Not knowing much about Tinder, my awareness piqued when Dave Franco accepted the challenge to create a fake profile while on Conan’s show. The short they filmed featured the two freaking out over how creepy the app was, all the while intercutting Franco’s megawatt smile.

 

Fast forward to pitching summer stories, and this writer felt like getting a little crazy. At least in the technical sense. Why couldn’t we experiment with Tinder, too? Franco wasn’t stalked or harassed but maybe life could be different for a girl fresh out of college? You think?

 

Flash. The idea immediately came. Why not create a profile (a real one) and try it for one week? That’s it. Match as many dudes as possible in my iPhone’s radius and see what happens. DTF? No. But I will consider you a valid source of material.

 

Then it happened. 53 matches later, Tinder wasn’t actually as creepy as originally assumed. Are you kidding me? What about all the creeps who were supposed to just want to get into my pants? What about the crazy over-exposed pics? Wasn’t this supposed to be like a grown-up version of Chatroulette? Hell, a few of these guys were actually really nice.

 

Don’t get me wrong. Am I advocating Tinder as the newest dating site? No. Were there a lot of self-interested narcissists? Yes. Guys, please don’t post pics of you on your boat with the fish you just caught. It’s not urging us to swipe right. Despite the many examples I found of this type of self-indulgent selfie mania, there were many respectful guys and a few sweethearts.

 

Here’s a sample collection of five matchees I had conversations with during my week on Tinder:

– The sweet, returned soldier who uses too many emoticons

– The bachelor-party bro who drunk texts…then apologizes.

– The College Frat-Star

– The Biochem Major Who Thinks He’s A Jokester

– The Tampa Bay Rays Minor League Athlete

 

So what’s the deal here? Why weren’t the guys at my school handsome and as nice in person like they are on technology? Do guys really have that much more courage on Tinder than they do in real life? It seems like I’m reading more question marks on my screen than periods.

 

Okay, I don’t have all the answers, but maybe we do need to start appreciating our authentic selves and showing that off in person rather than merely through a lit screen. This experiment allowed me to discover the power of flattery and the positive surprise that accompanies a wrong assumption. It’s disappointing to know that confidence and approachability are so different in face-to-face interactions, but I will not allow the social media age to dictate my future interactions.

 

Let’s focus on gaining the true confidence in our own abilities so we don’t need to rely on technological courage to navigate ourselves through the dating scene.

 

What are your thoughts on the hookup culture, authenticity and all things Tinder? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet me @Kelseymbro