The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

We’re yelling Tinder

Were yelling Tinder


While we hate to admit it, almost all of us are looking for love. On such a small campus, the pressure of approaching your crush is often embarrassingly public, overwhelming and even scary. Attempting to avoid awkward encounters with hook-ups post-Harris, many students have decided to outsource for partners. Tinder, the latest dating app, has provided Grinnellians with a chance to make romantic connections and try out their cheesiest pickup lines with the help of their smartphones.

For many Grinnellians, the fast-paced and often superficial way of making connections has boosted their self-esteem.

“It was like [the app] Hot-or-Not, so it was really validating, but it was less of an asshole-ish thing than Hot-or-Not,” said avid Tinder user Jenkin Benson ’17.

Perhaps more accurately described as a matchmaking app, the program allows users to create their own profile and quickly scan through other available Tinder users within a 100 mile radius.  Profiles pop up, accompanied by a name and age, and users have the chance to swipe right to indicate their interest, or swipe left and move on. If two people both swipe right on each other’s pictures, they are “matched,” and the lines of communication between them are opened up. However, open lines of communication do not necessarily lead to a date or romantic relationship. Valerie McGraw ’17 said she started using the app as a joke.

“It’s just funny. You get strange messages from people and then you can just say strange things back, and I try to out-weird them,” McGraw said.

“I don’t know anyone that uses the dating app with the intention of dating,” Benson added. “When I used it, it would always be stupid pickup lines, and just general ridiculousness.”

While many use Tinder as a fun distraction, some students have successfully used it to meet up with their matches, and find long-term partners outside of the Grinnell bubble.

“I’ve had two really good relationships come from it, like long-term relationships,” said one Grinnellian, who requested to remain anonymous. “I feel like being at Grinnell you kind of feel like you meet the same person over and over again, because no one’s really … trying to get to know you. There’s no real breaking away from the Harris-esque relationship.”

McGraw also met several of her matches in person while spending last summer in Grinnell, but none ended in long-term relationships. “It was like making a friend basically. Nothing happened other than we just met up and got ice cream and walked around,” she said. “It was an excuse to meet new people and get out of Grinnell.”

Benson never met up with any of his Tinder matches, but it didn’t seem to affect his popularity amongst users.

“Several people asked to marry me,” he said.  “I don’t know if they were serious or not.”

McGraw has had similar experiences with Tinder matches who became too attached too quickly.

“I think the worst thing about it is when people take things too seriously,” she said.

One Tinder match messaged her repeatedly asking what he had done wrong when she didn’t respond to his hello message.

“I felt bad for him,” McGraw said.

All three students agreed that using Tinder to find partners on campus is a different, and potentially awkward experience. While many college students use the app to connect with their peers, Grinnell’s small size does not allow for a comfortable amount of anonymity.

“You’re going to eventually come in contact with people [you have matched with] and if you don’t intend being romantic with a dating app then it’s just fucking weird,” Benson said.

“The idea of it is sort of weird to me because I feel like you can already have random hookups at Harris if that’s what you’re into,” McGraw added. “I know some people who have found people at Grinnell who they wouldn’t have met. They’ll meet people who aren’t in their year or live on a different part of campus … but that’s not really my thing. I guess on the other side of that, if you’re not into finding random hookups at parties, this is another way to do it.”

Regardless of whether or not students choose to match with people from Grinnell, Tinder provides a fun and easy way to find companionship. The pressure to find love in college can be overwhelming, and Tinder has allowed students to make quick connections and relieve some of the stress involved in searching for a significant other.

“It kind of always felt like you’re going to meet someone in college or you’re going to meet someone in grad school, and that … seems like a lot of pressure on those two time spans,” one Grinnellian said. “I feel like this kind of opens up a lot of things. The relationship journey, or even finding yourself or finding what you want out of people or friendships or anything doesn’t just stop when you leave college. It’s fun, and I’m excited to use it when I graduate.”

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