To The Left, To The Right: Inside the Mind of a Male Tinder User


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The dating game is a dance as old as time. You go out to a bar or party. If you’re lucky, you meet someone, and there is a mutual attraction. You go on a date, things go further, or they don’t. Before technology, the process of meeting someone could take quite a while. Just think of all the times you have gone out to a party, took a look around, and immediately said, “Nope.”

However, for those who are brave enough to attempt online dating, there is an app called Tinder, which has been around for about two years, but has picked up a lot of steam in the past few months. Tinder provides the user with the basic profiles of men or women in their area, and allows them to swipe right for “yes” (as in yes, I like you, and I want you) or left for “nope” (everyone knows what nope means). Mutual swipes are notified of each other’s existence.

Tonight, I met up with an old friend who was visiting from out of town. After asking if I had any single friends who may be looking for some fun (of which I could think of none), he said that he would now have to resort to Tinder if he wanted to meet women over his trip. While I am familiar with what Tinder is, I have never actually seen it used. Naturally, I asked if I could observe as he swiped. He obliged.

The swiping movements were lightening fast. Each left swipe got no more than .25 seconds of consideration, before a large, rude “NOPE” was stamped across the woman’s picture, and she disappeared forever into the ether. It was barely enough time to fully see their faces. There was no reading of the profile for these girls. No consideration of whether she was curing cancer, had written the great American novel, or if she was a fantastic cook. That’s not what Tinder is about.

Every once in a while, he would come across a woman who caught his attention. Interestingly, the more revealing photos did not seem more likely to earn a yes from him. Most of the girls he chose were girls who showed only their faces. Once a face captured his attention, he began to read their profile. “I enjoy going out and being active,” exclaimed a cute redhead, who had posted a picture of herself hiking a canyon.

“Sounds like she wants to climb my dick,” he decided. Swipe right.

Women in their thirties were also given priority over women in their early twenties. “Women in their thirties know what they like,” he explained. As someone who was only in town for a few days, he emphasized that he did not have enough time to go through a courtship that may require two or more dates.  He wanted to get straight down to the business of a mutually beneficial sexual relationship, and was looking for women who were similarly situated.

“I’m very disappointed with the quality,” he said as his thumb passed quickly to the left side of his touch screen. “I expected better.” The girls looked perfectly cute to me, but then again, I wasn’t looking for someone to take home with me.

Even though I knew that the girls had no way of knowing how quickly they had been ‘noped,’ I could not help but feel sorry for them. After all, these girls had posted their prettiest pics, tried their best to sound fun/interesting, and had done their best to present the most compelling version of themselves. But still, regardless of whether they were seeking meaningful relationships or just quick hookups, all of this effort was only worth a quarter of a second’s consideration. After all, even the most ambitious guy can’t fuck the whole city, and New York is full of women to swipe past.

As my friend and I parted ways, I told him to let me know if any of his Tinder swipes turned into dates, and he said he would. As I walked on, I felt strangely relieved to know that nobody would be swiping left on my picture somewhere in the city tonight. But then again, nobody would be swiping right either. So maybe it is the Tinder girls, who had the balls to put themselves out there in this brutal and superficial dating world, who ought to feel sorry for me.

Or nah.

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