Tinder: The Britain’s Got Talent of Dating


Involving a hypothesis about sex, a rant about horses and the worst song lyrics you have ever seen, Dan McLaughlin looks at the strange world of Tinder.

Travelling through Salford is a notoriously dreary journey. Mainly because you spend most of your time waiting for the bloody bus. The Number 50 should change its name to MH370. This particular journey involved a family that were so middle class, their conversation involved plans of taking a WiFi hotspot along to their canal barge summer outing. As Greater Manchester displayed its finest architecture of closed down pubs and boarded up housing, a passenger caught my eye. Not literally. I do not own a glass eye that decided to, without prompt, vacate its residence and travel to the grasp of the Freddie Flintoff of ocular protheses. No. That would be downright silly. My attention was summoned to the presence of a particular pleasant passenger. Where had I seen her before? Her face looks rather familiar. Who was she?

“Tinder,” I recalled, “I swiped to the right when viewing her profile on Tinder.”


Sex is terribly overrated. It’s a sweaty and pointless exercise that does not deserve my dignity, determination and dedication. Perhaps this is down to those whom I have engaged in kinky downtime with: they have either tried to bite it off, pull it off or decided that they enjoyed penis so much, they would gyrate aggressively on top of another one. Whilst I consider coitus time-consuming and merely mediocre, I understand its practicality. Sexual intercourse releases those charming fellas called endorphins. The unsung heroes of human biology can be accessed through chocolate (I’m on a diet), self-harming (I’m far too squeamish), and exercise (bahahahahahaha!). After a considerable time of celibacy, maybe I ought to give sex another chance. I have been lacking intimacy; indeed. after a session on the cider, I woke up cuddling a box of chicken and chips. And if this almost asexual attitude won’t get a girl, what will?

Courtesy of Marc Flore, via Flickr

Courtesy of Marc Flores, via Flickr

Most of my bad decisions come from drunken nights-out. Usually with other trainee journalists. We are not borderline alcoholics; we are bona fide, absolutely confirmed, seasoned drinkers. Towards the end of our lives, our livers will retire to a holiday home in the Isle of Man and our skin colour will make us resemble characters from The Simpsons. Thanks to one certain session, I decided to run for MP (I’ll explain later). Another resulted in this unintelligible song lyric scrolled on a scrap of paper:

This is a random song,
That is, with random thongs.
Not the sort you’d see in a farce:
But the lyrics that get up your arse.

After awakening with that joyous headache and the violent urge to call for Hughie, I checked my phone for the mandatory drunken texts to the crush, abusive statuses on Facebook and photos containing me giving the peace sign and sticking my tongue in a highly original manner. No. They weren’t there. Jolly good. I behaved myself last night. What’s this?! Tinder?!

Drunken Night Out

Ah yes. I remember this cropping up in conversation. Joining the ranks of Angry Birds and Flappy Bird (pet names for my ex-girlfriends), I had downloaded this app relatively late on compared to my contemporaries. This was a dating app that was not really used for dating, according to my cider companions. Talent shows had been extended to our mobile phones. However, their use of ‘talent’ differs from my interpretation; the same people whom tend to get ‘banter’ and ‘ritual humiliation’ mixed up on a regular basis.

Tinder does replicate certain ITV primetime programming. The ‘act’ gives you a very brief biography, giving you 20 seconds to judge them. You are also judging them purely on aesthetics, with a couple of photos available for your viewing pleasure. If you like them, you swipe to the right. If you determine that they are not going to make it to boot camp, you swipe to the left and a big red brand of [NOPE] is stamped on their face. Shamefully, I admit that I make the buzzer noise when swiping to the left, much to the bemusement of my flatmate next door.

I hasten to add at this point that I am not as shallow as these musings are presenting me. I am not judging purely on looks, as I believe that I have not come across a genuinely unattractive person on Tinder. Attraction, as you know, is subjective; but there has not been one case of a grotesque photo offending me. You see, I have a criteria. I conduct a 20-second psychological profile on each of the Tinderers through examining their four-or-so photos and brief biographies.

Tinder profile

I have my phone out now. I’ll just open Tinder and give you a few examples:

So, A is aged 20. Far too orange. As a lapsed Catholic, I won’t have anything to do with anyone associated with the colour orange. Especially with the 12th coming up.

Okay, S, aged 22. All your photos are the same. Put your duck face away! I do like ducks – shredded, on a pancake.

K, aged 20. I like you! Your biography simply reads: “Frodo is a wanker.” The sure-fire way of getting me to swipe right is to make me laugh. Well done. You are through to the judge’s houses.

Another A, aged 18. You’re not 18. I teach part-time. I’ve heard of the Child Protection Act. A big no-no. You are wearing your school uniform in one photo, for Christ’s sake!

P, aged 21. Your photos contains horses. I have a serious distrust of horses. I own a dog. I have to complete the unpleasant task of disposing of its faeces, you lot just leave it lying about. “It’s good for flowers!” you cry, “And you have poop-a-scoops.” You have the equivalent. It’s called a shovel. Horses are bastards.

L, aged 20. Oh. Your biography reads: “Need a sugar daddy to fund me through uni”. I admire your honesty. But I am not a daddy, and nor do I use sugar – I use Canderel. Soddin’ diet.

Courtesy of Jith JR via Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Jith JR via Wikimedia Commons

Occasionally, another singleton will be looking at your profile and decide: “This is the chap for me! I have an unhealthy obsession with sideburns. For he is the one, I shall swipe left.” If this event occurs, you have a match. As in a dating match. Not a tool to start a fire. Although T, aged 24, looks like the sort who owns a lot of matches and plans to use them on her next Tinder match. Now if this happens, you can actually talk to them. With words an’ everything! This has its own humorous consequences.

A, aged 18.
2 June 18:27 “I love you”
2 June 19:00 “Marry me?”
3 June 10:13 “Please?”

B, aged 26.
27 May 20:41 Heyy fella
27 May 20:45 can i just say u look mint

Gone are the days of the Oscar Wilde school of seduction: “Would you be in any way offended if I said that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection?” And my personal favourite:

F, aged 20.
31 May 00:48 “Elo sailor”
31 May 00:49 “Eye eye sergeant sassy”
31 May 00:50 “U got me in knots boy”


I do not consider Tinder a dating app. When telling these tales to my friends, I describe Tinder as a game. It certainly does not resemble real life. As I saw my Tinder match in person on that bus in Salford, I did not consider saying hello or striking up a conversation, yet it is very easy to call me a sailor or propose a marriage under the dramatis personae of D, aged 19. I once sneezed whilst flicking through Tinder and accidentally swiped left on a friend of mine. This should induce social awkwardness and the termination of this particular friendship, but it is simply part of the game. And perhaps I would rather play Xbox and conduct a bit of DIY instead of seeking sex and playing Tinder.

Courtesy of Hochgeladen von Kjuto, via Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Hochgeladen von Kjuto, via Wikimedia Commons