Here’s a story: Girl walks into a bar. Girl sees her friends. Girl walks straight towards her friends because, man, these people are awesome! Girl orders a drink, talks to her friends, gets drunk with her friends. Girl lets the world disappear around her because she is so focused on having a great time. Girl leaves the bar, having not done one scan of the place looking for someone to, I don’t know, even make out with. Girl is single forever because she never took the time to look around the room. Ever.
There are some people who are good at picking up dudes/chicks at bars. They walk into a spot and scan the joint, making mental notes of who in the room is someone they’d like to A) Take home or B) Marry. These are efficient individuals, people always wanting to kill two birds with one martini-soaked stone. And then there are the other people, much like myself, who forget to take stock of anything aside that which is familiar and right in front of his or her face. These are the people you don’t want to be with in case of an emergency. If the room caught on fire and the stampede began, they’d never have noticed where the exit was and they would subsequently perish. Survival in this world requires a heightened sense of alertness. Dating requires much the same.
Tinder, the straight world’s answer to Grindr (ladies, I know you’re on this thing to find a BF, but most of the dudes I talk to are just looking for a snog), is like walking into a bar with your eyelids taped open. You are forced to come into contact with every single person in the room, no matter what your attraction will (or, more likely will not) be. There is no peripheral filter, where you can catch a shimmer of some man’s badly chosen shiny shirt and turn away before things get awkward. No, this is full-frontal confrontation of an app variety. You get it all, even if you don’t want it all.
My problem with Tinder is that it makes me feel like a horrible person. After just thirty seconds of swiping left (meaning “no, thanks,” to those fortunate enough to have been spared signing up for this thing) with no hopes for a swipe right (meaning “sure, let’s grab a coffee and pretend this isn’t weird”), I start feeling like a massive, judgmental bi***. It is so cruel, so surface, so knee-jerkingly based off of nothing important. The Jersey boy with the big teeth and the happy eyes? No. The balding artist who I thought about messaging just to be buds? No. The dude in the Hurley hat? Absolutely not. I’m sure these are all perfectly fine, wonderful human beings! These boys have friends, jobs, mothers who love them! And here I am, blowing them off. It’s exhausting, assessing people in such a stupid way.
In rejecting certain individuals, I am brought face-to-face with my own shortcomings. It is a self-examination in superficiality, one you don’t necessarily overthink in the real world. If you pass on someone at a bar, that’s just the way of it. If you literally drag your finger over their face and dump them into the trash, it feels personal—even though the chance you’ve given each person is the same, that number, of course, being zero.
I’d rather keep walking into bars with my head down and pretend I’m a better, nobler person than I actually am. Single forever… and nice as can be.