I joined tinder for a day and this happened

Single & ready to mingle.

Overview

Some time ago, I wrote a very interesting blog post. In it, I discussed a bit of the mess that is Nairobi’s dating scene, and I even went as far as giving some suggestions on how we can begin to untangle this city. However, it dawned on me that I haven’t actively dated in Nairobi in an inconceivably long time. So, I figured, why not have a look at what’s happening out there.

The first question I asked myself is, where do I even meet people? Most of my peers who have been in relationships met their partners either on social media, or at events. Seeing as the latter isn’t possible in a pandemic, I’d have to settle for social media. Still, I couldn’t imagine myself scrolling through my Instagram and Twitter feeds for eons in the hopes of finding a suitor, isn’t there like a site specifically for that sort of thing? Lightbulb! Enter Tinder.

What is tinder? According to Wikipedia, Tinder is a geo-social networking and online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other profiles based on their photos, a small bio, and common interests. Once two users have “matched”, they can exchange messages.

Sounds good to me, I’m ready to see what Nairobi Tinder has going on. In hindsight, I should have probably had some set goals and intentions of what I wanted to achieve from this exercise.

A bit of context, this isn’t my first time on Tinder. I’ve walked these streets before. Throughout all the times I was on Tinder however, I never had any worthwhile success. To tell you the truth, I’ve had some very unpleasant dates via tinder and I believe I even swore off the app. However, I do know a few people who did find their partners on tinder, and they are still going strong. Maybe I need to kiss a few frogs to find my prince?

In order not to overwhelm myself, I’m going to stop swiping once I match with 5 people.

Setting up my profile

After downloading the app, I create my account by inputting the info required of me. Tinder then immediately prompts me to add my ‘passions’, these are activities I enjoy. I assume they introduced this feature to make it easier to match with like minded people. The passions I pick for my profile are: blogging, grabbing a drink, travel, outdoors, and art.

The next part involves adding a picture to my profile. This is where it gets tricky for me, because the pictures you chose will ultimately have an effect on the type of people you attract. I chose a smiling selfie as my first photo, and an old picture of me hiking as my second picture (I put ‘outdoors’ as one of my passions, so I have to stay on brand). Two pictures should do it.

Now the most daunting part, writing a bio. I want to keep it cute, witty, and straight to the point. Here’s what I write: ‘Writer, artist, excellent trivia partner, & I make a presentable +1. Bonus: I’m funny sometimes’. Good enough for me.

Now that I’m all set, I can now configure my settings to specify the type of people to match with, in terms of location distance, sex, and age range.

I chose a maximum radius distance of 80 km from where I am, I want to match with men, and the age range I’m looking for is between 30-36 (oddly specific, but we move).

Swiping

The rules: swiping right means you like someone’s profile, swiping left means you don’t. If two people swipe right on each other’s profiles, congratulations, it’s a match made in Tinder heaven.

We’re off to a good start! I swipe right on the first two profiles I see. Almost fifteen minutes in, I’ve swiped on probably 50 profiles, and I stop here. I’ve already gotten well over the 5 matches I was looking for. I greatly underestimated this app. A few of my matches have messaged me.

I should mention, there were a lot of profiles I swiped left on, for a number of reasons, i.e. no pictures of themselves, inappropriate pictures, pictures of objects, no bios, or bios I don’t like. I see one bio that reads “how do you tell the difference between a male and female orange? The female ones are bitter for nothing” smh, I wish the person behind that bio could see how far back my eyes are rolling, also I underestimated the misogyny on this app. NEXT! I notice so many profiles are just clearly catfish, and nothing can convince me otherwise (it’s the way some profiles use pictures of Idris Elba claiming to be them).

Some of my matches seem nice, but I am immediately reminded why I was never able to last long on this app: my patience for small talk is knee-high to a grasshopper. Conversations on Tinder all flow the same. We’re just… talking.

Hi! Yes it’s nice to match with you too. My day is going great, how about yours? Oh nothing much today, just going out for a walk. Haha yes coffee sometime sound great… and so on and so forth, usually, conversations never make it past here. Many people also just want to cut the small talk and go straight to making plans to hook up. So I would advise, before you join this app, be sure of what it is you are looking for.

I think that instead of Tinder asking you to put your ‘passions’ on your profile, they should instead ask you to put your ‘intentions’. What exactly are you looking for on this app? A conversation? A hook up? A date? A relationship? I think that would make it even easier to find potential matches.

It’s very time consuming keeping up conversations with people, only to find out that you’re looking for two completely different outcomes, then it’s like, well if I knew that our intentions aren’t aligned, we’d have saved ourselves the trouble of even getting to know each other.

Almost an hour into creating my profile, and I’m ready to delete it. It’s all too much – texting and getting to know multiple people at the same time, explaining how my day is to multiple people at the same time, desperately trying to keep conversations going, ugh. Tinder requires time, dedication, and motivation. I only one of those things, and so clearly this exercise was bound to go up in flames. Spoiler alert, you also need to actually want to get to know people. Also, this is why I can’t date or talk to multiple people at the same time, I’m bad at texting and I play favourites.

Conclusion

Eventually, I’m off the app. I delete my profile as quickly as I created it. This was a morning interestingly spent. I’ll say this, if you’re the type of person who is looking to meet people, then go for it, but don’t be in a rush! These things take time.

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Published by mumbimacharia

Performing spoken word poet, writer, event curator, East African.

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