The Tinder Dating Adventures of a 40-Something Feminist
I like men. So much so, that I’ve thrown myself into the lion’s den, the horse’s mouth, and the cat’s meow of Internet dating. Or in this case, what I lovingly refer to as shallow people-shopping in TinderLand.
Let the record state, I am a terrible dater. I’m honest, direct, correct people’s grammar and readily talk about everything you’re not supposed to talk about on dates. If I have to poop, I’ll probably tell you. I also consider myself a feminist. It’s not an easy world out there for us strong, independent broads.
I didn’t find dating in my 20s any easier than I find dating in my 40s. But I do find it more entertaining with apps like Tinder, which for the most part, serves as my late-night, wind-my-hectic-brain-down entertainment. I wish this weren’t the case and I could really take it more seriously, but egads, it’s a shit show out there!
As a woman, and as a feminist, I find myself dancing on lines of my comfort zone with Tinder regularly. I think people get slightly uncomfortable when I say I’m not boyfriend/husband shopping, but I’m not necessarily just looking for random casual sex with guys who can’t spell either. I’ve heard “You seem very accomplished and together. What are you doing on here?" Which makes me immediately wonder what’s wrong with them.
My Tinder profile includes a photo of my favorite T-shirt that says, "Dear Republicans, please stay out of my vagina.” It says, “bonus points for those who listen to NPR,” and, “I’m not interested in seeing pics of your guns, cars, or fish.” It contains these tidbits in hopes that I will match with articulate, attractive, progressive men who get my snark and will be able to have a real conversation. It pays to be an idealist sometimes.
But the stone cold reality (at least for me) is that there’s about one right swipe for every fifty left swipes, and of those rare matches, few have been able to hold my attention for more than 3 minutes. A common interaction goes something like this (verbatim):
Tinder guy: Hello how are u ?
Me: I’m great! How are you? Why do you only have 1 photo?
Tinder guy: I am new on here. We’re u from and how long have u been on the site for ?
Ugh. Unmatch. I’m forced to choose “no reason,” when I’d really like to say “Because he can’t write a proper fucking sentence.” Then, there are the sugary terms of endearment straight out of the gate, the immediate requests for nude photos, the painfully boring conversations that go nowhere and the guys who get weirdly hostile when you ask them questions.
Speaking of questions, rarely do men on Tinder ever ask me questions. It’s as if they’ve never learned the art of conversing. Answer question, ask question. Sometimes I’ll say “Should I keep asking you more questions?” to which many respond “Sure.” Pukeballs.
I had a guy tell me that I “probably hate porn and sex” when having a chat about politics and feminism. I went on a date with a guy who seemed interesting enough until he mentioned he didn’t think America was ready for a female president. When I asked him if he just didn’t like Hillary, he said “No. Women are just way too emotional.” Needless to say, it was our last date.
As far as sex goes, if there is chemistry between two adults, it’s consensual and everyone is chanting the "No Glove, No Love" mantra, I don’t see hookups as a big deal, as we’re really wired to procreate if we’re being honest. I’m comfortable with both my body and my sexuality. I’m in my prime. But I will say that by the time I reached my mid-30s, my brain and my vagina became far more connected, so if there’s no intellectual foreplay happening these days, the chances of a man being able to make me cum are slim to none.
Mutual respect and equality go a long way across the board. In all facets of life, as well as in TinderLand. Women aren’t as complicated as men may think we are, and you can still be a gentleman without undermining my intelligence or abilities.
Oh, and one more thing. Instead of sending me a photo of your penis, just ask me how my day was. You’ll most likely get a friendlier response and I have yet to see a dick pic that made me shout, “I want to jump on that right now! Get over here you sexy man beast!”
I’ve recently taken to making fun of many of these things on my Facebook page. I find it a fascinating experiment in social behavior as the women tend to be amused, while some guys have been very offended and not afraid to tell me so. I even had one guy on Facebook say I was a feminist guy basher who looks like Celine Dion on radiation. This same guy had sent me a private message earlier in the week asking me out for a drink (which I had ignored), so I chalked it up to a rejection tantrum coupled with short-man syndrome. We can choose to laugh or cry, people.
I have met a few great guys on Tinder who have become good friends. I have had a couple of positive experiences. There have been several awkward dates, and tons of flaky bullshit. I think it works well for people not looking for anything very serious, and at the end of the day, we’re all just flawed humans trying to make our way in this discombobulated world. Nobody would ever pay to ride a flat roller coaster.
I do have a date tonight, though it’s with a man I’ve known for 10 years. The Tinder app developers were probably still struggling with acne and teen angst when we met. He gets my snark, knows I’m a feminist, and appreciates my brain. Wish me luck.
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