O Come, All Ye Tinderful
Among all American adults below 30 years old, more either use or have previously used an online dating application or platform than have not. A fifth of couples in current, committed relationships had their beginnings on a dating website. Yet words like Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel can still incite somewhat of a negative reaction, and not just among the pyrotechnics and carb-lovers.
It's fairly easy to tell when someone thinks they're too cool for a dating app. You can pick out the little tidbits in conversation, like "I want to meet someone naturally," (as if a dating app is somehow an unholy act of Satan) or "I don't have time to keep up these conversations," (just check their text history and see how many they're keeping up on the daily) or "I don't really care about someone's looks," (aren't you wholesome) or even "I haven't reached that point yet" (as opposed to the rest of us degenerates). There are excuses like "my friend just made this for me," (and you let them) or "I'm just trying to see how many likes I can get," (#validateme) or "swiping is a good way to pass time while sitting on the can" (well, I'm guilty of that one). They'll turn up their nose, talk about how they're looking for actual commitment, and mention the story of a friend of a friend's sister twice removed who had that one bad date with that one creepy guy.
Of course, it gets even worse when those sacred words are invoked around someone who isn't a millennial. There's a bit of hand-waving about spending too much time on your phone, some more grumbling about how sexed-up this generation is, and how in their day they would just marry someone who lived on the same block as them.
But consider this – can you look at a couple and tell that they met on Tinder? Can you spend time with them, talk to them, and somehow deduce that their first interaction wasn't in person? The term 'online dating' is a bit of a misnomer, since the actual dating doesn't happen online. It's not like an online class or online banking. It should really be called 'online-matching-with-the-eventual-possibility-of-dating,' which is only slightly less appealing. You may make the initial contact online, but once you do, it takes on all the progress of a conventional relationship. You delete (or just temporarily uninstall, depending on your confidence about your new beau) the dating app from your phone and proceed as usual.
After all, if you're dating someone (regardless of the means through which you met), you probably do spend more time talking to them not-in-person (phone calls, video chats, texts, instant messages). That's what the vast majority of your relationship is based on: the conversations that you've had while not in each other's presence. Talking through a dating app is the same thing, except it just happens at an earlier stage – before that first meet-up.
So try swiping just a little bit. You might be surprised by who you see on there.