Giant dating site, Tinder, is a one-stop-shop for love, sex and company, my frequent visits to the platform during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis have made me discover.
If you haven’t visited the platform, here is how it works: get nice picture(s) that show your selling points, have a G-Mail or Facebook account, download the Tinder app, and use G-Mail, your contact or Facebook profile to register. Follow subsequent prompts to get your account up and running. Remember, you must be at least 18 years old to be eligible for an account.
On your Bio, you can say something like: “I am a 32-year-old man living and working in Nairobi, looking for love that can lead to marriage”.
Others choose to say — on their Bio — it is sex that they want. On Tinder, sex is discreetly referred to as “hook up”. So, you’ll see a twenty-something-year-old girl saying on her Bio: “no romance without finance. Hook-ups only”. Another would say: “I love the finer things in life. If you’re broke swipe left”. Others will write: “Go straight to the point. There’s no need to waste my time”. Tinder is a sex paradise, for some.
How to activate a profile
Okay, let’s get back to the process of activating a profile.
With your account set up, you can now choose the gender you are interested in; male or female? The radius you’d love your search for a companion to cover; 10 kilometers? 30 kilometers? Entire city? The age range of your love or sex interests; 18-25; 30-45; name it, Tinder will do the fishing for you!
Thereafter, you’ll only need to have data bundles or be connected to a Wi-Fi network to be able to log in to the app. Random pictures, based on the preferences you’d fed into the system, will appear on your feed.
If interested in the pictured person, you swipe right; if not, you swipe left. If the other person, whom you swiped right on — indicating you are interested in him or her — also swipes right, then Tinder treats the choices as a match, meaning you and your love or sex interest can now communicate with each other on the platform. If you swiped right on someone, and he or she swiped left on you, you will never get the chance to communicate with one another.
After matching, what follows is the introduction. The more creative you are, the likelier it is that the other person will be interested in knowing more about you.
However, unlike WhatsApp or other instant messaging apps, on Tinder you cannot exchange pictures. However, you can video-call the other person, maybe to confirm whether he or she matches the pictures on his or her Tinder profile. If the two of you like each other’s demeanor, then you can exchange contacts and meet physically for an outdoor date or indoor activities, depending on your mutual agreement.
My one-year-plus Tinder experience has subjected me to meeting all manner of women. I am a man in my mid-youth years.
I have thus far matched with at least 85 women, of all ages in the 18-28 bracket. That was the range I set on my profile. A sample size of 85, of course, will yield people with different interests.
Some wanted me to marry them; some wanted sex without slapping me with a bill; others, especially divorcees, wanted company, others wanted I pay them for sex. Tinder is an open market.
“Hi Jane Doe, my name is John Doe. I am glad we matched. I like your skin tone, legs and poise,” I once messaged a lady I had matched with.
She sent back a smiling face emoji.
I, thereafter, revealed to her my age, marital status, the type of woman I was searching for, and told her that “time will tell” whether my interaction with her will lead to a relationship, then marriage — or not.
Jane Doe, thereafter, replied, saying: “I turned 21 this month. I am a student in Nairobi.” She was that brief, despite my preceding message being seven lines’ long.
“First, happy belated birthday! Currently, you’re in Nairobi?” I posed.
Another short response from her: “Yup!”
“Is it possible I meet you? I’d love that,” I told her.
“Well, only if I’ll be meeting you in a public place,” she said.
“How about if I’d want to meet you in private?” I asked.
“You are a stranger, remember. And, the rate at which women are being killed by online lovers is alarming,” she replied.
“I understand your fears. I cannot harm you, let alone kill you,” I said. Shortly, thereafter, Jane Doe sent me her contact, and wrote: “App me” (A modern-day slang phrase to mean WhatsApp me).
That is how people do it on these Tinder streets. Did I meet Jane Doe for a date? No. Did I reach her on WhatsApp? Yes. Did we exchange pictures; and, did she like the person she saw? Yes.
Did the conversation continue? No. Why? Jane Doe, despite saying that she hardly knew me, was too quick to point out that: “I am well, but broke.” I knew, immediately, that she had seen a money mine in me. A guy bolted.
Have I ever found some Tinder matches who said they were selling “hook-ups” aka sex? Yes. This group charges as high as Ksh4,000 an hour. Others charge Ksh1,500, and others tag their merchandise at Ksh5,000 per night.
The question is: how can you know she is peddling sex? Pay attention to her captions: “I love travelling, shopping, drinking wine, and enjoying the best things money can offer”, that one is probably selling sex in exchange for the mentioned privileges.
“I have no time for relationships”. She is selling sex, without a doubt.
“I am looking for love, but I don’t mind hook-ups”. It is clear, she has said what she does.
It is not all creasy morally on Tinder. There are women who genuinely want love. If you go the hook-up route, she unmatches you, and you will never see her profile again.
“Who do you think I am? A wh*re? I feel disrespected, John Doe. In fact, I am unmatching you!” one lady, who was looking for a boyfriend on Tinder, once told me after I teased her, suggesting it was sex that I wanted.
That is Tinder for you, where a quest for love, sex and company is, sometimes, elusive.
For premium features — such as knowing who swiped right on you, without necessarily waiting on fate or luck — to get a mutual match, you will have to part with money. I don’t know how much it costs, because I was using a free account.
With the premium feature, you can go back to view a picture whose fate you had already sealed by either swiping left or right. With the free account, you don’t enjoy such privilege. Tinder founders or owners have to make money from the most sellable commodity in the human race — love — remember!