I have been on tinder for about seven months. Scratch that. I was on tinder for about seven months. I had to give myself brain and leave before somebody’s wife will come and pour me acid ‘by mistake’.
We lived in Warri and it was almost the norm to hear stories of wives and girlfriends who would visit their men’s side chicks and pour acid on them. So, I grew up with a healthy fear of having anything to do with any man who is in a committed relationship. That aside, my moral compass points solidly in the direction of faithfulness.
I joined Tinder
1. Because I was bored.
2. Because a close friend had been on my case to put myself out there more and
3. I wanted to write about it and had to do the research.
I had been on OkCupid for about two months, about three years ago, so I had no illusions whatsoever about how online dating worked in Nigeria. Plus, I knew Tinder had somehow become the ‘hook-up’ place. I thought I was ready.
When I first got on Tinder, my profile was something like this:
By the time I left, it was this:
If I had stayed longer, I’d have added: MARRIED MEN PLEASE STAY THE FUCK AWAY, YOUR WIFE AND CHILDREN’S HEAD WILL CURSE YOU IF YOU AS MUCH AS SAY HI TO ME. YOUR FADA!
When I first joined, I quickly developed a system. I swiped left if you
- Looked like Shanowole.
- Were showing off money, a car, or the fact that you visited the abroad i.e positioned the photo such that white people showed in the background.
- Didn’t have a profile photo of yourself.
- Didn’t have a bio. Had a bio but spelt like a kindergartener. Had a bio but put some inspirational/Bible quote. Had a bio and referred to yourself as nice. Had the word “sapiosexual” in your bio. Had a bio but included the words ‘no hook-ups’. As if somebody offers you a hook-up you won’t accept. You just didn’t want to pay for it.
- Showed a dick print in any of your photos or had a nude photo. I don’t have ‘pay for sex’ money.
- Were white or light-skinned. (I broke this once and swiped right on a white guy. We matched and three lines into the chat he was basically saying “do something to entertain me”. Because I look like a circus monkey, abi?
- Had photos of your wife and children. Had photos of your goods and services, and I mean legit stuff like shoes, bags, Brazilian hair, etc.
- Looked like stress.
Towards the end, I decided to throw my list away and swipe right for everyone –except white men. I wanted to have an idea of the people who were swiping right for me and why. I did this for two weeks and I got some pretty good intel. Apparently, l look homely, like a good girl, which was funny because 85% of the guys just wanted to hook-up. The other 15% were good for the conversation and got my Telegram handle. I was wary of giving out my number because I had a stalkerish experience in my first month on the app.
Then there were the married men. It’s one thing to have had Tinder when you were single and then you forgot to delete your account after you got married and it’s just lying fallow, and another to be actively using the app. Married people cheat. It is a fact of life I was introduced to as a 14-year-old and Papa Bayo asked me to be his girlfriend because “a man cannot be eating only egusi soup every day.”
What never ceases to surprise me is the level of impunity. You’re doing something disgraceful and utterly scummy and you don’t care who knows. Tinder is used by people all over the world. Do the visuals not bother you? The blatant disrespect to your spouse. To someone you very likely made a vow of fidelity to, does it not bother you? Open marriages – a concept I do not buy into at all – exist. I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about guys who will obviously try to make sure their wives don’t find out they’re talking to another woman. And the funniest thing is they will still add “not here for hook-ups” in their bio. Is this not stupidity of the highest order?
I know the answer to my question. I am not that naïve, but it makes me sad that this is the marriage that society keeps pressuring single people to jump into. Thank God there are couples who are doing the right thing and showing that it is not all bad. Chukwu gozie unu.
Within two days of chatting with a guy, I asked if he was married or in a relationship. Most of them admitted up front. And I unmatched immediately. In one case I was less vigilant and didn’t get a clear response because said person was a Catholic like me, easy to talk to and good looking in a Brother Chinonso way. Funny enough, and I told him, he had a married air about him. We had lunch and I remembered that due diligence hadn’t been done. So, I asked if he was married and he said he was. Hay God! I mentally clutched my breast. This is how bad thing used to happen to somebody. What if he had been gaslighting his wife and she decided to follow him that day? Is that how I would have been caught in the crossfire? Innocent me.
I closed that road. Fast. I am not interested in being friends. Na from clap dance dey start. It’s so easy to say, “We’re just talking and hanging out,” and next thing you’re doing emotional and physical kerewa with somebody’s spouse.
If you’re thinking of joining Tinder, I have one advice. Keep an open mind. There are a lot of idiots out there, people that don’t have sense at all. But amid all that are people like you who are looking for a little bit of human connection away from their everyday lives. If you’re lucky, you’ll find them.
Watch out for my upcoming single: Can’t we just be friends? Coming soon.