By STEVI BRESHEARS, Editor-in-Chief |
In today’s world, if you aren’t on a dating app, you’re either in a relationship or missing out on a lot of opportunities to begin one. While dating apps offer many options, users say to take precautions before moving your dating game online.
According to a study by technology company Quantcast, 74 percent of online daters use the app. Tinder itself boasts that it’s responsible for more than 30 billion “matches” in more than 190 countries, resulting in more than 1 million dates per week — but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good dates.
There’s a certain amount of anonymity in online dating. People create profiles that highlight the parts of them they think are most attractive, and in pre-med student Julio Salazar’s case, that means flat-out being lied to.
“I was 19 and Tinder had just come out and was fairly new. I met this guy on there and we chatted for a little bit,” Salazar said. “He seemed genuine and I was pretty excited.”
Salazar’s match described himself as a 21-year-old West Texas A&M student. “The thing about Tinder is that you can’t send photos, you can only have the few ones allowed on your profile. I ended up agreeing to a date,” Salazar said.
When Salazar arrived for the date, he did not see anyone who fit his match’s description. “Finally I see this guy wave at me and I’m like, ‘Are you waving at me?’ He was way older than me. I walk over and I say his name, my stomach sank. This guy was actually in his early 30s. He was pretty much balding, out of shape. It was the worst date ever. Finally, I said I needed to go to the bathroom. I grabbed my keys and jacket and beelined for the exit.”
But Salazar’s Tinder torture wasn’t over. “The date was the weekend before the semester started, and I show up to my class on Tuesday morning. Guess who was the T.A. for that class? We made the most awkward eye contact ever and we had to endure a whole semester together.”
Salazar said this bad experience taught him an important lesson. “Long story short, I ask for updated pics, references and Snapchat before meeting guys on dates now,” he said.
Sometimes, it isn’t the match that goes wrong, it’s outside influences during the date, according to Hayleigh Steadman, an English major.
“I met up with a Tinder match at Mulligan’s for drinks and about an hour into our incredibly awkward ‘date’ some girl (obviously super drunk) comes and sits by me. She started flirting with me right in front of him! She took my phone and added herself on Facebook,” Steadman, said.
Despite the interruption, Steadman said she dated her Tinder match for several months after that. While that relationship has ended, she said she’s still Facebook friends with the girl.
Although many people said they see Tinder as a useful tool or an easy way to waste some time, others said they feel that it does more harm than good.
Ivan Dopeman, an accounting major, said he thinks that dating apps like Tinder can have a negative effect on self-esteem.
“It’s just a big game of men jumping through hoops for women who are allowed to have these totally unrealistic standards,” Dopeman said. “For women, Tinder is like going to an American grocery store. There are tons of options readily available.
For men, Tinder is like going to a North Korean grocery store. There’s only one option, there isn’t much of it and it’s grossly overpriced.”
Should you choose to take a chance and start swiping, it’s important to be careful. Get to know your matches for a decent amount of time, ask for extra pictures and meet in a safe, public place.
It’s also a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and when, and update them if you need to. Bad dates can be a great source for funny stories, but they can also be dangerous.