Swiping Shame

By Sarah Nunez
Staff Writer

He told me he hated dating apps. Our first date (only date) was going about how I expected. The same terrible conversations about family, majors, and our hometowns. He was alternative, his vinyl collection proved that much. And so as I asked him about Tinder, he guffawed. “That’s not really my scene”. I was quick to agree, as someone scared of both technology and flirting, Tinder doesn’t really seem like the sort of place I would thrive. So as he began to bash on hookup culture, berate those who sought human connection through devices. I drank my coffee. The next week, my friend found his profile.

I was quick to call him a hypocrite, quick to judge. Here he was, complaining about how romance was dead, while all the while hiding his hypocrisy in his pocket. I was baffled, and debating whether to call him out on it.

My question was: “why the shame?” Why did he feel the need to portray himself as a “romantic”, who enjoyed meeting people the “real” way? It was bizarre. But then I recalled all the times I bashed Tinder. All the times I shamed the Swipers, all the times I warned my girlfriends that guys on Tinder are only looking for something casual. I myself have been brainwashed by the bull-shit that is the rom-com. The desire for the perfect meet-cute, or the mythical ‘one’, makes meeting online seem somewhat cheap or tacky. But the truth is, the perfect meet-cute doesn’t lead to the perfect relationship.

So then why is there this stigma around dating apps? What even is a “real” way to meet someone? The guys that I meet in my Spanish class, or at a party, or through a friend are no less likely to be assholes than the ones I find through my phone. And perhaps Tinder allows me, as a heterosexual woman, some form of power. In the real world, I can’t block creepy guys, or swipe left on the bros who choose to write “no fatties” in their bios. At least in the app, I can choose who to ignore. I can also choose who to meet or who to share my number with, And while Tinder may have initially been created with “hook-ups” in mind, at this point, the original or intended use of the app isn’t significant.There is no “one thing” a person on Tinder is looking for. Some may want a hookup, others may simply long for validation. Hell, I know people who think that they may find a potential soulmate in the swiping system. Tinder reported that there are upwards of fifty-seven billion users around the world. Everyone is going to have different reasons and expectations. So let’s stop labeling Tinder as the “Hook-up app”, and realize that just as technology is changing every other aspect of our lives, it’s clearly going to impact our romantic journeys. Tinder is simply a new way to meet people, and if I can make a connection while still in the comfort of my sweatpants in my dorm, than that makes it all the better.