October 1, 2015
THE TROUBLE WITH TINDER: DATING IN BERLIN
by RACHEL MILLER
I recently decided to move to Berlin, Germany for my Master’s after spending three years teaching English in South Korea. When one of my best friends was visiting me last winter, she made me download Tinder. I've been out of the Western dating scene for quite some time living in Asia, and had no idea what Tinder even was. I had yet to meet any potential men in Berlin, so over a glass of wine we sat down and made my profile. We then spent the next couple of hours looking at all the options. When people say “there are plenty fish in the sea” oh honey how right they are. I realized I quickly had to set some standards, because we should always have some, amirite? First: no men without their shirts, second: no aspiring DJs and third: no, and I mean no, selfies.
After the first couple of swipes I started to get the hang of it. I also felt a little rush and gained extra self-confidence points when someone I liked, liked me back. I decided to wait for the guys to talk to me first, a little old fashioned, but then again I was also new at this whole thing. I quickly started chatting with a few guys, mostly German, and the line I heard most often was, “This Tinder app is so annoying to chat on, why don’t we chat on Whatsapp or Facebook?” Of course after adding these guys they never spoke to me again. What’s the point of adding someone on Facebook if you aren’t going to talk to them? I was starting to think that this app was a little too shallow for my taste.
I pressed on, deleted those fools who added me on Facebook, and before I knew it set up my first Tinder date. I found I usually had to be the one to bite the bullet and ask them out. Sure they would mention meeting at some unspecified time in the future for a drink but none ever came out and just said, “Hey, what are you doing this Friday night? Why don’t we meet for a drink?” Is that so hard? I found myself being this person. Maybe it’s a German thing. Now, I know the majority of the Western world is caught up on what is cool, I’m sure Tinder is so two years ago, but seeing as I have never been on a dating app I was a little apprehensive about meeting up with a potential murderer. I made the guys meet me for coffee, which they didn’t seem too happy about either.
The first guy I went out with had to be my poor guinea pig as I learned what not to say and what not to do. Note to self: next time don’t ask him how many girls he has met on Tinder. Also, don’t end the date by running away from him. After I learned how to act like a normal person--or let’s say how to pretend to act like a normal person, I started meeting even more guys on the app. One thing I learned is that German men don’t pay for you. I guess I should be impressed at how the gender norms are different in Germany and that women are seen as equals and can pay for their own shit, but I mean it’s two euros! I can afford a two Euro coffee, but that isn’t the point. I want my date to be chivalrous enough to say “I’ve got this, put your wallet away” and pay for my two Euro coffee, then I can say, “Thanks, I will get it next time.” (Looking back now, maybe it was because they were going out with so many different girls from Tinder they would be broke if they paid for coffee every time).
Now that I knew rapists and murders didn't frequent (never say never) the app I upgraded the dates to night ones, you know the kind where you meet a guy at the bar and chat over a drink. Every date I went on I was surprised at a connection I made. Tinder is already based on attraction so it was easy to know we were both already attracted to each other. Yet, somehow no one seemed to want a second date with me. Crap, is there something wrong with them or me? When I finally got a couple more second dates, none of the guys made any sort of move on me. I started to wonder if I was sending out strange signals, you know the ones that scream, “Please don’t kiss me, I hate to be kissed.” Finally after having a second with one German guy, where we cooked dinner together, drank and talked all night, I left with no kiss, I thought to myself, enough is enough. I sent him a message telling him I can be really awkward sometimes and if the signals I was sending were ones that I wasn't interested then that wasn't the case.
In between my dates with him I decided to go out for coffee with an American guy. Thirty minutes of bad conversation later we somehow ended up in his flat where he literally jumped me. I was taken so off guard that I had to laugh and push him away. I then asked “Oh I am sorry, what made you think you could kiss me? If you think I am here to hookup you are clearly mistaken.” I had to laugh at myself, thinking isn’t this what I had wanted the whole time? It took four dates in total for the German guy to make the first move, but I can’t help thinking in the long run it was better this way. Fast forward to three months later in our relationship when I ask him if this is going anywhere long-term and the answer I receive is of course, “Uh what? We met on Tinder what do you expect, this is just a fling. I am not looking for anything serious, not sure what made you think that...just because I like to cuddle doesn’t mean I want a relationship.” No, of course not, or the fact that we talk every day, hangout, have a good time together, ask each other advice about life, neither one of us have ever booty called each other, or the fact that you tell me you had the same problem with the last girl you “dated” who also thought the relationship was going somewhere as well. Yup, no I am the one who misread the signals, my bad. Also, I am clearly crazy for thinking there was something more going on. I give up!
Maybe it is possible to find your one true love on Tinder, but I am clearly the wrong person to ask. I think I will stick to meeting people the old fashion way from now on, at a bar, a house party or through mutual friends. Who am I kidding, I will just join OkCupid, that’s more serious, right?