dating ATW #3: using tinder for travel?
It's a match!
A few months ago, I re-downloaded Tinder after yet another a six-month long hiatus. An ad popped up for Tinder Plus. I had no idea what the "Plus" meant. I checked out the description and saw I could change my location anywhere in the world without having to get out of bed.
I thought, why not and paid for a month of access. Minutes later, I was quite literally in a whole new world of dating, swiping in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, etc.
This was in January, a very shitty time for myself both because of my job and because of the recent election loss. But I won't get into that now. Tinder Plus was an escape that took no effort; I didn't need to book a flight or pack or get a visa. All I needed to do was drop a pin in a new location.
When I matched with guys in other countries, they asked if I was there, if I was traveling, what I was doing that night. Most of the time, I was just going to sleep. Alone. But they didn't need to know that. Another feature of Tinder Plus is that you can hide your distance - for all these guys knew, I could've been five miles away or 5,000 miles away.
After "visiting" a handful of places, I ended up in Dublin, Ireland. That's when I matched with a classmate from college! I remember thinking he was attractive when we were back in school. We immediately started talking and I told him I wasn't actually in Ireland, just using "Plus." He said if I ever ended up there that I had a place to stay.
Jump forward in time to April...
At this point, I was home and deciding where to fly first. Honestly, I hadn't even considered going to Ireland, but after seeing pictures of its beautiful countryside and diverse landscapes, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to actually go there. Plus, knowing someone who lived there kind of helped make my decision a bit easier. It also made sense to start from the top(ish) of Europe and make my way down.
I got in touch with my friend and told him I'd be there in a month.
He has a girlfriend, but...
He's in an open relationship, which explains why he was on Tinder. I didn't really know what that entailed, but he talked at length about it, saying that they both had a mutual agreement that they could date other people. As he would be in Ireland for the next four years, it would be unrealistic to maintain a long distance relationship without seeing anyone else for that amount of time. Regardless, I got the sense that my friend really loves and cares for his girlfriend. It seemed that seeing other people wouldn't take away from whatever it is that they have.
This really got me thinking about different types of relationships - what our expectations are of a person and how that changes and evolves over time. Meeting someone over an app can be easy, but there are things that are missing. There are no facial expressions or body language or tone of voice, other than what you project onto someone else's text message. Too much reading between the lines occurs, and that's where people misinterpret texts and start feeling mislead, or are the ones doing the misleading.
Dating apps are merely meant to judge if you're hot or not. How many people do you know swipe on apps because the person seemed like they have a good personality? Not many. It's a purely superficial way of making a snap judgement about someone void of context.
So, that is the story of how I originally ended up in Dublin. I was not looking for a hookup, but a friend, and that is exactly what I found. I did not hookup with or sleep with my friend. People scoff at the idea of looking for friends on Tinder, but I really think Tinder usage has different implications in different places. For example, I met a group of Irish girls the other night and they told me that here in Ireland, Tinder is more for dating than having sex. But in the U.S. (one mentioned NYC specifically), it's mostly about hooking up.
Use it how you want to use it. There is another Tinder Podcast episode about it called Unexpected Places, and it's about a guy who uses Tinder to find a secret temple. (I know it sounds like I am affiliated with them, but I swear am not.) Check it out!
Until next time!