There’s a newish app out there for dating, and it has an advantage that, in my opinion, no previous app or dating site ever has before: it makes everyone feel okay about hooking up with near-strangers. I’m talking Tinder, my friends—an app that had already claimed 35 million matches back in April and recently became available for Android. The genius of this particular invention is that it offers up only the basic and most important information—essentially just photos, age and Facebook friends in common—and in doing so, eliminates the 99 million opportunities all those dating websites provide for us all to bury ourselves. That’s right: your hatred for cats, underwhelming salary and tendency to conflate “your” and “you’re” are wholly irrelevant here. But even more importantly, Tinder makes women supremely open-minded. It provides us with the one thing we value more than anything: proof that our friends like you.
Tinder is all about the immediate response. If you get a message that a girl clicked “yes” on you, this is not the time to play it cool.
Just because Tinder is the best wingman you can get doesn’t mean that it’s automatically going to work for you. In other words, even though Tinder’s on your side, you can still fuck it up. According to the Tinder-friendly ladies out there, following these Do’s and Don’ts should put you in good stead:
Keep your info basic. The only real place Tinder gives you to screw up is in the tagline, a short phrase meant to entice. This where simplicity is your friend. Guys who try to communicate what they’re looking for—or, instead of casually introducing themselves, post awkward TMI—get overlooked. “Artist*Free Spirit*Truth Seeker” is an example of a tagline that’s probably not going to earn a lot of clicks. Similarly, “deep” quotations that might be found on a high school graduation page probably won’t send anyone into a tizzy, nor will boastful lines meant to express that you’re a catch. Witty and simple are the name of the game here.
Choose your photos wisely (you only get five). This means the photo where you’re in shadows and wearing glasses and a hat needs to go. Similarly, that urge you have to show what you do for a living—which causes you to choose a photo where you’re doing stand-up comedy, futzing around with a video camera or coming out of the courtroom—is probably better off suppressed. Here’s an app that allows all of us to forget what we do for a living, so why not just show what you look like, then let us ask you what you do once we meet up?
Remember that Tinder is a game played at warp speed. With online dating sites, there’s a rhythm and a sort of cat-and-mouse dynamic in which both parties try not to look too eager or desperate. Days can pass between messages. Tinder is all about the immediate response. If you get a message that a girl you clicked “yes” on also clicked “yes” on you, this is not the time to play it cool or wait for her to reach out. Write her immediately, and if she responds right then, keep the dialogue going. If you don’t strike while the Tinder iron’s hot, she might go find a new ironing board altogether.
Avoid Google stalking. Because Tinder not only lets you know that the person you’re messaging is on Facebook but also which friends you share, it can be tempting to Google the shit out of her. Try not to do that. This is an app that uses just first names and ages for a reason: Everyone deserves an opportunity to be discovered and appreciated separately from their web presence. But hey, got a good friend in common? There’s no reason not to ask that mutual pal what she’s like.
Let insecurity stop you from signing up. I have several male friends—wonderful, hilarious, charming guys—who have said that they’re not good-looking enough for Tinder. And I have told them what I’m now telling you: that’s ludicrous. Women aren’t as looks-oriented as guys seem to think (see my last piece for more). What we really care about is that you’re pre-screened. So if you’re insecure about your looks—especially if you’re insecure about your looks—take this opportunity to get in with the women you want simply by virtue of the fact that you share friends and then win them over with what really matters: personality.
Assume that because Tinder is a lot more casual than Match, you can get by with making no effort at all. Sending a message such as “Your hot”—or, say, “UR hot”—is what’s known as not making an effort. Also, don’t troll for clients using Tinder, no matter what your job is. (Apparently the casting people for Millionaire Matchmaker have Tinder accounts, and when they see women they think might be right for the show, they do the old heart click.) There are plenty of other ways for all of us to get our jobs done. Why not let the dating apps stay dating apps?
Message back-and-forth forever. You know what I just said about warp speed? Take that into consideration as you lob those messages to and fro. This is not the time to find out about her hopes and dreams or see how she feels about full moons. This is the time to close. After you’ve established that you have a rapport, why not initiate a plan? This is a girl who’s on a dating app that’s been called the straight version of Grindr (more on that in a minute), which means that she’s into immediacy. When it comes to Tinder, the slow-charm route runs a high risk of being the no-charm route.
Assume that Tinder is the same as Grindr. Here’s the thing about straight women: we don’t, for the most part, decide that we’re unbelievably horny and open an app to find a nearby hot person to scratch that itch ASAP. So don’t just invite her over to your place before you’ve learned her last name. Asking her out may seem like a more circuitous route, but it’s going to get you what you actually want a lot more effectively. (And no one says you can’t suggest the bar down the street from your place.)