By Dana S.
If you’re a college student, in your very late teens through mid-twenties, you probably live in a hookup culture. Americans have been long known to seek out that which will gratify us the soonest; we’re always looking for the quick fix with the easy getaway. Enter Tinder, the popular “dating” app that almost everyone in my age group knows about and that most people have probably used at least once. According to the Vox article “Seven questions about Tinder you were too embarrassed to ask,” a little more than thirty percent of users are on Tinder because they’re just curious, a little fewer are there because it’s entertaining, even fewer because they’re looking for a relationship, and the fewest are there because they’re looking for a quick hookup [i].
If a practice theorist were to look at young adults in America and their ideas about hookups and love, they would see something quite different than what those statistics say [ii]. In my experience as a human who occasionally uses the app, I have learned that most of us probably want some epic love story to come out of a date you snagged on Tinder, but when it comes down to it, we’re all perfectly happy to meet up with someone for a hookup. Are hookups love? No, probably not, but if you’re a college student looking to have some fun, either because “you’re just curious” or “you’re looking for a quick hookup,” [iii] Tinder could be the way to go. But (some of us might hope) maybe one out of thousands of Tinder hookups will lead to love down the road.
A feminist anthropologist could also examine the gender rules associated with Tinder [iv]. When posting photos for your profile, don’t post them with another girl (if you’re a guy) or with another guy (if you’re a girl) unless, of course, you specify in your blurb that he or she is just a cousin or a friend. The guy usually sends the first message, and he’s allowed to be as creepy as can be. “Wanna get drinks and then get married after?” is a one-liner that seems to be pretty popular. Girls have a lot of options: they can take that first creepy message and run with it, or they can turn it down quickly and easily. Of course, if girls message first, they can also get turned down, but it’s more likely that the guy will message the girl first. If things lead to a casual hookup, then other rules come into play, rules not necessarily associated with Tinder. It’s clear that Tinder has a lot to say in reflection of American love and hookup culture, and there’s a lot that can be explored with other dating apps and websites as well.
[i] Matthews, Dylan. “Seven questions about Tinder you were too embarrassed to ask.” Vox. Vox Media, 3 July 2014. Web. 10 October 2014.
[ii] Lecture, Professor Carole McGranahan, ANTH 2100 Frontiers of Cultural Anthropology, 6 October 2014.
[iii] See footnote [i] above
[iv] Lecture, Professor Carole McGranahan, ANTH 2100 Frontiers of Cultural Anthropology, 8 October 2014.