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Not “DTF”: My Experience with the Misunderstood Underbelly of Tinder

My time on Tinder was a blend of good conversation and detached amusement. 

Not 'DTF': My Experience with the Misunderstood Underbelly of Tinder

Dating apps. We judge them and those who use them. Not all of us do this, yes, but there’s no denying that we all know at least one couple who met on Tinder or a similar dating app. This couple only tells the true story of their meet-cute to select friends, regaling a different, less scandalous story to the rest of the world. Why? Because they’re afraid of the judgment that comes with meeting your soulmate on an app that’s earned a nefarious reputation for being a cesspool of unoriginal pickup lines and dick pics.

I first joined Tinder nearly a year ago. Since then, I’ve deleted and downloaded the app several times, never keeping it on my phone for more than a few weeks. To know why I do this, you need to know why I downloaded the app. I’m hilariously single. But since I’m a 20-year-old who has been juggling a full-time job and my college education for the past two years, I don’t consider dating a priority. That’s my personal preference. But after much convincing on my friends’ part and sheer, unadulterated curiosity, I downloaded the app. Contrary to popular belief, Tinder is not a 100% sex hub full of horny millennials trying to steal your virtue and decimate your innocence.

My first few days on the app involved coming across a lot of acquaintances that I hadn’t seen or spoken to in a while. I never right swiped on those profiles. There was a lot of left swiping happening, that eventually left a sour taste in my mouth. There’s just something icky about rejecting so many potential matches lined up like that, knowing that every picture and profile description is meant to make these people more attractive to you. The people I did match with were a different story. See, I think your experience on a dating app like Tinder depends on how you select a potential partner, sexual or otherwise. Many of my matches and I had great conversation. I made — not quite friends — but friendly acquaintances that I’m in touch with even after months today. I did swipe right on a couple of fuckboys here and there that bestowed upon me the gratingly cheesy pickup lines I’d heard so much about. There were even a few fuckboys masked under the guise of pseudo-intelligentsia and the tag “sapiosexual.” But this was all on me. I’d right swiped them. These couple of sour lemons wouldn’t ruin the friendship train I’d found on Tinder.

Now, let me make something clear. I didn’t go on Tinder with the intention of finding friendly acquaintances. All I knew was that I was going to keep an open mind and that I wasn’t DTF (“Down To Fuck”). Sadly, I didn’t meet the love of my life on Tinder. But I did meet a lot of interesting people and had a few good laughs with my girlfriends over some of the ridiculous text conversations. It almost made me wish I was the kind of person who could invest time and energy into any one of these wonderful people. Unfortunately, I’m not that person — which is why I ended up deleting the app whenever I grew bored of it. But these little friendships and conversations I’d enjoyed were very, very far from all the negative things I’d heard about the app. Nothing I experienced on the portal was even close to being something I would describe as a “horrible” experience. Yes, there were some silly pickup lines and some uninformed/ignorant jokes, but nothing to make me want to run for the hills.

At the end of the day, I don’t believe that Tinder is an abyss of penises and vaginas looking to get laid. It’s not the millennial abomination older generations make it out to be, using it as an example to define the frivolity of relationships today. And it isn’t Shaadi.com, where you will apparently find your soulmate — although, that’s not unheard of. It’s a place full of humans, like yourself, looking for different types of human connection. So, I’d highly recommend this app to everyone. Give it a chance. Have a little fun. Meet new people. Ultimately, all we can ever hope for is connection, and Tinder is a great portal for that.

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