I’m 33 years old, which means that I still remember a time before Tinder. It was a gentler time, a simpler time.
Back in those halcyon days, if you wanted to meet someone — whether for a casual hookup or love eternal — you didn’t open an app; you opened the door to the nearest bar. And sure, most of my early 20s might be a Bud Light-stained road map of blurry nights and questionable decisions, but those experiences were real. They were visceral. They were happening out in the real world, IRL.
The closest thing my peers and I had to dating apps was MySpace, which was mostly just a venue for emo kids to post moody, poorly lit selfies (before selfies were even a thing) of their asymmetrical haircuts and bad piercings in a safe space. (I was once propositioned for a threesome on the site by an earnest man and his, er, extremely buxom girlfriend, but that’s another story for another time.)
That said, I remained single until I was about 31, so I’ve also had my fair share of experiences in the brave new world of dating apps. And, OK, while there are plenty of creepy/socially inept/cheeseball/[insert unflattering adjective here] men (and women) out there in the real world, there seems to be a real concentration of them swiping away in cyberspace.
There’s something about the anonymity of the internet that gives people carte blanche to say things they would never say to an actual human in the actual world. This is why so many Reddit threads (and pretty much any Twitter debate) inevitably end up devolving into a rancid trash fires. There are no consequences to saying whatever weird, gross, or straight-up offensive thing that pops into your brain when you’re typing it from behind the safety of your phone screen. (Case in point: the President.)
People say some pretty weird things to each other on Tinder in particular. I once had a man send me a picture of a killer whale (presumably meant as a ham-fisted fat joke) after I refused to send him nudes. I’ve had friends have men message them all sorts of odd things they would likely never say to them if they were to approach them in a bar, some pickup lines that are too cheesy to ever be uttered aloud, some blatantly misogynistic.
So I decided to do a little experiment and turn the tables. I didn’t want to message guys anything creepy or outright rude. I did, however, want to see how weird I could get on Tinder and still have men respond to me. Moreover, I was interested in how they would respond. With “weird” being a broad term, though, I needed to narrow the parameters for the sake of this experiment.
I was aimlessly scrolling through Twitter one day when it hit me: I would message dudes on Tinder using Kanye West tweets. Only Kanye West tweets.
You want to talk about weird? This man’s Twitter feed reads like Hunter S. Thompson on a really bad trip (an ego trip, heh). Kanye’s tweets are irreverent, nonsensical, and completely unique in their oddness. They were perfect.
So, I re-downloaded Tinder (I’d long deactivated my account) and got swiping.