It’s 2019. Tinder is no longer new or cool. The discourse surrounding the dating app, as of late, has grown stale: We blame Tinder for our generation’s emotional immaturity, fear of commitment, and lack of communication skills. Most think pieces shockingly conclude that millennials’ obsession with technology has led to the devolution of even the most sacred forms of social ritual: fucking.
I get it. Tinder sucks. That’s just an objective fact. You literally cannot be on the app for more than 30 seconds without feeling like a piece of shit (and that’s not just because the app glitches more than PawPrint).
At the swipe of your finger, you have access to an unlimited amount of singles in your area. And guess what? They’re all sick freaks. But so are you, because you’re swiping through Tinder on the toilet and are an active participant in a culture that has made it socially acceptable to peruse potential sexual partners while taking a fat dump.
Is Tinder bad? Yes. Do we deserve better? I’m not convinced.
In theory, my phone is a portal to an infinite amount of virtual dick. So why then do I spend most of my nights reading Plato, slathering my face in benzoyl peroxide, and Juuling?
Facts are facts, and our generation is getting laid way less than any of our horny ancestors—we’re having less sex than any other generation in the past 60 years. Despite the fact that apps provide seemingly unlimited options, the ease of access has made us incredibly lazy in our sexual pursuits. Sure, I could get it if I wanted to, but I don’t really feel like it right now because I ate a whole Milano sandwich earlier, so I’ll just gather up 50 matches to temporarily bolster my fragile sense of self-worth before I settle in for a long night on the couch.
I’m not here to defend Tinder, but I do think it deserves credit for being a slightly easier way to get laid than skulking in the corner of Mel’s after midnight, or putting on a hot ‘fit and walking around Butler suggestively. Plus, I’m banned from Mel’s and can’t be in Butler longer than 45 minutes without descending into psychosis. So a girl’s gotta swipe!
Like many douchebag Spec columnists before me, I’ll make a comparison to Dante here. Remember how in Inferno sinners were tortured with methods that parallel the sinful acts they committed? If you don’t remember, that’s OK, me neither; I just read that off of Wikipedia. It’s called contrapasso.
In Inferno, lustful sinners are “tossed into a howling wind.” And if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, that doesn’t not sound like Tinder. And I’m not just talking about the time a Tinder date “jokingly” hung me over a 30-story balcony, and I literally thought I was gonna die at the hands of some psycho Upper East Side libertarian.
Our Dantean contrapasso punishment for using Tinder complements our approach to it: We treat Tinder like it means nothing. This then carries over into what it feels like to be a Tinder user: ghosted, soft-ghosted, or emotionally drained from ghosting people.
On this campus, we can barely form a cohesive student community, much less get our cheeks clapped.
It’s mathematically impossible to hook up with anybody at Columbia without knowing somebody who knows them (math majors, please don’t @ me). This might sound harmless, but over the course of four years, I feel like you just create a twisted trail of bloody mistakes and brutal humiliations that you constantly have to relive when you inevitably see them in Ferris.
But just because Tinder is punishing us doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t continue to swipe the good swipe. To best use Tinder, we have to face it like in the end of the Inferno, when Dante has to face Satan in a final boss fight (admit it: you’re not totally sure whether or not I’m making this up).
There is a fat load of other dating apps that try to take the Tinder schtick and make it less sinister. However, I would argue that they are just thinly-veiled Tinder rip-offs.
There’s Bumble, a Tinder clone that somehow pays 1.6 million campus reps in Morningside Heights alone to advertise it. I’m serious—when was the last time you left your room for more than 20 minutes without being visually assaulted by fluorescent yellow flyers scrawled with some barely feminist truism like “Suck HIS titties! Love, Bumble.” I swear those flyers are like the herpes of campus bulletin boards.
Then there’s Hinge, if your kink is emotional intimacy. Yikes.
Being on Tinder, despite its obvious flaws, is kind of like eating the John Jay carrot sushi: If you lower your expectations beyond a reasonable level, you can still trick yourself into enjoying it. If you’re on Tinder looking for love—LOVE—you are very delusional and you need to get help.
For my own sanity, I assume that everyone on Tinder has the same mindset as the guy who always shows up to my yoga class in jeans: unwilling to exert any sort of meaningful effort, but still here for a fun time (and yes, I matched with that guy on Tinder).
Anna Lokey is a senior in Columbia College studying philosophy. Deantini, if you’re reading this, I want my money for that Lit Hum plug. Direct your fan mail, death threats, or sponsorship opportunities to firstname.lastname@example.org. A Girl and Her Juul runs alternate Tuesdays.
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