The trials of Tinder

I found myself irresistibly drawn to media coverage of that Tinder court case yesterday.

You know the trial I mean: the bloke, Zane Alchin, who wrote a string of vile messages on Facebook about a woman’s Tinder photograph and description of herself. He’s facing up to three years in jail, which will set a welcome precedent for victims of online abuse.

I was disgusted by the things he said. They were beyond horrible. Threatening to rape someone – even if it’s a drunken joke – is never, ever OK.

I’m glad the courts are sending a powerful message that online trolling is wrong and punishable by law.

But I was also disturbed by the way the woman, Olivia Melville, described herself on Tinder. Not because I thought she invited the abuse, but because I couldn’t see how she invited anything lovely into her life with what she wrote.

Maybe she wasn’t looking for anything lovely, but if she wasn’t … I must be getting old, because if that’s the way young women present themselves on dating services these days, I’m worried for my daughters.

Olivia described herself as “the type of girl that will suck you dry and then eat some lunch with you.” It’s a reference to a Nicki Minaj/Drake song.

It’s apparently tongue-in-cheek, but I’m not seeing anything funny about it. What am I missing?

I looked up the actual song and the lyrics are horrid.

The lines include:

“I never f****d Nicki and that’s f****d up
If I did f**k, she’d be f****d up
Whoever is hittin’ ain’t hittin’ it right
Cause she actin’ like she need d**k in her life.”

As a result of Olivia’s profile being shared and slammed on Facebook by Zane and his friends, she was worried about losing her job in the performing arts and upsetting her parents.

I would be upset if it was my daughter. The direction relationships have taken in recent years disturbs me. People don’t talk, they don’t date, they seem to just hook up for sex.

What happened to love? Is it a silly, outdated concept?

A young New Yorker tells Nancy Jo Sales at Vanity Fair:

“‘Guys view everything as a competition. Who’s slept with the best, hottest girls?’ With these dating apps, he says, ‘you’re always sort of prowling. You could talk to two or three girls at a bar and pick the best one, or you can swipe a couple hundred people a day—the sample size is so much larger. It’s setting up two or three Tinder dates a week and, chances are, sleeping with all of them, so you could rack up 100 girls you’ve slept with in a year.'”

Meanwhile, Marty “says he’s slept with 30 to 40 women in the last year: ‘I sort of play that I could be a boyfriend kind of guy,’ in order to win them over, ‘but then they start wanting me to care more … and I just don’t.'”

He’s a real charmer.

Justin Garcia, a research scientist at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, says: “There have been two major transitions” in heterosexual mating “in the last four million years,” he says. “The first was around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, in the agricultural revolution, when we became less migratory and more settled,” leading to the establishment of marriage as a cultural contract. “And the second major transition is with the rise of the Internet.”

Atlantic writer Hanna Rosin, sees the hook-up culture as a boon: “The hook-up culture is … bound up with everything that’s fabulous about being a young woman in 2012—the freedom, the confidence.” But others lament the way the extreme casualness of sex in the age of Tinder leaves many women feeling de-valued. “It’s rare for a woman of our generation to meet a man who treats her like a priority instead of an option,” wrote Erica Gordon on the Gen Y Web site Elite Daily, in 2014.

I’m Team Erica. I don’t think love and commitment are anti-feminist concepts.

As for the women Nancy Jo interviews, one tells her: “There is no dating. There’s no relationships. They’re rare. You can have a fling that could last like seven, eight months and you could never actually call someone your ‘boyfriend.’ [Hooking up] is a lot easier. No one gets hurt—well, not on the surface.”

That makes me feel sad.

Is romance really dead?

I hope not, because I’d like my daughters to experience its delirious joy.

Song of the day: Moulin Rouge Love Melody


4 thoughts on “The trials of Tinder

Add yours

  1. Great subject. Did you read the research/see the documentary about porn addiction and its resulting impotence in young men? I know it’s not the same, but it’s equally disturbing. I agree with you about the song lyrics 😦

  2. My nineteen year old daughter has had the same adoring boyfriend for over a year now. He sends her flowers and chocolates and treats her like a princess. Thankfully not all youngies are putting themselves on the meat market that is Tinder. My twenty three year old son is in a three year long relationship with a girl he was in preschool with. I reckon your girls will be fine x

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