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Swiping right on Tinder.

Tinder. At first glance it appears to be a shallow way to meet people; but is swiping left – and occasionally right – really any different from approaching that cute guy over anyone else at a bar? We all make superficial judgments about each other, particularly those we’re thinking about dating. This is nothing new.

However, when someone talks about Tinder their words are heavily laced with derision. Admissions of meeting through the app are always followed by a sheepish laugh or a sideways glance, commonly answered with a roll of the eyes. While the stereotype of dick pics and casual hook-ups does seem justified, I can’t help but feel like there’s more to it than that.

Humans are social creatures, we crave emotional intimacy. We all want to be wanted, to be needed to be thought of.  Despite this, the focus of single life tends to hone in on jumping into bed with somebody. Sure, physical closeness is desirable but I don’t think that’s the most important aspect at play here.

From my experience and what I’ve heard from others, the most magnetic part of Tinder is simply having someone to chat to. The pull comes from having that guy or girl to say good night to as you fall asleep, to ask you about the little ups and downs of your day.

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Sexual gratification as a single person is no longer taboo; it’s practically the norm. Yet we’re expected to make do without the psychological connection we hunger after. “No strings attached” sex is commonplace, but who’s to say you can’t make emotional ties without exclusive commitment?

  A Broad Education

On a recent work trip to Brisbane I swiped right and met up with a lovely guy in West End. We sipped on some Blue Moon beer, ate tacos and reminisced about the North American cities we’d both travelled to. There was no expectation for the evening to escalate into a physical affair, just easy conversation and a casual affinity. After chatting like old friends for hours we went our separate ways without so much as a farewell kiss, both fully aware that we may well never see each other again.

Nevertheless, the mental bond we formed was real. Several days later a message popped up on my Facebook along with a Soundcloud link to his cover of Big Star’s Blue Moon – a little throwback to the evening we shared.

Why do we accept that single life should involve sexual satisfaction without emotional involvement and not the other way around? More to the point, why should we feel ashamed if we do stumble into a special relationship through Tinder?

On Tinder – as in life – you get back what you give out. I don’t deny that if you’re cruising through the app with a DTF attitude then you will probably find exactly what you’re looking for. In fact I am certain that is the case. In spite of that though, I don’t think Tinder can simply be reduced to a superficial forum for sexual exploits. At the end of the day your Tinder experience is going to be whatever you make it.

Becky Rowe is a twenty-something passionate about writing, philosophy, holistic living, truth seeking, the Earth and a whole lot more.

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