The guilt behind every swipe – How Tinder has turned me into a judgmental asshole

By Kai Teo

Having survived the past 4 years without a smartphone, my rebellion against modern technology came to an abrupt end when I inherited my dad’s iPhone. Gone are the days of “wait till I get home and I’ll add you on Facebook”, hand-drawn maps, notebooks, disposable cameras, and pressing 3 times on the “2” button just to type a “C”.

Now I have everything in one device, including sex.

Tinder, the app that has taken online dating to the mainstream. The once-taboo middle-aged-man-masturbating-to-pixellated-porn-and-crying-to-himself act of internet stalking has undergone a facelift, found a new packaging, and got simplified to a point where you can now decide who you want in your bed with just your single, almighty thumb.

I mean, whether it actually happens or not, depends on whether the other person wants the same thing. So in other words, you can go trigger happy and binge-like your lonely Friday evening away and hope for the best. But of course, Tinder’s quite smart about it, because they’ve actually limited the number of likes you can give per day.

“It’s the last time I can swipe right today, so I’ll save it for someone special.”

So I’m male, 29, interested in women… let’s set the distance to 24 km, just so that if I get to meet someone, I don’t have to cross the ocean to get to another country. Age… hmm… 18’s too scary, this is the generation that grew up listening to Justin Bieber. Ok let’s set it to 23 then. 23 year olds might be a little more secure about themselves, they wouldn’t be living with their parents, maybe they have a job so I don’t have to buy all the drinks if we go out… Ok, 23 then. The upper limit? Let’s not go overboard here, 40 is alright. I don’t think I’d want to meet someone as old as my Mom. That’s kinda weird.

Right? You instantly immerse yourself into this whole thing of hardcore judging. On Tinder, since it’s all about “My pussy, my rules”, we all become extremely judgmental, and it’s all ok since everyone’s doing it too.

Now, on to my profile. I wanna show that I’m kinda hot, fun-loving, am a hippie, am smart, and have friends (which I actually am). So I carefully pick out these pictures to portray the exact image I want to present to the Tinder universe. Oh shit, I’m holding a beer in every picture. Better change that, they might think I’m slightly alcoholic (first lie, I actually am slightly alcoholic). Right, yes this picture’s good. My friend has dreadlocks and we’re at a psytrance festival. Cool. The hippie part is settled.

Personal description’s easy. Go all-out love-revolution cliché shit and scare the uptight people away. “Drop acid, not bombs. Make love, not war.” Yes. Gotta be a little open with my occasional substance use, don’t like people who don’t like people who consume weird plants and chemicals once in a while. I mean, if the world is ok with eating Pringles and drinking Coca Cola, I don’t see why I can’t put a piece of acid-laced cardboard into my mouth.

The wine box though, is a bit of a giveaway.

The wine box though, is a bit of a giveaway.

And “save”, now I’m officially in the market.

Ok here goes, profile number one.

Duckface selfie with heavy makeup, 25, no description of herself. Other 4 pictures, all selfies. Very pretty.

What the fuck? Based on this, I have to decide whether I am into her or not? How the fuck would I know whether this person’s interesting or creepy? She might know how to juggle and play the hang drum, just that she doesn’t show it here. Oh wait, there are 50 more people I can choose from. So now I just have to assume that this is the best way this person knows how to present herself, which is kinda shit. 

Ok, so if all her pictures are selfies, it probably means she has carefully crafted her photos and looks good only from one angle. And she wears these tight cocktail dresses, drinks from a champagne glass, which means she probably goes to those “rich people” establishments that play Avicii bullshit.

Left. Next.

Another selfie person, blond, heavy makeup, tight cocktail dresses, 28. Description: 183 cm.

Right, so you’re assuming that your height says a lot about you. Interesting. You’re either not interested in meeting men who are shorter than you, or you’re giving a warning to the insecure men who might find it a problem when their date is taller than them. Both ways, it’s not cool. Oh, this one has pictures of her in a club. Oh, THAT club. The Avicii people. Well, at least she has friends. But no. Swipe left.

Next. Ooo…. Tattoos, septum piercing, 29. Description: Cat lover, coffee lover, beer lover, great lover.

