Tinder Theories: A modern look at love

Feb 14, 2014 7:52 PM

While most people know about online dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony, a new app called Tinder is proving to be popular with younger users.

Tinder takes a users Facebook profile and connects them with other users in their area. From there, it takes both people to like each other (or swipe right), to become a match and start talking.

Love is in the air at Chico State University.

But for those who haven't found it, they might be looking on tinder.

Junior frat boy Austin Schumacher isn't ruling out the possibility of not only finding a match on Tinder, but a soul mate, too.

Though he admits, guys use it to hook up, whereas girls are usually looking for more.

“I feel like it's kind of clashing,” Schumacher said. “But at the same time it doesn't stop guys and it doesn't stop girls from going on it.”

It certainly doesn’t. A recent Time magazine article notes the app has added a million users in the past 60 days.

Worldwide, there are about 500 million swipes a day.

And Tinder says the total number of users, which it won't reveal, is split pretty evenly between men and women.

But up on the sixth floor of Butte Hall, a Chico State Sociology professor said it doesn't evenly favor men and women.

“Our research continually shows that in fact, many college aged woman are having sex to get the relationships, whereas guys are having sex to get the sex,” Dr. Liahna Gordon said.

In that way, Dr. Gordon argues, Tinder, with what many see as a hookup app, favors the motivations of men.

But there are obvious advantages for both sexes too, she said.

“You don't have to have that awkward situation of going up to someone and getting denied,” Schumacher said.

“You’re less likely to get rejected. I think that feels good for people, right?” Gordon said. “And you both have liked each other, swiped the right way, right, In order to put it together? So it decreases the risk for rejection, and I think that makes people a lot more comfortable.”

Dr. Gordon also thinks it could be a safer way to meet people.

If matches meet up, it's at a public place, and there's (presumably) no booze

“I think there's ways that it can help address a little bit of the problems we have at Chico State around alcohol consumption and drug use, and how those are related on sexuality,” Gordon said.

But how often does meeting up happen for what many simply look see as a game, or a quick ego boost?

“A lot of times I feel like a lot of the conversations lead nowhere,” Schumacher said. “Because you get matched with enough people, and then it's like getting too hectic and you're talking to people.”

“There’s always somebody else in the hopper and if something better comes along, or something that I think might be better, then you go on the back burner, if at all,” Gordon said.

In that way, Gordon is concerned about Tinder being another way to commodify humans.

“It's like shopping! I'm going to try this one on, oh don't like that one,” Gordon said. “It's a continual supply and that there's always more. That provides a lot of excitement in some lives that where people aren't so content with their lives.”

At least for now, it seems young people will continue to shop.

Even Takara Ragland, who has a serious boyfriend, is curious about Tinder.

“I think if I were to go up to somebody, or somebody would come up to me, and they were not attractive, I'd swipe left or swipe right, in real life,” Ragland said.

April Rainbaux isn't on Tinder either, but estimates half of her friends are.

She said some of them have used tinder to fill the void in their actual relationship.

“Not many people our age are going to be signing up for eHarmony, but maybe they'll sign up for Tinder and meet a girl down the street,” Rainbaux said.

Austin Schumacher only has one complaint about Tinder. He wishes there was a back button

Inside an app of snap judgments and quick swipes, Schumacher has swiped left, when he meant to swipe right.

“Maybe I'm a little bit of a romantic,” Schumacher said. “Maybe I just missed the chance of my life right there, because that girls pretty. I mean I know everything's based on looks there.”

Life's about opportunities, either taken or missed.

But the thing about Tinder is there will always be another one.


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