What A Tinder Experiment Reveals About Online Dating

tinder date experiment

WHEN relationship counselor John Grey wrote in the 90s that “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus,” he only got half of it right. Mars, though? Nah. The guys who were unexpected participants of a social experiment featuring dating app Tinder are more likely from Uranus.

Polls that ask men and women about their biggest fears when it comes to online dating seem to reveal the same results: the majority of women express that they’re afraid their next date is going to be a serial killer. Men, on the other hand, are mostly fearful that their date is going to be fat. One website called Simple Pickup decided to put male fat-phobias to the test and set up a scenario in which a women sets up dates through Tinder and then shows up to the agreed-upon location looking nothing like her photos… because she’s dressed in a fat suit.

Oh, and they filmed it.

If this sounds like a recipe for disaster, well, you pegged it. Because it was. Most of the guys weren’t exactly thrilled. One went to “the bathroom” and never returned to the date, one was suddenly married and apologetic, and one was irritated over his waste of time and gas money he “spent” on what he considered to be a failed date. Only one of the five guys she met with stuck around long enough to be told that he was being pranked.

Surprising? Well, not really. We already know that men are a visual bunch and, as horrible as it is that people would react in a hostile manner over the unexpected appearance of a date, no one likes to be duped with photos that don’t paint the whole honest picture.

The pranking didn’t stop there, however. The site also decided to set up hidden cameras for the opposite situation, where they recorded dates in which a man showed up in a fat suit, instead. In that scenario, none of the five women walked away from the guy. And besides donning a fat suit, the guy also put on a somewhat-arrogant attitude that could be off-putting to some. Still, no one got up and snuck away, no one suddenly remembered that they had a husband and kids at home, and no one one complained about the expenses incurred of getting to the date. Does that mean that women care less about looks? Maybe, maybe not. It certainly does seem to show that women are accustomed to being more polite than men in social scenarios that catch them off guard.

We already know that Tinder exists on the most surface level of all dating sites, so perhaps these scenarios would play out differently on a dating site where more than a couple sentences round out the photo-heavy profiles. Although, one thing this study definitely suggests is that we should chill out with the hidden-camera dating schemes, otherwise everyone’s current dating fears will turn to full-blown pranking paranoias.

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