The book I’m working on focuses on Bumble because it was such a formative set of experiences, I was very dutiful about recording the minutia of those experiences, and its design as a ‘feminist’ dating app produced unique outcomes that deserve their own story. Feminist you say…Yes, that’s how it is sold because of its algorithm whereby women make the opening move, which is intended to reduce the pressure men feel to ‘always’ ask women out and enable ‘us’ to take greater control of our dating destinies. Lofty stuff. This post isn’t about Bumble though, it’s about a brief exchange I just had on Tinder, where I’m currently serving my second tour of duty. I prefer this app for many reasons that will become apparent.
When things are lean in the main feed of prospective suitors and my roster (i.e., where the images/messages from matches are stored), sometimes I save my matches. This means that I don’t say hi right away and hope that they will hold off on extending an opening line, for a day or two. Lots of us do this as a way to stave off the likelihood of disappointment. Let’s just look at the man inside the golden circle, yes, let’s do that. I was minding my own business and freely engaging in that brand of imaginative dating behaviour when he sent me a message. Truth: I was kind of excited because he seemed interesting, a graphic designer, not too far away, quite cute, not too hipster-y. Over the course of the 4 minute walk from the bus stop to my meeting in the Natural Sciences Building this is what transpired:
Him: Want to hear a joke?
Me: I do
Him: Why did the librarian forget her books after her shift?
Me: I give up
Him: Because she’s a woman and women are stupid!
Me: Boooo. Hissss. WOW.
Him: About 17% usually laugh
Me: Your pictures are cute but I’m not into sexism
Him: I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, but when someone tells a joke it’s not serious. If you can’t take that kind of comment I don’t think we will get along.
This kind of blatant sexism is not uncommon on dating apps and I encountered it more often on Bumble than Tinder, which is somewhat ‘ironic’ considering Bumble is a ‘feminist’ app. Actually, it’s not ironic and is in fact the main reason WHY men are ruder on that app. All things feminist are under fire and like the “joke” above, and examples from the lives of people around the world revealled to us on a daily basis, we remain the target of gross displays of patriarchal fear and male violence. As a dating app, Tinder is far more equitable because it’s two people who are free to contact one another when or if they like, and it doesn’t sell itself as anything other than what it is: a platform that helps people connect.
I will leave it there for now, this sharp, quick, illuminating example is all I wanted to share. I was not surpized by this exchange but it was something I hadn’t experienced in such a head-on way for a while. Then, on my way home I had to play chicken with an older man for my patch of the sidewalk. I was walking on one side of the sidewalk and was like ‘dude, I’m not moving’ and it wasn’t until the last few feet that he grudgingly moved so our bodies wouldn’t collide. Some heavy douches out there today- EEK!