How many Tinder success stories have you heard? And no, not just of the "Met on Tinder, got married" variety. How many stories have you heard of Tinder dates that went really well; how many people have regaled you with tales of hilarious chats they've had with "this guy I met on Tinder"?
Now, take that figure – and compare it to the number of stories you've heard of Tinder dates that went badly; of messages that went unanswered; of matches that came to nothing or witty ripostes that were (apparently) too witty, because they resulted in a swift unmatching and radio silence.
If online dating is the modern equivalent of meeting someone in the pub, Tinder is the 2016 equivalent of picking a woman off a supermarket shelf just full of women just like her. Have you read Louise O'Neill's Only Ever Yours? If not, let me break it down for you: it's about a dystopian future in which women are made, not bred, to serve three purposes: wife, whore and teacher. The men (of course, the men) get to choose which is which.
Women join Tinder because they're sick of going to the pub, where men are drunk and conversation is shit, and they're ready to meet a sound guy who might, y'know, actually have something to say for themselves. Men join Tinder because, well, they can – and they might just get laid in the process.
These are generalisations, of course – not to mention lazy stereotypes, but stereotypes aren't based on thin air, and a lot of these "facts" have their roots in a culture that raises women to want monogamy, stability and romance; and men, to want machismo, conquests and sexual prowess.
When you combine that with an app that allows you to choose possible dates based a few photographs and a couple of lines of text, what do you get? A whole swathe of Irish men who think that women are "selected" from a line of available faces – and that, if the first date isn't absolutely mindblowing, sure, you can always just go again!
As a result, Tinder has become a battleground, where women vie for male attention and sand off their rough edges, on the off-chance that they might turn off prospective suitors. Examples of things women say, while in the early stages include...
- "You can't be too funny on Tinder – men don't like funny women."
- "Hmmm... I think that was probably too sarcastic. He'll just think you're a bitch now."
- "Don't tell him you're an engineer; just be really vague."
So what's the answer? If almost everyone in Ireland is on Tinder now, is it just a case of, "if you're not in...?" or is there hope yet to meet people the old-fashioned way?
Who the fuck knows – but one thing's for sure: those Tinder success stories? They're the exceptions. And for every love match found on Tinder, you can be sure that he's selected and discarded at least 20 women before her, waiting for the one that was juuuuuuust right*.
* Not too funny / clever; good smile; doesn't describe herself as "curvy" or "funny"; conservative emoji use.