Tinder Is The Night

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Tinder Is The Night

Words by Ms Nicole Mowbray

21 July 2014

How to be a gentleman on the digital meat rack.

Mr Giacomo Casanova was famously ugly; history's greatest womaniser had to rely on pure charm to coax women to his bedroom. It's probably a fair assumption then that Mr Casanova wouldn't have approved of digital era dating and its latest manifestation, Tinder, a social app where romantic fortunes are based entirely on looks.

With more than 10 million active users globally and available in 24 languages, Tinder is transforming the way people get together. For those not familiar with how it works (and we find sexual Luddites charming), the Tinderer is presented with a succession of photos of would-be suitors in their local area. Swiping left drops them in the "I'll pass" pile, swiping right adds them to "yes please" - thankfully both actions are entirely anonymous. If two different Tinderers both swipe right, it's a match and the app puts you in touch so you can have a friendly conversation, knowing in the back of your mind that you have both tacitly indicated that you're each the sort of people you generally sleep with. The format may seem as shallow as a paddling pool, but its simplicity is its greatest asset. Yet even with something so straightforward, there are still plenty of pitfalls and it only takes one bad move for the wheels to fall off the wagon of love's young dream. With this in mind and to help you triumph in this all-new Tinder terrain, we've got some tactics to get you started, as well as a few wise words from a female user.

Your photos are like writing a CV; you want to look good, but without straying into bragging territory. Firstly, try to avoid cliché. There are so many pictures of guys with depressed and drugged tigers in their photos that a Tumblr account has been created to document the phenomenon (tigersoftinder.com). No one knows why so many men have the desire to emulate Mr Vladimir Putin by posing next to a great cat, or considering the global shortage where are all these tigers are coming from, but kindly resist the urge. Also, all selfies? You look like you have no friends. All group shots? It's impossible to tell which one you are. It's Tinder, not Guess Who.

Witty one-liners such as "I'm just looking for my Tinderella" get old fast, and tangential quotations from celebrities aren't helpful. Mr Mark Twain once observed, "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." But for goodness sake, don't have that as your Tinder bio.

This should go without saying, but some are using it to promote their latest business venture. No, you're not a "Tindertrepeneur", you're an idiot.

Some guys like to play the numbers game and swipe yes to everyone. Sadly, this will probably work, but will yield results of questionable quality. Maybe try first only right-swiping the ones you actually fancy and then resorting to the blunderbuss approach if you don't get any matches.

Due to the aforementioned numbers game, women get far more matches than guys, so you'll probably need to be the one following up on the initial contact. Just avoid the depressingly obvious opening gambit of "Hey, sexy!"

Interact with girls as you would at a bar. Yes, try to be interesting, but don't employ stupid pick-up lines, and it's best not to share your bizarre sexual fantasies until several dates in (or never, fantasy depending). One lady reported to me that a guy's opening gambit to her was that he "wanted to paint her green and spank her like a disobedient avocado". She declined his invitation to be guacamole-ed. Her logic was sound: avocados can't be disobedient, they're inanimate objects.

If you generally rely on your charisma rather than your looks to get girls, maybe this "judge a book by its cover" app isn't for you. Eventually someone will design a dating app that simply holds a dispassionate list of your intellectual and artistic achievements to match against each other, but until then, get out into the real world, Casanova.

The Tinder commandments

Ignore them at your (perennially single) perilWords by Ms Nicole Mowbray

Thou shalt not: Post inspirational quotes on your bioI know you think you are the only person to have possibly quoted Messrs Mahatma Gandhi, or Paulo Coelho or Anchorman 2, or even to have come up with your own philosophy of “you only get one life, enjoy the ride” but, the truth is, you’re not. While the pseudo-quote comes from a good place, it’s still the emotional equivalent of being a vegan and therefore probably best dropped into conversation casually once you’ve got to know each other.

Thou shalt not: Overdose on adrenalineExtreme sports are sexy. Yet, six pictures of you skiing, wakeboarding, rock climbing, parachuting, surfing and pedalling up Mont Ventoux is likely to make many prospective dates run for the hills. Why? Well I’ll tell you. A) You look like you’d never be home, which isn’t ideal for a relationship. B) Extreme sports carry with them the inkling that perhaps you’ll wear a leather necklace or a fleece, and no-one wants to date a man in Velcro sandals. Borrow a puppy or, better still, a cat, and take a snap with that instead. It works.

Thou shalt not: Write a chippy bioOK, so your last relationship broke up badly. I get it, most of us don’t split up with people we really like. That being said, it’s not massively necessary to write in your profile everything you think women do wrong, or the kind of women you don’t like, or tell us certain women “need not apply”. Oh no, angry man, we are devastated!

Thou shalt not: Do the torso thingI get it. You did the 30-day ab challenge and you’re proud of the results. You only eat protein after midday and your favourite film was 300. Boys, I appreciate a nice body as much as the next lady, but a torso shot? Really? Most ladies like to use their imagination rather than having a tensed, greased-up eight pack shoved in our face as we’re making a soy latte in the morning. Abstain. If things go well, there’ll be plenty of time for us to see your TVA (transversus abdominis) muscles (also known as a Victory V). We’re just not that keen on everyone on Tinder seeing them too.

Thou shalt not: Upload any photos of you with an exAnyone who has ever been in love knows nothing good comes of seeing someone’s ex. If they’re good-looking, it’s depressing. If they’re not, it’s also depressing. I have actually seen men post their wedding pictures on Tinder as a profile. This is all manner of wrong. By the time I go back to a new boyfriend’s house, I expect any photos of the ex to be stored away, and the same thing goes for Tinder. Use some other pictures, lads!

Though shalt not: Feature a picture of you with a sports carEven if the McLaren is in your own garage and the selfie wasn’t taken in the showroom, please cease and desist with the status anxiety photographs. Most women aren’t desperate to date a man with a car that costs more than a Tribeca loft, and so we are quite straightforward about what we want to see in a picture. You, dressed nicely, on your own, having fun. Please leave your mid-life crisis at the door.

Thou shalt not: Send naked pictures of yourself on WhatsAppThings are going well. You think, “Hmm she could be Ms Right” – or at least, “Ms Right Now” – so you take Tinder “offline” (you swap numbers and start texting your potential date rather than communicating through the site). This is a seminal moment and one that is easily blown. Rest assured it is not the time to send a nudie picture of yourself, or any picture at all, unless you want to take the highway to dumpsville.

Illustrations by Mr Patrick Ledger