My Tinder experiment
March 6th, 2015 Posted 8:55 pm
Of all the online dating platforms I’ve come across, Tinder (in my opinion) has proven by far to be the most difficult to meet girls on.
For those who may not know what Tinder is, it’s a matchmaking app based almost entirely on the premise of appearance and attractiveness. After you’ve created a profile (photos + a brief description), set a radius (the geographical distance surrounding you where you’d like your matches to be located), and your age/orientation, you’re offered photos of potential suitors who fit your specifications. It is up to you to either swipe their photos to the right if you like the look of them, or swipe to the left if you don’t.
Meanwhile, your own photo is offered to scores of fellow Tinder users and the same logic applies to them: if they like the look of you, they swipe right; if they don’t, they swipe left.
Whenever two people swipe right on each other, they become a ‘match’ and they gain the ability to chat to each other via text. The future of the relationship is entirely down to the conversation that follows. Ultimately, a mutually enjoyable conversation will lead to a real-life meetup, and from there, who knows? Tinder’s penchant for superficiality leads it towards a reputation of being more suited to casual sex & hookups as opposed to meaningful partnerships, although some matches have been known to lead to marriage.
Anyway, I’ve been using Tinder half-heartedly for probably 18 months now. I’ve always maintained a fairly standard profile similar to this one:
Trouble is, aside from the occasional evil spambot, I hardly ever received any matches. It would often take me a couple of hundred swipes right to finally be paired up with someone willing to chat, and even then the chances of them replying or sustaining any kind of interesting conversation was minimal-to-none. I guessed that a selfie like this ranked as ‘BORING… NEXT!’ on the Tinder factor. If chatting wasn’t difficult enough, the prospect of ever meeting someone though Tinder seemed virtually impossible.
So I had an idea. Why don’t I periodically change my Tinder profile picture to something totally ridiculous to see if I can gain a better reaction and actually chat with some girls?
I set myself a few guidelines for the experiment:
– I was to keep each new photo on Tinder for at least 3 days.
– If I had higher-than average luck with a particular photo I would leave it there for longer.
– My orientation was straight, my radius was 35km, and my maximum age preference was 33.
– I was to swipe right on every photo I saw.
– I would swipe at least 50 photos per day.
– I would always attempt to chat to a match whether I thought they were attractive or not.
– Spam accounts would be blocked and not counted as a match.
After a few months of almost-daily Tinder use, here are my results!
Tinder Experiment #1: Eating a banana while staring longingly into the lens of the camera
Total Matches: 1
What better way to impress the girls of Tinder than by creepily glaring at them with a banana in my mouth?
I’d taken this picture a few weeks prior for my friend Alex (don’t ask, it’s a whole other story). It was a conversation I had with some friends on Facebook that inspired me to use it as my first ridiculous profile picture.
My only match over the four day lifespan of this photo was with a 29 year old lass called Josianne.
She said to me, “Nice banana!”
I scrolled through her photos and saw a pic with a butterfly resting on her shoulder. I replied, “Nice butterfly!”
End of conversation.
Tinder Experiment #2: My freshly-waxed chest
Total Matches: 0
The “About Dan” section here is a true story: on my 30th birthday last year I celebrated by getting my chest waxed. I thought the photo I took of my bare chest on the day might make for an interesting profile picture.
Zero matches across 3 days suggested my brazen topless sexiness still wasn’t quite enough to satisfy the ladies of Tinder.
It was around here that I changed strategy and opted to represent myself by means of an inanimate object. This is where things got interesting.
Tinder Experiment #3: A toilet
Total Matches: 23
Woah, baby! I’d finally struck Tinder gold!
Check this out for a list of matches:
Those who know me will know I find toilets to be incredibly photogenic, to the point that I have a whole blog and Instagram account called Toilography dedicated entirely to the WC. My choice of profile pic was a photo I’d taken of a toilet garden at Mr. Toilet House, a toilet museum I visited in Seoul, South Korea. I thought I’d have a bit of fun with this seeing as I was a quite the subject-matter-expert.
Most of my chats began with this pun:
Sometimes, like with Sofia, my toilet humour would be met with no response. Other times it opened a gateway to a whole new level of awesome punnery:
Here were some other notable reactions:
Stacy was honest: “You’re strange and that’s nice”
Jade let me know, “You sound exactly like my step dad”
Alice was highly amused: “Haha I laugh, I laugh, I can’t take it anymore”
Audrey was shocked (possibly also high?): “Okkkkkkkkkkkkkkk” followed shortly by, “Okkkkkk”, “Okkkkkk” and “Woooooowwwwwwww”
Viola’s profile photo was of her with a bandaged finger. I asked her what she did to it. “I cut a piece of it off when I was tryna cut kale”
Anne-Marie was so impressed (“I’m crying right now!”) that she wanted to hear another joke. She was a Francophone so I offered her a pun I invented myself: “What street in France do reindeer live on? Rue Dolph” – to which she replied, “Oh God. It’s so not funny.” Ah well, I guess you can’t win them all over.
