I was going to title this post “This Is What Happened When I Met A Tinder IRL” discussing about the time I unintentionally met a Tinder boy in real life a few days ago. The encounter was awkward, as expected, but the awkwardness seemed unwarranted for.
He sat at a table at the bar with a few of my friends. We had a brief conversation via Tinder only a few hours before, discussing our plans for the night. We both told each other our plans to go to the bar although I had no intention of actually meeting up with him.
“This is Brendan,” my friend said. He reached out his hand to shake mine. I looked up from the floor and my eyes met with his. Well, this is awkward, I immediately thought to myself. We both recognized each other and it was fairly obvious by the smirks we were desperately trying to hide, but neither one of us said a word about it. “It’s nice to meet you,” I said. I took my friends arm and headed to the bathroom, immediately blurting out, “OMG we just talked on Tinder 2 hours ago.” She laughed asked if I was going to mention it to him and I replied, “No way.”
Why do we Tinder? It’s fun, mindless, and an instant confidence boost, right? Sure. But, is that really why? Generation Y has given up on the idea of meeting the love of our lives in a coffee shop or randomly on the street. We have given up on the hopes of a fairytale romance, often blaming it on the fact that chivalry seems to be an antiquated piece of the past. It’s an idea that we often fantasize about, but it’s become taboo to approach a stranger at a coffee shop and call her beautiful. It’s become labeled as “creepy” to ask a girl on a date before texting her for weeks prior. The code of our dating culture insists we follow set of rules and guidelines before taking a leap of faith. It’s a set of rules that we often complain about, but invest ourselves in anyways.
We won’t meet our future husbands in a coffee shop, or from a random encounter on the street. We won’t meet them by spilling the contents of their briefcase everywhere or on the beach while we are nose deep in a trashy Bella Andre romance novel. They won’t save us from oncoming traffic or start a conversation with you in a laundromat when your sexy g-string awkwardly lands in their basket.
Our fairytale starts at a bar three tequila shots deep. It starts when you have the liquid courage to flirt with him, eventually landing back at his place, desperately texting your friends in the morning for a ride home to avoid the Walk of Shame. It continues with texts back and forth, a fair share of nights up wondering how he really feels about you. It either ends with two happy hearts or one heart desperately chasing another for something that will never be.
Since chivalry has been replaced with misconstrued text messages and the fear of rejection, and we have given up on the romantic-comedy fairytale that we all fantasize about. Where does that leave us? It leaves us with an app that you can swipe right or left. An app that doesn’t require much effort but gives you the attention that you crave and desire.
Do we Tinder because we’re bored? Or do we Tinder because we are desperately searching for attention that the guy we slept with last weekend doesn’t provide? Tinder tells you that you’re pretty, it tells you that you’re worth it, even if your ex-boyfriend doesn’t think so. Tinder provides us with a glimmer of hope to meet the guy of our dreams, although the hope is often masked with our inability to accept that this may be the start of our fairytale.
“I won’t tell anyone we met on Tinder,” reads the bios of so many. However, we wear the “met drunkenly at a bar,” label with pride. We wear the “it took over 6 months of sleepovers and awkward sober encounters to actually make it official,” label with ease. But, we simply won’t tell anyone met on Tinder. That’s not supposed to be a part of our fairytale.
I’m not sure why I refused to acknowledge Brendan and I’s Tinder encounter. Perhaps I was waiting for him to make the first move. Or perhaps it was because I don’t want my fairytale to start with, “We met on Tinder.” I want my fairytale to start in a coffee shop, with a cute guy offering to buy my overly-priced cappuccino. I want my fairytale to be cute and quirky enough to be featured in the next rom-com. I want to come around a corner too quickly and accidentally bump into a 6 foot 1 dude who happens to catch my eye at the right moment. I want my fairytale to be everything my hopeless romantic-mind has cracked it up to be.
It leads me back to my original question, why do we Tinder? Why do we spend countless hours swiping back and forth only to experience awkward encounters and unanswered “do you want to grab a drink sometime” questions? Why don’t we want this app to be included in our love stories when we are giving it every reason to? It’s a reality we are desperately avoiding, but maybe it’s time to embrace it.
I want to start my love story in a coffee shop, or on the cobblestone streets of Venice. I want him to rescue me from on-coming traffic when I’m too busy picking an Instagram filter. I don’t want my love story to start with tequila and Tinder, but maybe it’s time to accepting the fact that it probably will.
Welcome to Generation Y, ladies and gents.