By SARAH SKIRMONT
The melodic piano tune danced through Kayla Keegan’s ears as her voice synched with the words displayed on a TV screen to Elton John’s “Piano Man.”
Even after a shot of whiskey and a beer, followed by an impromptu karaoke session, Kayla Keegan didn’t fully relax as she sat in the East Village Bar. Why was she so nervous? Keegan was meeting him for the first time- “Date D,” as she calls him. No, it was not a blind date or a set up; it was a Tinder Date.
Flashback to 49 years ago.Keegan’s grandmother, is standing on a table, waving money at her soon to be husband. In typical meet cute fashion, they both met when she was working in a bank in Wisconsin, and like something out of a movie, they were married four days later.
Surprisingly, they are still married this day.
However unlike her grandmother, Keegan and many of her other youthful counterparts grown tired of the lack of traditional dates that her grandmother experienced. Instead they have resorted to the much less romantic, un-movielike alternative Tinder, an app where the user is presented with a picture from the Facebook profile of the potential match, from which they are given the choice of either swiping left for “no” or right for “yes.” From there, users are free to message each other.
“It’s a tempting, addictive game that really started appealing to me because it seemed everyone was using it,” Keegan said. “It seemed so easy.”
Tinder, similar to “Grindr,” recently sprung up in popularity among men and women of all ages, but particularly Millenials. Making about 13 million matches per day, the app has unofficially taken credit for 2,000 engagements and weddings, according to a recent Rolling Stone article.
However Keegan disagrees with these statistics.
“It’s become a lot harder to formulate meaningful relationships. The whole idea of Tinder is superficial–you swipe right to the people you find attractive without really knowing anything about them,” Keegan said. “Attraction is definitely important, but when you form a relationship with someone based on looks lone, it becomes more difficult to gauge their intentions.”
In fact Keegan decided to document her Tinder conquests through her “Tinderella” blog series.
As of recent, however, Keegan decided to give up the search for a potential match after several unrequited follow up dates.
“After hearing stories about couples meeting on Tinder and seeing my besties have successful Tinder dates—you know, where the guy actually wants to see them again—I thought I could do the same,” Keegan said in her final blog post for the series. “When it didn’t happen over and over again I got mad at myself.”
But, unlike Keegan, some are more lucky than others.
Only several months ago, 24-year-old Texan Alexia Rey met her current husband on the matchmaking app after dating for several months.
“[Before I got married] I had been dating since I was 13. I decided I’d had enough [of disappointment],” Rey said. “I think once people get used to the stigma of seriously dating someone you met on a dating site, or a dating app, it becomes more fun and likely that you’ll find someone you could have a future with.”
The distribution of users of Tinder is skewed; 40 percent of users are female, 60 percent male. Women are cited for mainly using the app to “meet new people.” Although the ease of swiping “left” for no and “right” for yes seems to simplify the dating pool, both Keegan and Rey have found it murkier as a result. However swiping statistics may suggest differently, seeing as 84% of the time, women swipe left, compared to a significantly smaller 54% of the time where men swipe left.
Keegan thinks this may have something to do with the intentions of the app’s users.
“I find that most women I talk to are genuinely looking to meet someone to go on dates with and get to know,” Keegan said. “Most men, however, seem to be interested in hooking up and having sex and aren’t actively seeking a long term partner or commitment.”
“Sure, it’s a simple, fun app to meet people on. But so many of the matches you make turn out to be nothing,” Rey said. “Despite my 100+ matches, I started to find myself waiting for someone hotter, funnier, better abs and there always is going to be someone like that. I just knew when to stop after I found the right guy.”
Otherwise known as the phenomenon of Satellite dating, where an app like Tinder generates matches based on who is closest to you. Professor Pamela Anne Quiroz examines this phenomenon in her recent study.
“Satellite dating affords participants the opportunity to fantasize about anonymous others, creating and recreating the ideal mate or partner,” Quiroz writes. “Though these fantasies may evaporate once reality sets in (meeting the person), an endless capacity and need to seek out others balances the costs of having to meet strangers who either may not appeal to them.”
Students like NYU Junior Chance Gonnell has found such luck with this phenomena multiple times.
“To make a lewd comparison, the app is literally an assembly line of women both hot and ugly, and after a while, they all start to blend together,” Gonnell said. “I’ve never met anyone worth pursuing past one ‘date,’ but then again, I’m not really looking for a serious relationship.”
While Gonnell thrives in his world of endless possibilities, Keegan seems to reinforce the ideal of traditional dating.
“I usually date one [person from Tinder] at a time because otherwise it becomes extremely overwhelming,” Keegan said. “While you should always explore your options, the romance and excitement in meeting new people goes away when you go on too many consecutive dates.”