If you are/were single in college in the past few years, you have probably had some sort of interaction with dating/hook-up apps; I have personally tried more of them than I'd care to admit. One particular app that I always seem to go back to is Tinder, not for the shirtless pictures or crude invitations to hook-up, but because I have actually met some interesting people on the app and I have learned from them in different ways.
Recently I met someone on Tinder who was exactly the kind of guy I'd been describing to my friends for years as my perfect guy. This guy, let's call him "Ralph", and I talked for almost a week on Tinder, via text, and even on the phone (insanity, I know) before deciding to meet for a date. We agreed to a coffee date in a public place (safety always) to keep things relaxed and casual.
Ralph is attractive, athletic, smart, geeky, and extremely disciplined, he is a catch, he is the guy my parents would love for me to date, but he isn't my catch. We talked for hours in the coffee shop, I sipped decaf and he drank hot chocolate, about the things we are interested in and our families and what we want to be when we grow up and it was nice. What I realized as we sat there though, was something I wasn't expecting; I realized that this "perfect guy", my idea of a perfect guy for myself was wrong.
Ralph is a great guy, but he is a structured and disciplined person while I am random and like to push the lines a little every now and then. I know that opposites attract, but sometimes when two people have such different lifestyles they can't make it work. I appreciated that he is smart and structured and disciplined, he is the guy that going places and doing things whilst staying firmly within the lines; I felt like I wouldn't be able to fit the mold of his life, though, and frankly I don't want to give up my wild-card nature just yet.
I suppose I do know that Tinder is not the place to find true love, but I also know that I have learned about what I am looking for from Tinder and I have met people who have challenged me even if just for a few days. I won't endorse or criticize Tinder as a dating/hook-up app because while it was the method I used to find these interesting people, it didn't manufacture the experiences and conversations I had with them.