Tinder And Grindr. Waste Of Time.

I cannot get over how much the dating landscape in the 21st century seismically shifted.

When I was growing up, meeting someone for a relationship, was reasonably upfront. Give or take the odd, unexpected left turn. There was the at work option, or at a party, pub or bar. See. I’m so old fashioned and out of touch to be talking about this. Then along came Internet dating. I never had an issue with that. Never bothered me in the slightest. In fact I warmly embraced this development. It was such a perfectly, reasonable, rational not to mention respectful way to meet a potential partner. But now we have something completely different. I call them the devil’s children of Internet dating. Not that I am passing some kind of moral judgment here. I’m not. Far from it. I just have a lot of personal issues with Tinder and Grindr. And, it is not because they’re a couple of smartphone applications, used primarily by people to have casual sex. Actually, “casual” is way too nice a word. It’s because they live in a world where people and sex are disposable commodities. To be used and discarded, There’s no love, no deep connection, no personal investment of any kind to be found in Tinder and Grindr apart from the kind you get from self-gratification. But for some of us, maybe even many of us, these two apps have fundamentally changed the way we go about things relationship wise and not in a good way, in my view.

So I was quite interested and bemused to read a story with the headline: “ How Sex Is Killing The Live Music Scene Thanks To Tinder And Grindr.”

The story suggested that we forget breath-testing, lockouts, or downloading – Sex is killing live music, or at least the search for it is, on Tinder and Grindr.

That’s the provocative but serious claim, made by a music venue owner and live music booker, James Young, who says that more and more people prefer to “stare at their phones and swipe left or right ” rather than head out to a bar where they might meet somebody.  Sounds pretty sad to me.

“Grindr, the gay app, came out about two years before Tinder and has destroyed the gay hotspot [in Melbourne],” Young says. “That is a textbook, identifiable case. And here we are, two years later, with Tinder following in its footsteps”. He says young people are hanging about (probably at home) hunched over their phones instead of going out to bars and clubs.

It should be pointed out that music venues don’t simply exist for the sole purpose of enabling a romantic meeting between two people. Of course not says Young, but “bars are fragile businesses” and anything that affects even three or five percent of business on already thin margins can be hard to recover from. “And what we are talking about is 10 per cent loss of business and for some businesses, that’s their profit margin.”

Young, who owns and books music for three bars in Melbourne argues that “sex has always been a big part of rock ‘n’ roll but we’re not saying the sole purpose of venues is to pick up”. It is, however, a problem that carries a ripple effect because people used to meet – or hook up in the modern parlance – at venues where music was being played.

“If there are less people at the bars, that’s going to affect sales and there is also a parallel issue in the type of dates you go on,” Young says. “A Tinder date is a super casual date so ‘let’s meet at a cafe, let’s meet at the latest, chic pop-up restaurant’. He says first dates used to be at a rowdy live music event. Not anymore. But people don’t really talk to each other anymore. They hook up.

He says in Sydney you can add lockouts and earlier closing of bars to the Tinder-effect. Young also raises another fear, that “Netflix, Stan and binge TV series watching have become the new dating”, with the simplicity of an affordable entertaining option capped off by the fact that “you’re already on the couch”.

What a huge yawn. I prefer the personal meet and greet, the spark, the meeting of minds, the possibility of what might be and then discovering that it is, any day over any smartphone app. As far as I’m concerned Tinder can go up in flames and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. I know. So old fashioned.

How To Find True Love On Tinder? Give Me A Break

I can’t really say I get Tinder. But I’m probably too old. On second thoughts, take out the probably. But I can’t deny that it’s an extraordinary social phenomenon. For a start, there are the stats. On Tinder, nearly 1 billion swipes occur every day from Sydney to New York … London to Tokyo. The dating game has changed inexorably. In fact one Tinder aficionado has written a book about the experience called SWIPE- The Game has Changed. The writer is a man. So it’s written from the male perspective. But when he says the dating game has changed, judging by his experiences, he is not kidding. He writes: “ my dating experiences have been nice – meeting lovely women who are smart, engaging, and filled with positive energy. It’s been naughty – from orgies to Fifty Shades-type encounters, I dipped my toes into the deep end, in between, there’s been tragic dates, new friends, and a bit of heartbreak.”

The writer then goes on to give chapter and verse from his ‘ weird, wild, and wonderful year on Tinder.”

