I am unfortunately, begrudgingly, a dating app veteran. I’ve been on Tinder since I was old enough to start dating. Being 20, I’ve gone on enough bad first dates, been through enough ghostings and experienced enough half-relationships to confidently say that unless you’re looking for transactional, robotic interactions with other people, Tinder is an absolute cesspool.
So, after too many years of swiping endlessly, hating myself and society, I deleted the app. But getting rid of this soul-sucking validation machine was a lot harder than I expected. If you’re trying to degrade yourself less this year, here’s three things to do instead of swiping on Tinder to try and feel something, anything.
Get a haircut
Let’s be honest — dating apps thrive off our never-ending need for validation of our physical appearance. Rather than getting a rando to message you “hi beautiful” four times before calling you a whore, consider altering your appearance somehow. Getting a haircut taps into these same feelings, because you’re making a significant, impulsive choice. The people around you will probably comment on it, even if it doesn’t look good! If you also (for some reason) miss the regret and emptiness that ensues after closing Tinder and deciding to go to bed, you can emulate that EASILY by just waiting a few hours after said haircut. Everyone’s sad!
Go for a run (while yelling at the top of your lungs)
Before you think about downloading a dating app, ask yourself: Are you looking for love, or have you just already exhausted your social media timelines to scroll through while half-watching Netflix? I realized I was just trying to release restless energy from lack of fulfillment and thought the nice app that people use for sex would somehow help at all. Maybe instead of creating a digital persona where you reduce your entire existence into some nicely lit photos and a clever bio, put your sneakers on and just run. Run as hard and as fast as you can to escape the hellscape that is modern dating. Scream if you need to! It’s way more cathartic and is also super effective at deterring men from attacking you while you exercise.
Degrade yourself while standing in front of the mirror
Sorry gentlemen, this one is geared toward the brave women who are still on dating apps despite the constant abuse and harassment they receive (ask any gal who has ever even thought about Tinder, and she’ll probably have a horror story, or 12). If you’re a little tired of strange men finding your social media accounts in an invasive effort to contact you, take the middle man (literally) out of the equation! Just stand in front of the mirror and say out loud what a men’s rights activist would say about you, a woman who dares to be autonomous!
Maybe Tinder isn’t actually that bad, because at the very least, a lot of happy relationships have resulted from it. But there is something troubling about the way a dating app has impacted the way we judge others and assign worth to strangers. I don’t think I’ll ever find true, lasting love on Tinder, and deleting it has given me some mental clarity on how I perceive myself. So if you need me, I’ll be swiping on Bumble.