A Moment’s Silence for the Death of Tinder

Love and Sex

A Moment’s Silence for the Death of Tinder

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Let’s take a moment’s silence to mourn Tinder. Yes, that dating app you turned to in the middle of the night, a month after your break up while scrolling through your ex’s timeline and chancing upon a picture of them with a hot thang. I learnt about the sad demise of Tinder six months ago, during an intoxicated haze at a noisy table of six girls, intent on fully exploiting the offerings of Ladies Night.

With the presence of a glass of sparkling mimosa, R, my oldest friend from college and a bonafide bhakt of dating apps, began intently advising her recently broken-up colleague on the rules of app-fuelled singledom. It’s a time of “hitting and quitting”, she expertly claimed, where it was imperative to free one from the burden of emotions, and wallow in the indulgence of gift-wrapped casual sex that presented itself in a matter of a swipe. According to her, it was the quality of the swipe — an act that usually requires very little thought — that actually held the key to a hook up being a success.

By this point, R commanded the rapt attention of the entire table, newly single homegirl included. Was there a secret algorithm that helped bettering the quality of swipes? Or was R just about to feed us some bullshit about staying away from fuckbois who might potentially screw us over?

It was then that R owned her mic-drop moment. After a pause, she posited that the quality of any swipe was inversely proportional to one’s Tinder usage. Or, the easiest way to land good dates, interesting people, and banger sex was in not using Tinder. The increasing overpopulation on Tinder ensured that the dating app’s time in the sun, and its place inside our smartphones was all but over. It was instead, time to embrace the era of exclusivity in the form of Hinge, Happn, OkCupid, Bumble, and Grindr.

Nowadays, there are as many millennials going on Tinder to find dates or hook up as there are untampered EVMs in the country.

That night, I didn’t completely buy into the reality of Tinder’s death, even though it had been weeks since I had also tapped on Tinder on my smartphone. As far as I was concerned, it was merely a rumour; one that I chalked up to R’s bad experiences laced with her incomparable talent to exaggerate. I was unable to fathom how a dating app that revolutionised hook ups, placing them bang in the centre of cultural relevance could suddenly be out of style? Back in 2012, Tinder was the cool NRI cousin we all wanted to get with, certain that their arrival heralded numerous gifts. Five years on, how did it get relegated to the dustbin?

The answer, as I was told by my girlfriends and numerous dudes who swore by Tinder, lies in general dating app fatigue affecting millennials across the world. Over time, Tinder’s vanilla-ness became glaringly apparent. When the dating app first came into our lives, we lauded it for being inclusive. It was a dating destination for everyone, regardless of their gender, creepiness quotient, and ghosting acumen. According to at least some of us, this was the democratisation of dating. And for the first time, it empowered and emboldened women to at least think about casual sex.

In 2018, though, a slew of dating apps are squabbling for our collective attention spans, shamelessly advertising their customisations in our faces. Now, Tinder’s plain, wholesome non-specialised embrace no longer feels indispensable.

The problem with Tinder is what was once its advantage. Now it is a dating destination for everyone, from the neighbourhood uncle to your college heartthrob. This mainstreaming is its Achilles heel. Why would I wait for the unpleasant experience of collecting and selecting on an app, when I do that in real life anyway? In the six months that I used Tinder, I’ve swapped near-identical stories of Tinder dates with my friends, hopeless about any iota of novelty.

In playing to the gallery, Tinder started losing points in individuality. On the other hand, newer dating apps like Hinge (that matches you with friends of friends), Bumble (where a girl makes the first move), and Happn (that matches you with people around you) could promise you nights of unique experiences based solely on their customisations. Which person in their right mind wouldn’t want to migrate?

My friend, R stopped using Tinder toward the end of 2016, and yet the app finds a place on her phone until this day sitting snug beside Happn and Hinge. When I quizzed her about this, she enlightened me for the second time in a year. As it turns out, Tinder now, is a playground for serial screenshotters who use unsuspecting Tinder-wasis (or nincompoops as R likes to call them) as pawns for Twitter retweets and Instagram likes. Then there are the few who treat it as a Black Mirror-ish reality show where you can judge anyone by their Uber ratings. Nowadays, there are as many millennials going on Tinder to find dates or hook up as there are untampered EVMs in the country. You get the drift.

At the end of our conversation, I asked R, which of the two categories she fell into. She told me that there also existed a third kind of people who still use Tinder; the ones who liked to stare at its growing irrelevance with each passing day. She is one of them.