What did he learn? Are you sitting down?

He learned that the smartphone apps like Tinder and OK Cupid have changed the dating game, and he ventures the opinion that human sexuality might have changed forever. That is a very big call, but he says, the evidence stacks up. He says that smartphones are 2015’s obligatory appendage, implying that the app dating single’s bar is open 24/7, it’s free, and everyone possessing one is invited to the party.

He says he also learned the dating world moves like a New York minute. In 2015, we live in a want it now culture. We want food, movies, information, porn, tickets, scores … and all of it, this minute. Make that this second. The writer says we swipe, match, and want to know right now if you want to date, have sex, or fall in love. And we want to meet … right now. Of course the ‘we’ is anyone in the age group 18 to 39.

Apparently, Tinder has dating rules. You’ve got 10 days from swipe match to meeting in person, or it’s not going to happen. And as tradition goes, a “pretty good” first date will land a second … But what’s different is that now, we are back on our phones swiping away on the cab ride home looking for the next “great” date.

Now I know what he means by a New York minute.

He says he also learned that the ‘three date’ rule is out. For those, like me, a bit slow on the uptake, he means sex. He says a week with a few dates turned into a few more dates that turned into a “ rock star-type experience of 18 orgasms … in a week. It was hedonistic. It was weird. It was too much.”

Probably.

Nikki Goldstein is a Doctor in Human Sexuality. She says we need to question whether the qualities we are using to quickly judge those we swipe on, are the right ones that should be used to find meaningful relationships or even casual sex. How much can you tell from a quick glance at a profile and a short drink before having sex with someone?

Again, I wouldn’t think you have to ponder too long or too deeply to answer that question.

“The dating world is so fast-paced and crowded that sex is no longer something to wait for,” Goldstein says. “ We want to know straight away if there is sexual compatibility and some women might also feel if they don’t act quickly on the sexual front they might lose to someone who will.”

The writer of his book SWIPE- The Game has Changed was so enamoured with this Tinder experience that he wants to share what he’s learned so that others will replicate his success. He’s developed a theory, don’t they all. It’s called the MISBAC Strategy. He doesn’t ever tell us what it stands for but he says it originated to solve app dating in much the way that he solved the PacMan puzzle as a child. He says armed with this strategy, it’s so much easier for men and women to meet up in person – whether you’re seeking a friend, a date, something naughty, or a relationship.

The author jokingly says he thought he’d be teaching finance at this age, but instead he’s mentoring men and women on MISBAC so their dating and sex lives are more fulfilling. I think what he really means is that what he’s doing now is lot more financially lucrative than teaching finance. Let’s face it anyone who can tell you how to go about having a successful relationship is going to make money. But parts of what he says I personally find a little unnerving. For example, he writes; “ I learned that Fifty Shades is, in reality, quite pale. There’s a whole new world of sex out there, and it’s a lot racier than porno-for-polo-mums at the cinema. Teens have turned into twentysomethings and grown up with porn as a means of sex education. Their dating lives and bedroom style would make Mr Grey tinkle in his suit. Ropes, toys, orgies, squirting, fisting, and “tromboning”. I did it all … starting with a swipe.”

He says he learned it’s easy come, easy go in The Age of Swipe.

That is not necessarily a good thing. In fact I know it isn’t.

He talks about a Tinder relationship he had that reads more like throwing away a disposable item. “ We had been dating for close to two months. A swish event at Sydney Opera House was our next date … then the email came. I was dumped and swiped left. It’s easy come, easy go, and we were both back online, swiping within days. We are all people with real, almost tangible feelings, yet we are all swipeable and oh so disposable.” Yep. There is that word again. Disposable. I’d like to know what happened to the getting to know one another and the journey that goes with it? That takes time and according to the writer there is no time.

He says: “ I learned to worry for the Generation Millennial. They will swipe their virginity away, apologise with a rose emoticon, declare their first “I love you” via text, and walk straight past a cute woman on the street because they are too busy swiping five on their smartphone.”

I’m sorry but this sounds like crazy talk to me. According to the Sex Doctor, Nikki Goldstein, “Going online to find love, sex and dates has opened up more possibilities and people, however tech dating is making us lazier and our communication skills are dwindling – things we actually need in relationships when we do get into them.”

At last, sanity prevails.

