Tinder is making me hideously depressed

By James Branson

NOT TOO LONG AGO I BROKE UP WITH MY PARTNER, which – obviously – sucks.

Then, like anybody with a pulse and access to the App Store, I immediately downloaded Tinder, after having installed it and deleted it already several times in the past.

I didn’t get back on Tinder’s sushi-train of humanity with any real intention of seeing anybody, and if history is any guide it will take me several years and two or three addictions to get over the relationship that’s just ended.

But I just wanted to see the lay of the land, so to speak. Who’s out there? What are my chances? What’s my chat game like? Is everybody taken and will I spend the rest of my life simultaneously crying and jerking off?

Well, to anyone looking to brighten their day I say this: stay the hell away from Tinder.

A friend said it best when I told her what I was up to: “Dude yuck, don’t do tinder, it’s like hanging out in Kmart when you’re trying to restore your faith in humanity. It ain’t happening”.

I must have swiped past hundreds, maybe thousands of women over the past two days. Each with full lives – troubles, joys, kinks, jobs, highs, achievements and struggles.

And I have given every single one of those people about half a second’s thought before swiping left or right.

After playing a man dressed as a woman in the film Tootsie, Dustin Hoffman broke down during an interview when he contemplated the hundreds of women whom he never gave more than a second of his time to because they didn’t fit within his own, very narrow, definition of beauty. “There are too many interesting women I’ve not had the experience to know… because I have been brainwashed,” he said.

THAT’S WHERE I’M AT NOW because I’ve just reduced hundreds of real-life people to mere digitised objects, swiping left and right based on one single photo, rarely giving more than two seconds to each, and only occasionally bothering to read their profiles (which only makes me feel even worse – my favourite profile line so far has been “gag reflex as absent as my father… whoever he is”).

And you know what? Hundreds of men and women (I do both sexes, more options, yay for me) have done the same thing to me. It’s utterly dehumanising. In fact, this is exactly what using tinder reduces us to:

I laughed when I saw this video – an installation called Tender, by students at Leiden University in the Netherland.

BUT THE MORE I THINK ABOUT IT, the more I realise it’s a work of art that perfectly encapsulates what tinder reduces us to – bits of meat, without any human characteristics beyond physical beauty.

Sure, we chat – sometimes. But that’s just a facade, I game we’re playing that enables us to paper over the fact that we’re only there to use each other’s bodies.

Any honest tinder conversation should go like this: Should we fuck? Y/N?

Which, I’m aware, makes me sound like one of those awful guys whose profile picture has them shirtless, showing off their abs and wearing a fedora.

But I’m not. I try to connect. When I chat, I’m funny, witty, I’m able to engage and I’m somewhat charming.

But in the back of my mind, I’m still thinking “so are we gonna fuck or what?”

And it’s making me hideously depressed.

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