Sex in the ATX
Sex in the ATX: Is Tinder just dating without pants?
Hi, I’m Sam. A female Sam, to be clear. I’m a single, 26-year-old writer with a slight sarcasm problem and what some might consider commitment issues (I’m just picky, okay?), and I’m here to discuss dating and sex in the ATX. Now, since I’m single — and pretty okay with that — this column obviously isn’t going to be all rainbows and butterflies and chocolate-covered orgasms.
But before you jump to the conclusion that I’m a total cynic, allow me to correct you: I’m only, like, 92 percent cynical. The other 8 percent is still a tiny bit convinced that one day a guy is going to show up on my lawn with a boombox and declare his undying love and affection. Except I don’t have a lawn and it would probably be an iPhone. Also, I think that fantasy may be a rip-off of Say Anything. I digress.
Despite the fact that I’m not exactly a hopeless romantic, when it comes to the quantity and quality of dateable dudes in Austin, I actually have nothing to complain about. I know from experience that there are a lot of great guys in this city. In fact, I’ve gone out with plenty of them, and even have several saved in my phone right now under affectionate monikers like “Man Bun,” “Andrew — ACL” and “Guy Who Peed In My Bed.” (That’s a different story for a different column ... or never.)
I’m also not going to bitch and moan about how difficult it is to meet men, because that’s not a problem these days either. Back in the day, if you wanted to score a date, you had no choice but to go out in public, summon some courage (usually of the liquid variety) and actually talk to people, a process requiring effort, social skills and pants.
But today, pants are no longer necessary, and any introverted homebody with a smartphone and decent cell service has a fighting chance thanks to everyone’s favorite dating/hook-up/thumb-exercising tool: Tinder.
The addictive app’s co-founder and CEO told Forbes in October that users swipe through 1.2 billion profiles every day, accounting for 15 million matches. Now, I’m no mathematician, but I’m willing to wager that when it comes to meeting people, those stats render Tinder slightly more effective than methods I’ve previously used. (One such "method" I use is drinking wine and loitering in the fruits and veggies section at Whole Foods, squeezing provocatively shaped produce while making prolonged, admittedly creepy eye contact with strangers before sobering up and slinking off to the organic soap aisle to reevaluate my life.)
Between its effectiveness and the minimal effort required, Tinder’s popularity makes perfect sense. Instead of spending your Tuesday evening perched on a bar stool trying to look seductive while sipping well vodka (cheap vodka is all you can afford when you have to do this every night so you don't die alone), you can relax in the comfort of your own home, eat a Hot Pocket in your underwear, and scroll through potential suitors while making connections in the most rejection-proof way possible.
I’ve been using the app for a little over a year and, aside from one or two weird encounters, I’ve generally had pretty good experiences with some ending with awkward, ass-out hugs and others resulting in awesome sex.
That said, while initiating contact and securing a companion for the evening is easy (thanks, technology!), Tinder can only take you so far, and when it comes to converting a simple “match” into a real relationship in this city ... well, that’s a different story. You see, Austin is basically a playground for young adults, but instead of monkey bars, there are, um, bars. Bars filled with ridiculous amounts of ridiculously attractive people. (And on this playground, no one is worried about cooties.) With so many options available both on and offline it’s not surprising that, for many, the concept of monogamy simply isn’t that appealing.
And understandably so. After all, why put in work when it’s so easy to play?