If you asked me yesterday what “Tinder” is, like any 65 year-old woman in the world I would have told you “No, what’s that? You mean the firewood?”.
I know very little about apps. My boss had to show me how to configure the Starbucks app, for crying out loud. $45 in gift cards and I wasn’t even getting rewards points for purchases. (Not bitter.) In my classes at Cedarville we learn about stages of adoption when it comes to a new technology. The lowest stage (and most oblivious group of consumers) are the laggards. I am an app laggard.
For all of y’all who don’t know what Tinder is I’m just going to give you this *head’s up: it’s a dating app, but not everyone uses it as a dating app. Some refer to it as a “hook-up app”, but of course it doesn’t have to be used this way. In the same way that Snapchat has been used for less moral things than sending your friends silly selfies, Tinder has been accused of being nothing less than a shady meet-up app, just a step up from Craiglist in terms of sketchiness. In my defense, I didn’t know the associations people had with Tinder until after I signed up and started clicking around. I’m not into hooking up anyways. I like “’til death do us part” too much for that.
Essentially, after you log in and allow Tinder to access your location, it provides you with a stack of potential dates a mile long. Where the ethically questionable aspect comes in is how you sort through all these potentials: that is, swiping left or right depending on how physically attractive you find their profile picture. If you find them attractive and they happen to find you attractive, then – Hooray! – you have a match. When you’re matched, you can chat with the person to your heart’s content.
I know what you’re thinking.
Just straight up wrong.
WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!
I though the same thing. For me, online dating seems like a desperate last-ditch option that I would consider only 10 years from now. But you know what they tell you about not making decisions late at night? Last night at 12:30 it seemed like a good idea to explore the land of Tinder.
I immediately started clicking through guys like I was playing a card game, feeling slightly guilty for rejecting those I chose to. A couple guys caught my interest and I built up the nerve to click “Like”. Then I feel asleep, buzzing the way I do when someone tells me they like me.
I woke up to several matches in my inbox: some guys were interested. A rush of a feeling I couldn’t place hit me. Finding out someone thinks you’re cute is incomparable. Especially if you’re like me and don’t really consider yourself anything special to look at. For the hopeless romantic, when someone likes your face it’s the first step on the steep staircase to falling in love.
I spent my ENTIRE DAY getting repeatedly distracted from my online biology coursework. Guys were messaging me and I was messaging them back. I didn’t know much about them other than their age (always between the ages of 20-25), where they were located in proximity to me, (in miles) and whatever they chose to write in their bios.
What was the most terrifying aspect of this whole experience was how content I was to do nothing all day except wait for more guys to message me.
As guys I found attractive continued to click the “Like” button on my face in return, my list of matches got longer. My pride swelled.
Guys don’t line up for me in real life. What is this alternate universe where this cool hipster guy is taking time to message me and oh my gosh now he’s telling me about his Etsy store?!?
Communication on Tinder is awkward, at least it was for me. You’re both so guarded. You don’t know them, nor they you. You don’t tell them anything personal, but you want to get to know them and learn about what their heart beats for. It just takes a stupid long time to get there.
So I surrendered my entire day to a dating app.
One guy I was talking to and I had a conversation about Tinder while using Tinder. We both had recently joined and were questioning the point of it all. Tinder is shallow. Addicting. All-consuming. A skewed means of affirmation.
“Let’s delete it,” he concluded.
I wholeheartedly agreed. I spent a lot of time this afternoon thinking about how a Christian should view something like Tinder. I even looked up Christian blogs online to see what the general population of Christians believed to be true about the app.
You know what I found?
Not even Relevant, the premium source for hipster articles on everything from movies to marriage, had something to say about Tinder.
I know Tinder carries with it an inherent amount of shame. Even admitting I used it for a day kind of stings my pride. But why does it? It’s the 21st century for crying out loud. We’re not desperate, we’re just interested. We’re just curious…right?
The issue lies in motive. For me, Tinder is a quick-fix for the burden of loneliness. It’s a grab at satisfaction from yet another shallow source that I remind myself (ever so painfully) isn’t the Bread of Life.
For me, anything is better than being alone.
“Painfully extroverted” accurately describes my situation. I cling to any friends who meet my rather high standards and look for as much face time as I can get with them. Obviously this has terrible consequences because most of the time I tend to drift more closely to guy friends than I want to and someone gets hurt along the way.
I harbor a jealousy for introverts everywhere. They make it look so easy, being alone. They can sit for hours in relative silence, pondering whatever suits their fancy. Being by themselves doesn’t cripple them: it strengthens them. They emerge from bouts of solitude fresh-faced and ready to seize the day. Not so with me.
When I’m alone, my thoughts get increasingly more morbid and terrifying. When I’m alone, my once sunny disposition takes a turn for the worse. What once was tinged with a kaleidoscope of color looks like a disgustingly bland shade of nothing. When I’m alone, I don’t recognize myself. I’m not who I want to be. Like an addict addicted to human interaction, I reach out to friends, desperately craving their attention and affection. I hate how needy I become.
After spending all day on Tinder, my head was bogged down with thoughts and the increasingly more unappealing glow of my iPhone/stealer of joy/teller of lies seemed to be never far away. I went for a walk to clear my head.
I realized that finding contentment will always be a struggle for me. It won’t end if I find a guy or if I move to Nashville permanently. So how do I solve my satisfaction problem?
I become so enamored with Christ that I don’t even think to look up and around at the junk-painted-gold littering the world around me.
I went to a Jimmy Needham show with my lovely boss Tiffany the other day. Jimmy is one of her clients, so we went for support. I’d never seen a Jimmy show before, but I had met him for the first time about a week prior and liked him immediately. Infectiously funny, effortlessly kind. His show was an immense display of talent and humility. He took a break in the middle of his set to share his testimony, which was honest and moving. Then he started talking about being satisfied in Christ,
“Satisfied people don’t sin,” he said.
Wow. That hit be between the eyes.
“Jesus stands with his arms wide and says ‘I am the BREAD OF LIFE. EAT OF ME. Be satisfied.”
At that point I realized I was crying pretty hard. Because it hit home. Desperately, I wanted Christ more than sin. I wanted to flee from sin and flee straight into His arms.
I guess sometimes God does crazy things to teach you simple lessons. Sometimes we download Tinder in the middle of the night and waste a whole day just to realize that life is fine just the way it is and singleness is a blessing for however long a season it ends up being.
I can honestly say I’ve searched and come up wanting.
I just want Jesus.
*If your reaction to the title of this blog was as violent as my friend Eddie when I told him, I’m sorry. It’s in my nature to care what you think. Immediately I feel the shame that, despite living in the 21st century, strangely comes along with using some form of untraditional dating technology. Perhaps the reaction you may or may not have just had [your curiosity dragging you to this blog…which, if that’s the case, I’ve got you exactly where I want you] upon hearing someone reference “Tinder” in public is due to the app’s connotations. I hope by writing about my experiences I’ve cleared up some confusion.
Hey here are some pictures! If you read this whole post I’m really proud of you and thankful that you care so much!