Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Mr. Tinder, or, How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate the App

 

Last week, the most popular man on Tinder was all over the news for finally finding love. Stefan Pierre-Tomlin was named “Mr. Tinder” back in 2017, after accumulating 14,600 right-swipes in a mere two years, an all-time record according to the app. An untold number of likes later, Pierre-Tomlin says he’s found the love of his life, but, in one large, delicious dollop of irony, not on the app that earned him his moniker. Pierre-Tomlin met his girlfriend in person, through a friend—or as tabloid headlines are declaring “the old-fashioned way,” which is a fairly damning critique of modern society if non-digital meetings are indeed now considered passé.

Pierre-Tomlin’s story alone is, of course, purely anecdotal evidence, but when viewed with available statistics on apps and modern dating culture, it paints a rather nasty picture. Out of all his matches, for example, Pierre-Tomlin only found two women with whom he had relationships. Which shouldn’t really be surprising: according to one survey, only 44 percent of women and 38.4 percent of men on dating apps are looking for a serious relationship.

(A slightly unrelated but still interesting aside: 0.8 percent of women on these apps are in it for free food and drinks, while 2.9 percent of men are. I’m not sure what to do with that information, but there you go.)

That a majority of Tinder users use the app for casual dating or hook-ups is both very much in line with human nature and very much opposed to it. The desire for sex is deeply human; the need to reproduce is, quite literally, hardwired in our DNA. But lurking around there somewhere in the wiring, in our souls, our genes, whatever you want to ascribe it to, is the urge to have that sex with a person one actually loves and cares for.

Seventy percent of Americans have had (or at least claim to have had) a one-night stand, but 78.2 percent of young college-educated Millennials, the age group generally thought to be the most promiscuous, are having sex with a spouse or significant other. Another survey found that 70 percent of Gen Zers and 63 percent of Millennials say they’re at a point in their lives where they want to go steady. The takeaway from these numbers is clear: people like sex, and while most don’t mind taking it where they can get it, they like it best in the context of a committed relationship.

This isn’t to say that nobody out there likes one-night stands or finds relationships through dating apps. On average, however, people still prefer a committed relationship, something that is, on average, more difficult to find on dating apps due to issues inherent to the medium.

Pierre-Tomlin is far from alone in having difficulty finding a relationship through Tinder. Only 13.6 percent of couples who meet on Tinder wind up getting married and only 15 percent wind up dating long term. Part of this is because most people who meet through dating apps don’t know each other very well before they decide to go out. Dating apps are a visual experience, with users making snap judgments based largely on the pictures in each other’s profiles. There are brief bios too, and they may exchange messages, but, as research shows, digital interactions aren’t as engaging and fail to facilitate bonds as well.

In other words, Tinder widens your dating pool, but does so by orchestrating dates between ill-suited couples, making it no surprise that research from Michigan State University found couples that meet digitally are 28 percent more likely to break up within a year than those who meet face-to-face. The author of the study suggested that the vast number of potential mates and the awareness that there are so many other options out there could contribute to that statistic. The wider dating pool works against relationships again, with the sheer volume of matches lowering their own value.

Pierre-Tomlin is just the highest-profile person to become disillusioned with dating apps. His story serves as a helpful reminder that they are simply a bad idea, a notion that Pierre-Tomlin has been evangelizing to others in his own life too. Since giving up his Tinder ways, Pierre-Tomlin has played matchmaker with more than ten couples and says that they’re all either married or in long-term relationships now.

It seems high time we gave Mr. Tinder a new nickname.

There are 13 comments.

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  1. Kephalithos Member

    Dating apps are a mystery to me.

    Once, I downloaded one. Sixteen nose rings later, I deleted it.

    • #1
    • August 26, 2019, at 10:28 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. TBA Coolidge

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    Dating apps are a mystery to me.

    Once, I downloaded one. Sixteen nose rings later, I deleted it.

    Fiiive nasal ringsssss
    Four twitter birds
    Three tramp stamps
    D. T. F. 
    And a case of
    Chlamydia T. 

    • #2
    • August 26, 2019, at 11:40 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Full Size Tabby Member

    Alec Dent: Seventy percent of Americans have had (or at least claim to have had) a one-night stand,

    I find it difficult to believe this claimed statistic. I clicked through to what appears to be the source material. The first linked article appears to be either misrepresenting or misinterpreting the source material, as the source material’s survey seems to be limited to college students (and the source material is not clear about how comprehensive their survey was). Also, both the first linked article and the source material both promote “casual sex” as a good thing, so I am suspicious of their survey processes and data sets.

    • #3
    • August 26, 2019, at 1:16 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Full Size Tabby Member

    I have no experience with dating apps (I left the dating world 38 years ago).

    I don’t think either of my children (current ages 31 and 34) used them before finding their spouses. I know they both found their spouses “the old-fashioned” way. Our daughter about 9 years ago through intersecting circles of friends, and our son 2 years ago at his job. 

    The apps may widen the pool of potentials, but it seems intuitively logical to me that an in-person meet is likely to have a higher probability of long term success.

    If you meet through friends or relatives, the friends or relatives have already likely winnowed out the incompatible. Mutual friends (and relatives) introduce you because the friend sees something in both of you that at least they think indicates compatibility. Or even just being part of a group of friends means that there are some values or interests in common. 

    If you meet while participating in something that reflects your values or interests (church, volunteer or political activity, social interest group), almost by definition you have something in common. 

    From what I understand about Tinder in particular, it seems that its users should not expect any depth at all to the matches made, and therefore a very low probability of generating a meaningful match that might work long term. I understand there are on-line dating functions that may delve deeper, but I have no idea if they come close to the analysis that your friends and relatives can provide.

