By Juanita Navarro & Daniela Serrano
By this point in time everyone and their mothers have heard of Tinder. In Latin America, though, its popularity is somewhat lukewarm. But sometimes, by means of Camila and Hilary Duff, we hear of successful stories: dude was not a murderer and was actually a fun date. Out of unadulterated curiosity, and without even planning it, Juanita and I downloaded the app the same weekend. And we decided to make an experiment out of it, doing it for the story and such. Just so you know, Juanita and I are two of the most socially awkward people that have ever roamed this earth.
I’m crazy about guidelines and instructions (and Juanita is far too over indulgent with me) so we came up with a set of rules that would direct our actions on the app.
- First week we have to like at least five people.
- We have to respond to anyone that talks to us.
- Third week we have to initiate a conversation with someone.
During the weeks we actively tried it we found out many things, mainly that we have no idea how miles work and that if we had had no outside help we’d still be swiping for underage guys from all over the continent. But, to better illustrate our blunders into this thing people call “online dating”, we will each give you our sides of the experience.
What was your criteria for swiping right?
Juanita Navarro: My “type” usually is geeky, longhaired guys, preferably with glasses. Sadly, that demographic either has no interest on Tinder or is comprised of guys outside of the geographic and age ranges that I established. So, once I got over the irrational fear of swiping right (what if he swiped right for me too? NOTHING, the answer to that question is nothing) I went for the next best thing in matters of alternative guys, which turned out to be tattooed hipser-ish graphic designers… I’m not kidding, they were all graphic designers. Also on my good list were adorkable (yes, Daniela, that’s a word) guys with big glasses. Since I took the time to fill out a description (a very random one) I also took notice of people with descriptions, because here in Colombia everybody seems to hate descriptions. Once I lost the shame, I went all right for the surfer Thor-like Australian and European foreigners that sometimes showed up. Lucky me, one of them was drunk enough (I assume) and swiped right for me too, and now that Australian Thor likes my face I can die peacefully.
I must add that I left the option open for guys and girls, even though I’ve never been in a relationship with a girl because I thought: why the hell not? I’ve been attracted to girls before. However, I ended up just swiping right for one girl, because… *see next question*.
Daniela Serrano: First of all I have to say that i thought that I’d have more chill with Tinder, but since I downloaded it, it didn’t feel quite comfortable for me. It took me a while to actually figure out how it worked, you know, that there were more pictures and information and stuff, but this is just me being a technology dummy. It felt so strange to scroll through a catalogue of guys, but on the cases I swiped right it was because I found the guy mildly cute (there is no point in trying to be deep in Tinder), sometimes it turned out we had interesting interests in common, or that he had a cute dog (I would swipe more for dogs that for their owners). I would also have mini panic attacks every time Tinder asked me “Do you like Whatshisface?” when I swiped right: How should I know if I like him Tinder?!!, I just saw his picture, stop asking stupid questions!!
Who did you talk to/ did you two hit it off?
JN: The first person to swipe right for me was a girl. She was cute, had a detailed AND interesting description and was really upfront and said hi that same day (the few boys that said ‘hi’ took ages to make that first contact). However, I wasn’t able to hold a conversation with her because, apparently, there is some important language semiotics when flirting with girls that I was not aware of (Daniela, who, I think, has never flirted with a girl was aware of those codes. How? Where was I when the memo was sent? Did everybody assume that I knew how to do it because I went to an all-girl school?). I’m exaggerating, of course, because it wasn’t that big of a deal, it was just that I felt that she was being distant with me (she wasn’t… semiotics) and because I was having a rough week (finishing my last semester at college) I felt attacked and left it there.
Damn me, because she really seemed nice and smart.
As for the boys, I answered two guys that had said ‘hello’ with a Simpsons quote. One of them (funny enough, an adorkable longhaired dude) got it, so I kept talking with him, but it never lead to anything, we were both there just to see what was the fuzz with Tinder and that was it. He actually was there in the hopes of making FRIENDS, and apparently had accomplished that goal, so go him.
DS: As I said, I have no chill and no game so there weren’t that many conversations. I talked to a guy who was nice enough but who kept on stretching the conversation even though it was evident that there was no chemistry there; fun fact: he turned out to be from a small town in Argentina where I lived when I was little.
There was this guy, completely underage and I had no interest in him but accidentally swiped him (this accidental swiping happens a lot). He started talking to me, but that went nowhere, fast.
Did it get easier?
JN: First, let me say that back on the day (that’s the MySpace day) I had all the Internet game in the world. I even got my first boyfriend (with whom I had a 2+ year long relationship) via MySpace, ok? It was my thing… or something.
Now, to answer the question… NO IT DID NOT! And because of what I just said, I’m just going to blame it on a newly developed social ineptitude, as I cross my arms in denial.
DS: Kinda, not really, maybe.
Were you worried about anything?
JN: I was really worried about being recognised on the streets. After a while I didn’t care if people I knew saw me on Tinder, I mean, we were both there, but whenever I took the bus or something I was a bit wary that some random stranger would come up to me and be like say: “Hey! I swiped right/we liked each other on Tinder!” Because serial killers, but most of all, because awkward.
DS: I didn’t actually go on any dates, and to be honest, I don’t know if with my poor nerves I would have actually gone out with a stranger found in an app. But in case I did, I suppose the biggest fear would be, you know, being murdered.
JN: Some guy swiped right, and because he thought it was taking me too long to like him back he went on and tracked me on Facebook and messaged me. Wtf?
DS: there was this one guy I tried talking to. I thought i was being funny and prompting conversation, but he felt incredibly attacked about me asking about his favorite movies and decided that I was testing him and that I was uppity and judgemental. That also went nowhere, even faster.
What did you learn?
JN: I lost my Internet game and now I will have to be like the aunts from Practical Magic, which sounds like a really great life plan.
But no, really what I learnt was:
*I think that nothing happened because I had my head somewhere else and didn’t want for anything to happen. Maybe Daniela and I didn’t end up with dates because we actually didn’t want to, had we wanted, the world could be ours, but Netflix.
*Tinder is very PG13 here in Colombia, and was half disappointed, to be honest.
*Even though this is a rather conservative country, there was a fair amount of people swiping right for my Empress of Darkness picture, even with the description that stated that I was learning about X-Men and listening to an 80’s Mexican girl band (that’s literally all it said).
*After a while, you realise that it is not that big of a deal when someone likes your face. Just like you are using Tinder for the lols, those people are too. So, yeah, uplifting, right?
DS: being a little bit serious, I found out that although interacting with people in real life is very freaking hard for me, it was an even bigger challenge trying it online. I realize that it doesn’t make much sense, since the “anonymity” and “distance” that online things give should make you feel freer to say and do whatever you want. The thing is that when talking to people, I turn a lot to the visual and physical cues people give to see if I’m being rude or pushy, funny or whatever. And it really throws me off to not know how the other person reacts. Or maybe i just wasn’t meant for online dating. It’ll be a mystery.
Also, that dick picks are no where as ubiquitous as the internet had me believe (thank god.)
To whom would you recommend Tinder?
JN: Anyone with a sense of humor will make something interesting out of Tinder.
DS: Anyone. Just maybe not me right now.