The Tinder experience.

I was leading the happy single and independent life, but one day I couldn’t help thinking if there was a problem with me and why no one was asking me out (just an innocent random thought). I concluded that I just wasn’t meeting the right people. The guys around me are either married, dating, not interested in women, emotionally unavailable or just not husband material.

At this age, I didn’t know where I could meet single, eligible men so I thought, ok la let’s try some dating apps. It’s not like school where you were younger and had a bigger pool; I don’t work in an office so I never have any exciting coworker stories or potential office romances; I see men at triathlon races but how do you a) know if he’s single and available, b) even start talking to him?

So, out of curiosity I downloaded Tinder for a second time (the first time I got zero matches and deleted it after two nights of unsuccessful swiping luck) to see what would come out of it now. (This is not a sponsored post by the way!)

It’s funny because I had a friend comment, “Cheryl Tay needs Tinder meh?” Well, I don’t think there’s anything shameful about online dating. It’s a modern world now and I have quite a few ‘Tinderella’ friends with happy marriages. Plus, this is becoming some kind of trend. Celebs like Sheila Sim and Jamie Yeo all found love through Tinder right?

How did it go for me? To start with, I chose some pretty photos of course – all taken with DSLR – and I either had makeup or was dressed up. LOL. I had to include one on my bike, but I didn’t want to put in too many sporty pics because the first time I downloaded Tinder (last year), I put all my triathlon pics and I had no matches so I figured maybe it’s too much and hence changed approach this time round. I also included one of my travel pics with beautiful scenery – somehow it catches attention and makes a good conversational topic. I don’t have pets but you should include some cutie dogs or cats if you have any.

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What happened next? In about three months, I had over 150 matches…

… and here are my insights/observations/comments on the Tinder life.

(Before I proceed, please note that the opinions expressed here are mine and this post is purely based on my own experiences and are not indicative of any other individual or organisation.)

1) I felt like a broken recorder.

I love talking and I can make conversation easily with strangers, but I got a bit tired of repeating myself over and over again. It is perfectly normal to ask someone where they are from (if they aren’t local), what they do for work, what hobbies they have… but for me, my job isn’t exactly something you can explain in one line. Most people simply answer, “Oh I’m in banking and finance”, “I’m a teacher” or “I manage sales for an international sports brand”.

I, on the other hand, found myself unable to find one line to describe what I do – I blog, I take pics for social media, I have a running club, I have a body image movement, I plan events…??? So I usually just say I’m a blogger and then they will either ask what’s a blogger or how I make a living out of it, and I still end up having to explain a lot of things. So, finally I did get to a point where I gave them the URL to this blog when I ran out of ways to explain.

2) Conversations can fizzle out quite fast.

When I first started swiping, I was quite into it. I took initiative to say hi first, I took initiative to suggest moving out of the app onto Whatsapp and I would pick up the convo again if it went stale. But a lot don’t actually reply you; probably because they are not active on their app anymore or they don’t get the notification or they have found someone. Then there are those who reply you and some are actually interesting to talk to, but somehow they just stop replying… even on Whatsapp. Shrugs.

See – this is a portion of the chat room where I’ve taken the initiative to say hi or have replied something to them but gotten no reply:

3) A match doesn’t mean they are interested.

It’s a superficial world in here. All that they have of you is a bunch of pics and whatever you wrote in your profile. How much can they tell of you from there? When someone matches with you, it just means they like your photos, they like what they see in the photos/profile, they think you are chio enough to chat with you. And vice versa.

So, getting matched with someone doesn’t mean they are already interested in you as a person person. It basically means you skipped the whole awkward “Hi, are you here alone?” type of introduction at an event and can start talking immediately. Where it leads to after that, it can go ANY WAY.

4) Don’t go in looking for something real.

I went in with a curious mind, to see what this was about and I didn’t plan on finding a boyfriend from there or getting some casual sex. Then I came across this guy (I think he was the third one of the 11 guys I met) who shared similar passions as me and I was genuinely interested in him. We went out a couple of times, we texted throughout the day and I started to develop feelings. I didn’t want to rush into anything and was perfectly happy to take things slow.

I thought we were making good progress, until things started to go south. We spent a weekend together and I thought it was all good (maybe there were warning signs I didn’t notice, maybe he had a change of mind, maybe something I did was a dealbreaker), but he seemed to have lost interest. We still chatted on Whatsapp, but his replies became slower and fewer, and he made no effort to ask me out or ask to see me. So, I got ghosted eventually. Pfffft.

