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Tales From a First-Time Tinder-er

Dating in this day and age is complicated, to put it lightly. It probably has been complicated since the beginning of time, but social media and technology has not simplified anything. Dating apps are all the rage, promising a perfect match with a simple swipe. On college campuses, most singles turn to Tinder. Tinder’s website promises the chance to “meet new and interesting people nearby,” but it has the reputation of being the quickest place to find someone for a hookup. Everyone is different, and I’m personally not into the hookup culture of college campuses, but with a lack of potential suitors and dates, I decided to give Tinder a try. Never knock it until you try it, as they say.

I don’t know what was more of a mind game: my UF application or a Tinder profile. Which photos make me look attractive but not vain? What bio will make me sound smart and confident, but also witty and funny? After some consultation from my friends, I created my account. At the beginning, I definitely swiped the wrong way and got some unintentional matches and missed out on swiping on some pretty cute guys. Once I got the hang of the “swipe right for yes and left for no” idea, I was off to the races. 

I believe that Tinder is designed to thrive off of our superficial tendencies. Before you see a bio or some description of a person’s character, you see a face. If you like the face, you swipe right. If you don’t find the face attractive, you swipe left. If you are bordering on “I guess he’s kind of cute,” you swipe up to read the bio before you make a final call. The first photo is a big deal. Somehow you have to show that you are pretty, confident and interesting all in one shot; it’s not the easiest thing to do. IRL, I try not to judge people based on appearances. One’s outside tells so little about the inside heart and soul. But on Tinder, I was totally hypocritical. I was swiping no on a lot of guys just because I did not like that first photo. I would not do that in the real world, so why would I do that online?

For all my 21 and older friends out there, you could create an epic drinking game from Tinder. Take a shot for the following: a picture of a guy holding a fish he supposedly caught with his Guy Harvey shirt on, a pic of a frat star at a social with his arms around two girls to illustrate the fact that females find him attractive, an awkward shirtless mirror selfie to show off his #gains and finally, a photo with a cute dog so that you will presumably message him that “his dog is soooo cute!” No need to get dressed up and hit the bars. Tinder can be a constant source of entertainment. Personally, I swiped right on all the guys who broke this pattern. One man was posing on top of a mountain in a full-on Scottish kilt, so I just had to ask what the story behind that was. And to be fair, girls fall into a picture pattern as well.

Once you have a match, the messaging stage ensues. Unlike Bumble, Tinder allows both parties the option to message first, not just the guys. I like this feature. Sometimes you’re just too shy to send that first message, but the opportunity is there if you want it. The first few messages I got back made my self-confidence soar through the roof. I thought that these guys found me attractive and worthy of a swipe, and that felt nice. I wish I could remind myself that validation from others shouldn’t be your only source of confidence, especially superficial validation like those on dating apps. I should feel good about myself because I feel good about myself!

I’ve had a Tinder account for about two weeks now, and as the days go on, I find myself on it less and less. Like a new toy, it’s fun at the beginning, but eventually the newness fades and you see it for what it is. I’ve seen Tindering go terribly bad, like when my friend was showing me a picture of a guy she was messaging with while that same guy had messaged me not two nights ago. I also have a close friend who met her boyfriend of two years on Tinder.

Nonetheless, I think my time on this app is coming to a close.

Courtney is a freshman majoring in History with a minor in Dance. This is her first semester writing for Her Campus UFL and she's so excited to have this opportunity! Courtney enjoys reading Jane Austen classics, traveling to new places all over the globe, and eating maybe too much Ben and Jerry's ice cream. She's a sister of Delta Nu Zeta, a service sorority on campus, and loves being able to help the community and grow as a proud member of the Gator Nation!
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