Love in The Age of Tinder

Leandra Medine | March 22, 2013

Talk about finding love in a hopeless place

Picture 1 Illustration by Maria Tran

I don’t use Tinder for obvious reasons, but those reasons can only really be watermarked as such because after I joined last week, it took approximately 30 minutes for the very small quotient of single male friends that my husband still maintains to e-mail him with screen shots of my page, (which uses a streamed profile photo from Facebook,) in an amused fury.

“They’re going to think we’re getting a divorce,” he argued upon forwarding the e-mails–addresses left undisclosed.

“But we’re not,” I explained as I continued to play with the dating app, swiping images of men to the left in discontent but never tapping at bottom right to denote interest. As the website explains, “It’s all anonymous until someone you like, likes you back.” I figured it best to keep my presence more or less phantom. Ultimately, it was only a meager 45 minutes before I resigned as a user, slightly unimpressed (albeit disappointed–not a single living soul expressed interest in me), and resumed my position as wife-without-peripheral-vision.

Now, I know what you’re thinking–but why did I join in the first place?

It’s simple, really. I suffer from a rather violent case of Fear of Missing Out and so when every conversation I would have took a turn for the inevitable question, “what do you think of Tinder?” I had no choice but to cultivate an educated, personal opinion. I couldn’t rely on the conceptions that were already running the gamut: “it is a disgusting popularity contest,” or, “it’s a sex-app. What is happening to humanity?” After all, the best regurgitated advice my dad has ever dispensed goes, “when you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.” And I am no ass, pal.

I also noticed that amid the flurry of estimations about the app, no one (including my husband’s friends, who have successfully maintained anonymity) would admit they were invested. Maybe that was because the general consensus was that Tinder was not unlike Grindr–which according to my knowledge, functions as a social bridge that connects gay daters with one another under pretenses that indicate a mutual interest in hooking up. But even if Tinder were “the straight version of Grindr,” more power to the female users, unapologetically invested in locating a good time, right?

But what if it wasn’t? In discovering the app on my own, I was mildly uncomfortable with the Face Smash (Mark Zuckerberg’s first official–albeit rudimentary–digital venture) meets Hot or Not nature of the way in which users are encouraged to rank one another. The comparison to “popularity contest” was somewhat accurate; you’re shown a photo of someone’s face and can choose to bookmark that photo and express interest in the person or swipe to the left in a gesture that feels eerily similar to the way in which you’d delete spam from your handheld device. It is only after two users express interest in one another that they are permitted to communicate on the private message board which, as far as I’m concerned, makes Tinder a more streamlined, digital version of meeting someone at a bar and going over to talk to them.

And what’s so wrong about that? Tinder is essentially a postmodern nod to a most primitive form of liberal dating. Before online dating or, well, Facebook would alter the way in which we communicated with members of the opposite (or same) sex, we were left to our own (for lack of a better word) devices to meet potential dalliances-and-hopefully-so-forth. When that was the case, isn’t the assumption that you’d approach or be approached by someone anonymous who piqued your interest based solely on the superficial circumstances of your appearance and/or body language?

I’ve heard disaster and success stories aplenty pertaining to the app but the way I see it, there’s something much larger at play with Tinder. Under the conditions of the current dating landscape, it seems almost every social app–Facebook, Twitter, even Instagram (which does not boast a private message board)–functions in some capacity as a potential dating app. How could they not? We live our lives online and nearly 47% of the adult population in the United States is single–that doesn’t even count the enormous percent clocking in at under 18-years-old. Tinder makes room for connections without having to worry that a deceiving Facebook picture, or suggestive tweet, or wrongly-filtered Instagram photo can put the kibosh on burgeoning love or convolute the experience off bat–even a married person can recognize that.

But why am I even talking about this, right?

Because, well, this is a symbiotic-ass relationship here and I commiserate with your failures and feed on your successes. If I’m this enthralled by an app that doesn’t even pertain to me, you must be at least somewhat curious, right? Which leads me to my closing question: are you even on Tinder? Tell. Me. Everything. Scintillating stories are so welcome.

Dating can be hard. That’s why we asked a cool French Girl  about the online dating world. We also have in-house man named Isaac, who answers all questions regarding dating and boy woes 

  • dany

    i am not on tinder, but i have heard some HILARIOUS stories about it….i do remember the days of hot or not, and i’ve admittedly spent hours rating people. great post.

  • abigail lind

    wait i thought blendr was the straight grindr? is tinder is the new blendr? i think people are getting spoiled for choice. maybe it’s time we bring back the whole arranged marriage thing.


  • Couteau

    A social thesis about Tinder would be, like most sociological work, bull. You’re absolutely right, it’s just an extension of normal existence.

