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There’s no glamour in Tinder but we can’t blame the app for that. Louis Flert takes us on his whirlwind journey to find love.

It all started on a warm summer evening in mid-May. Our eyes locked. I remembered her from a module we shared this term, but I wasn’t sure if she would remember me. She was beautiful and I was shitting myself. I felt like my stomach was about to drop right through the floor. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath… and I swiped right.

Yep that’s right – hardly romantic is it? I met my girlfriend when I was literally playing Tinder on the toilet in the middle of a ten-minute revision break. I was in the midst of a string of boredom-fuelled casual flings and I felt like love was as far away as that 1st class degree my Mum told me I could get.

But like that first class degree, I’m not of the opinion that love comes about by destiny. It comes about by hard work, committing lots of time and learning the chemical pathways involved in respiration. Maybe that analogy is a bit of a stretch.


A photo posted by Tinder (@tinder) on

There’s obviously a diversity of opinion within the student community as to whether these apps actually ‘work’; of course the definition of ‘work’ completely depends on what you are looking for. I’d like to address the naysayers, the cynics, the Charlie Brooker-s of this world who believe that Tinder is the first sign of the apocalypse.

One of the main criticisms of Tinder is its superficial nature. The way the app is set up is designed to rule people out based on the way that they look and of course I’m not saying that’s a good thing. What I am saying however, is that is not unique to Tinder.

Tinder is not what made our species superficial, we are inherently superficial

As with many of the technology debates people confuse the source of the problem as the technology itself, rather than the flawed sack of cells operating it. Tinder is not what made our species superficial, we are inherently superficial: we are designed to make first impressions as quickly as possible by evolutionary necessity.

In his book Evolutionary basis of first impressions, Mark Schaller argues that as animals designed to try to fit in and survive, when forming social interactions, we need to quickly be able to judge whether people present a threat or whether interactions with them could be beneficial.

People are always forming quick first impressions of potential romances based on the way they look – why do people strike up conversations in bars? Or ask for people’s numbers on the tube? It’s the same motivation. If you think you’re too superficial, deleting Tinder won’t solve your problem.

So what was my Tinder date like? I’ll admit it wasn’t Romeo and Juliet, but after texting her for the last few days I was almost certain she was a) who she said she was and b) not inherently boring or mean; that felt like a decent start. She seemed funny and kind so decided to pursue it, invest time in it – and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. That wasn’t Tinder’s decision, that was my decision.

I deliberately haven’t made any huge affirming statements about how great Tinder is, even though I may never have met my girlfriend without it (this may change if I need them to pay for a wedding). I wouldn’t recommend Tinder for you for the same reason that I wouldn’t recommend going to clubs all the time if I had met my girlfriend in Bunker.

So feel free to download and use Tinder if you want – feel free not to. Feel free to use Tinder as something to pass the time on the toilet – feel free to use it as a way to find ‘the one’. Because let’s face it, whether you put your faith in mathematical algorithms to find love, or you put your faith in fate – they’re both as ridiculous as each other.

There’s no inevitability when it comes to love. It is simply a mixture of great timing and great commitment… and having good wi-fi from the toilet.

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