, for most of them I can’t really care to actually go through all the hassle of meeting them in person. 90 percent of the people I validate back appear to actually feel the very same way. I tried this theory on at least two real-life Tinder dates, and to my recollection they vaguely agreed.

Perhaps it is the pressure; can people live up to their breezy Tinder bio? There is none of that social mess of, say OkCupid personality questions "would you find a nuclear apocalypse exciting or terrifying?". It is possible things were always going to go downhill from there.

It seems like, on Tinder people used to at least pretend there was meant to be a follow-through to a swipe-right, but now we are all much too exhausted by the sheer volume of people on it, and it has devolved right back into Hot or Not, with a dashboard of people who called you hot. When we swipe right on one other, I feel validated, you feel validated, I feel validated that you feel validated, and we all continue on in our single lives feeling satisfied that we are good without actually having to do much at all. That, Tinder is great for. Actual dating, not so much.