When Tinder surfaced in my first year of university and quickly became the thing to be on, I was in a relationship. A serious, committed relationship, which I had no interest in endangering by downloading what I thought was the most ridiculous app to ever exist.
Perhaps the reason I hated Tinder so was because my perfect, wonderfully committed boyfriend had Tinder. Or perhaps it was because I caught him, not once but twice using the app actively, texting other girls and agreeing to meet up with them without any mention of me. But my asshole of an ex-boyfriend is not the point here.
The point is that I was wrong about Tinder. Completely wrong. I misjudged the app itself; I misjudged the entire premise of talking to new people and meeting up with them.
Recently after I left my boyfriend, I downloaded the app for myself, just out of curiosity. I thought that since I was single now, I had every right in the world to see what this app was all about.
It was like the skies opened up and heaven came into view.
Tinder was an endless, and I do mean endless, pool of guys!
I had no idea this was even possible. Between swiping left, swiping right, reading hilariously charming and sometimes disgusting bios, Tinder was the most fun I had had in a long, long time. I remember smiling for three days straight once I downloaded it.
I had very attractive guys messaging me, striking up casual conversation, or telling me how cute I was. The attention felt amazing. Considering I was seriously neglected in my past relationship, I nearly had no idea what to do with all this attention.
The morning after I downloaded Tinder, I woke up to seven messages from seven different guys. Seven. I could hardly understand why I was receiving all of this attention when my ex-boyfriend barely gave me a kiss hello, let alone a text message.
And then it finally dawned on me. I had a realization, an epiphany if you will, due to this life changing app: I was beautiful. I was worthy of being talked to. I deserved attention. More than that, I deserved to be treated with respect.
My ex-boyfriend took away any self confidence and esteem that I had, so it may sound ridiculous that I gained back this confidence from an app.
Moving past all of the wonderful boys messaging me constantly, I started to exchange numbers with promising ones. From there, we agreed to finally meet up and go on a date.
To this day, I have had nine dates (although it seems like much more than that!). To tell the truth, two of them have worked out. Two out of nine. That’s a 22% success rate, which really is not that great whatsoever. But the point is, is that I am dating. I am talking to guys, exploring my options, and shamelessly receiving free caramel apple spices from Starbucks.
It took me a little while to realize that what I am doing is called “dating.” No, I am not in a relationship with any of these men—quite far from it, actually. But going on coffee and lunch dates casually with a bunch of different guys is called dating. In our warped, twisted perception of dating and relationships nowadays, we consider being in a relationship called “dating.” We say, “Oh, I’m dating him/her,” when we talk about our significant others. But that is far from the truth.
Even though the majority of these dates have been absolute disasters—one seriously lasted 23 minutes—I am getting really good at meeting people, flirting, holding a worthwhile conversation (sometimes), and exploring my options. I am finally figuring out what I like and what I need in a guy, and what I certainly do not like.
Before Tinder, I had never done anything like this. I’m not overly experienced with seeing guys casually. I’ve had two, technically three, serious relationships and that was it. No hook ups, no dates, nothing laid-back.
Tinder has taught me so much about the male race, dating, flirting and hooking up. But most of all, Tinder has taught me that I deserve to be treated with respect—that I’m worthy of it. I only hope that anyone using this app has the same lesson taught to them—if they don’t already know it. Thank you, Tinder, for teaching me that I deserve to be treated like a human being.