That’s when I realised that I was hoping for too much here. I guess I thought we were headed in the direction of getting into a relationship at some point, so I got really confused. (Can you blame me really?) Well, I never confronted him about us or asked what went wrong; never got any explanation for what happened but it’s ok. I definitely learnt that you shouldn’t have a mindset at any point of using the app that something real is gonna come out of this. That way, if something real does come, it will surprise you and if it happens, it happens. Just go in with no expectations and don’t invest too much emotions too early.

This brings me to my next point…

5) People have options.

The thing about dating apps is that it creates a false sense of invincibility for some (not for me though). But just imagine – Suddenly, you have this myriad of options literally at your fingertips. One profile after another, you swipe and swipe. The chat log starts filling up with conversations; some you take to Whatsapp, others you add to your calendar for lunch or dinner. Suddenly you are back in the dating circle, suddenly you are in someone else’s home… it seems so easy, so exciting, but therein lies the danger too.

Because of this, it is easy to get ghosted at a snap of your fingers. Many times I have read stories about people (both guys and girls) getting ghosted or dropped like a hot potato because the person they were seeing suddenly had one of their “options” become more prospective. Thus, don’t jump head in too quickly (unless you are able to not attach yourself emotionally) and don’t think that you’re in love so soon.

6) Some are really there just for sex.

You often hear that these dating apps are just for hook-ups, leading to these apps developing a bad reputation. I have to disagree there – not all. But there are some who are very blatant that they want sex. Like these:

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I like how they are honest about their wants so they don’t waste your time, even though it does startle me when I see such raunchy profiles. Then there are those who have decent profiles and are quick to ask for sex:

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Then there is another type that will make the effort to meet you and chat with you, before revealing their true intentions. Whatever it is, just be careful please. While there is nothing wrong with engaging in physical activity with another consenting adult, please remember that you don’t know them at all and whatever you know is only based on what they tell you. Oh and don’t forget the rubber.

7) I cannot understand why people put headless half-naked pics with their bulges.

LIKE THESE:

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SERIOUSLY. I can understand the pictures of guys flaunting sizzling hot six-pecs, but these? Can someone explain to me please?

Then there’s also the nipple series: (LIKE WHY?? I am not interested in how hairy your nipples are!!)

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8) Some are really there just to make friends.

I’ve chanced upon friends – friends whom I know are married or attached – on the app and obviously I’ll be confused. Like dude, you have kids, what the heck are you doing on Tinder? Then they explain that they are there to expand their network and make more friends, or just to ‘bio zha bor‘ (Hokkien for checking out girls). LOL.

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Once, I matched with a guy (see below) and he did make it clear from the start that he has a girlfriend but only moved to Singapore recently so he just wants to meet more locals and make more friends. Fair enough.

9) I cannot understand why people put group photos.

It’s ok if you have enough solo pics for me to know how you look like, but if the majority of your pics are in groups and your only solo pics have your face covered or in sunglasses or looking away/down in some emo-like pose, then how the f*ck would I know how you look like? Why do you like to play Where’s Wally?

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10) Some profiles are fake.

It’s so easy to just rip someone else’s photos off the internet and create a fake profile. Heck, someone once took my picture and created a Tinder profile. I’ve come across several profiles filled with photos of Mediacorp artistes, Hollywood stars, famous singers and even popular Instagram influencers. Why? Why do you wanna bluff people like that?!

Look at this pic – it’s Chuando Tan, the hot 51-year-old, not simi WESLEY! Some girls may not know him and end up swiping right on you, SHAME ON YOU LA.

Or this Kelvin… I wonder why you even want to be Donald Trump. And I won’t be surprised if there are girls who don’t know who he is but like their men mature anyway. You better make sure you have at least half his money then.

11) Some profiles are weird.

They either have no photo or photos that have no faces (like a quote, or a graphic, or scenery), and then have nothing in the description. What?! Then you come to Tinder for what? I don’t really want to be friends with an emoticon of eyelashes and you put fireworks because you’re trying to say that knowing you will be like fireworks is it?

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Ok la, there are some who make up for the lack of a profile pic with a decent profile description, but I don’t feel comfortable when I don’t know how they look like. Why are you afraid to put your photo? Or you don’t have any nice pics? Just take a selfie or get a friend to take a pic for you la.

See this guy – I only know he likes Warcraft, Liverpool and cartoons. Maybe that’s enough for some girls, but I cannot ah.

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And seriously, SMLJWTF is this?