One of my matches Melanie, interestingly enough, turned out to be a mutual Facebook friend of Andrea, a Romanian girl I’ve been online buddies with for around 3 years now. It’s a small world. Melanie and I ended up following each other on Twitter and it turns out she’s a professional photographer with a very impressive portfolio.
The toilet sure was sparking some interest. Wouldn’t it be fucking hilarious, I thought to myself, if I could meet a girl from Tinder by pretending to be a toilet? My life would just about be complete.
And then along came Emilie:
Emilie and I proceeded to have a lovely conversation over the next couple of days. We moved on from toilets and progressed to our other interests, which for her included salsa dancing. We chatted about her studies at uni and about my time so far in Montreal and the French course I’d recently signed up for. She offered some great suggestions for festivals to go to throughout the year: “There’s Just For Laughs, jazz festival, African music festival, francopholies, reggae fest, international film fesival, Formula One where they close streets for pedestrians only.”
She struck me as somebody I would like to meet in real life one day, so I linked her to an actual photo of myself and invited her out for a hot chocolate one evening during the week.
“Next weekend could work,” she suggested. “I have an exam beginning the week after but a hot chocolate break could be nice lol. There’s a Cacao 70 near my place. Do you live downtown?”
I confirmed, offered my phone number and eagerly waited for her to text me to set the date. My once-skeptical self was beginning to see the Tinder light: this might actually happen!!
Meanwhile, as I was busy getting to know Emilie, a very interesting young lady called Lindsy came onto the scene. Get a load of this one:
Oh, sweetheart. I’m serious.
There was also Coralie. Coralie was a cute French girl who had been in Montreal for a year. Of all the conversations I had on Tinder as a toilet, the one with Coralie was the most in-depth and lengthy. For example:
But then one day she stopped replying. She hasn’t logged back onto Tinder since then. She probably deleted the app. Ah well.
I kept the toilet pic for another few days and eventually moved on.
I didn’t hear back from Emilie 🙁
Tinder Experiment #4: Aragorn
Total Matches: 3
I was brainstorming ideas for my next pic when it occurred to me that a lot of girls I know enjoy films like The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings. I’m no expert on these matters (I walked out of the Hobbit movie when I went to watch it with friends last year), so I went to my mate Kumlu for advice on who his favourite fantasy film character was. Whatever he chose, I was going to use as my new profile pic. His choice: a guy named Aragorn from Lord Of The Rings. He also threw in a bunch of presumably related hashtags: #Strider #Dúnedain #Evenstar #SonofArathorn #Gondorcallsforaid and #ROTK. Cheers Kumlu!
I quickly researched ol’ mate Aragorn, to find he was a Ranger of the North as well as the heir of Islidur, famous for such inspiring quotes as I do not know what strength is in my blood. But I swear to you, I will not let the White City fall. Nor our people fail. Hopefully by throwing around a few lines such as this, I might be able to seduce a Tolkein-loving girl or two.
But alas, after 5 days I’d only accumulated three matches:
Viola (remember Viola? She was the girl with the bandaged finger) messaged me almost immediately upon changing my pic: “Where did toilet Dan go? I want toilet Dan.”
As for the other three, I had no luck inducing conversation whatsoever as Aragorn. Perhaps it was my choice of opener that threw them off?
UPDATE: Emilie, who I matched with as a toilet, finally got around to texting me over a week later! She was sorry for the delay – she’d been busy – but she told me she had a quiet weekend coming up after a ski trip got cancelled.
Perfect opportunity to ask her out for that hot choc again, I thought.
“The only time that would work would be Sunday night but it’s not a very convenient time lol”
No, I thought, it’s not. I actually had another (non-Tinder) date planned that night so I let her know I couldn’t make it and that I’d check in with her later in the week.
“Ok sounds good. Let me know!”
Tinder Experiment #5: Puppies
Total Matches: 12
Yep, it’s confirmed – girls like puppies:
(I’m not sure how David snuck in?)
Marianne, who I matched with when I was Aragorn, was actually the first to message me, almost as soon as my picture changed: “A powerful knight who likes puppies… what else?” I started chatting to Marianne and we got along like a house on fire… more about her in a bit…
I decided to try my luck with puppy puns, to some minor success:
My romantic side came out to Joanne on Valentine’s Day:
I also had a good chat with Pamela. After breaking the ice with the puppy pun, our conversation centred around our favourite pizza toppings, and where in Montreal to pick up the best slice. She suggested Pizzeria Romeo on Mont Royal, so naturally I asked if she wanted to come with me for a bite one evening. “I’m only here for polite conversation,” she rebuked. “I do not want to meet you.”
My conversations as a puppy didn’t really lead anywhere, and in any case, I found myself becoming genuinely interested in my new friend Marianne, who I mentioned earlier. She was, quite frankly, a top chick: creative, funny, a travel buff, not to mention the best texting partner you could ever ask for on Tinder. We would write whole novels to each other, it was awesome!
She was intrigued about my choice of display photos, so I told her of my experiment (including my huge popularity as a toilet) and I offered her the opportunity to select my next picture:
Funny, brave, defensive and sensitive – yeah, I’ll take that 😀
Oh, and Tom Brady, eh…?
