“You gotta put yourself out there,” they say.
“Getting under someone else is the quickest way to get over someone.” “You never know until you try.”
So I did it. I put myself out there. I downloaded Tinder.
And here’s what I know, that I didn’t know before.
- Tinder makes it SUPER easy to put yourself out there. And in a fairly safe way, that also protects your ego a bit. You don’t know if you’ve been rejected or by whom, you just know if someone matches with you that you ‘swiped right’ on.
- User error. This app is super simple, yes, but if anyone can mess it up, I will mess it up. I’ve also learned in the last 5 days that I’m not the only one, so that’s a relief, although I’m not sure what or who I was worried about, as if the Tinder police are gonna kick me off for being a moron (personal shaming, I suppose, lol). Anyway, if you’re a first timer like me, you can swipe right if you like someone, swipe left if you don’t, and swipe UP if you “super like” someone. What are we, in 5th grade again? Anyway, if you super like someone, or someone super likes you, 9 times out of 10, maybe even 10 times out of 10, it’s user error. Let’s just say, my user error got me a few matches that I wish I could have super unliked. UGH. BUT the can of worms was already open and I’m too polite to ignore them or to just be honest and tell them I didn’t mean to or not smart enough to figure out how to change this before they found out. Needless to say, this caused me a great deal of anxiety.
- You could have sex every hour of every day. If you have a vagina, or even appear to maybe have a vagina, you could probably have sex 12 times a day every day in every way in every place known to man or woman. Married men with open marriages, single men looking for threesomes, single men looking for anything besides their hand, etc. I’m not one to judge, I’m just sayin’. So if that’s your thing or what you need right now, you should have no problem finding a hook up, however you choose to fly your freak flag. Just PLEASE be safe.
- Age and distance doesn’t matter. You’re never too old to be on Tinder; other than the learning curve on how the app works for us ‘oldies’ that need to get with the times, there are plenty of decent people out there in your age range. LOTS. Of people. The distance filter is especially handy and important … you know, especially for convenience sake. For the quick booty call, of course, but also for us busy people who shudder at the idea of driving more than 35 minutes to meet someone that we will probably never talk to again to listen to a conversation we wish we never had about crap we don’t even care about just in case they might ‘be the one’ or so that we might avoid one more lonely night of eating a dinner you made for two, but there’s just you. I know. It’s sad. But you get over it.
- Do not give someone your cell phone number. Unless you like an inbox FULL of dick pics. Even if you’ve asked all of the general questions, they’re nice, they’re funny, they seem harmless and interesting and just looking for someone to hang out with, get to know, see where it goes, and they seem like someone you could see yourself talking to further … don’t do it. Because they will still send you a dick pic. And even the ones you didn’t think would send you a dick pic, apparently can’t help it, because eventually they send you a dick pic too. SO … unless dick pics are what you’re looking for, I don’t advise giving any one on Tinder your cell phone number. EVER.
- There are a LOT of lonely dudes out there. I know I’m generalizing here, but I only see the dude side of Tinder, so it’s the only side I can comment on, but I’m sure there are a lot of lonely women out there too. I make this lonely comment because I have experienced the intense desperation to connect with someone (over 65 times in 5 days to my inbox so far). Not every message is like that or turns to that, but the vast majority … people are lonely.
- We’ve lost the ability to communicate and connect with people. This was really eye-opening. Now this could be a factor of my age (maybe, maybe not) but I also wasn’t matching with anyone under the age of 40, and I’m only 48, so that’s not likely a factor. It could also be a factor of the ‘type’ of people that use Tinder, but that’s not a fair assumption either, because lots of decent people I know use this app and I use this app, and I have zero scientific evidence to back up my comment, just my first-hand experience to go on. But anyway … every conversation (and this is true), every conversation started with your average how do I talk to a person I’ve never met awkwardness, but then every single one went down a dark, desperate rabbit hole from there. People get right to the point. Sometimes they HAMMER the point. And they work you and work you and work you saying everything they think you might want to hear so that you’ll like them or share your cell number or talk to them longer or meet them for that drink or JUST LIKE THEM DAMMIT. People just want to be liked, wanted, desired. They just have zero IDEA how to communicate this to another person. This too made me a little sad.
- It’s a good distraction. If you’re not looking for anything too serious and you don’t scare easily, it’s kind of fun. In small doses. And if you have boundaries.
- I thought it would make me feel better. I thought I needed it. I thought it would replace the sadness. I thought all of the attention from random men based on how my picture looks would boost my ego. Make me feel pretty, make me feel wanted and sexy. Make me feel less lonely. Mind you, it’s worth mentioning here, that I have no problem being alone, I almost prefer it, but at times it can get lonely. It would be nice to have someone to play cards with or shoot pool with or share coffee with. “Don’t you have friends for that?” you ask. Not really. Adult friendships are different. Almost all of my friends are part of a couple or are the whole couple, and they have kids and jobs and busy lives and we were like that too. We were comfortable in our little bubble because we were so busy doing life, that we spent what little time we had doing things together instead of working on those outside friendships that are also important for people’s happiness. It’s easy to lose sight of this. For some couples, it’s fine, it works. For other couples (like us I guess), not so much. Anyway .. I digress. After 5 days of being on Tinder, I didn’t feel better. I DID experience all of the feelings I was hoping I would feel from the attention I got from some very attractive men and I have some pretty great stories, but it didn’t make it better. Didn’t make me better. In fact, it made me feel worse.
- I don’t need it. THIS is the ultimate lesson, for me, that I got from Tinder. I don’t need it. I don’t need the coffee dates or the dick pics or the sob stories or the eyes-wide-shut invitations. I don’t need the generous compliments or the flirting or the attention. Nor do I want it. THIS is the lesson I needed. I am enough for me. I feel confident and accomplished. I feel happy and secure. I feel beautiful and sexy and funny and kind. Is there still sadness? Sure. There probably will be for a long time. But I also realize that I can carry that kind of sadness with me for as long as I need to and still feel like I am enough.
Disclaimer: I am neither for or against Tinder. It serves a purpose for a lot of people. Hell, I met the [ex] love of my life on a dating app that resulted in a relationship that served us for 8, mostly happy, years. I think it can be for whatever you need it to be, whenever you need it or want it to be. There is no judgement here. I encourage all of you to do what serves you, whatever makes your heart happy or calms your head. It may not serve you forever, but it may be what you need right now. And that’s ok.