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Tinder is a dry, flammable material, often being wood or paper, used for lighting a fire. Or, in our current non-caveman days of matches and gas fireplaces, an app primarily used by our age group to meet people, go on dates, and receive cringe-inducing chat up lines without the embarrassment of that whole real life thing getting in the way.

If you’re looking for long-term lovin’ or just a cheeky fling then I reckon Tinder, nowadays, is one of the best places to find that. Who needs the outdoors when you can plan six dates in a week from the comfort of your own cosy bed? A girl’s got to eat, right? I’m not having pasta and grated cheese for the third night in a row. Time to find myself a date.

Step 1: The pictures

Like in that aforementioned real life thing, people tend to judge looks pretty harshly. I’ve found Exeter though, on the whole, to be pretty open and not as unforgiving on looks as the blond-gym-girl-stereotype may have once suggested. If love at first sight is what you’re after, choose a great pic of yourself. Helpfully, you can choose up to six photos from camera roll, Facebook or Instagram to show off your best side. Pick carefully, it’s a cut-throat world.

the photographs are ranked of higher importance than your witty banter

It may be analysed as a little creepy if you’re on your own in every single one: Why don’t you have any friends? Similarly, don’t only have full squad pics as people looking through your profile won’t know which one you are. I, personally, would go with a solid solo selfie first, ensuring essential contouring is on point. The first picture is that tricky one that establishes whether the swiper wants to see more of you or not, so make it a banger – you’ll have time to demonstrate your awesome personality later, despite this being (for me) the most important part. But alas, Tinder is not so, and the photographs are ranked of higher importance than your witty banter. Next, maybe choose a couple of pictures with one or two different friends pre-sesh, chilling at the park, playing pranks in your student house (I’m so fun) and finally a big group photo to show that yes, I do in fact have a large group of people who find me tolerable. So you should too, dear swiper.

Step 2: The radius

No swipers will be able to see how wide you cast your net for those plenty of fish left wandering aimlessly in the sea, but the more desperate you are, the bigger your search must be. When using Tinder, I set it only to within a few miles of Exeter so mostly students like myself would appear on my screen.

THE MORE DESPERATE YOU ARE, THE BIGGER YOUR SEARCH MUST BE

However, if you’re willing to travel to, say, Bristol or even *shudder* Plymouth then that’s possible too. If you’re really desperate, 160 kilometers is the furthest distance one can search in (still waiting for Tinder Global) without paying for the premium Tinder Plus service which actually has some pretty cool benefits – like re-winding your last swipe (DEFINITELY needed), and skipping the queue so you’re the top profile in your area. And it’s not even that expensive. But do you really want to be the kind of person who pays for Tinder?

Step 3: The bio

I find the bio the most important part of the Tinder world. It’s the first place you can reveal your personality to the potential swiper. I’ve noticed some common themes amongst users that I would advise against. I probably wouldn’t swipe right for you if your bio is just aubergine and peach emojis as, to be honest, I’m looking to date, not for casual sex. But hey, they might be into that. If that’s you, that’s you. Own it.

I WON’T SWIPE RIGHT IF YOUR BIO IS JUST AUBERGINE EMOJIS

Equally, “Not really sure what to write here” is boring and unimaginative – I am the type who thrives off creativity, so a massive bucket of soz, but you’re not the one for me. Think of something funny that’ll hook your swiper’s interest, or even just list your hobbies, taste in music, or favourite film. Be yourself.

Step 4: The first encounter and having good chat

When I used Tinder, there seem to be two kinds of chat up line: the cheesy one-liner/sexual innuendo/straight up asking for sex, or the simple ‘hey’. The latter conversation will go as follows. “Hey”. “Hey”. “How are you?” “Good, you?” “I’m good too”. To avoid this, think of a question to make the swiper (who has already found you attractive, by the way, go you) think and stay interested.

Disclaimer: chatting on the app may result in awkward bumping into in Unit 1’s smoking area.

Alternatively, some chat up lines are hilarious, and if done correctly without insensitivity or overpowering, disturbing sexual invites (or grammatical mistakes, instant no) you may bag yourself a cheeky reply, culminating in a witty tennis match of puns and funs. If you’ve met someone you get along with via instant message, chances are you’ll get along with them even better in real life. Disclaimer: chatting on the app may result in awkward bumping into in Unit 1’s smoking area. Deal with this as you best see fit.

And there you have it: You’ve bagged yourself a date with a fairly attractive human who’s not too cringe-inducing, likes hockey like you do, and saw the same gig as you in first year. My work here is done, the swiper has been snaffled in my rabbit snare-net-hook like the analogy confused pro-fisherwoman I am.

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