I'll Wait: Why I Deleted Tinder
A swipe right and a match. A couple of messages exchanged, followed by some light internet stalking. “Another music industry person,” I sighed, but at the same time, I was kind of relieved to have someone who understands the hustle. Five days to be anxiously excited, but mostly just anxious.
All of this work for two hours, one beer and a lackluster conversation that won't end with another date. Here comes the disappointment again - not because I liked him, but because before every date, I subconsciously brace myself for meeting someone worthwhile. It’s only happened twice in almost two years.
My relationship with Tinder is more off-and-on than any relationship I’ve been in with an actual human. Some weeks I’m all about it, and then some weeks I resent it. I go back and forth between the rationalizations of, “Well, how else am I supposed to meet people?” to “This isn’t natural, stop wasting your time.” I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve deleted the app from my phone (but not my actual account), gone without it for a couple of weeks, and re-downloaded it in a fit of loneliness.
But after all of the run-around with this service, I finally forced myself to really evaluate how it makes me feel: alone, isolated, more vulnerable to rejection. Is it really worth it? Aren't I better off just being alone with no prospects? It's boring, but it's not as hurtful. My emotions will be on a cruise-controlled pace of loneliness, rather than a constant roller-coaster of excitement which plummets straight to disappointment. It was settled.
Are you sure you want to delete your account?
It’s done. I’m gone from that digital abyss, and I’m not starting over again with a new account to cycle through the same people all over again.
But now what?
I’m not generally a romantic; I don’t swoon over stories of how people met, so I don’t have many instances to compare my situation to. I know most people meet their significant others through mutual friends. I have a lot of friends, but none that have led to anyone I’ve wanted to date. Some people meet at their workplace, which is out of the question for me; there’s no 9th floor to hide on if something were to happen and then turn sour. What about those girls who meet random guys at shows or bars? How do they do that? Anytime I meet someone in that setting, they’re either married or gay. My main extracurricular activity is a feminist group, so that pretty much says all you need to know about my dating prospects in that setting.
Looking back on dating in college, even though I wasn’t single for most of it, it still seems like that is the ideal way to meet someone. You set your sights on someone cute and plop down in the seat next to them and strike up a conversation, or you get paired up with them for a group project, exchange numbers, and arrange meetups outside of class, which is the ideal scenario. You know you’re going to see them at least 2-3 times a week, so that gives you time to plot your move. Out at a show, or in a bar - wherever you are - you may only get one chance, and that's fucking terrifying.
There’s too much pressure - especially as a millennial - not only to meet someone, but to snatch them up as quickly as you can. Because if you don’t, you know they can get on their phone and browse that collection of single girls within a 5 mile radius. Dating online is almost dehumanizing in the way that it makes you feel extremely replaceable.
I used to defend Tinder and say that it's easier than trying to meet people in-person, but the truth is, they're both terrible and nearly impossible. I've spent days, sometimes weeks, putting effort into a conversation with a stranger that I'll never end up meeting. Nothing about the act of dating as an adult in this generation feels very mature, so it’s easier just to do without.
I'm sure there is someone out there who can tolerate me, but I don't know where they are. I'm not even close to finding them, but I know I'm not going to find them on an app.
So I guess I'll wait.
[Photo by Julie Bloom.]