What is Tinder? By definition, it means, “easily combustible material used to ignite fires by rudimentary methods. A small fire consisting of tinder is then used to ignite kindling.” Or, you might know it as the new app that has started a wildfire across college campuses. It seems that Fairfield has been afflicted.

I’m a naturally curious person that has to try things for myself. So, once I hear of this app, I download it on a random weeknight. I find myself instantly immersed in a digital “Hot or Not?” Seriously? I proceed to delete the app after five minutes, declaring it a creepy distraction and wishing to move on with my life and homework. I figure that all the hype about it will die off in a few days anyway, right?

So wrong. I carry on with my life, and after little bit over a week passes, I start to get the idea that this Tinder has really started a fire. I find out more and more people I know are on it and loving the opportunity to prowl for ‘hotties’ via iPhone. Saturday night, after returning home from a party and shamelessly devouring left over Mac and Cheese (we all do it – admit it), I decide it’s the perfect time to try Tinder again. Let the games begin.

Okay, so there are some really cute guys on Tinder, and probably a lot of really normal people, but my discovery is that all of these normal guys seem heavily outnumbered by some questionable characters. Mirror pic of yourself flexing at the gym? Next. “25 year old” who looks 16? Oh, please. The absolute worst are the pictures of men with their children. I’m about ready to run for the hills when I get my first match! Oh good – a match! Now the game can really start. I am so excited to read his message.

He asks me where I am. Dude, it is 2 a.m. on a Saturday. Where do you think I am? I don’t respond. Next one proceeds to tell me that we are a “match made in heaven.” I suppose I appreciate the, bold introduction. After some funny conversations I go to bed, hoping to have some sweet dreams of normal human interactions with people I meet in normal circumstances. Upon waking I see I have more matches, and a few more messages blowing up my phone and distracting me as I begin my typical Sunday pile of homework. By dinnertime, I delete the app. I just can’t take it anymore.

Tinder allows us to hide behind our phones, indulge in being shallow, and have a little harmless fun, but I fear that in the long term applications like these compromise our generation’s ability to relate to each other in reality.

The truth is, we are all just souls looking to connect with each other. Tinder appeals to that part in all of us by allowing us to connect quickly and easily – a definite plus. However, if we aren’t careful about it, we might wind up relying on our phones to build relationships. We may laugh when we watch Catfish and hear about Manti Te’o’s fake internet girlfriend, but then we allow apps like Tinder to take up too much of our precious time when we can be out in the world building real, meaningful relationships and friendships with each other. Please, let us not make it a novelty to approach a cute stranger (in person) and say, “Hi.” Maybe I am old fashioned, but I notice it and appreciate it … and I might even think that you’re cute, too.

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