The men of Tinder and reasons I swipe to the left (to the left).
Oh God. Tinder. I'd heard people talking about it for months - before I even had an iPhone - and it sounded horrible! A dating app that forces you to make a snap judgment about a person based on a few pics alone? Gah! That seemed like a terrifying exercise in cruelty, one that I was glad I was avoiding. I'm such a hippie dippie dork and I'm not really into guys for their "hotness," so I'd decided before trying it that Tinder was definitely not for me.
Then I got an iPhone. And I still didn't download the app, though I did start to think about it. Maybe it wouldn't be that bad, I thought. Friends were using it and having fun with it, going on dates they were actually excited about. Men and women alike seemed to be pretty into it, so when my friend grabbed my iPhone and downloaded Tinder for me out of exasperation, I figured I should go for it. (Because #YOLO. You Only Love Once. All the rest is online dating.)
"You just give them an X or a <3?," I asked her as we started to look through my digital dating prospects. "You can't save them for later and anguish over your decision? There's no 'I sort of like you but I'm not sure' button? YOU HAVE TO HEARTLESSLY REJECT SOMEONE'S FACE?!" Yes, she said. You have to heartlessly reject someone's face - OR - click that tiny heart if you think they're cute and you might be a match. "Can they see if you swipe right?," I worried, as we swiftly sifted through their pics like headshots at an open call audition to decide who would make the cut. "No," she said. "Only if they like you, too. Just do it."
The first one who popped up was a really muscular guy with a sweet smile, I rated him with a heart. That is not the kind of guy I normally connect with, but there was something about him I liked. HOLY SHIT HE LIKED ME TOO! The Tinder screen bounced with that crossing circles graphic they use to let you know it's a match, and I was instantly hooked. There was only one problem, though: I hated swiping left.
I am not a huge fan of receiving rejection, and I don't like to dole it out, either. It's hard to say no in such a harsh way to a vulnerable person's inner-self without feeling mean (and wracked with guilt). Even if they don't know it! I think there should be a way to acknowledge the humanity of the person behind the photo before you just toss them into the burning fire pit that is the Tinder "no" pile. I've started thinking of 'swiping left' as a means of tossing a fish back out to the sea to simply find a more appropriate mate, rather than some kind of cold, hard denouncement. I sometimes like to say why I am moving beyond someone in the Tinder stack out loud (to myself) to cast a sort of blessing on their journey toward love and divine contentment. Here are some examples of the prayers I have bestowed upon my fellow online love-seekers as I gently caressed their faces, like Beyonce, to the left. Captions above, photos below:
I love that we're the same age and I am definitely feeling your sunglasses/tousled man locks, but I think you probably require a manic pixie dream girl in order to feel masculine and I'm not willing to sublimate my butchy nature to try to make this work Plus you look *A LOT* like one of my gay friends and that's gonna make me feel weird. Not that you "look gay," cuz that's not even a thing, tho maybe it is because I think I "look gay," so people probably would be confused if they saw us walking hand-in-hand. But that's fine - this isn't about other people. This is about us, tender tinder. I want to say, before goodbye, that I recognize the painful look of longing/hangover on your face that you're hiding behind those lenses as the hangover in my heart. Namaste!
First, I want to acknowledge your sweet face The goat in your beard and the mustang on your shirt tell me you are a loving free spirit. I don't really like hard rock, though, and I feel like I might have trouble appreciating your empty beer can collection in the way you deserve. Farewell, warrior prince! Ride on!
Oh beloved I am not ready for a package deal. I know you love your brother but this is all too much for me with the intense sunshine and the exuberant tongue play. Clearly you're a blast when there's alcohol to be consumed on the beach, but I feel that we would likely fight over my periodic need to reconnect sonically with Ani Difranco. p.s. - Which one are you?
Yes, moon friend, yes I feel your soul. It's like I know you immediately and intimately. I understand what it's like to be a pale man in a tan world, and you're right: it isn't fair. But you're obviously successful because you're wearing a medal/festival badge, and I celebrate your commitment to both art and craft, film festival curator type guy. While I can't at this time say "Admit One," I will say, "See you at the movies!"
When will you learn, oh special knight, that you do not have to hide your face to make it in this weary world? You are a beautiful person from head to toe and you don't have to keep relying on your lower abdominal/upper penis area to do the heavy lifting! Suffice it to say, I admire the grace and strength in your Napoleonic hand gesture, but I may need you to keep it in your pants BE TRUE TO YOUR SPIRIT AND CONTINUE TO PRACTICE SELF-CARE!
You are an extremely handsome and soulful man, and your emotional availability is clear I am, however, not taking applications from plushies at this time, so your tiger pic is unnecessary. Thank you for the thoughtful offer, though. Best of luck to you in your search for meaning and sexual comfort. p.s. - I hope I'm not wrong about the plushie thing because if you actually own a tiger I am really missing out.