Authors: Nelani Majozi, Gabriella Pinto and Tiger Maremela.
It’s been five years since its launch and Tinder is still going strong. In fact, research “shows that there are 50-million active users on Tinder who check their accounts 11 times per day and spend an average of 90 minutes per day on the app”. The mix of the unknown and the possibility of meeting ”the one” — for romantic, monogamous idealists — or a weekend fling, is an easy incentive for participating in that swipe life. However, between the charming Tinderellas and Tinderfellas, there’s a motley crew of characters you’re bound to meet on this cyber dating app. Here are nine types of creatives lurking around.
The film director
Drink of choice: Alcohol-infused milkshake or any drink from a Tarantino film
This person views life through a lens. Everything they say is in reference to film; you would have to have seen the entire film noir and realism catalogue to catch a reference. “Hey femme fatal, wanna go to the bioscope?” Is their opener.
It’s a match, now what? I mean you can’t really tell from Tinder that they’re obsessed with genre films, but their profile pic, seen posing on a director chair, shoulda told you. You meet at the cinema and for the next few hours don’t get any attention as they take notes in the dark. But after the movie, you catch yourself laughing to their impersonations of your favourite movie character.
The ceramic artist
Date suggestion: Pottery making class
You have friends in common and similar interests. He looks like the serious type, all-black everything but the emojis on his bio stop you dead in your left-swipe track, it’s become second nature now. So you swipe right. MATCH!
What now? He doesn’t say a word, and you’re too intimidated to DM. It’s that awkward deadspace DM, where you’re both waiting for each other to say ‘hi!’ but it doesn’t happen. So you move on.
The ‘bad bad’ illustrator
Bio: “Cutey with a booty. Lemme draw you.”
Profile pic: Graphic-tee, vans and ink. Eyebrows on fleek. Septum ring. Contouring perfectionist.
Swiping action? You swipe right. And send a cheesy gif to break the ice. She suggests a place in the north you’ve never heard of, and when you get there you can’t find her until she walks up to you. She’s unrecognisable.
The DJ on the ‘come-up’
Drink of choice: Any beer you’re willing to buy him
Date suggestion: The “stu” (which is actually his bedroom in his mom’s house)
After swiping left on a few people you find a picture of him; his body beaming in front of strobe lights and a laptop illuminating his face, which seems intensely focused on the beats. Your imagination gets going and you swipe right. Match!
What now? He DMs and invites you to the studio. When you get there, it’s him, his boys and all of their Styrofoam cups. His groupies are nice enough to offer you a chair to sit on while they make gqom tracks. Your fling ends after two days, but you still get guestlist at all his gigs.
Drink of choice: Any cocktail that her followers on Instagram would approve
Date suggestion: A bougee bar with cosmopolitan appeal
Its one of those days when you’re feeling hopeless about meeting people on Tinder. You’ve swiped till there’s nothing to swipe anymore. You try again and YAAAAAAS! You see her face, which is a genetic jackpot and living example of the Golden Ratio.
Swipe left or right? You do a bit of Instagram stalking. Her lifestyle is depicted through her selfie stick, as she jet-sets between Joburg and Zimbali, spa days, shoots and rooftop cocktails. You’re fascinated. After swiping right, you make the first move, send the DM and offer to meet. The conversation is challenging as she juggles her virtual world and you. This is the friendzone. But she’s nice and you never stop liking her Instagrams.
The philosophical poet
Bio: “On a level. Period”
Drink of choice: Bottle of red wine
It’s a Super Like, now what? You’re keen to light the incense on both ends this weekend, so why not? Initially, his poetic and witty one-liners are cheesy but kind of cute. The banter is on point and you’re interested in meeting him. On date one, after his reading, you feel awkward while everyone hangs around post the Q&A session talking about his ”complex” rhyme play. He introduces you without explaining who you are and no one really asks.
The on-trend ad exec
Drink of choice: Whatever drink his clients would approve
Date Suggestion: A brand event he’s been invited to
This creative is all about youth culture, the cool kids and athleisure. Sneakers embroidered with metal wings that doubles as a drone ”because they’re forecasted as the next big thing, you know”.
Swipe right or left? You swipe right. And meet. It’s cool but slightly challenging to keep up with agency jargon, what happened at the Loeries and hearing about scoring another campaign. You enjoy the free stuff at the events and casual sex but things get slightly awkward, at the year end party, when you run into your entire Tinderverse. Exit!
The free-spirit artisan
Bio: “Coconut oil and crystal healing”
Date suggestion: Organic food market
Tinder profile: Nose rings, tye-dye and Jimi-esque head ties. Self-describes as a “vegan, fracking activist, chia seeds and almond milk latte lover”.
Swipe right or left? Left. It would never work. You’re not giving up meat.
The gallery assistant
Drink of choice: Almond milk
Bio: ‘ENFJ. Gemini sun, Virgo ascendant, Libra moon.’
They’re a lot taller in person than what their pictures made them out to be. Their short bio, which alluded to the Meyers Briggs test and their zodiac signs, doesn’t really show off how kind and multi-faceted they actually are, when you meet IRL.
It’s your first meet up. You’ll spend the entire date making intense eye contact, and wondering if they are aloof or really just shy. They listen genuinely as you share your favourite artists, even if you sound silly and don’t know much about the arts. And they will validate you on all your quirky hobbies. They’re a breath of fresh air, somebody completely different to who you’ve Tinder matched in the past. And you imagine your relationship might last, for a bit anyways.
Illustrations by Luthando Mfabe