Tinder Experiment #6: Tom Brady
Total Matches: 2
The Patriots quarterback brought me a grand total of two matches:
I didn’t bother chatting to either of them because by this stage I was devoting all my Tinder energy to Marianne.
We told each other our three craziest travel stories (coincidentally, each of us shared experiences involving nudity, drugs and a near-mugging). My favourite one of hers was when she was sunbathing topless at a secluded Mediterranean beach a few years ago with an ex-boyfriend. She dipped into the water for a swim and at some stage got stung on the neck by a jellyfish. Terrified, she ran back onto the beach in front of a bunch of bemused onlookers, topless and screaming at her boyfriend to piss on her neck to make the pain go away.
Yep, this girl was the perfect mix of crazy & awesome. I was determined to meet her!
ANOTHER UPDATE: As promised, I texted Emilie later in the week, to see if she was still keen on that hot choc.
She replied the next day: “Hey Dan! My friend is in town for the weekend and then I have to study so today isn’t gonna work for me..sorry!”
I gave up on her. My dream of one day meeting somebody by pretending to be a toilet on the internet came to a disappointing end.
Tinder Experiment #7: Garlic Man
Total Matches: 5
Garlic Man was a small success. Of all the pics I’ve had on Tinder with my own face featuring in the main profile photo, this one ranked pretty well on the match factor:
I had a short conversation with Michelle, who shared my garlicy passion:
We continued for another 6 or 7 messages after that before it abruptly ended.
Which brings me back to Marianne. Oh, how we chatted <3 We talked more about travel and where we’d lived in the past, we shared our favourite movies, we spoke of my quest to learn French and of hers to improve her English, we marvelled at each others creative passions – dammit, we even had an intense conversation about toilets where she told me of a particularly memorable urinal she saw at a church in Brussels, not to mention a ceramic art workshop she knew of in the US that recycles old toilets into contemporary artwork. IT’S LIKE WE WERE MEANT TO BE, you know?!
“Hey Marianne!” I exclaimed one February afternoon, “Do you wanna get a coffee one evening? Maybe Thursday or Friday?”
“:) I am busy…” she replied, “but maybe next week?”
She went a little quiet after that, so I checked in with her again a few days later to gauge whether she was still keen on that coffee.
She awkwardly dodged the subject. “Did you have a good weekend?” she asked. I filled her in on how my roommate and I tried to gain access to an abandoned building late on Sunday afternoon and of course returned the question: “How was yours?”
I never heard from her again 🙁
CONCLUSION: Tinder is shit
I’ve since deleted the app. Not only is it utterly useless and full of timewasters, but also a couple of days ago a $23.99 monthly subscription fee was implemented. GET OUTA HERE!!!!!!
Anyway, I’ll leave you with the single moral I deduced from this whole ridiculous Tinder experiment:
If you want to impress girls, be a toilet.
UPDATE! 3½ MONTHS LATER: I FINALLY MET A TINDER GIRL WHO RIGHT-SWIPED MY TOILET!
Since I wrote this post I reloaded Tinder (sans $23.99 subscription) and eventually fell back on the toilet photos. I can most definitely confirm that being a toilet attracts an insane amount of attention from the ladies. Sometimes I get as many as 10 matches per 100 swipes.
Firstly I need to mention I had an awesome conversation last week with a girl called Léïa. I won’t post it directly onto this page cause it’s a little long, but I will link to it here if you want to read it. We began a very passionate chat after I asked her where her favourite toilet was around Montreal.
Anyway, I digress. A couple of days ago I matched with this girl:
(she was totally cool with the idea behind this blogpost but preferred not to be identified, so I’ve removed her name & photo)
It was that effortless!
We arranged to meet at a nearby cafe at 12pm – earlier today, as a matter of fact. I arrived and waited for her… 5 minutes passed, then 10 and eventually 20 minutes before I wandered if she would show up at all. I had a sneaky suspicion that the lonely, creepy old man sitting at the back corner of the room had set this all up… maybe he was watching me, waiting for me to leave heartbroken & disappointed, where he’d follow me back to my place to carry out the perfect psychopathic Tinder murder… *insert evil cackle here*
Thankfully she texted me and reassured me she would be there soon: “Should have warned you Ethiopians are always late”
Turns out she was actually a bunch of fun! Very friendly & sociable. We had a quick chat in the cafe before they closed early for the day (for the St. Jean Baptiste parade), so we moved out onto the street, met up with with a few friends of hers and watched some of the festivities. She said she’d only just started to use Tinder and my pic of the toilet was the funniest she’d seen, so she knew straight away she wanted to meet me. Hopefully we’ll hang out again – she’s actually a singer and a guitarist so we might even catch up for a jam one day. But even if we don’t, I can die happy knowing I FINALLY fulfilled my goal of not only meeting someone through the ridiculously superficial forum that is Tinder, but by presenting myself as a motherfekkin’ LAVATORY while I was at it.
So there you have it, folks, it’s official: toilets are the best Tinder wingmen.
This entry was posted on Friday, March 6th, 2015 at 8:55 pm and is filed under Blog, Dating. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.