This article was originally featured on VICE Canada
In a weak moment after a bad breakup, I downloaded Tinder. Soon, I was swiping daily through the never-ending human carousel in an attempt to get over my ex. I'm not exactly proud of it, but ¯\(ツ)/¯.
Most of my experiences on the app have been pretty shallow, albeit sexual. It's par for the course for me to hook up and then block the dude's phone number after. But when the new Tinder Social feature was added, allowing you to match with groups of people if you are also in a group, I was left wondering what it would actually be used for.
I mean, with all those "no hookup" profiles—clearly there's a portion of people out there using Tinder for something other than sex. I couldn't tell you why, but it is what it is.
Tinder Social's identity is confusing. When it first came out, it was hailed as a way for you to finally have orgies using the dating app. But that's not exactly how the company markets it. When you add a friend to your group to start using Tinder Social, you must select a preset answer to the following question: "What are you up to?" That then shows up when people start swiping on your group. Just like regular Tinder, you swipe, and if at least one person from each group says yes, you match and can start talking in a group chat.
All of the 27 options to answer that question appear to be an attempt to masquerade Tinder Social as wholesome, not allowing for any sexually charged or custom labels for your group. Here are some of the possibilities: "We're going out" (the default), "Girl's night out" (mostly see groups of dudes using this in an attempt at irony), and "Swipe right to hang out with us tonight" (the most ambiguous, accompanied by a monkey emoji).
So, in an attempt to better understand the world I unfortunately happen to be living in, I decided I would use Tinder Social until I had gone on three dates. I changed my bio to "just tryna figure out if Tinder Social is hang or gangbang" and got to swiping.
Immediately, people were taking the bait and explaining to me what they thought the feature was for or expressing their own confusion with its purpose:
But I had to figure it out for myself.
One of my coworkers, Sasha Kalra (aka the tenth worst person in online media according to Gawker), bless his heart, agreed to go with me on my first Tinder group date. What we found was that it is really fucking hard to use the group feature as a male-female duo. We didn't match with any groups with women in them, and Sasha is straight. So, he mostly just watched as groups of men ruthlessly hit on me, including one unfortunate situation wherein a dude spelled my name wrong and then serenaded me with Fetty Wap lyrics.
The actual date we went on wasn't much different. We had matched with a group of two dudes. But, it turns out that Tinder Social groups aren't necessarily consensual—if someone has enabled the feature and has you as a friend on Facebook, you can add them to a group on Tinder without them knowing. (FTR, it happened to me once, and I felt violated.) In a group we matched with, one of the two dudes in it couldn't come out that night since he didn't even realize he had been added to a group.
So, we met with just the one dude. After a few minutes at a bar on Dundas West, I figured out we had the same drug dealer from my rave days, so we connected on that at least. On our walk home, though, the Tinder dude basically dosed us. He pulled out a half-smoked joint, and we all took hits. By this point, we had already decided we were going to part ways and go to our respective homes. After a few minutes, though, I realized I was so high I couldn't feel my face. "What the fuck strain is this?" I asked. "Oh, it has phoenix tears on it," he said. Way more high than I intended to be, I let Tinder man walk me home. When we get to my block, he confessed he only came on the date because he really liked me. I gave him and hug and returned to my apartment alone to green out.
Conclusion: Hang but maybe wanted to bang
Deciding that it would probably make my life easier if I used Tinder Social with a female friend instead, I convinced another friend to join me in a hell of my own creation. And wow, is it ever easier to use Tinder Social as a group of women. Within five minutes, we had somewhere north of ten options. Unfortunately, we chose a group with two finance bros who wanted to go to a Top 40 club.
"How much is cover tn?" I asked. "We put us four on the guestlist" he said. We get there, guestlist is over, and cover is $20. Great start.
They then started buying us drinks, which is something finance bros tend to be good for, and then asked if we want to dance. "Sure," I said. "I love dancing." But apparently, to these dudes at least, dancing actually means dry-humping on the dancefloor to Travis Scott. I made out with the dude I was paired up with—by the way, it seems they had already chosen which woman was for each of them before we arrived. It was OK. But they would keep trying to grind on us after our multiple attempts at shimmying away to actually dance.
At several points in time, my friend and I were split up; the guys were intentionally separating us in the club for whatever reason. And then, my dude was screaming along to every generic hip-hop track that was played, including that word (and no, he was not black). After I got into an argument with him about how "Blasé" is not Future's song, just one he is featured in, I booked it to the bathroom. There, I ran into my friend. We locked eyes and said simultaneously, "Let's leave." The dudes were waiting for us outside of the door. The dude I had been paired with asked if all four of us could go back to one of their places. I said no, and in a classic escape technique, I gave the dude my number and never returned his text.
Conclusion: Gangbang (attempted)
After a number of failed meet-ups, ghosting, and a bunch of glitches, I was ready to delete this damn app.
Finally, in the early afterparty hours of a Sunday, three dudes who had just been at a wedding reception hit us up. Call me old fashioned, but it really turns me on when a dude asks me multiple times if I live in Mississauga even though I don't.
It turns out only two of the three dudes could come over, but my hypothesis was finally able to be confirmed.
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