Originally, my idea was to experiment with the social networking app Tinder for 48 hours.
However, it took less than four hours for me to be absolutely grossed out with the state of the Tinder-verse, and I had to power through to even make it to 24.
Just the thought of opening the app and seeing the little orange dot informing me of a new message makes my stomach churn the same way it did when I had the stomach flu last winter and wanted to die a horrible, horrible death on the bathroom floor.
(For anyone wondering, I was straightforward with my reason for being on Tinder — RESEARCH! — I never lied about being married and didn’t agree to anything shady or questionable. I made sure to keep the most memorable candidates forever immortalized with screenshots to share with my husband later and trust me, it was a genuine bonding experience.)
My only knowledge of Tinder pre-experiment was the occasional screenshot from single friends on Facebook. I knew it had a sort of “hot or not” element when it came to swiping right or left, and I also had a vague understanding that the app was meant for those looking for a casual hookup.
Keeping those things in mind, my guard was already up, and I felt a bit like livestock headed into auction: Would I sell? Would I attract quality farmers? I took a deep breath and signed up.
At first, it was fun reading through each profile and judging each candidate on what matters to me now at 32: a work ethic, a sense of humor, and proper grammar. Rather than what would have mattered 14 years ago: world travels, nice clothes, and expensive cars.
(Oh, I should also mention that I’m a professional photographer and after sorting through a dozen profiles, I wanted to sit a majority of these boys down and have a serious talk with them about camera angles, lighting, and what’s “appropriate” for an online dating profile. Hint: Wearing a black mask while sitting in a cemetery is not.)
Another observation: The number of guys shooting guns and/or holding up dead animal carcasses was crazy. Perhaps this is a Midwestern Tinder phenomenon? There was also a consistent theme of craft beer, dogs, and guitars. Perhaps for every mask-wearing, carcass-holding guy on Tinder, there’s a mask-wearing, carcass-holding girl just waiting for him. Who knows?
There was also an abnormal amount of men who were very upfront about why they were on Tinder, yet advertised themselves with photos of their kids, which … eww? Get thee to Ashley Madison, fellas.
After about 10 minutes, I finally decided to right swipe a guy who wasn’t my type physically but seemed to have his wits about him through his 400-word bio, which suggested education and mindfulness. Moments later, my screen darkened and announced, “It’s a match!”
Instinctively, I felt excited because he thought I was cute! But at the same time, I knew this meant my research was about to get serious.
My first match, we’ll call him Charles, seemed to be the gentlemen I had expected. He had just moved to Indianapolis from St. Louis and was hoping to find a few locals to show him around and maybe make a little love connection down the line.
I told him why I was on Tinder and that I was hoping to pack in as much digital adventure as possible in my 48 hours. We messaged back and forth about the best local pizza and what we’d both like to be doing in ten years. I wished him luck in his search and he responded with, “I finally find someone who can carry on a conversation through Tinder and they’re going to disappear in 24 hours.” Sorry Charles, I was never in it for the long haul.
My next few matches weren’t as great. Either their grammar was terrible, they were forceful in demanding responses (or my phone number), or there was absolutely no originality in our very brief conversations (“Hey gurl, wut u doin?”). One messaged me immediately with, “On a scale from 1 to America, how free are you tomorrow night?” Umm. Moving on.
After only a few hours of Tinder membership, I decided to just go crazy and right swipe 20 photos in a row without regard to their profile information — all in the name of research, of course.
I matched with 15 of them and three of them messaged me immediately, saying I was their first-ever match. Cue the guilt.
I started to wonder if Tinder sets up newbies with newbies and keeps the more, ahem, “experienced” Tinderfolk farther back in their archives. Needless to say, I didn’t try the 20 in a row right swipe experiment again. Instead, I small-talked with the matches I made until I realized how much I hate small talk.
I remembered one of the reasons I like being married is because I don’t have to do that crap anymore. By the end of day one, I was practically on my knees thanking the good Lord that I don’t have to date in this digital age because it would probably kill me.
Related Stories From YourTango:
So what did I learn from my 24 hours on Tinder?
There are plenty of guys out there to date. However, the quality — much like dairy products — varies greatly. It was worth taking a chance on a few gentlemen who came across as well-spoken even though they weren’t the right match physically.
I learned that guys lie about their age (or just age horribly, I can’t tell) and that the guys who dress and look like my high school boyfriend still act just like my high school boyfriend. In 24 hours I had four offers for casual hook-ups, three requests for my phone number, and one really strange conversation that revolved around a guy owning only one set of bedsheets. Thankfully, no dick pics.
Once I felt I had gained an adequate amount of Tinder experience, I happily deleted my account, apologized to my single friends for what they had to go through, and snuggled up to my hunky husband of 13 years — grateful we were able to meet in a mall, rather than through a screen. Because 13 years ago, I would’ve swiped left on him.
Casey Mullins is a professional photographer and writer who covers love, sex, and relationships. Follow her on Instagram for more.