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Why Are So Many Girls Wearing Cat Makeup on Tinder?

It shows up more than the Friday night outfit, the bikini picture, the cleavage selfie, the business suit, the goofy face, and the picture with pets.

by Jeffrey Bowers
Apr 11 2014, 1:00pm

Like many single, hot-blooded, smart phone-enabled men, I am on Tinder. When I started, I didn’t know quite what to expect. Portraits of women hung, suspended inside of my phone, waiting for me to swipe yes or no. They stared back with the same power—somewhere out there, my own floating head was popping up on cell phone screens, awaiting swipes of their own. It’s a pretty ingenious app and one that I’ve doggedly perused. When you look at Tinder for the first time, you’ll probably huff and pronounce that it ain’t for you, or that it’s weird, or—and then you can’t stop flipping.

You look through pictures seriously, examining their features, their style, their poses, and their friends. Then something weird happens—a strange trend comes to the surface, rising above the Friday night outfit, the bikini picture, the cleavage selfie, the business suit, the goofy face, the model pose, and the picture with pets.

When I truly started taking note of the phenomenon I quickly realized it wasn’t just a trend, it was an epidemic: Girls in cat makeup.

There isn't a large contingent of women dressing like dogs, so I can only ponder a guess as to why these femme felines do what they do. Maybe it’s Michelle Pfeiffer, maybe Halle Berry, maybe it represents some reckless kitten-may-care attitude hidden deep within. Maybe these girls have a really hard time being creative.

It's gotten to the point where I can pretty much guess which girls are going to have it. It's not quite as niche as pink shorts or sunset yoga stretches, but there's something familiar about cat makeup photos. It's a new breed of cultural beast.

Jeffrey Bowers is a tall, mustached guy from Ohio who's seen too many weird movies. He currently lives in Brooklyn, working as an art and film curator. He is a programmer at the Hamptons International Film Festival and screens for the Tribeca Film Festival. He also self-publishes a super fancy mixed-media art serial called PRISM index.