    The app makes the bar thing faster, cheaper and more efficient. That said, does it attract a lot of people who prefer to use existing blueprints instead of making their own?

    How impressive is it when I guy (or girl) walks up to you in unexpected conditions? That requires a flamboyance that might not be abundant in Tinder…

  • Fashion Snag

    I never even heard of Tinder until now and like you I will have to try it out just so I know what everyone else is talking about. I saw someone brought up HOT or NOT below me and this totally reminds me of that.

  • Melissa Gagliardi

    I must say, I just do not find Tindr worth anyone’s time. Many of my friends who are on the app ( I am not ) have all claimed that as much as they may chat with a person on the app they would never consider meeting up with anyone. No one wants to say they met their significant other on such an app, apparently. I can’t say I disagree. You might as well just stick with the current social medias and meeting people at bars.

    • Leandra Medine

      I met my dude on Facebook! (but, yes, it was only propelled forward into a relationship because we met by chance at a party like, a month later)

      • Dee

        My friend met her boyfriend on facebook… she was trolling a friend’s friends list and saw a guy who looked good & friended him. He messaged asking if they knew each other (no) and proceeded to tell her they SHOULD get to know each other. A year later = happiness. Moral of the story = there is no moral of the story. Try tinder… you never know!

      • manny

        thats because of your name! you’re the manrepeller and not ironically he added you!

  • Brittany

    I can say that I’m not on Tinder or any of the other dating apps/websites out there. I guess I’ve always wondered why people choose to use those apps more and more each day.

    Is it because they’re too scared to say the things they actually want in public and would rather spill them to a “stranger” online who found them attractive because of a photo? What happened to the days of actually socializing in public?

    I have rationalized it to people being more antisocial. These days the phone is more important than actual conversation even in public places. We really don’t seem like we’re even going to be open to conversation at the most public places.

  • Hannah

    My friend actually had a “tinder boyfriend’ as she calls it- for a whole weekend. They went surfing, went to dinner, saw a movie, etc. from Friday evening until Sunday sun down. What ultimately became the demise of their “weekend relationship” was his impression that they would sleep together at the end of it all. So I think you might be on to something with the “Grinder” comparison. BUT she still uses it and still considers meeting people. It’s a pretty interesting concept, I think.

    Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

  • Ariana Estrello

    I always get to the part where I want to sign-up through Facebook, but my inner pride will not let me. What could Tinder possibly offer that Facebook hasn’t already? I mean they have to first show interest and well honestly I’m not very fond of dating websites. It feels a tad thirsty for those poor dehydrated souls on the search for true love.

    ……..I’ll let this social network go, but if for whatever reason decide to join, I’ll let you know what pushed me over the edge!

  • Taryn Kelley

    Haha I’d never even heard of this before! Time to check it out…

  • Mort

    I’d love to go more in-depth about the psychology behind Tinder (and online dating in general) as well as some kind of guidebook to the awkward texting, first “date” and subsequent followup post-date. I have had some interesting experiences to say the least (one guy told me that because he was an athlete he was very sexual and immediately asked if I was a virgin…). Dating for a 20-something in this day and age is brutal when (as RiRi would say) all we’re looking for is to find love in a hopeless place.

  • Danielle Davi

    I, too, suffer from FOMO. Glad to see you tested it out even though you’ve got a ring, girl.

  • Heather P.

    I had not heard of Tinder until right now, so much like your original feelings on the subject, I can’t really form an opinion if I haven’t checked it out.

    I will say, on the notion of our internet presence changing how we find others to date, I have found it to be more damaging than helpful. Gone are the days where the only way to find out about your man’s exes was to actually FIND them…and that would brand you a crazy person. Nowadays, we stalk our blind dates before we even meet them, stalk our boyfriend’s and girlfriend’s exes, and stalk our partner’s every reply to friends of the opposite sex. It’s making what used to be a sign of mental illness, or just good ol’ crazy jealousy, into an acceptable, everyday thing.

    I’m glad that I met my husband in person, and that he wasn’t on Facebook for a long time – it forced me to do the unthinkable (at least today): I had to get to know him in the flesh. So far, so good…but hey, I guess if it turns out not to be, there’s always Tinder. :-)

  • Elizabeth @ TheCornerApartment

    I’m not on Tinder. Couldn’t make the plunge. I’m in a college town, so plenty of people I know use it, usually as a joke. The people I know aren’t looking for a hookup, or love, but just a few laughs. Nevertheless, I still think there’s a bit of that undercover, single longing in joining, and I didn’t feel like being subject to that.


