No, I am not referring to the burn that causes an itch or a rash in those sensitive areas. Tinder has probably led to a lot of those also, but that is a discussion best left for another time in the sanctuary of the Schiffert Health Center.
What I would like to point us all toward is the prevalence of young single men despite the ubiquitous presence of dating apps. Our phones are 24/7 bars with promises of access to other singles from all over the world — well, more specifically, within 100 miles of our current location, in the case of Tinder. But still, many guys who would love nothing else but to have a partner they can text at night are left disappointed and frustrated. So instead they respond to the call of Tinder again, spending the night alone swiping; left, right, right again. Because all single men know the motto nature and society has imprinted on them: “If you are not trying, you are dying.”
Men have been wired by evolution to always be on the lookout for the next mate to procreate their genes, and to actively pursue that mate. It is one of our most primal instincts and is as ingrained into our psyche as fear and anger. Tinder, though, slants the fulfillment of that desire to those men who are already blessed with good mom and pop genes. Tinder rewards superficiality, as all that matters are attributes that are only skin deep. However, the average guy has not been groomed or exposed to resources to help him in that regard.
Our agrarian history has rewarded men for what they can do, not how they look. This means most guys are not conditioned to pay close attention to their looks, clothing, accessories and so forth. So the average single guy doesn’t know how to apply makeup or hair extensions to help him accentuate certain features on his face or body. The average single guy also doesn’t have access to outfits that make him that much more flattering to the opposite sex. I can guarantee you he isn’t shopping for jeans with his buds at Macy’s, and he is definitely not asking his friends how his shorts look on him.
Furthermore, our culture idolizes the quintessential man's man: rugged and confident. So for instance, if he has photos taken of him, it is unmanly for him to ask for a retake because that shows a lack of confidence. He isn’t supposed to have a bad side, or care that he has a bad side. So when it comes to selecting those four to six Tinder profile photos, most guys have to resort to picking the best from the worst. They also dare not ask for advice on photos from another guy — it's not manly to ask for help. But the average guy is the leader of the nearby intramural flag football team or the whiz kid in your engineering class. So instead of impressing those possible Tinder matches, he can only impress his male friends.
Rather, Tinder rewards those guys that are born with the height, skin tone and a head full of hair that make them naturally attractive. These are the 10 percenters, as I will call them, and they are immune to competition from the other guys. Add to this that these same men are choosing to remain single, and it is apparent that being a single guy is the new norm.
A decade ago, a very attractive guy would exercise his efforts on only very attractive women because searching and finding a mate is very time consuming, expensive and awkward. Did I mention awkward? When he eventually finds such a woman, he would be inclined to stay with her because he remembers how difficult the dating process can be. But now these guys are choosing to return to the singles pool, wading and fishing in the same waters as the average guy, sending messages and swiping right for women they probably wouldn’t have bothered with a decade ago.
Because just with a swipe, they can approach girls they would never consider dating; but these girls are interested in them because they are the 10 percenters. This is a girl that in any other era would take notice of the average but funny guy next to her in chemistry class but instead she has the butterflies for her recent match on Tinder. Her Tinder alert notification from Johnny Handsome, the one she super-liked, says, “Your smile lights up my night.” It’s the same pickup line he googled two days ago and has rehashed to all his other matches, but she doesn’t know this. Johnny Handsome seems nice and caring also. He is holding a cute golden retriever in his profile picture.
It seems her little black dress that showed just enough cleavage worked as her profile picture, especially since her friend took the photo from an angle where you couldn’t see the pushup bra. Combine that with the spring break bathing suit photo where she is lying on her back to give the impression of a flat stomach she never had, Johnny Handsome became interested — even if for one night. So, as he is thinking about tonight, she is thinking about forever, along with his 15 other matches. And next to her, the funny chemistry student tries his luck again but to no avail.
If you are a single guy and this depresses you, be warned: it only gets worse. Society has also made it acceptable for men of a wider age range to approach women in that small childbearing age, the college student age. Therefore, the typical college girl can be approached by guys anywhere between the ages of 20 to 30 and will constantly be approached by such men.
To reiterate, men are biologically wired to actively pursue women. So even when a match is made and Tinder does ignite a spark, that same woman is most likely conversing with a multitude of other men. And you can bet that on her way to meet you at Starbucks, she is responding to yet another guy that thinks her smile lights up his night. When she asks to go use the bathroom, she is inundated with messages from other Johnny Handsomes that all think her hummingbird tattoo is very intriguing. When she eventually comes back from the bathroom to finish your conversation on Game of Thrones, even as you discuss your love of Tyrion Lannister, she is thinking, “I want someone taller.”
Because on Tinder, she knows that all she has to do is swipe right to find a match that is taller. Unfortunately for men, the effort required to maintain conversations and matches is highly skewed. The dating and Tinder scene still puts most of the onus and pressure on the guy to be witty, funny, smart, interesting, not creepy — on top of being handsome, athletic, caring, loyal and all the other traits of Prince Charming.
On the other hand, a girl can put up three pictures along with a caption that says, “I like Nutella,” and then complain that the men that approach her on Tinder are not original. It becomes quite apparent who the app favors. This means for most males, relating to the girl is even more difficult and requires that much more effort to connect with multiple matches. Because if he isn’t ridiculously handsome, he better find innovative ways to make an impression. So despite being one of her many matches, and she being one of his only active matches, that male still has to find ways to be all those things Prince Charming should be in 250 characters or less.
As I reflect back on my previous dating experiences, I remember the moments I had with partners that at first glance I wouldn’t have swiped right to. Those relationships were quite special. They were born from knowing the people first, then appreciating their looks later on. Those types of relationships are for another app developer to figure out.
I can’t fault Tinder for this plight on the single male though. It is only trudging down the same path that other digital advancements have paved. That is, taking from the have-nots and giving to the have-it-alls, while leaving those in the middle with just enough hope to not turn against it. Because everyone knows that one shy guy who found his current girlfriend on Tinder.