I have never used Tinder, the hot new iPhone app shows you a never-ending scroll of eligible singles close to your location and asks you to give a simple up-or-down vote. You swipe their picture to the left if you don’t like them, and you swipe it to the right if you do. You only see a few pictures and about a sentence of text. The app also requires a Facebook login, and will display your mutual friends.
I decided I would be remiss in my duties as a Dating Podcaster if I didn’t at least try it, but of course I had to document the experience. So, for your perusal, 50 First Swipes. The relevant information about me: I’m 25, male, straight, and this all takes place from 2-2:30 PM in downtown Chicago.
1. Two girls in the profile picture. Trying to suss out which one is actually on Tinder when I read that she’s 16 miles away. I swipe left, then go change my settings to a much more constricted geographical range.
2. She has red eye in her picture. Left.
3. Her one profile sentence is about how TInder is silly. As much as I (might) agree, hey man, we’re all doing this internet thing together, you know? Left.
4. 21 years old, which is well outside my stated age range (23-35, for the record). Left.
5. 20 years old. Left.
6. She’s kind of cute, but I swipe through her pictures and see she is making the same exact face in every one. This freaks me out, so, left.
7. This girl has a picture of her literally grinding a rail on a snowboard, which is something we dating scientists refer to as Extremely Rad. Right.
8. 18 year old. Left. I double-check my stated age range.
9. Her blurb says she has “child-bearing hips and a sunny disposition.” I swipe right, if only for the use of the phrase “child-bearing hips,” which I find hilarious.
10. There’s a picture of her throwing up ironic “Let’s Rock” bullhorns. Left.
11. I recognize her blurb as the lyrics to “Time is Running Out” by Muse. I unfondly remember high school, then swipe left.
12. Somehow all of her photos were taken from a high angle. Does she have many friends in trees? Anyway, left.
13. There were three girls in the first picture. She was not the one I was hoping she would be. Left.
14. I notice we have mutual Facebook friends. Terrified, I swipe left. This may be more of a me thing.
15. Nothing stood out, so, left.
16. She’s Facebook friends with fellow podcaster Josh’s little sister? Who doesn’t even live in the city? Can’t handle it. Left.
17. 18-year-old. Left.
18. 21-year-old. Left.
19. Left, but notable for being the first woman of color to come up.
20. Group of girls in sombreros, and somehow it didn’t seem like an earnest cultural celebration. Left.
21. I become convinced that I recognize this person from primary school. The name doesn’t match, but I can’t shake the feeling, so I swipe left.
22. “Triathlete. Paleo. Crossfit. Wine.” Left.
23. At 27, this is the person closest to my age that has come up yet. Unfortunately, she’s just not my type. Left.
24. 28-year-old. Looks cute. I’m swiping through her pictures when I run into a classic topless-but-taken-from-the-back picture, complete with “BUCKEYES” emblazoned sweatpants. Gross, but, hey, I figure I’ll never get anywhere by just saying no, so, right.
25. Wow, I have never seen that particular spelling of “Melissa.” Left.
26. This girl has amazing command of various photo apps. Tiled pictures, mirrored pictures, filtered pictures. Thinking about the amount of time she took to curate this profile made me swipe left.
27. 19. Left.
28. 43 year-old woman. I want to swipe right, to support the idea of showing me more older people, but then she’s not attractive to me, so I frown, then swipe left.
29. 20-year-old. Left.
30. 19, but, um, very cute? I catch myself looking at more pictures. Her blurb is, in its entirety, “I like good sex.” I freeze up, waffle, swipe right, then immediately hate myself and hope that she does not message me.
31. This woman has an incredible range of facial expressions. After 30 sets of identical photos, this feature alone makes me swipe to the right.
32. Looks actively pained in every pictures. Does she have lumbar issues? Left.
33. Cute. We have a mutual Facebook friend, which would normally send me running, but she doesn’t live in town anymore, so, fuck it. Right.
34. Six different women in this profile picture– a record number. Four out of six of them are attractive. I swipe through and figure out that the person I’m looking at is one of the cute ones, but not the cutest one, so I feel crestfallen and swipe left.
35. She states her age as 94? Ultimately, I go to swipe right but muscle memory takes over and I swipe left on accident.
36. Our one shared Facebook friend is a douche. Left.
37. Not pulling off purple hair. Left.
38. Very attractive, very high-res pictures. Her blurb is “Oh My god, where are my friends?” You and me both, kid. Right.
39. A totally not unattractive 25-year-old? Automatic right.
40. Has a different hair color in all four of her pics. Impressive, but left.
41. A full two out of four pictures feature her in a cat costume. Left.
42. I can’t think of an adjective to describe this person, so left.
43. All group pics, and there are two separate girls that appear in each one. How am I supposed to know which one is you? Rookie mistake. Left.
44. Is this a picture of you, um, peeing in an alley? I think it is. I think this is a picture of you peeing in an alley. Left.
45. “Live. Laugh. Love.” Left.
46. This picture has overlaid text. I don’t even read it. Left.
47. Two girls in the front picture. I go further and… nope, not the cute one. Why is it never the cute one? Left.
48. 20-year-old. Left.
49. Pic is against a greenscreen. She is smiling widely, holding a baguette. I can’t not right.
50. Ah, finally, the appearance of the “look-up-and-to-the-side-while-taking-a-selfie” girl. She has three variations on this photographic theme. What a way to cap it off. Left.
The Final Tally: 8 to the right, 42 to the left.
Did I do this right? I have no idea. Was it fun? I would more easily describe it as “harrowing.” Will I continue to use it? Well, maybe just a couple more.
Aaron and Josh are two guy friends who have a podcast in which they try to answer questions about dating, romance, relationships, sex, and the vagueries of human interaction. (“If you’re not a straight cismale, then we (may) have the answers you’re searching for.”) They’ll be writing a weekly post on The Date Report expanding on some of the topics covered in their weekly podcast.