Digital dating: Tinder from the female perspective

Randi Mattox

Editor’s Note: After setting up simple, somewhat matching accounts, two Collegian reporters spent two weeks actively participating on Tinder. Both Chapman and Randi swiped right to 40 consecutive individuals every weekday and 20 individuals each weekend. Their profiles included only one photo of their faces, a simple bio that described themselves in a few words and a quote. They each matched with both genders. Read Chapman’s results here

As a young female, I am taught to always have my guard up about men. I should always question their intentions and be weary about who I trust. Not only is this the right way to approach men, but also it is the safest way. When 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted on a college campus every year, this is what I am led to believe. When I created the Tinder account, I expected the stereotype about men in college to come to light in the messages I would receive. But after actively participating on Tinder, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my expectations were wrong.

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During the two weeks that Chapman Croskell and I participated on Tinder, I matched with 258 people and received 140 messages.

When you choose to put yourself out there on an app like Tinder, you have to know that some people are going to try to hook up with you. That is the sole purpose for many Tinder accounts. I am not saying that it is impossible to meet your soul mate on Tinder, but if that is your intention, you are probably on the wrong site. It’s like going to see a goofy Will Ferrell movie and expecting it to win an Oscar. Finding love is not what most people view the purpose of Tinder to be. With that in mind, I was obviously expecting most of the men I matched with to message me with sexual intentions. That was the case with some of the messages I received, but surprisingly, the majority of the messages did not indicate anything sexual.

Over half of the messages I received were perfectly acceptable ways to approach a woman. These messages ranged from a simple “hey” to a funny pick up line to comments about my photo. Although I cannot be sure what their intentions were, I was surprised to learn that most of the messages were kind and polite. I have no idea what would have happened beyond the first message, but I do know that I rarely felt disrespected.

Tinder
One of the messages I received on Tinder.

Even the people that were trying to hook up with me were upfront about it. While I can acknowledge that the men who included an invitation for sex in the first message were definitely not relationship material, I can’t really blame someone for stating what their purpose was right away. I actually respected their honesty. I would much rather someone state their intentions in the beginning than figuring out later after I already gained an interest in them.

I think that we sometimes choose to focus on the bad things. Yes, as a young woman I am careful about who I trust and I know that a lot of men take advantage of women. But when that is all we focus on, we forget that the majority of people in this world, men included, are nice. It is easy to remember the guys who are immature and inappropriate instead of the guys that smile and open doors.

Am I telling women to all of a sudden trust every man that they meet and to give them a break just because I had a good experience on Tinder? Absolutely not. The statistics prove that we should never drop our guard. What I am saying is that in this study, the majority of men were respectful.

I can hear my mom in my head saying, “Randi, all men want is sex.” After participating on Tinder, I still agree with her. But now I acknowledge that most men are respectful in the way they go about it.

Collegian Reporter Randi Mattox can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @randimattox.