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Man Places his Tinder in his Mother's Custody for a Month

Digital Trends
As a rule, I tend avoid writing articles about other articles, but this one was too good to pass up, and it's as much a findings report on an experiment as it is an article. Before we get into that though, and in the spirit of the subject matter, I'm going to talk a little bit about my own experience with Tinder, and app-based dating in general.

My dalliance with Tinder lasted a little bit under a year, and I was using it in tandem with two other apps - Tastebuds and Bumble. Previously, my only other experience in online dating came from a brief stint on OK Cupid, which culminated in one pricey, awful date with a teaching assistant who passed her cold on to me when we kissed goodbye at the bus depot. By the time Tinder came around, a few years later, I'd forgotten why I'd ever turned my back on online dating in the first place, so I downloaded the app and started swiping.

Ostensibly, I suppose you could say the results were successful, I went on several dates off the back of it and all but one of them led to something more, but ultimately all fell apart, largely owing to a rather ironic personality mismatch. After walking away from each of these brief trifles, I felt a bit more empty inside, I felt like I'd read the first chapter or two of a book, only to find that all the other pages were blank. I felt like I had been conned.

Eventually, I deleted all my accounts, but even in the early stages the whole thing never really sat well with me. I didn't like the idea of opening up a dialogue with someone before meeting them in person, and in particular I didn't like the fact that the romantic context was constantly looming over every interaction like a bad smell. It was like talking to someone while an impatient audience looked on, whispering to each other about why I hadn't kissed her yet.

I stuck it out for as long as I did because I was convinced that this was just how things worked now. Everyone had Tinder, 'meeting people' out in the real world was an expired concept. It's not, and convincing yourself that it is just gets you stuck in a feedback loop, a feedback loop which Tinder is thriving on. The problem with that is that Tinder is so inherently shallow that actually meeting someone worthy of a long-term relationship seems virtually impossible, and if you want that, you have to get creative. Which is why GQ writer Clay Skipper put his Tinder account in his mother's hands.

In the lengthy article, he explains that his singledom at 26 (which is perfectly normal and acceptable) felt a lot worse when compared to his parents, who met in high school, and his brother and his wife, who met at 20. After his mother booked an extra Hamilton ticket for the significant other he didn't yet have, he decided to leave her in charge of his love life for a while, installed Tinder on her phone, deleted it from his, and tasked her with finding him a date.

Long story short, she eventually succeeded, after much trial and tribulation, but I won't spoil the piece any further, it's really worth a read. Ultimately, the moral of the article is that Tinder is neither a force for good, nor evil, but it denies the idea that the right person is out there somewhere, ready to take you by surprise. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy - if everyone relies on online activity to find a partner, they might stop noticing the connections they make with people out in the real world.

Online culture is very left-brained, it relies on labels, titles and concrete definitions, yet it is characteristically immaterial. Much has been made of the disparity between the way people present themselves online, and what their actual lives are like, with the suggestion being that devoting too much time and energy to making it look like everything's great is pretty unhealthy. Once again, we've been given evidence that really, the biggest threat posed by social media is our own intensifying dependence on it. If platforms like Facebook and Instagram need to be taken with a pinch of salt, Tinder and its offshoots warrant a fistful.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Man Places his Tinder in his Mother's Custody for a Month Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, April 07, 2016 Rating: 5

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