But according to our writer on Tinder who clearly wants to sell a lot of books, the Age of Swipe is here to stay, and it’s getting bigger. The good? he says, It’s so easy to meet somebody new. The bad? It shouldn’t be this easy to meet somebody new. He says society is at the dawn of a new beginning – the landscape for dating, sex, and relationships will change forever at the swipe of a smartphone app.

But here’s where the author gets a bit full of his own self-importance. He says: “ I wrote SWIPE not because my dating ups and downs are interesting (they are), but more because you can’t ask Dad or Grandpa the new, app dating rules. With SWIPE I hope to be that mentor, so people’s personal lives are more fulfilling.”

Give me a break. It’s superficial not fulfilling. It’s the self-fulfilling prophecy of ‘me.’ How is this going to affect me? How can I make this all about me? What is that person going to do for me? And if they don’t do enough for me, I’ll go and find someone who will and all I have to do is swipe my phone.

Well guess what? Having a successful relationship is give and take. In other words, if you want to take you also have to give. And you are never going to learn that from a smartphone app or reading a book about a year on Tinder.

I Can’t Love You If I Am Sober

There’s nothing like reading a bit of revealing social discourse that shows us who we are, as well as who we are not. I especially love it when the talking and the finger pointing are directed towards other people and not me.

For most of my fellow Australians, and probably for most other people around the world, dating and drinking go hand in hand. Pubs and clubs set the scene for hook-ups. First dates invariably occur at a bar where we can use a glass or a bottle as a prop to give us courage and take the edge off understandable nervousness.

But according to at least one sex therapist, what might begin as a form of social lubrication can quickly spiral into sexual dysfunction. And I am not talking about an inability to perform. Which leads me to reveal a remarkable and in some ways shocking social observation. There has been a significant rise in the number of couples who have never experienced sober sex. No, I am not kidding.

As one Sex Therapist disclosed it wasn’t in any way unusual for her to meet couples that only ever have sex after they drink alcohol or take drugs. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are having sex for the first time or they’ve been together for years. It might develop into a committed relationship but they only ever have sex after some form of substance abuse.

Sex therapists say they’ve seen this problem escalate over the past two years. The question, of course, is why? Why is this happening? Is it because drink and drugs are too easy to obtain and too easy to use?

One theory suggests that people get anxious because doing this sober means relating to your partner in an open and honest way. What’s wrong with that? I hear you ask. The answer is nothing wrong and everything right. But it causes a great deal of difficulty for some people. And when they try to change their lifestyle and not use drugs or alcohol they can’t maintain the passion or sustain an intimate relationship. An Australian survey of young adults found that 92 percent of them who admitted to having casual sex in the past six months were not sober at the time. Similar results came from a survey of American University students who consumed, on average, five alcoholic drinks before their most recent sexual encounter.

Speaking to the survey participants provides an intriguing insight into their attitudes. One young woman said it was only after she gave up drinking that she realized what an impact alcohol had on her sex life. Alcohol helped her to bypass that part of her brain that normally tells her to go slowly or be more cautious. It helped her to be bolder in approaching and coming on to someone she was sexually interested in. But now that she’s sober, she is in control of what she’s doing and able to make judgment calls about the person and the sex. Quite frankly I find it a little frightening.

Behavioural scientists say alcohol dulls the alarm signal that warns a person they are about to make a mistake. Which might explain why people wake up next to a person they would never look twice at if they had been sober the night before.

One young man is currently writing a book about the time he spent living in a house full of fellow chronic methamphetamine users. His book will, among other things, document the effect of the drug on people’s sex lives. He says meth has a reputation for getting people into sexual situations they otherwise would not want to be in. The man talks of sleeping with people who he genuinely found disgusting but that fact only seemed to add to the excitement at the time.

Now at this point you might be thinking am I talking exclusively about young people? The young party goers. The answer is No. I am not. A lot of 30, 40 and 50 somethings, need a couple of wines at dinner to get in the mood.

I am happy to say that none of this applies to me and I am so glad that it doesn’t. I feel sorry for the people who’ve never actually learned to open up to someone else in a way that’s real as opposed to substance induced. If only they knew, it beats chemicals hands down.

Bring Us Some Men

There’s a remote village in southeast Brazil about 500 km from Rio De Janeiro called Noiva do Cordeiro. It sits in a valley called Belo Vale, which literally translates as beautiful Valley and it’s a place that lives up to its name. The village has groves with row upon row of thick skinned and sweet tangerines, banana plants and trees covered with bright yellow flowers.

