Gone are the days when a cute guy walks up to you at the bar and asks, “Do you come here often?”
Now, we live in a realm of digital dating; finding partners is just as playful and mysterious, but it does require a new type of flirty savviness.
Tinder is an app that, by now, most of us are familiar with. The company states, “Tinder finds who likes you nearby and connects you if you’re both interested.”
The app works by locating you and other people around you and giving you the option to “like” them.
If they “like” you back, you will be a “match.” Once matched, you have the opportunity to chat. Some argue that Tinder is a mindless app only designed to unite those interested in no strings-attached sex, while others argue it is simply a way to meet new friends.
Before I started writing this article, I was asking around about why people used Tinder. The answer I recieved most?
I had no idea what that meant. So I polled 50 Virginia Tech students online and 56 percent said they use Tinder as a way to find potential sex partners, while 22 percent of students said they use the app to find potential relationships. Lastly, the remaining 22 percent said they use it to meet new friends.
Though this is nowhere near an official representation, I was surprised to see that here at Virginia Tech over half of our Tinder uses are, in fact, looking for casual sex.
Huh? So that’s what fun is.
Let’s consider why those who are using the app to find sex partners are jumping on the Tinder bandwagon rather than using old-fashion means.
“Tinder is just a really easy way to meet people who you can basically assume are looking for the same things that you are," said John Bounds, biology major. "It’s like dating, without all the hassle.”
People around Tech have some crazy stories about Tinder relationships. I — don’t judge — went through a Tinder phase where I “liked” anyone appealing. Somehow, I ended up meeting a charming Keydet from Virginia Military Institute. A few weekends later, he was in Blacksburg to visit a friend (so he says…) and I happened to run into him. We had lunch and began texting regularly. After a few weeks, we began dating.
But this Tinder flame didn’t last long.
Although Tinder is a popular app for finding sexual partners, it’s not used by the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance community. Instead, gay men use Grindr, a similar app that allows them to connect.
An officer of LGBTA, sophomore Chris Brown, who identifies as gay, said he uses this app.
“Grindr is mostly used for hooking up, but I know a few people who have found boyfriend’s through the app,” Brown said.
One member of Tech's LGBTA carefully explained to me that in areas such as ours, with smaller gay communities, Grindr is not only used to hook-up or to date, but simply to find other gay people to hang out with.
Now, you are probably expecting me to describe the dating app that lesbians use, and I totally would. But there isn’t a lady friendly app equal to Tinder or Grindr. Surely someone out there wants to help them find their match. Computer programmers — get on it!
If you use one of these apps, follow some basic precautions to make sure you’re
playing it safe.
Only agree to meet in a public place for the first time, and bring a friend.
Ask around. We all love Virginia Tech because it’s a huge school that feels small. Chances are, someone knows this person. Dig up some dirt and see if you’re still smitten.
Don’t get “catfished.” Check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Google before you decide to meet them. Look for any red flags. Just as you would anyone else, make sure you meet them a few times before you decide on what your relationship will be with this person one way or another.
Have fun “Tindering,” Hokies.
Keep it safe, keep it classy and keep it real.