Saturday, 12 May 2018

I tried Tinder for 3 months, and this happened.

Alright, I’ve promised to be open and honest in my blog. Let’s do this!

I first downloaded Tinder when the app was new. I heard my USC girlfriends talking about it. Some have tried, and some have even got a serious boyfriend from it, generally with positive feedback about their tinder dates. I was curious, so I downloaded the app – not looking for dates or anything, just merely for FOMO (fear of missing out). I remember deleting the app the day after because I couldn’t bear how guys and girls were putting themselves out in those profile pictures. I thought they were just trying too hard.

Fast forward one or two years, I came across another app called ‘Bumble.’ It claims to be an improvement of Tinder, so I downloaded it. I was in New York city at the time, and the results were interesting. I must admit, New York does compile a lot of good looking people with remarkable profiles (if you’re into investment bankers, creative professionals and Ivy League graduates, which I was). After a while, I downloaded Tinder too because I wanted to compare. I matched with a wide range of people of different ethnicities, nationalities, occupations and even tourists. Each had a different purpose for using the apps: pen-friends, friends in real life, relationships, hook-ups, fucboi who greets with dick pics, fake profiles, models trying to promote their Instagram/Snapchat and the list goes on, but one thing I can be certain of is that New Yorkers are direct, and most of them made it clear from the start. To me, the app was a virtual reality world with a different set of customs and vocabularies. At this moment, I enjoyed Bumble a tad more, but Tinder wasn’t so bad either. In the end, I did not meet anyone in New York from these apps in person.

I returned to Bangkok, Thailand, with a curiosity to compare my dating apps results. Once I landed at the airport, I got ‘super-liked.’ Again, with curiosity and because he had a significant profile, I swiped right! He asked if we can chat outside of the app and eventually asked for my number. He called right away. In the end, nothing happened, we never met (although funnily enough we accidently bumped into each other at a restaurant about a month later, but that’s irrelevant to this topic – still nothing happened in case you’re wondering), and I told him I was there for experimentation. The whole thing lasted less than 24 hours.

Going into the city, I swiped more (it can be quite addictive) but avoided Thais completely because I am known by a lot of people, and afraid of mutual friends. While swiping away, I saw some of my childhood friends on both apps, male and female alike. I have always kept my identity real. My first impression of the Bangkok online dating scene doesn’t impress me at all. I wasn’t pleased with the selection Bangkok had to offer when compared to New York, if I am being honest. If New Yorkers were an A, Bangkokians would barely pass as a C. The percentage of me swiping right was 0.001%. I was getting bored of how dull the people were, but I wanted to test more theories so I kept swiping until I found ‘the Polish.’ If you have been following my blog, you would have known about the Polish because I wrote a whole blog post about him, my “algorithm matched made in heaven.” In short, he was a UCL grad, London-born Thai-Polish, very much my type in many ways, we both ‘super-liked’ each other and things started from there (read more).

At the time, I was trying to distinguished between the different types of people and noticed distinctive patterns from the two apps. Bumble had more foreigners, mostly from Europe and America, and later I found out that the app was not available on the Thai app store (Android). Tinder, on the other hand, had a good mix of locals (60%) and international users (40%). The non-Thai users that I saw included Europeans, Americans and other non-Thai Asians too, mostly Japanese and Korean. I started to distinguish between tourists and expats, their behaviours and mine alike.

After much observation, I found my swiping pattern. I have criteria which can be divided into three categories. The first one, is definitely the look. I go through the apps very quickly for the look that attracts me, and I am talking 8 out of 10 or up only because I don’t think anyone should settle for less. Confidence is key, and when you’re on apps, you have nothing to lose. The worst thing that could happen is you not getting a match, so why not go for the best? Once I am hooked by the looks, I always read their profile carefully, starting from their University and/or jobs (if listed) trying to determine where they are from and if they are tourists or expats. Lastly, I would read their written intros on the app. I often prefer a short, sharp and witty intro that can instantly grab my attention, and I also want to feel like I can continue to have a conversation about it later. I would never go for a hot meathead with nothing up there.

After a pit-stop in Bangkok, I visited Vientiane, Laos – a small town of 783K population with very little tourists. The pool of Tinder is even smaller, it refreshes every 15 people, and most of the users are expats and tourists. I was able to match with a handsome expat, a half French-Laotian originally from Paris. We went out twice. My last day in Vientiane he took a day off because he wanted to spend time with me. We stayed in touch after I left. He texted me regularly for months, simply to say good morning, ask how I was doing, and show interest to visit Bangkok during long weekends. It was sweet and at one point he confessed his genuine interest to pursue a relationship with me, but deep inside he knew another long distant relationship was not going to work for him. Until today, our paths have never crossed again, but we remain social media friends.

Since I stated that I’m an Asian with a British accent in my profile, after I’m matched, I’ve been asked a lot about that in every country I visited, even Bangkok. I am not going to go into much details about the people I matched in Bangkok, but let’s just say they are often a Londoner, a French, an Italian or a bit of either. How and where we met in person is serendipity; meetings unintentionally occur at or in a different country from where we matched. With the nature of my work and lifestyle, I have travelled plenty, which makes it difficult to stay somewhere long enough for a third date, but we keep in touch. I was caught in the middle of a long-distance “what are we” situation, but I was enjoying the experience. Maybe I chose him because I unconsciously wanted to keep him at arms length – to be more precise, halfway across the globe.

Towards the end, the Tinder/Bumble game really gets repetitive; having to start the same conversation repeatedly with new matches. By this time, my status was inactive but I did not delete the apps completely just yet. It wasn’t until my trip to India that I got frequent Tinder notifications for super-likes. It got me curious, so I had to swipe through to see who super-liked me in India! I found that I had more than 30 super-likes daily – not joking, I was more alarmed than flattered. Already satisfied with my love situation, I did not swipe right for anyone in India, and that pretty much terminated the swiping chapter of my life.

Although the dating apps have a bad reputation, I have heard many success stories from close friends. In fact, my ex-boyfriend, a UCL law graduate working for Baker & McKenzie, met his girlfriend on Tinder and they are doing very well. My point being, there are eligible bachelors using the apps, you just have to choose wisely. The app is effective for serving its core purpose. Some might argue that, the app is algorithmic, manipulative and virtual, but they fail to see that what happens after in reality is all on you. People often forget that the app is only a tool to connect people, so don’t blame it for your own bad decisions.

In conclusion, the apps help speed things up – it’s like a short cut to making first moves and meeting new people without having to make much effort and investment. As fast as it is to connect to a new person, it can just as rapidly end, but not always. The apps can also be an ego boost; I got attention from people I didn’t think would be interested in me, or I would have been able to meet in real life. Another factor to keep in mind is the fact that the apps provide a virtual identity that can give you that daring confidence to just open up to the unknown and get out of your comfort zone; not merely when it comes to socialising, but also in other aspects of life. It definitely gave me a whole new perspective on the dating world. In the end, I do not regret using the apps, but I think I chose the right moment to stop.

Until next time...

Pamme. x

Enjoy relationship articles? Click here to find out who I met in London.


1 comment

  1. From my experience the tinder algorithm mainly rewards matching. The more matches you make, the more your card gets shown around. If you keep rejecting girls that have liked your profile, your visibility drops and if you keep liking girls that wouldn’t like you back, your rating also drops. The algorithm might show you hotter girls using that 1 of 5 tactics so it can make you use up your likes properly, but I don’t think it makes you appear higher in the stacks of hot girls.


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