Marquel, TPVs NYTimes Superficial Substance Section correspondent, was chewing gum, when he read Tinder, the Fast-Growing Dating App, Taps an Age-Old Truth. When it comes to dating, research shows, looks are all that matter, at least initially, something Tinder has taken full advantage of. Marquel found this uninteresting. Men like pretty women. Women like handsome men. Duh….
So this is the kind of life changing discoveries the internet has brought us. Marquel was actually shaken. There are studies that show that attractive people are more intelligent than others, but only on the whole. The ugly geniuses among us are almost uncountably numerous. And the theory of the dumb blonde or the empty headed jock has a lot of reality to it. So is this Tinder going to advertise, “handsome and beautiful idiots for you! Sign up now!”
No, apparently they are going to simply make the clients’ pictures more attractive. They don’t admit to using Photoshop, but somehow Tinder people end up looking better. So you go to eHarmony if you’re plain Jane, and Tinder if you’re a beauty. The implications are actually huge.
If attractive people continue to prefer Tinder, there will develop a divide. eHarmony will be populated by plain people, Tinder by the others. “Where’d you get her,” will become the catcall from the barstool, “eHarmony?”
This troubled Marquel, who has had startlingly attractive partners and partners with more idiosyncratic appearances. So he went to Tinder.
The office seemed in a state of disarray. There was a desk for a secretary but nobody sitting there. Instead there were a half a dozen what appeared to be trust-funders, “working,” which meant roaming around, guzzling cokes and one or two smoking peculiar smelling cigarettes. I sidled up to them and took a few deep breaths, holding it in as long as conceivable.
One or two of them occasionally turned to a desk in the open office arrangement and seemed busy for awhile before returning to whatever. I followed one and watched him work. He took off a girl’s nose and replaced it with a better Photoshop version. A woman also worked on Photoshop and I saw the classic 97 pounds weakling transformed into something Photoshop-buff.
But the staff, if that’s what it was, certainly weren’t God’s gift to vanity and beauty. There were no fatties, but also no males or females that I might hit on in a bar. They reminded me of that cohort of one or two hundred people that you never got to know in four years of college, mostly because there was nothing apparent about them that said, “get to know me.” I had to say that I appeared a better catch than all of them. But I’m Marquel.
I asked one what would happen when a potential dater found a girl with a nose slightly different than pictured, or a young man not nearly as buff as had been portrayed.
“First of all,” she said, “this happens at all dating sites. So the disappointment element usually has already been factored in. But we don’t change the essential appearance. First, we only take potential cuties, and our instructions are only to Photoshop what could be done with makeup.”
“But I just saw your colleague remove someone’s nose!” I exclaimed. “And I saw you put a six pack on somebody with Peewee Herman’s physique. Isn’t somebody in for a disappointment?”
“I think you’re dead wrong,” she said. “Consider that the girl with the nose wants to have a good time in bed tonight and so does Peewee. They meet and decide to go back to one of their apartments. The girl sees Peewee‘s physique, but all of it, and the bedroom is waiting. Peewee sees an unexpected nose, but a lot more, especially as they pass the bedroom door. You expect complaints? Or action? I say action.”
“Seems a bit fraudulent to me.” I said.
“Ha!” She exclaimed. “You’ve been out of action for awhile. Fraud is the name of the game. But we minimize it. Our couple with the nose and Peewee? Bet you they call each other the next day.”
“So you say. What happens to the people you don’t take?” I asked.
“Second echelon,” she said. I looked askance. “Eharmony, match.com, all the others.”
“All the others?” I asked. “You really think your clients are best?”
“Best looking without a doubt.” She said. “We screen.”
I wanted to find Tinder rejects but people weren’t climbing my steps to identify themselves. Ads in Craig’s List and some others yielded zero.
I went to the skankiest bar in the East Village. I had to literally walk around a few inebriated patrons lying on the floor to reach the bar. There was a lively singles scene going on but it lacked confidence and overflowed with a sense of desperation. When a couple intertwined, paid the bar tab and walked out, each looked at the other with a sense of, “you really want me?” I may have imagined it so I sat at the bar and put my head in my hands. I sobbed.
A young woman, not at all bad looking, asked if I were okay.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said, “I got rejected by Tinder, that’s all.”
People on both sides of me tried to comfort me.
“It’s not the end of the world. Go to eHarmony,” said one young man who was wearing jeans, a jean jacket, and no shirt.
A woman approached me and said,
“if it depresses you, you just need some sex. Want some?” She asked.
“Are you in eHarmony?” I asked.
“Of course, can’t you tell?” She asked.
“Not really,” I lied, looking at her long stringy hair that could have used a shampoo in the last month or two. She put her hand in mine and I noticed the ball point writing on her wrist. She noticed.
“My shopping list,” she explained. I guess I looked surprised.
Her friend leaned over and said,
“once you’re rejected by Tinder, you tend to forget the essentials.”
I noticed she was wearing no jewelry at all, and her eyebrows were approaching one another across the bridge of her nose.
“So now that I guess I’m just eHarmony material, should I stop shaving, washing, and trying to make my clothes color coordinated?” I asked.
“Actually I’m surprised you were rejected,” another said, running her hands across my chest, back, arms and up my legs until I had to cough twice.
I took a deep breath as she removed her hand from my crotch.
“You’re not bad at all,” she said, and asked if I wanted to go with her and Miss No-Jewelry back to their apartment “to measure our body parts.”
“Right now, I’m too depressed, but thanks,” I said. “I never planned on an eHarmony life.”
“NP, LOL,” she encouraged, “believe me there’s life after Tinder. Look at us!”
“I can see that,” I said, but I was wondering if this was just another facet of our unequal society. I went home and typed in tinder.com.