    • #4
    • August 26, 2019, at 1:35 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. TBA Coolidge

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    I have no experience with dating apps (I left the dating world 38 years ago).

    I don’t think either of my children (current ages 31 and 34) used them before finding their spouses. I know they both found their spouses “the old-fashioned” way. Our daughter about 9 years ago through intersecting circles of friends, and our son 2 years ago at his job.

    The apps may widen the pool of potentials, but it seems intuitively logical to me that an in-person meet is likely to have a higher probability of long term success.

    If you meet through friends or relatives, the friends or relatives have already likely winnowed out the incompatible. Mutual friends (and relatives) introduce you because the friend sees something in both of you that at least they think indicates compatibility. Or even just being part of a group of friends means that there are some values or interests in common.

    If you meet while participating in something that reflects your values or interests (church, volunteer or political activity, social interest group), almost by definition you have something in common.

    From what I understand about Tinder in particular, it seems that its users should not expect any depth at all to the matches made, and therefore a very low probability of generating a meaningful match that might work long term. I understand there are on-line dating functions that may delve deeper, but I have no idea if they come close to the analysis that your friends and relatives can provide.

    No way to tell really as the friend algorithm can be a simple as “I am tired of listening to X and Y complaining about being singl – wait a tick!” 

    • #5
    • August 26, 2019, at 2:13 PM PDT
    • Like
  6. Alec Dent Contributor
    Alec Dent

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Alec Dent: Seventy percent of Americans have had (or at least claim to have had) a one-night stand,

    I find it difficult to believe this claimed statistic. I clicked through to what appears to be the source material. The first linked article appears to be either misrepresenting or misinterpreting the source material, as the source material’s survey seems to be limited to college students (and the source material is not clear about how comprehensive their survey was). Also, both the first linked article and the source material both promote “casual sex” as a good thing, so I am suspicious of their survey processes and data sets.

    I am skeptical of the number as well, for the reasons you listed above, but also because I think there’s a pretty good chance many people (especially college-aged people, and especially college-aged males) would lie in answering that question. The broader point I was trying to make there, and that I probably could have made with a more official data than that from Adam and Eve, is that casual sex is much more common today. This study, for example, found similar numbers: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3613286/

    • #6
    • August 26, 2019, at 5:16 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy WeivodaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Isn’t Tinder the app where people are judging each other strictly on looks? I suspect there us a wide gap between relationships started on Tinder vs. ones started on sites such as ChristianMingle.com.

    • #7
    • September 1, 2019, at 10:11 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    Isn’t Tinder the app where people are judging each other strictly on looks?

    Isn’t that always the way, assuming you haven’t been introduced to someone by a third party?

    • #8
    • September 1, 2019, at 10:14 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy WeivodaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    Isn’t Tinder the app where people are judging each other strictly on looks?

    Isn’t that always the way, assuming you haven’t been introduced to someone by a third party?

    No. When I was single and using a couple of dating sites, some people didn’t even put up a single picture of themselves. That’s why it often works for people who are not especially attractive. You might get to know someone as a person and come to find them attractive, where if all you have to go on is looks, you might have passed them by. 

    • #9
    • September 1, 2019, at 12:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. TBA Coolidge

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    Isn’t Tinder the app where people are judging each other strictly on looks?

    Isn’t that always the way, assuming you haven’t been introduced to someone by a third party?

    No. When I was single and using a couple of dating sites, some people didn’t even put up a single picture of themselves. That’s why it often works for people who are not especially attractive. You might get to know someone as a person and come to find them attractive, where if all you have to go on is looks, you might have passed them by.

    Perhaps @mattbalzer is referencing the meat market approach which is simultaneously more and less ‘strictly on looks’. Poise, carriage, actual drink choice, voice tone…there are a lot of clues available, many of which are intuited by millennia of use. 

    • #10
    • September 1, 2019, at 12:56 PM PDT
    • Like
  11. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    TBA (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    Isn’t Tinder the app where people are judging each other strictly on looks?

    Isn’t that always the way, assuming you haven’t been introduced to someone by a third party?

    No. When I was single and using a couple of dating sites, some people didn’t even put up a single picture of themselves. That’s why it often works for people who are not especially attractive. You might get to know someone as a person and come to find them attractive, where if all you have to go on is looks, you might have passed them by.

    Perhaps @mattbalzer is referencing the meat market approach which is simultaneously more and less ‘strictly on looks’. Poise, carriage, actual drink choice, voice tone…there are a lot of clues available, many of which are intuited by millennia of use.

    I was thinking about if you don’t use an app. You know, going out and just meeting people in real life. Crazy, right? But if someone doesn’t introduce you, pretty much all you have to go on is their looks.

    • #11
    • September 1, 2019, at 5:52 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy WeivodaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):
    I was thinking about if you don’t use an app. You know, going out and just meeting people in real life. Crazy, right? But if someone doesn’t introduce you, pretty much all you have to go on is their looks.

    Right. And for people who sound smarter while writing than while speaking, there are definite advantages to getting to know someone via writing before meeting in person.

    • #12
    • September 1, 2019, at 6:57 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. TBA Coolidge

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):
    I was thinking about if you don’t use an app. You know, going out and just meeting people in real life. Crazy, right? But if someone doesn’t introduce you, pretty much all you have to go on is their looks.

    Right. And for people who sound smarter while writing than while speaking, there are definite advantages to getting to know someone via writing before meeting in person.

    Or people who don’t sound smarter while writing, but can get a de Bergerac to punch up their profile. 

    • #13
    • September 1, 2019, at 11:02 PM PDT
    • 1 like

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