It was a Saturday night in November, and I had been left alone in my house while my roommates ventured into the cold and bar scene of downtown Spokane.
Finally in complete command of the TV, I decided to watch The Graduate on Netflix, a film I had never seen but long wanted to watch as a self-described movie snob.
Turns out, The Graduate is kind of a weird, slow movie. About 30 minutes in, I became bored and started scrolling through my phone, not wanting to turn the movie off because I needed to prove to myself I could make it through a classic.
For the past few months a handful of my friends had been trying their luck at Tinder with a begrudging curiosity. A few had even gone on some not too terrible dates (not counting one of my best friends who, after a round of mini golf, had been cornered by her date as she attempted to get into her car and was met with a mouthful of uninvited tongue).
Bored, alone, and fresh from a break up, I nonchalantly searched for Tinder in the App store.
I could do this, I thought. How bad could it be? I could go on some dates. I’m totally fun and cute, right?
And so I downloaded the dreaded dating app, the irresistible bane of my generation’s romantic existence.
From the start, Tinder was not a means for me to hook up with people. I simply wanted to opportunity to meet people I would otherwise never run into. I was also deeply curious and in need of some random men telling me I was attractive.
Despite my skepticism and best intentions to love/hate the app along with everyone else, Tinder ended up playing a bigger role in my dating life than I ever wanted to give it credit for, sans sexual escapades.
Here are four things Tinder is good for other than hooking up:
Practicing going on dates.
We are supposedly the generation who doesn’t know how to date well (or is that be in committed relationships well?), but Tinder gives us plenty of opportunity to actually practice going on dates.
Suddenly, you have a whole list of people to choose from who want to at least take you out one time. This is a great opportunity to build confidence in communicating in a date scenario, which can often be more confusing and stressful than natural and fun. The more you place yourself in this scenario, the better you will get at it.
And, let’s face it; a first date is very much like a job interview. Just like a job interview, we have a higher chance of getting better results if we have some idea how to conduct and present ourselves.
Folks, we should all know we are sexy badasses before anyone else tells us we are. That being said, having a bunch of strangers tell you you’re pretty is sort of an awesome boost.
I got on Tinder a month after two different guys dumped me within the span of approximately 40 days. Needlessly to say, I was looking for some affirmation that I was not a hideous pariah destined to die a virgin.
Should you go on Tinder for the sole purpose of having random people tell you you’re at least good looking enough to buy a drink for? Probably not, but it’s not the worst thing in the world either.
Having awesome dating stories.
If you’re willing to dig into it and actually go on dates, Tinder attracts a crowd guaranteed to give you awesome (see, horrendous) dating stories.
One of my best friends, Danielle*, went on a date with someone who looked much taller in his photos than his actual 5’2” frame. This particular guy told her they were going to karaoke. Danielle got there only to find he had rented out a private karaoke room, meaning karaoke had suddenly turned into a two-hour duet to an empty room. To top it all off, after karaoke he asked if she wanted to see his van. Which he was living in.
Savor the awfulness, friends. It won’t last forever and you will be the hit of any party.
Meeting the love of your life.
I’ll level with you: While I had a lot of matches, I only actually went on two different Tinder dates. This is because after the second date, I wasn’t super interested in going out with anyone else.
Tinder, against all my best fairytale wishes, ended up being the reason I met my boyfriend. That was almost a year ago. The first time I ever laid eyes on my boyfriend, it was on a screen and I was swiping right. How’s that for romance?
I don’t know why this happened to me, other than God wielding an unnerving sense of humor.
My guess would be that because I wasn’t using Tinder to hook up, I chose to interact with people who seemed less about that too, making it more likely I would get to know people who were interested in a relationship rather than something else.
If you’re single and thinking about using Tinder, DO IT. Even for a week, and then quickly delete it and burn your phone.
You won’t regret it. I think.