But if you go to Noiva do Codeiro the landscape is not the only view to catch your eye. There are also its inhabitants. To be more specific, I’m talking about the village women. But that is also Noiva do Codeiro’s curse as much as it is a blessing.

Apparently this area is famous in Brazil for producing more women than men. But right now too many of them are single and looking for love and there just aren’t enough men around to go round if you get my meaning. And the women of Noiva do Codeiro are determined to do something about it. They’ve launched a nationwide and an international appeal for eligible men to come to their village.

As one of the young village women explained: The only men that single girls meet in the village are either married or a relative. Everyone is a cousin. She says: we all dream of falling in love and getting married. But that is not to say they need a man. They don’t. The village women do very well and are quite happy the way they are. They manage the village finances, they work the fields, they run the show in the absence of men. In fact what makes the place so special is the sense of community that exists here. People work together, and because they work so hard it makes them want to look out for one another. The village has a saying: Life is good because we are always with friends.

Now at this point you might be wondering why there is such a lopsided gender balance. It has to do with Noiva do Codeiro’s history. The village was first settled in the late 19th century. Its founder was a woman called Maria Senhorinha de Lima who arrived after she was accused of adultery and exiled from her church and home in 1891. That stigma has never left the place. The villagers say it has meant that Novia do Codeiro has been isolated because of prejudice and they have also been fighting a campaign to ensure that the authorities don’t continue to ignore the community.

Clearly, there are men who live in Noiva do Codeiro but they spend the week away working either as miners or in the nearest big city. The village women acknowledge they are an unusual group in rural Brazil. But the times they are a changing in Brazil. The country has a female President. A woman heads up the country’s oil company and women make up more than a quarter of the senior management of Brazil’s leading companies.

This latest publicity has helped to spread Noiva do Codeiro’s notoriety far and wide. The place has a history of male visitors falling for the inhabitants of the village. And that is what the women of Noiva do Codeiro are hoping for. It is now on the tourist trail for some French travellers. If only the village women could speak French.

 

Is Tinder Playing With Fire?

I came across something called Tinder the other day.

My attention was drawn by the news that a young Australian man met an even younger New Zealand woman through Tinder. But within hours of that meeting the young woman was dead and the young man charged with her murder.

I am not going to dwell on the details of the case, which is now before the courts.

But it got me thinking. What is this thing called Tinder? How does it work? And does it actually result in young people, particularly young women, being placed in dangerous situations?

The first two questions are pretty easy to answer.

To the technically challenged, in other words old farts like me, Tinder is a mobile phone dating application. It’s pitched at the 18-30 demographic and is a location-based app. Tinder let’s you know about people living nearby and then you can anonymously like them or not. If someone you like, happens to like you back then Tinder makes an introduction and let’s you chat within the app. Seems perfectly innocent?

Apparently, it is the hottest thing to happen to dating on the Internet and the stats tell, or should that be sell, the story. One billion matches so far, around the world which translates to ten million matches per day… every day. It’s resulted in 300 marriage proposals and five percent of the Australian population of 23 million has a Tinder profile. It’s the brainchild of a couple of southern Californian entrepreneurs but it’s owned by a multi-national start up company.

Tinder is set to be bigger than Ben Hur.

The intriguing genius behind the app is that it’s designed like a game with the tagline – “like real-life, but better.”

It asks users to sign in with their Facebook profile and then make a split second decision on whether they like the physical appearance of someone, or not, by swiping left or right. Once a match is made, the rest is up to you.

The result is an app regularly used by everyone from Miss USA to Olympic gold medallists. It’s in such hot demand that the company recently announced that it would add a verification tick to celebrity profiles. There is no advertising yet but that won’t be far away.

That takes care of the first two questions. But, what about the third question I posed? Does it represent any kind of danger to young people particularly young women? That question I am a bit scared to answer. If I was to give a personal impression of Tinder it could be summed in something I read today: If a guy walks up to a girl standing in a bar and asks point-blank for sex he’ll get his face slapped. Do the same thing on Tinder and she’ll be around in 5. It’s killed chivalry, taken away the need to make any kind of real connection and replaced it with instant, image-based attraction where one click confirms your intentions almost always of the carnal kind.

