Tinder: Can it Actually Work?

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Tinder is a mobile dating app that uses your location to find other users nearby. Using filters such as age, gender, and mile radius, potential matches are further refined. Then it’s time for the fun stuff, swiping. Based off of a short biography and photographs, you can choose whether you are interested or not in the person – swipe right for “like” and left for “pass.”

In reality, is Tinder really used for dating or hooking up? I can guess what most college students would say, but let’s hear it from them. Here are a few responses from students when asked, “What is Tinder used for?”

“Quick, easy hookups” (18 year old freshman, former user of Tinder)

“Meet new people around your area” (19 year old freshman, former user of Tinder)

“Creating social connections” (19 year old freshman, current Tinder user)

Contrary to some of these remarks, I recently encountered a young woman whose experience with Tinder would contradict most of these opinions, or at least stand as an exception (names have been changed to maintain the anonymity of people involved).

It all began when Sarah’s friend Allie was doing a research project on Tinder. Requiring a collection of data, Allie asked her friends to download Tinder and encouraged them to include some risqué photos. With no intentions of meeting anyone, Sarah perused through Tinder until she matched with “David.”

“Celebrating the Badger win tonight?” catalyzed a conversation that would result in new Snapchat friends and cause ongoing texting throughout the week. When the weekend rolled around, Sarah was busy with a visit from her dad. Nervous about the idea of meeting practically a stranger, knowing she had her father on her arm provided Sarah with a sense of security.

We were hanging out at a bar when I invited David to stop by so that we could meet. Introducing him to my dad as just a friend, my dad had no idea how we actually knew each other.”

After the visit from her dad, David invited Sarah over to his apartment to hang out. “I was a little worried about going over. The thought of hanging out completely sober was nerve-racking.” Spending the Sunday together was less weird than Sarah had anticipated; watching TV, getting food and talking, the day was going well. But as the sun began to set, the well-anticipated and highly talked about “first date” sex was on deck. That night, consensual lovemaking occurred between Sarah and David (and the crowd yells, “awwwwww!”)

Some of you may be thinking, maybe Sarah had partaken in previous first date hookups before this? Nope!

“I had actually never made-out or done anything with anyone since I had been in college. I am very selective about guys.”

Well folks, it has been three weeks since this all started and Sarah and David are still going strong. This Saturday will mark the first official dinner date since Sarah and David began talking, and they are planning to visit each other during spring break.

“I don’t know if I want a boyfriend yet, but we haven’t had the “exclusive talk” so we’ll see!”

Though it may be a rarity amongst Tinder users, success stories do exist. I think that Meg Ryan said it best in the movie, You’ve Got Mail, when she wrote, “The odd thing about this form of communication is that you’re more likely to talk about nothing than something.” But for all of you readers, I hope that your Tinder conversations allow you to resonate with the next line of this message:

“But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many something’s.”


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