Her other pictures include 1. Her behind a DJ console. This means that she either is a DJ, or knows the DJ so she gets to stand behind the console. Either way, I like that. 2. Her cat and her sharing popcorn in a couch. I like popcorn and couches, and sometimes cats. Yes. 3. Her dressing up as a giant bloody tampon. Confident, unafraid to look fucking stupid, probably goes to cool techno parties. 4. House party, dancing on the kitchen sink. Yes yes yes! Swipe me the right way too baby.

It's beer in every picture. Can't deny my love.

It's beer in every picture. Can't deny my love.

Next. Gym selfie. Smartphone in one hand, pink dumbbell in another. 30. Description: Gym fanatic, interested in sports and living life to the fullest.

Two more gym selfies showing off her toned ass. One photo at a club with her plunging neckline and impressive cleavage. One yoga pose photo. So she probably spends more time at the gym taking selfies than actually working out. And since when did working out become a passion? It’s a fucking chore. I’ve sworn off going to gyms, and I’m not sure if a gym date would work out (haha, punny) very well. Nope.

No picture. 33. No description.

Too much of a mystery. I’d leave you to Sherlock. Well, you might be here to check out if your husband or boyfriend is cheating on you. I’m sorry that your supposedly monogamous, committed relationship has come to that state. Next.

Half a face. Purple hair. Blue eyes. 29. Description: Vegan, feminist, left-wing. If you don’t like my attitude, you can fuck out.

That escalated quickly, love. Well, she’s really pretty, and she looks like she buys her clothes from 2nd hand stores. You know, the standard hipster fashion – high waist denim shorts, torn leggings, tattoo of a bird on her arm, shaved on one side of her hair, cigarette in one hand, beer can in another. 

I mean, I guess it’s great that you care about the right issues, but writing these keywords down does not automatically make you a good person. First and foremost, political systems have all failed us, I believe that we should transcend politics in our everyday life and strive for better, nature-driven systems that actually take into consideration the continued survival, freedom, and happiness of all species on the planet, but yes, vote left to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Next, why would it matter if you were vegan? Unless you don’t like people who aren’t vegan. Well then, you must hate me because I eat butter sometimes. And feminist. Again, I would like to assume that the people that I like and the people that like me are good people, and good people, naturally, are feminist, anti-racist, anti-all-discrimination. So by telling me that you’re a feminist, should I then infer that you’re a good person? Well, you told me to fuck out, whatever that means. So I shall. Next.

Silhouette of a well-toned woman on a tropical beach overlooking the sunset.  32. Description: Wanderlust

Other pictures include her diving off a cliff, diving from a plane, diving in the sea, and seemingly diving into snow. Hmm… so you’re really into doing stuff that is stereotypically considered to be fun and adventurous. I guess that’s what you’re trying to say. Well really, it’s not about what you do, I kinda would like to know if, as a person, is your mind, your soul, and your everyday being, adventurous and open? I’m can’t tell really. My idea of being adventurous is a little different from yours I guess. Riding a bike in India to some small village and accepting a local family’s invitation to have a chapati dinner with them is cool. All forms of diving? Not for me. Next.

Woman holding a hunting rifle. 30.

Shoot me. Next.

Splashed with neon paint all over, bindi on forehead, dreadlocks, background looks like India. 26. Description: Peace, love, unity, respect. Loves fried onion rings. Face painter.

You are welcome home to my hippie palace any day. Swipe right.

And the list goes on. Many that I’ve come across kinda subscribe to the whole duckface selfie stereotype and well, I’m pretty sure many “look at my abs” bathroom-mirror-selfie with a backwards cap kinda guy would go for that. So there’s a match for everyone. Woohoo! 

But really, when I meet people on the streets, judging them doesn’t come that quickly. I have to at least wait for them to say something stupid. Well, ok not true, if you carry a Louis Vuitton bag, I’ve already condemned you to the pits of eternal damnation in my head. But that’s me, I’m a bad person. And Tinder has made me feel worse because I don’t even need to face these people and can laugh at their profiles with my friends in a pub that’s not posh enough for duckface selfie women to step into.

“You have a match!” Oh yes, it’s the hippie girl. Gtg everyone. (insert random emoji) 

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Kai TeoComment