Want to try an online dating app? Here are three lessons I learnt on Tinder

As of 2021, Tinder had recorded more than 65 billion matches worldwide.

Tinder is one of the most popular dating sites in the world. In 2019, the site had revenue of Sh130 billion ($1.2 billion).

In 2020, Tinder had 6.2 million subscribers and 75 million monthly active users. As of 2021, Tinder had recorded more than 65 billion matches worldwide.

I was one of the subscribers, but not anymore.

I went to Tinder looking for a female who I would turn into a girlfriend, then a wife. As we say in Nairobi, instead of a wife, I was rewarded with a degree in “character development”, and took home three lessons.

1. Love is elusive

A common bio profile reads: “I’m looking for a serious relationship. If you are here for hook up, swipe left”.  But don’t be fooled.

If I could estimate the composition of that group – from a sample size of 10 – I would say five or six women are “looking for relationships that could lead to marriage”.

A number of women, who I matched with, and whose profiles said they were looking for “something serious”, told me they’d “given up” on finding real love through conventional means, especially in Nairobi.

“Why then are you on Tinder?” I’d ask.

The typical response would be: “This (Tinder) is my last hope. I’m new here, but I’m hoping to find a good man who will love and care for me”.

Most women told me social places like restaurants, weddings, schools, PSVs, et al – are full of men “out to take advantage of women”.

Many of these women are now on Tinder hoping to find love and long-term relationships. Ironically, like these women, I was also busy looking for this elusive thing called love.

2. Sex offers are plenty

Most men on Tinder who specifically want sex, assume that the women on Tinder also want to get laid.

So, when Boy Y matches with Girl X, he doesn’t hesitate to turn a “tell me about yourself” moment into a sex talk.

And, because Boy Y assumes Girl X is also game, with a little flirting, a conversation turns into an online sex conversation.

Surprisingly, many women are okay with it.

Offline, if a normal man was to randomly stop a woman on the streets, introduce himself briefly and start a sex conversation, chances are high he would go home with a battered ego and a sore cheek after being slapped.

However, on Tinder, the rules are different. Women do not waste time.

When you have a sex chat on Tinder, there are three possibilities: one, a woman will reject you immediately; two, she’ll say yes with no major conditions, and three, she’ll say yes, but on condition that you pay her for the sex.

The latter is what is known as a “hook up”. I got several of those offers on the dating platform. However, it is not a guarantee that you will get a sex buddy on Day One.

3. Sex workers are now online

If you thought you would get call girls only on the streets, things have changed. You can pick a girl on Tinder.

Unlike the women looking for “something serious”, but are not sure they’ll find it, these ones are very clear about their presence on the app.

They have uploaded profile photos clad in skimpy clothes. On their bios, they say: “Fun guaranteed”, “if you like nasty, swipe right”, “hook ups only”, among other suggestive captions.

The going rate for call girls on Tinder is between Sh3,000 and Sh5,000 a night. They are willing to come to your place if you promise them their safety and alcohol. Most of them ask for gin.

I came across many women who did not meet my expectations. If it wasn’t sex, many had sob stories that led to a request for money. Others wanted to chat all day and night, and threw a tantrum when I didn’t respond promptly. By the end of it, I was so exhausted. When I deleted my account and the Tinder App, I felt a real sense of relief.

I have only taken a break as I admire my degree in “Character Development” from the “University of Tinder”.

If interested in a person, you swipe right; if not, you swipe left. [iStockphoto]

How Tinder works

Step One: Get nice picture(s) that show your selling points, have a G-Mail or Facebook account, download the Tinder app, and use G-Mail, your contact or Facebook profile to register.

Follow subsequent prompts to get your account up and running. Remember, you must be at least 18 years old.

Step Two: Update your bio. You can say something like: “I’m 30, living in Nairobi. I’m looking for a serious relationship.”

Step Three: Activate your profile. With your account set up, you choose the gender you are interested in; male or female? The radius of your search for a companion to cover; 10 kilometers? 30 kilometers? The age range of your love interests; 18-25; 30-45 et al.

You’ll thereafter, only need data bundles or connect to a Wi-Fi network to log into the app.

If interested in a person, you swipe right; if not, you swipe left.

If the other person, whom you are interested in also swipes right, then Tinder treats it as a match. You can communicate with each other on the platform. Tinder will also send both of you a notification, informing you that you’ve matched.

If you swiped right on someone, and he or she swiped left on you, you will never get the chance to communicate with one another.

After matching, what follows is the introduction. The more creative you are, the likelier it is that the other person will be interested in knowing more about you

Unlike WhatsApp, on Tinder you cannot exchange pictures. However, you can video-call the other person. If the two of you like each other’s demeanour, you can exchange contacts and plan to meet physically.

Good luck!