  • Jordyn

    This app is such a conundrum. I’m the first person to tell you that I have it and it’s hilarious. Why not chat with a perfectly random stranger and tell them a little about yourself. Although this is actually the most shallow app on the planet, it’s fun. And it’s hilarious to see your friends on there as well. We’re in an age of social media and why not experience something that may become even more of a norm?
    One thing that I do find are that people are truly on there because they are interested in dating you. For me, I do it way more for meeting and talking to new people– not to look for a boyfriend. And you also couldn’t pay me to tell anyone that I met my significant other on Tinder.

  • Ambear Gordon

    Check out for a laugh.

    • Leandra Medine


    • marie

      This is amazing. Even though someone’s first message is the ever-eloquent “sit on my face”… how can you hate when the app also makes possible the unlikely match between the person who thinks it important to begin by asking for an opinion on the new trix shape and the person who truly has an opinion on that?

    • cass03

      I KNEW snapchats only purpose was for trading nudes. I KNEW IT!

  • kiki

    there is a key component to tinder not mentioned above, the mutual friends aspect. while ordinarily opposed to online dating, i recently went out with a tinder boy because we had nearly 40 friends in common on fb, which made it feel much less random and more like one of our mutual friends would have set us up had they thought about it. this feature is great for vetting potential dates as well.

  • amy gruenhut

    Yes – I’m totally normal & met a guy on Tinder that I’ve been dating for the past few months. He’s pretty awesome, normal, jewish & a doctor! Yes Man Repeller it’s true. I could be a Tinder success story should this all work out!

  • ashfabes

    I think Tinder would be great if it had an age filter!

    • ariel

      it does.

  • Jessica Brookman @ N*O

    social/mobile/blah blah blah dating has only ever left me heartbroken, in disrepair. but….now i have to try again. thanks. thanks a lot.

  • Cirque de l’Atelier

    I feel like straight people just aren’t made for app sex. Leave it to us Gays and Grindr, we have it down to an emotionally unattached science. Besides, we get blamed for enough, first Tinder murder and it’ll be all the gays fault for promoting their devil promiscuity… we have enough on our plates with spring coming.

  • Paula McClelland

    Aint never heard of it – I’m one of those boring types that met the love of my life at 21 and am still with him – at 29 #vom. I was panicking that this was yet another social network platform that I needed to embrace… “-S

    ♥ Paula Shoe Fiend.

  • JR

    In terms of Tinder — more power to anyone doing whatever they want to make it happen. You get one chance – do yo thang.

    On social media re: bar scene. I do think there is something to actually seeing people interact with others and be animated, not just a selfie with a Pro Valium Instragram filter. That said, maybe one day we will move back to the time of short videos where we all describe our likes and dislike (i.e. “longs walks on the beach”). It’s not far off. In fact, maybe I’ll invent it. I’ll call it Vidder.

  • Becca

    I appreciate the Man Repeller not only for you, Leandra, but for your witty and intelligent readers who share some magnificent opinions. Thank you for attracting them.

  • Isa

    I’ve been waiting for straight Grindr forever. I’m going to have to give Tinder a try!

  • contentnet

    News to me.

  • Ayelet

    good points butttt the straight version of grindr already exists, it’s called blendr, i am still unclear how tinder is really that much different.

    • Leandra Medine

      From my understanding–tinder is NOT the straight version of grindr because the objective is not necessarily to hook up

  • bulkmarketplaza

    hey loved your story..its pretty cool


  • Leila Daiana Llunez

    Great post! The Trend Upsetter

  • Jules Fashion Week

    I had never heard of of it but it sound very good :)

  • Sartorial Revenge

    Shallow or not, right or wrong, appearances are important to most people and decide whether or not you’re going to talk to someone. Therefore, it shouldn’t matter whether we do that online or in real life.
    However, the difference is that in real life (e.g. at a bar) you see the way someone smiles, talks, moves and most importantly interacts with other people. And that’s something you will never learn if you’re just scrolling through pictures, discarding or ‘liking’ potential suitors.

  • Lauren L

    I met my husband on Friendster. Remember that one? Grandfather to MySpace?

  • Lust Covet Desire

    AAH, I am just now hearing about Tinder. I fail.

  • Catherine and Greer

    I’ll be honest I don’t get this post. Well written though, I’m just going to blame it on being an Australian and dear God hoping this is an American fad.

  • Captain

    The problem with your story is that if you never “liked” anyone, you would have no way of knowing whether anyone expressed interest in you. As you acknowledged, the app only tells you if you like someone that also liked you.

  • Margaux

    I also have FOMO! But you have to draw the line somewhere – like at Tiger Text. I’ve tindered a bit, but tiger texting is about forty sheets past where i am in the wind.

