CINCINNATI -- “What does Tinder look like?”
It seemed like a normal question for me to ask at the time. I was married in 2009, Tinder didn’t launch until 2012. I’ve never had a need to investigate app-based dating.
Until someone at the office suggested that, for Valentine’s Day, we do a story to showcase the “most eligible singles” in the city.
“What if we made it look like Tinder?!”
‘What if,' indeed? I was curious. Could we make it look like Tinder?
I downloaded it and stuck it in the "Work" app bundle in my iPhone.
It turns out, you can’t see how it works until you make a profile and actually allow your profile to “be discovered,” so I made a profile and, as they say, put myself out there.
I should also mention that my husband, Tim, and I share an Apple ID. When I download an app on my phone, it automatically downloads on his phone. I told him about the Tinder thing - we laughed about it.
Let the research begin. I’ll be upfront about this: Tinder is terrifying. At least to me.
So much instant judgment. So much FOMO (fear of missing out). So little information. It’s all so casual and impersonal. Back in my day, dating wasn’t like this. (I’m in my 30s. I can say that, right?) It was all awkward invites and terrible conversation, and I had to walk three miles uphill both ways to get to school.
But I digress. What I was really looking for was the experience. How does Tinder work? What do the buttons look like? What happens when you “swipe right?” I gathered all the necessary information, I closed out the app and I essentially forgot about it for about three weeks.
Then, Tim texts me.
“Hey - I just got a call from Greg. He said ‘Hey man, *big sigh* there’s something I’ve just got to tell you. Pat was on Tinder and...saw Libby on there...'”
I had been “discovered” (that’s Tinder speak) by someone that knew Tim and knew Tim was married. And decided that he needed to save Tim from imminent disaster and heartbreak.
For the record, I have come to realize, Tim has very good friends.
Apparently they had been plotting for a couple of weeks to get him out to watch a football game or go to a happy hour to tell him in person. Tim and I have three kids under 6, we both have full-time jobs and most of the time, we’re just really tired. He was never able to make it out.
Greg couldn’t stand it any longer.
I can only assume that what happened next was a somewhat awkward discussion about how Tim knew about the Tinder thing. How I had to download it for “work research.” And the weird idea that I would need to see how it worked so we could replicate it for a news story. I’m sure it sounded really believable and did not at all make Tim look naive. (That’s sarcasm.)
I’ve never thought of myself as one who isn’t up with technology. I’m not sure why it never occurred to me that when I made myself discoverable, people I actually know would be able to “discover” me -- even while wearing a bright blue wig in my profile picture. Even people I haven’t seen in 6-plus years.
Before finally deleting my profile, I discovered that during my “research” I swiped right on someone. There was a little message: “What’s up? I’m digging the blue wig. That is a wig, right?”
Kenya Brock, WCPO’s Director of Partnerships, told me that means “I’ve still got it.”
I guess I’m happy about that.