Two months ago, I would never have imagined myself in a relationship. Sure, I was always talking to someone, or at least swiping through Tinder. But dating — absolutely not.
I had three priorities: school, partying and friends.
This changed when I met Alex ... on Tinder. Now before you crack some stupid joke, Tinder for the gay community is very different than it is for the straight community. It connects people who otherwise would never cross paths. Think about it, there are only so many gay people.
Through Tinder, I met my incredible boyfriend. And the fact of the matter is, if it weren’t for the taboo dating app, we never would have met at all.
Since the dawn of online dating, apps like Tinder and PlentyOfFish get unnecessary crap. Many argue “they are just for hookups” or “you’ll never meet the one.” But so what if I use Tinder for a hookup? It is no different than hitting up the bars in search of a fun night. There’s something cleaner about it. It has more intent — oh, and less alcohol.
Now, dating apps are saturated with those searching hookups. But they also connect people with similar interests, aspirations and motivations. Anything that works to bring people together should be celebrated, not stigmatized.
Stigmas. They suck. We hear the word “Tinder” and automatically assume the worst. We remember the mistakes, not the successes. This is silly and absolutely has to change.
As with anything, there are positive and negatives. And one of the biggest mistakes people make is letting the latter outweigh the prior. It shouldn’t matter how many Tinder horror stories you have heard. It shouldn’t matter how many dumb dates you have been on. What matters is that you see the glass as it is: half-full. If I had given up on Tinder after my first date, my boyfriend and I never would have met at all.
It upsets me when people are embarrassed of their Tinder profile. Who cares if you have one? We need to remember: The only opinion that matters is our own.
I remember one friend in particular who hid the Tinder app on her phone. Not only did she make a secret folder, but she filled it so that Tinder was on its own page. I kept probing her. “Why do you care if people see?” I would ask. Her response, “It just makes me feel dirty.”
Dirty? Dating apps are only as dirty as you see them to be. For those who view Tinder as a quick way to hookup, perhaps it is dirty. But for my dear friend who, out of loneliness and self-consciousness, downloaded the app in hope, Tinder is not dirty. It is a confidence boost. It is a network of unique individuals seeking companionship. And it is a self-defined space where we should be able to go without fear of judgment.
The fact of the matter is: People meet on dating apps. And in a world full of social media, this is never going to change. Perhaps in 20 years, everyone will meet online. We need to cease judgment and refuse to feel guilty. There is nothing wrong with meeting online.
So far all my Tinderers out there, move the app to your homepage. Take pride in the fact that you are looking to connect. And whether it is to hookup or settle down, don’t feel embarrassed.
Alex and I talked about answering the question, “How did you meet?” Sure, we considered telling a white lie, but decided to tell the truth. Now, I answer the question with confidence- something we all need to do.
I met my person on Tinder. Who says you can’t too?