  • Emily Ross

    I felt the exact same way about Tinder when a few of my girlfriends started using it! But more recently, my little sis told me about Lulu — anyone heard of and/or tried it?

    Only a slightly more terrifying concept to me than Tinder, this was another instant iPhone download & delete. haha.

  • Sazanka

    I was on Tinder for a couple weeks and had quite interesting conversations on there (being a freshman in a college town and everything), until one night I realized that the app was not going to get me anywhere but regret town. So I deleted it, with two messages from two different guys left unread. I felt really proud of myself and vowed to never download a dating app ever again. It also reminded me of this Man Repeller blog: which made me realize that I want to meet someone in real life first, and then take it to technology. Not the other way around.

  • Belén Cavas Hernández

    I’m totally uncool, did not know nothing about this application. Anyway, from what you say I do not fancy too.


  • Alina

    love me tinder,
    love me sweet…

  • Chelsea Lajterman

    Love this. I got the same reaction from my friends who wondered why I was on Tinder when I have a boyfriend as well as screenshots sent to me from ex-lovers and their friends (ha!). I too suffer from a severe case of FOMO and find it fun to rate guys solely based on looks (is that so wrong?). And one more thing, really would I be that obvious if I were trying to have a fling on the side? Nah.

  • evil eye style

    I suggest you do a piece on “FOMO” — Fear of Missing Out. :)

  • Sarah

    New tinder user here thanks to this post i wonder myself what the mens intensions are. Women in this day in age need something like this! My opinion, we
    Cant meet a decent man at a bar/club, so where are we suppose to find a husband? Im a teacher, so at work i am surrounded by women. I met up with a seemingly “nice” guy and he never called me again because i didnt ‘put out’! This is the problem now a days, men dont want relationsips just sex! If im getting this wrong Leaandra then please fill me in on where to find a decent man!
    – your fellow Jew (chicago)

  • Martin Alexander

    My friend recommended this dating for travelers website called At first I
    thought the idea is a little bit bizarre but I gave it a try and it was worth

  • amy
  • preeti

    i just joined tinder two days ago I have 2 dates this weekend.

  • Gennifer Anderson

    Gennifer Anderson

  • smith

    i love all this

  • elena

    Met the boy of my dreams on Tinder… 5 months and counting :)

  • Eve

    I never wanted to be “one of those”, but I did meet my current boyfriend online, and the funny thing is, I didn’t even find his profile that attractive. It’s when we met in person that he made a good impression. And on it went…

  • Barb

    I am not on Tinder… Just head of it today. Curiosity is there, but for me is more the fear of reaction or appreciation that people might have towards “my profile”. Believe me, there is no low self steam issue but pure human fear of even the smallest rejection that even though we feel we have outgrown it, in some cases rejection reflects “i’ll be alone forever”.

  • Edward

    It gives me great joy whenever i hear the name Dr.Obom because he is the great man that strengthen my relationship especially when my lover was about leaving me for another man but through the help of Dr.Obom my lover changed her mind and today we are married all thanks to Dr.Obom i am thoroughly grateful to him and i will like to give out his contact details to those who think they will really need his help reach he on this email Oh less i forget i am Lewi Edward by n

  • annonymous

    It always give me Joy when i see Dr.Zabaza details on the internet because it is through those details that i was able to get my lover back within 48 hours, One good thing about Dr.Zabaza is that his job are 100 percent guarantee. When my lover left my house and told me she is done with me i plead and plead but i couldn’t get her back i even went extra miles in buying her expensive gifts but she still refuse to come back to me but today through the help of Dr.Zabaza my lover is back to me and she is ready to spend her life with me. I want to tell people that there is no need to pass through stress and pains in there relationship when you have the solution at Dr.Zabaza temple whose contact details are: or call +2348182620374 For quick solution to your relationship stress

  • Rika Soeharjono

    I only recently heard of Tinder and the first thing I did was look it up on YouTube and of course there are a select few videos that mock it endlessly. One I found particularly funny is: It’s a ‘shit people say’ one, and it just got me to thinking that it’d be pretty fun to sign up for da lolz. So, today, 1st April, I’m downloading the app. There’ll definitely be a blog post on it.

  • nats

    leandra, im engaged to my tinder match! love of my LIFE! hard to believe, we went to the same school but had never met. until… tinder! i call it my #happytinderstory

  • Alexander Dunham

    I find this hard to believe.

  • Alexander Dunham

    perhaps it is the spellcasters’ fault in the first place

  • ranandbecse

    The problem with your story is that if you never “liked” anyone, you would have no way of knowing whether anyone expressed interest in you. As you acknowledged, the app only tells you if you like someone that also liked you.