“We met on the beach, and realized it was freezing, so we ended up going to Starbucks instead. We spent the next two hours talking,” Kate, a University of Rhode Island senior, said. She’s talking about the first time she and Pat, her boyfriend, met. “We [knew] eventually we wanted to get into a relationship, but not immediately though. It’s been a year-and-a-half now.”

Kate and Pat, who both asked to have their last names omitted, have a story that’s not unlike many happy couples today. They’re very similar, she said, especially with how much they both love to travel. She’s organized and he isn’t, and he watches out for her food allergies. They genuinely care about each other, and they have for the past year-and-a-half. But their origins might surprise you: they met on Tinder.

“It’s funny. We meld well together, we get along very well, clearly. We did meet on Tinder,” Kate said. “Remember that we met a year-and-a-half ago. Tinder was still used as a dating app, not a sex app.”

More recently, Tinder has strayed away from its intended purpose as a dating app, and toward what people would refer to as “a hookup app.” Meaning that instead of looking for a full-blown relationship, many users are swiping for more casual encounters. Others are just looking to boost their egos.

“I think the reputation is that it’s a hookup app. In reality, It’s more like an ‘am I hot?’ app,” said Harry, a URI sophomore who asked to have his last name omitted. He joined Tinder as a way to meet girls in college since he didn’t want a full-blown relationship his freshman year.

Ever since 2012, singles within a predetermined location range have been swiping left or right to “nope” or “like” other users’ profiles, hoping to mutually like each other, or “match.” The app was created almost like a dating game, prompting users when they match to message their match, or “keep playing,” but odds are, you probably knew that already.

“If people don’t have it, they’ve definitely heard of it,” said Corina Perugini, a URI senior. She downloaded the app out of curiosity, and thinks that many other users joined for the same reason.

However, some of her experiences with the app aren’t as charming as Kate and Pat’s.

“I matched with this kid on Tinder and we chatted for a while and exchanged numbers and we decided we wanted to meet each other in person. It was going pretty well like he seemed very nice, then all of a sudden he just started talking all about ex girlfriends and all the hard drugs he used to do in high school and I was like yeah nope, not for me,” Perugini said.

She’s certainly not alone, either.

“I drove for more than 45 minutes, only to be stood up at a very nice bookstore/cafe,” Harry said. “My favorite one is that my best Tinder date was with a Texan who got offended because she thought I only took her to Chipotle because she was white. I just really wanted Chipotle after a shift at work.”

Harry said that he still remains on Tinder “if only for a laugh every once in awhile.” He doesn’t think finding a lasting relationship is impossible on Tinder, though.

“Theoretically, It’s no different than a bar or party, so it’s possible,” he said. “I think that’s how most interest starts anyways. It’s like walking into a class full of strangers, you can only tell what you see. Tinder just tries to make it easy to identify mutual attraction.”   

 

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Emma Gauthier
Emma is a senior journalism and English double major with a minor in political science from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She has worked for the Cigar since her first semester at URI as a staff reporter, then web editor, news editor and finally Editor in Chief. Emma also edits for the URI research magazine, Momentum, and hopes to find a career in political reporting upon her graduation in May.