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Or this?! #ohmyeyes #whatisseencannotbeunseen

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12) Some have terrible pick-up lines / try too hard.

… but just play along anyway (see below). For the record, the convo died out (again) and I never got to meet this guy. #wastetime

13) Don’t end up a tourist guide… unless you want to.

I’ve matched with a few who are visiting Singapore for a vacation or in town for work. Sometimes they state in their profile, but most times they don’t and they only tell you after you have matched and said hi. They are usually quite friendly and happy to meet up since they are on holiday.

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But unless you a) are very free to show them around, b) want to be part of some sexy holiday fun or c) would like to have friends all over the world, you can just wish they have a nice trip and say enjoy the Lion City! #kthxbye

14) This is not a marriage potential application form.

One of, or perhaps the biggest turnoff, is to ask a long list of questions to test their marriage compatibility. I had a guy friend who received a laundry list of questions from this woman right from the get-go – the questions had stuff like what’s your salary, how much do you have in your CPF, how many kids do you have, were you married before, will you pay for yearly holidays, do you own a car/house, etc. You get the point.

My friend gamely answered her questions (with some fake answers la) just to entertain her because he found humour in it, but most people would be like WTF and un-match with you immediately.

15) Don’t be afraid to include your expectations.

But please don’t make it a grocery list.

I’ve seen people indicate their preferences in their profiles, eg. non-smokers, at least 1.6m tall, sporty and athletic, no kids. Then I’ve seen people list their own attributes and likes, eg. wants kids, enjoys good wine, loves dogs. These are good, because you save time either way – either he’s not what you’re looking for or you’re not what he wants.

But (I’m using this word too many times in this post man) don’t put a looooong list of all your preferences because it will be a bit overwhelming. Can you imagine if I had this on my profile? “Must be 1.8m tall, must do household chores, must exercise three times a week, must like Hello Kitty, must like pink” etc. I mean, it’s good to be honest from the start but not everything needs to be so specific. You do know that in life, you more often than not end up with someone who doesn’t fit your list of requirements? That’s why I threw out the “requirements” list a long time ago.

Here are some examples (you decide what’s too much or what’s ok):

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16) Take the photos with a pinch of salt.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Look, I put pretty pics of myself – in makeup and nice clothes. It’s not because I want to intentionally dupe the person, but it’s quite common to want to look your best right? However, 90% of the time I’m in workout attire – tshirt, shorts, slippers sans makeup. Hey in my defence, at least I still look like my photos (or so I hope/think).

I’ve met guys who look NOTHING like their pictures; one guy, I walked past him twice without knowing it’s him. So, whatever you see there, take it with a pinch of salt. Sometimes people use not-so-recent pictures (some even use baby photos I don’t know why), so they might turn out looking different – for better or worse.

Well, ultimately, it’s the personality that matters more… and the chemistry right?

17) Don’t believe everything you’re told.

Likewise, don’t be so quick to believe everything you’re told. I can tell you anything I want, just like how one can use slimmer, younger photos of themselves or totally use someone else’s photos.

A guy I chatted with said he works in the porn industry, which I half-believe but the convo died out so I had no chance to verify (how do I even do that anyway?).

18) You’re not here to play games.

Don’t end up stressing yourself over your Tinder match/date please. If you find yourself obsessing over when he’s gonna reply, stalking his last seen status, getting upset because your msg to him has two blue ticks and he posted on Facebook but didn’t reply you, or trying to speculate why he said what he said… STOP. It’s eating you already.

Why do you have to purposely reply him later (even though you are dying to reply immediately) just because he took his time to reply you? Why are you even stressing yourself over this? We have to work, we have daily responsibilities. If he’s not that interested, then he’s not that interested. If he is interested, he should make his move. If he’s gonna be so wishy washy, lao niang has more important things to do ok? Move on!

19) You can find real love. And real friends.

Yes I’ve been preaching to be careful and not invest emotions too soon, but at the same time don’t close off your heart completely or put up a fence too high. Just keep an open mind, go with the flow and don’t expect anything. Take things slow and it’s ok to hold back at the start. Dare to love and go on to love fiercely eventually. Also, after meeting some, you may realise they aren’t compatible but you can still remain friends and some even make good friends!


So, do you have any Tinder stories to share? Email me or DM me! I wanna hear them!!

P. S. I also downloaded Coffee Meets Bagel but because of the way it works (they send you a couple of profiles daily based on what they think are suitable for you), I haven’t had much activity there. I only met one guy through that and it was a disaster. Hope you had better luck 😉