Tinder: My New Obsession

Three days ago I broke down and downloaded Tinder. Already, I’m on the way to addiction. I can feel it, and I’ll confess that I’m scared.

Dating app Tinder has made 1 billion matches and counting. It’s soared to unbelievable popularity and become the fastest-rising digital dating product around.

I can sort of understand why.

Three days ago I broke down and downloaded the application to my iPhone. I guess I figured, “It’s free, I’m off OkCupid, why not?” Already, I’m on the way to addiction. I can feel it, and I’ll confess that I’m scared. The “crack” has entered my bloodstream, and I want more. Now.

Previously in my dating adventures I’ve used Match and—though I don’t feel that I get much traction on it—I have the Hinge app on my phone. Clearly I’ve also employed OkCupid as a matchmaking source. And numerous friends are on eHarmony.

None of them come close to Tinder when it comes to getting hooked fast (and, I guess hooking up fast, although  I haven’t tapped into this possibility). On shows about online dating I’ve heard men talk about how often they use apps, how they pull out their phone and check profiles obsessively whenever they have a free moment. At this moment, I sort of get it.

So why is Tinder that much more addictive?

Easy upload: Literally, once I had upgraded my iPhone to iOS7, something I had been holding off and needed to do anyway, I was able to get on Tinder and get perusing in about two minutes. The app’s connected to Facebook so it was a matter of logging in and granting them permission. Then I picked five of my more normal profile pictures (because guys didn’t need to see pig-tailed 5-year-old me from a Throwback Thursday when I decided to go old school).

Little to read: Profiles are not even really profiles. Let’s face it. I think the default message that came up for me was the “About me” from my Facebook profile that I created years ago early in my tenure. Here’s a portion of what mine says. I decided not to mess with it. It made me laugh when I wrote it and it captures my quirkiness:

Who am I? Roughly , the breakdown is: 10 percent laughter, 8 percent chocolate bars, 15 percent sarcasm, 20 percent dance party, 9 percent wordsmith and 38 percent Rocky fan. … As long as I’m laughing, moving, learning, I’m a happy enthusiastic chick.

Some people say less. One guy simply quoted, “Pressure makes diamonds.” Another declared, “Let’s get some dranx and do some dirty dancin’.” In other words, it’s not someone’s statement of life purpose. It can be superficial or trivial or silly. But it’s quick, and you get a sense of the person in a hurry.

Chat, not messages rule: This is an important distinction. Even on Hinge, which is an app and was changed a few months ago so that all communication is within the application, I never find myself talking to someone in real-time. So a message becomes an email that I get back to when I can. With Tinder, most of the time someone’s sent me a greeting it’s turned into a chat. Part of this may be how good of a job Tinder does at telling me that something has happened. The notifcation is instant. A conversation over an email back and forth is huge. When you go back and forth it takes on more of the banter of a conversation and you can get a sense of someone’s sense of humor and whether you click.

A seemingly endless supply of photos: Some dating sites provide users a set number of “matches” per day. As far as I can tell I can scroll through and see 100 men in a day on Tinder if my heart desired. It’s “scroll left” for no and “scroll right” for yes. Because there’s no cap on how many times I can carry out this process it’s easy to whip out my phone at every free second (in line waiting for coffee, stuck on a sentence to write) and evaluate three more potential suitors.

So, how have I done so far?

•     Tinder, in quantifying that it’s made 1 billion matches, really means this: 1 billion times, a man has indicated that he’s liked a woman’s profile and she, too, has liked his. This is not to say that there are 1 billion users out there or that 1 billion dates have been set.

•     With that phrasing applied to me, I’ve had 41 matches in my first 3 days. And I’ve carried on chats via Tinder with 7 of the guys who matched with me.

•     The standout opening line to me so far has been: “You seem like the kind of girl whose last words are gonna be, ‘Hold my beer, watch this.’” (I’m still unsure if this is a diss, compliment or both.)

•     The longest conversation I’ve had on Tinder has been on and off for the better part of a day and filled with a healthy dose of sarcasm and teasing. At one point in our chat, I asked whether this man is more of a laugher or a serious gent. “I laugh. It’s part of my charm and bedside manner,” he answered back. Uh-oh, I thought. “Does that mean you’re a doctor or a player?” I typed back. Turns out he’s a physician, and I let it slide.

For now.