Introducing Tinder, Grindr & Brenda

Image: Jhaymesisviphotography
Image: Jhaymesisviphotography .

These days, it seems to me that everything has become a hassle, a total inconvenience. Even things like peeling potatoes…I just think, surely there’s another way? There is: oven ready chips. This 21st Century bone-idleness has even infiltrated my love life. It’s incredibly tiresome to meet somebody you think might be “the one” this time, and alas, they’re also an asshole. I even find it difficult to care for long. It’s too much effort, so I just sigh. If only I think. If only there was a no-nonsense, social media tool that would do away with the aggro of dating. Oh wait, there is. So it was that I downloaded “Tinder.”

According to Sean Rad, the founder of the smart phone app, Tinder is not a dating app. Let’s face it Sean, evaluating a guy or girl based entirely on a snap-judgement of “hot or not…?” It’s a dating app. To use, synchronise the app with Facebook, and select your most merciful photos. The app proceeds to register your location, and will adjust your suitors according to your preferred
geographical radius. I find anything over fifteen miles all too much, but to each their own. When you see somebody who does it for you, hit yes, and somebody…not so much, hit no. If both of you happen to hit yes, you’ll be matched up, and you can chat if you like. Very simple. No pressure. No effort.

It goes a little like this: no, no, yes, no, CATEGORICALLY NO, no, no, YES, YES, no, yes.

I have had some absolute jaw-dropping introductions, my favourite being: “Let me be your big toe so you can bang me on every piece of furniture in your house.” Oh and: “Yo. Let’s procreate.” But to my pleasant surprise, the Tinder network isn’t entirely composed of forty year old men and women mid mid-life-crisis. Though initially downloading the app in an act of lip-curled mockery, I have procured a couple of phone numbers and have had a few pleasing chats with the aid of Tinder. One guy I have Skyped and will probably meet with. Fair to say then that Tinder is probably the simplest way to sift the sh*t and meet someone with similar interests, sentiments and geographical location.

But I have to ask myself, is it really “good” for us? We’ve all had our fair share of heartbreak. Hey, you might have had to pick yourself up off the floor so many times that you’ve become cold, unfeeling, and hideously sardonic, like me! But surely, without experiencing anything of what an organically founded and cultivated relationship is like, warts and all, you’ll be tragically immature. And let’s not forget: should you manage to formulate a relationship on Tinder, do you really want to be honest about where it was your love first blossomed? Bit embarrassing…

Hey straight people. How are you? Good? That’s just swell. You’ve got what now? A new app? Ooooh what does it do? Oh, right, glad you finally caught on. Seriously heterosexuals, if one more of you tries to show me Tinder, I’m going to scream. The gay community has set a lot of trends. We’ve invented new words, we’ve written great literature, we discovered most of your favourite pop stars. And guess what?! We had Grindr first too. Way before you were swiping right, we were logging on. Years before you had a digital hookup, we were swapping pictures. Heck just a few months ago, when you were trawling Drapers like a prowling beast, we were asking “can you accom?”

Well, apparently anyway. Since I’ve never actually used Grindr, I only discovered all of this whilst researching this article. And what an experience logging on was. Within five minutes of creating an account and uploading a picture (and informing my boyfriend!), I had ten separate messages. A couple of people started slow, with a gentle “Hi.” One guy asked me how I was, which I thought was a nice start. Three guys jumped right in with “Top or bottom” (google it), “I’ve got a car?” and “Do you **** ****?” And the rest? Well, they had no need for formalities at all, splashing their private parts (at multiple different angles!) across my screen. So what did Grindr teach me? That hooking up is easy, possibly too easy. If you want to have sex, there are literally throngs of people waiting out there for you, and some of them only 100ft away! One guy even asked me to do something naughty in the Garrod building at Barts – apparently he “does it all the time” and it’s “pretty safe.” Sex is there, waiting for you, if you want it. And what does that say for the future of Tinder? That sex is soon enough going to become very digital, very quickly, for the straight community too. Forget OKCupid, forsake Plenty of Fish. A few weeks ago people were calling Tinder a dating app, and looking for a boyfriend on it. Now people are flicking through man after man after woman, looking for the best abs, the longest legs, the most flexible; you get me.

Digital dating is dying. Cyber sex is taking off. We’re all going faster and harder than ever before, and it just takes a quick finger to do so.

The other night, I was on a date and I asked her if she was on Brenda, her response: “what even is that?” Sadly for the creators of Brenda, this reaction really sums up their ill-fated lovechild. Gay guys have had Grindr for years, POF and OkCupid have attracted what can only be described as the strangest people to inhabit this planet (with a smartphone), and now everyone can use Tinder. In the race to obtain the title the most popular dating app, Brenda lags behind.

Brenda is the kid at school who was so desperate to be with the in crowd that they made their parents buy them the expensive trainers, the sought-after smartphone, whatever. On a non uniform day Brenda would proudly swagger in, only to find that her trainers were, like, so last year. Brenda, mortified, would then scuttle off to the girls toilets and weep into her painfully fake Louis Vuitton handbag, composing a heart-wrenching tweet on her BlackBerry, never to be published. The point is, Brenda is like a wannabe Grindr. The layout of the grid is identical. They even tried to make Brenda kind of sound like Grindr. Sorry Brenda, but your shoddy attempt at assonance just evokes the image of a frumpy, middle-aged woman looking for gin in the baking aisle of Morrison’s. Perhaps that is the target audience. Even Tinder, which many herald as a “straight” Grindr, is more popular with LGBT+ girls (that date I was on? I met her
on Tinder).

There’s also a frankly disturbing “tracking” feature, which shows you who’s looked at your profile and “what they think of you”. Ladies, you can have this feature, but for a price! Brenda is a free app, but the “tracking” aspect is not.

Frankly, Brenda, if someone has looked at my profile, liked what they’ve seen, and not messaged me, I’m probably not that interested. Then again, the girls on Brenda seem to be akin to those on POF. In other words, bizarre. Despite there being so few girls on Brenda that you can basically use your first name as a username, a lot of girls have usernames such as “yummy mummy”,
“SexxieBrowniie”, and my personal favourite “BATTLETITS”. If Brenda were ever to be successful, it would have to make a lot of changes. For example the aesthetic, the name…Well, everything really.

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