By Samantha Nyasha
Tinder is an online dating app. An intimidating one at that. Mostly because its known as an app that is used by people who want to hook up. This is why I always hesitated signing up. But, after a conversation with one of my friends who happened to use the app, I was convinced and I decided to bite the bullet and try it out. Put myself out there. I was worried about the kind of people I’d find on the app or rather the kind of people I wouldn’t find. In my mind, it was an app for people looking for easy sex. I was worried about what joining Tinder would say about me. Desperate, sad and pathetic.
However, I soon realized that like any social media site, Tinder is a fast and easy way to meet people. Just like in real life you will meet all kinds of people. Awesome people, assholes, cute boys, not so cute boys, people you connect with, people you don’t connect with, you will meet future friends and most likely people who want to hook up and so on. The most important thing is that you are in control of who can message you and where things go. So if you’re curious about how the online dating game plays out in Zimbabwe. Here’s a few things I realized after using the app for a few days.
1. It’s like using a fast-food drive through
You get in, check out the menu and place your order, all in the comfort of your own home. If you are anti social. Tinder is bae. When you open the app, you are bombarded with hundreds of pictures of men or women who are 15km or less to where you are. You simply swipe left if you don’t like what you see, or right if you do like what you see. The catch? You can only get connected to people who have also swiped right on your pictures.
2. Keep it short and sweet
Unlike dating websites like Match.Com or eHarmony, that make you go through a torturous Q & A section that quite literally takes hours to complete, you will be signed up in 5 minutes or less with Tinder. All you need to do is upload pictures and write a short profile. You are more likely to get a response if you have great quality pictures and have a variety of pictures so that people get a good idea of what you really look like.
3. You have to sign up through Facebook
This one was a huge deterrent for me. And there doesn’t seem to be a way around this. I don’t want people on Facebook to know I’m on Tinder but they do promise that they wont post anything to your profile. They seem to mainly use your Facebook account for your profile pictures and work status. You can also see which of your Facebook friends are on Tinder by using the Swipe with Friends section which irked me and I panicked and quickly shut down my account but reassessed the situation and decided that I didn’t care if they saw my profile haha. They’re on there too so, your secret is mine 😉
4. Be prepared to swipe a lot
This ones important. I’m guessing for every 100 or so swipes you will get an average of about 10 – 20 guys you like. And of those 20 only about 5 will swipe right on your profile too. And of those five you might really only connect with 1 or none. So if you do your math, that means the more you swipe the better chance you have at meeting someone legit. Get yourself a glass of wine, relax and dedicate a good hour to swiping through different profiles. I’m guessing for every 100 swipes. You’ll probably only connect with 1 person.
What makes Tinder unique is that it tries to connect you to someone who is physically close to where you are swiping from at that moment. So if you are looking to “hook up” with someone, whatever that means. This app is perfect. You can literally link up ASAP. It also makes it easier to meet up if you are just interested in getting to know someone on a one on one basis. If you run out of profiles to swipe, try using the app at a different location to where you normally swipe from and new profiles will come up.
6. Tinder users in Zimbabwe seem highly educated and intellectual
I did not have any dull conversations. Most people that messaged me wanted to know more about me. No one made any aggressive sexual advances. Most people hold degrees or are professionals. I talked to a doctor who works in China and speaks Mandarin. Most of the questions had nothing to do with sex but my interests, passions and work.
7. It can be awkward
This city is too small. I’ll say it again, Harare is too *fucking small. You will come across one or two profiles of people you know. A close friend, an ex, a family member which is just weird. But just swipe left and pretend it did not happen.
8. Issa melting pot
As a black African woman. I tend to gravitate more towards black men and tend to stay in social circles with mostly black people. If you are interested in dating or getting to know people of different ethnicities, you have a better shot at making that happen on Tinder. You are likely to find an open minded black/white/Indian person on Tinder that in real life cause lets be real. We have a lot of racial biases and prejudices in this country. People tend to stick to their own and that makes it harder to approach one another. I’m not saying if you swipe right on a vanilla guy with washboard abs he will swipe back at ya. But, the more you swipe on vanilla guys. The more chances you will get of connecting with someone and vice versa. #Maths
There you go. My final thoughts on Tinder are that its not what I expected. I was pleasantly surprised. I’m guessing it has a lot to do with the fact that using it in Zimbabwe is quite different than using it anywhere else in the world if you consider cultural norms and such. There are a lot of good looking guys. There are a lot of guys who seem to have genuine intentions. My goal was to swipe through as many profiles as possible. I signed up on Saturday so I’ve been on there for a full 2 days. I must have swiped through about 200 profiles, liked between 50 – 80 and got 8 matches. There are only 2 guys that I am having some pretty good/deep life convos with and one possible meet up on the horizon. I was planning on deleting my account, article in tow but I like the app and I will keep it up for a full 7 days and see this experiment through. If you are curious and looking to meet new people. I recommend Tinder. Good swiping!