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When I was a child, I enjoyed watching fairytales. My romantic idealism was heavily influenced by three things: the young adult novels I devoured, the Disney movies my dad used to keep his ADD (short attention span) infused daughter entertained, and chick flicks starring but not limited to Freddie Prinze Jr., Drew Barrymore, Ryan Philippe, and Rachel Leigh Cook. Naively, I hoped to have a meet-cute* story of my own to share. You know bumping into someone at the bookstore while you both reach for the same book (still my favorite imagined story to date), however, I am quick to remind myself that we are no longer in the early millennium and have now entered into what I dare say, The Tinder Age.
Tinder, for most of you folks who don’t know (have you been living under a rock?), describes itself as “how people meet, its like real life, only better.” Wikipedia goes on to say that Tinder is a matchmaking mobile app that uses geolocation technology to find your match. So in simplistic terms, it’s an app just like your Facebook app but leads you to a database of people you can meet up with at any given time.
Most people would be quick to argue that Tinder is for simply “meeting” people just like you would in bar while others say that it was created for the purposes of hooking up and everything else that happens after dark.
To be fair, I first heard of Tinder in late 2012 when a friend of mine showed me his Grinder app (the Tinder for the LGBT community) and back then it was said to be an app for hooking up so you would understand my initial apprehension. However, as more and more countries adapt to it, even the more conservative ones in Southeast Asia, it has evolved into a bar on wheels and is perceived to be no different than going out and meeting people in clubs. It’s safe to say that the stigma of being branded as “thirsty” no longer applies. I never really gave it much thought until friends of mine started using it and that’s when The Tinderella Experiment was born.
The Tinderella Experiment (term coined by my good friend, Juliet) is the process of downloading the Tinder app and using it for research purposes only. After hearing so many stories about the app (there is a good mix of happy and terror stories), my friends and I decided to give it a go collectively using Juliet’s Facebook profile during one particularly boring lunch hour. The results were hilarious and while nobody received any indecent proposal yet as of this writing, there have been successful matches that we didn’t bother responding to. We simply wanted to see what the hype was about, check out the dating pool to see if we were missing out (turns out, we weren’t as far as our distances were concerned) and just like anything experimental, drop it.
The Tinderella Experiment was thoroughly enjoyable simply because we weren’t in it to win it. The experiment brought my friends and I together through its hilarious profiles (no offense) and the crazy moments when actually see someone you know. It did, however, make me rethink about today’s dating culture. Is Tinder a form of settling or just like anything else in life, a better, quicker way of doing things? Does it make me less of a person if I sign up for it or does it make me new age? These were the thoughts that simply couldn’t be answered by swiping left or right.
It’s safe to say that the Philippines IS still generally a safe place to Tinder in. My friends who have tried it have said that Pinoy men are still cautious and not too straightforward (as of writing, at the very least) and nobody has been outrageous enough to simply want the deed. What saddens me though is seeing some of fully committed men (either through verbal agreement or legit vows) also snooping around to see if there’s someone better out there.
And while I may be too conservative for my own sake, I do believe that people have the right to live life the way they want them to and for this reason, I freely give single people the chance to Tinder all they want (sige na nga, kahit yung nasa dating stages palang, hmph!). However, my old soul refuses to accept the fact that some thoroughly committed men (and possibly women) still Tinder to their heart’s delight. As in anything in life, it’s not the app itself that’s a bad thing but in how we use it. If you’re single and not actively pursuing anyone, I can’t judge you for how you choose to find true love. But if you are married or committed as in committed, then I am judging you a bit. Why window-shop when you can’t buy? Most importantly, why commit if you still want to window shop? Have we really turned into an entitled generation that has proven that enough is never enough? Do we no longer take our words seriously and stuff like… uh… commitment? Are we always on the lookout for something better? And when we find better, do we leave people behind? Ang tanong ko lang talaga naman is this: bakit hanap ka pa ng hanap kung meron ka na sa tabi mo? Kung gusto mo mag enjoy (or explore), bakit hindi ka na lang makipag break?
That frustration aside, I don’t find anything wrong with the app and while I personally would not choose it, I don’t look at those who do differently. I’ve always believed that there’s no one way of doing life but I just personally prefer to do mine the old fashioned way. That being said, I do believe it all boils down to people wanting company and wanting to be wanted and I believe that everyone’s entitled to it no matter how they find it.