Think I am overstating it? Well, check this out. Here are some of the responses from people actually using this app, Men and women. We’ll start with the guys because this app really favours men.

Guy number one: ” ALL it took was for me to answer a couple of questions for a random girl to determine I had ‘passed the serial killer test’ and it was safe for her to make a late-night house call for a one-night stand.

“It was late on a Friday night when I rolled into bed and thought I’d just do a quick check of Tinder to see any new matches.

“I had a message from a girl that I had never before spoken with asking what I was up to.

“After a little bit of back-and-forth she and her friend called me, we chatted for a few minutes, she said I didn’t sound like a serial killer and then asked for my address.

“She’d been at a party where she’d seen her ex boyfriend hook up with another girl and she was out for revenge.

“Who was I to stand in the way of a scorned woman?

“Soon after, she was dropped off by her friend, we had one drink to break the ice and then headed up to the bedroom where we had sex.

“She stayed the night but after she left in the morning we never spoke again.

“Tinder really has been the greatest dating invention for guys.

“With a simple right-swipe, I can have a random girl in my bed quicker than it would take to buy her a drink at a bar.

“No more having to spend hundreds of dollars going out to sweaty clubs, trying to strike up a conversation with a hot girl while her unattractive, larger friend acts as a ‘c**kblock.

“The social obstacles of real-life don’t exist on Tinder and we can be much more forward and cheeky straight from the outset.

“Most of it is small talk that goes nowhere though.”

Guy number two: ” The strangest moment I’ve had on Tinder is when a girl that I matched with sent me a message on a Sunday saying ‘Hey, I’m up here from Sydney and the people I’m staying with don’t finish work until 8pm and I need somewhere to leave my bags while I go out in Nobby Beach’

“I strung her along for about three hours asking what was in it for me.

“She came round and we went to Nobbys. She was a primary school teacher in Sydney.

“We ended up hooking up and she had to call the deputy principal at her school in Sydney the next morning saying she had food poisoning because she was in my bed on the Gold Coast instead of catching her flight back home.

“Mostly it is all small talk on Tinder that fizzles into nothing but some girls are pretty forward.

“I normally stay well away from girls who use a bikini or lingerie photo as their profile picture.

“Tinder use is a lot more socially acceptable than it was 12 months ago. A girl breaks up with her boyfriend and jumps on Tinder… not necessarily to hook up with a guy but for a self esteem boost.

“It is a lot simpler to date but there’s no real connection anymore. One click and you’ve said your whole intentions without saying anything.

“I use Tinder when I’m really bored but only speak with girls I want to f***.”

Girl: “It was like I was out of the loop or something – Tinder – What’s Tinder? A colleague of mine explained it to me, “It’s like the new age Hot or Not.” Fellow male colleagues had a joke about it and said, “If I was your age, I would definitely be using that app.”

“And so it began, it was like a new toy. Never have I been so addicted to using my phone.

“I even let a colleague, who is happily committed in a long-term relationship, hijack my account, play single and ‘reject’ and ‘approve’ all potential Tinder boys.

“Just for laughs, she decided to strike up a conversation with one particular match.

“Sex?”

“His response: “Yep” and it was on.

“My colleague and I were unleashing our inner wild child and took the conversation to a whole new level, things I would never in my life say to a guy. The thing is on Tinder, you can be whoever you want to be.”

One Tinder user tells the story of how her best friend left her underwear at the house of a guy she’d known for a handful of hours only for the guy to threaten to frame her panties and hang them in his bedroom. Charming. Apparently everyone on Tinder has a story of how they meet some crazy person who made an unwelcome and totally inappropriate declaration of carnal lust.

In other words Tinder is unromantic, sleazy, contrived and superficial. It is born of a generation guided by curiosity, daring, boredom and lust with results that are as squalid as they are gratifying.

Of course the defenders of Tinder say, believe it or not, that it’s wholesome. A way to get out and meet people, gain self-confidence and enjoy life. One Tinder user described it as a baptism of fire for the lonely and the broken-hearted, the shy and the nerdy and those who are out for some fun. You do it because Tinder will be whatever you want it to be.

Personally I don’t buy it. I don’t think it does anything to advance the cause of human kind. But maybe I’m just getting old and grumpy.

I am not going to be the voice of doom and say don’t use Tinder. But at the same time I would urge the app’s users to closely follow the Tinder murder trial in Australia. There is bound to be a moral to that story.