Sitting in our local coffee shop on the weekend, a good friend was talking about her recent date. He had red hair, tattoos, worked in hospitality and… “Did you meet him on Tinder?” my other friend interrupted. “Um, no, we met at a bar.’’
Sipping my soy latte, I didn’t say anything. I knew exactly what Tinder was. I was on it.
Tinder is an addictive, flirting-dating-hooking-up app that links to your Facebook page and informs you, via four profile pictures, who is single and ready to mingle nearby.
One swipe right to the green heart registers your interest. One swipe left to the red cross says "nope". Literally. If you both green heart each other it’s a “match” and conversation can begin.
Tinder is also the fastest growing dating app in the world. It has created 200 million matches worldwide since its US launch late last year, says co-founder Justin Mateen.
In an attempt to date as many guys as I could and then write about it, a la Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, I green-hearted a lot of single men.
During my excessive heart-ing and nope-ing on Tinder I noticed a trend in mens’ profiles. I call it the Ultimate Tinder Man Profile.
The UTMP will have one, or all, of these photos: his shirt off and flexing his muscles, with a pet (ideally a horse or a cute dog), surfing (or fishing or snowboarding), playing an instrument (guitar, obvs), with two babes on either side (bonus points if one is kissing his cheek), cuddling an older woman (who you assume must be his mother?), or the ultimate: at a festival, with their shirt off, drinking a beer and surrounded by scantily-clad women.
But there is more to the UTMP than his pictures. There’s the pick-up lines.
“If you were a guy, what line would you use to pick up a chick on tinder,” asked Nick, who had two surfy profile pics and one with a small child, on Monday night.
“Tinder tells me that we both like things and we should talk about them. So shall we? Haha,” Michael, who liked to wear hats and ride skateboards, wrote on Tuesday morning.
“Does this mean we’re getting married? That’s how this works, right?” Hamish mused, who had two selfie-shots and two “thoughtful gaze” pictures.
As the weekend approached and the late night drinking started, the pick-up lines became less inhibited, and more direct.
“Where do you live? Wanna get a feed?” a bearded Alex bluntly wrote on Saturday night.
“What’s up? Party?” a tanned Nicolas wrote an hour later.
“Hey you crazy son of a bee sting. Nice to kind of meet you,” James, who had wild hair and liked to kayak, wrote in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
But I must confess, even though Hamish was ready to marry me and the exotically-spelled Nicolas was ready to party, the dates did not come as quickly as the tragic pick up lines did.
Some friends have been more fortunate however. One friend now has a Boyfriend with a capital B, thanks to the red flame of Tinder.
"I joined as a bit of a laugh when I was bored with my flatmate at home,” she says. “I didn't think I would ever actually meet up with anyone. His first line was, ‘Bingo we are a match’ and yeah, still seeing each other.”
Another friend texted me from his Tinder date last night. “She’s at the bar ;)” he writes. Tonight a friend will go on her first Tinder date with a “funny bearded chap”.
But others have not been so lucky in love.
After my friend spent three weeks messaging a good looking guy, a Tinder date was arranged.
“The guy turned out to be really, really small and looked not very much like his photo,’’ she says.
“The drink itself was okay.’’ Needless to say there was no second date.
Tinder is not alone in the dating app sphere. An Australian version, “Fancied” was launched last month and already boasts ‘‘thousands’’ of Fancies, the founder Christine Sharpe says. It is essentially the same concept as Tinder, except it suggests hot spots where you can meet.
But before we shake our proverbial heads, mourning the loss of traditional dating and the degeneration of the seemingly sex-crazed Generation Y, social researcher Laura Demasi is quick to point out apps like Tinder and Fancied are purely gimmicks.
‘‘When something is new, people rush to it, it’s so damn easy,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s migrated from the gay scene which was a very niche kind of place.’’
Demasi, who is the research director of the Mind and Mood Report, puts these apps down to a ‘‘game’’ that will never replace the experience of meeting a person in the ‘‘real world’’.
‘‘Let’s talk in six months or a year and see how many are using it,’’ she says.
Until then, swipe right.