He was 27 years old, losing the vestigial greenness of his youth. Around the same time, somewhere across town, a woman named Katherine**1 ** shut down her Ok Cupid account.
When asked if they’ve been arranging dates on the apps they’ve been swiping at, all say not one date, but two or three: “You can’t be stuck in one lane …
I asked my dad about this experience, and here’s how he described it: he told his parents he was ready to get married, so his family arranged meetings with three neighboring families. That’s how my dad decided on the person with whom he was going to spend the rest of his life.
I am perpetually indecisive about even the most mundane things, and I couldn’t imagine navigating such a huge life decision so quickly. Happily so—and probably more so than most people I know who had nonarranged marriages.
Katherine was 37, newly single, with family obligations and a full-time job. Tinder does not give out statistics about the number of its users, but the app has grown from being the plaything of a few hundred Los Angeles party kids to a multinational phenomenon in less than a year. I swiped through people I knew from college, people I might’ve recognized from the train.
Unlike the robot yentas of yore (Match.com, Ok Cupid, e Harmony), which out-competed one another with claims of compatibility algorithms and secret love formulas, the only promise Tinder makes is to show you the other users in your immediate vicinity. It had taught him that women find me more attractive than I think. It therefore read as mock bravado when Eli wrote, But you ever just want to fuck please please holler at me cool??? I saw it had gone global when a friend in England posted a Tinder-inspired poem on her Facebook page (and here are we, He and Me, our flat-screen selves rendered 3D). The more I used it, the more I considered how much it would have helped me at other times in my life—to make friends in grad school, to meet people after moving to a new city.
Until recently, hookup apps were straightforward but sleazy.