Commentary: Swiping Is the New Like

woman on her cell phone

Commentary: Swiping Is the New Like

The art of online dating.

Published August 11, 2015

In most areas of my life, I’m behind the times. My favorite music came out of the 20th century. My four-year-old niece criticizes my hip hop moves. And I’m told my slang is straight up wack.

But when it comes to dating trends, I’m staying relevant. You won't catch me cruising the supermarket produce aisle or in a church basement waiting for my speed dates to arrive. No, I'm too busy online — swiping like a boss on Tinder.

Using Tinder, I take on the persona I secretly covet, brazenly flirting with strangers, ruthlessly rejecting the rest and never looking back.

I show up to the party confident, cute and effortless. As if I'm the only woman in the room, my options seem endless. Every man seeks my attention and approval. I make eye contact with each of them using no more than a glance to size them up. Based only on their appearance, I dismiss those who don't immediately impress. Eye contact lingers with a select few, whether it's because of a nice smile, a sexy beard or a cute dog on his lap. "Tell me more about yourself," I'll inquire. "I'm 5'11"," he'll respond.

This is courtship on Tinder.

Dressed in a Star Wars costume. Swipe left.

Shirtless photo at the gym. Swipe left.

Hugging a woman in the picture. Swipe left.

Oh, hello sexy. Swipe right.

Might be a Nazi. Swipe left.

For every right swipe, I probably swipe to the left on 20 undesirable men. It's the online equivalent of putting on my headphones to block out the noise of street harassment. As it should be in real life, if I have no interest in them, they have no access to me. Tinder allows me to pretend they were never there.

On the other hand, I've reduced my matches to a carefully curated selection of appealing men, all of whom are waiting to hear from me, assuming they also swiped right on my profile — but c'mon, you know they swiped right. I'm a boss.

Once we're beyond the flirtatious swiping phase of our relationships, I'm left to juggle multiple men. For years, I've been trying to master the art of dating several men at once, cultivating relationships with men of different types, interests and locations to satisfy my range of needs and nomadic lifestyle. With Tinder, I'm getting it done. Dude A wants to talk politics, Dude B wants to talk travel and Dude C just wants to meet. There's a time and place for all of you, fellas. 

Yet even I have my limits. So I try to keep my "relationships" to no more than ten at a time. When a conversation gets boring, if a guy asks to connect on Facebook too soon or if his use of punctuation isn't up to par, I'll hit "unmatch" without hesitation. You see, when you're on my level in the game, there's no time to waste on dead-ends. 

I'll just jump back in to swipe some more.

At face value, online dating is the pits. It can be time consuming, demoralizing and fruitless. But gone are the days of lengthy profiles and aimless questionnaires. Forget about the quirky, yet sassy screen names and agonizing scrutiny over match scores. And no longer will I be asked to detail the events of my most embarrassing memory. In the era of Tinder, I spend my time on what matters most in the dating game: quick and shallow judgments, surface conversations and distracted multitasking. Perhaps it's the closest to real life we can be in this digital world.

As millions of us are turning to online technology with the hopes of eventually meeting real humans and making that one quality connection that matters, Tinder might be the perfect escape to help us pretend we’re doing something right. 

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.



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(Photo: Sonja Pacho/Corbis)

Written by Dana Saxon

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