Editor’s note: Some of the names in this story have been changed to protect the sources’ identities.
Casual hookups. Convenient one-night stands. Cringe-worthy pickup lines. Unreciprocated feelings.
While dating apps like Tinder and Grindr have made it easier for people to hook up, journalism junior Shelley Anderson said it has also made it harder for people to make their expectations clear.
“The reality of Tinder is you’ll either match with a guy who sends a very provocative message or one who swipes left on 99 percent of the people they see,” Anderson said. “When I first started using Tinder, I actually went on a few dates. However, [after seeing the same guy], I knew he expected more from me physically than I wanted. He started texting me to come over late at night after that, so I cut off communication.”
Anderson originally started using the app to casually flirt with boys every now and then and said it has become a way to spice up her dating life.
“[At first,] I checked it once or twice a day just out of amusement,” Anderson said. “Now, I just use it either when my love life is severely lacking, or when I have no boy interests and feel like seeing who is out there.”
One person Anderson dated later revealed he wasn’t actually a UT student and was in a drug rehab program. After he continued to reach her, she decided to cut off communication between them. She said casually dating through apps like Tinder makes it easy for men to pursue women agressively without harassing them physically.
“I’ll admit, he was pretty damn attractive though,” Anderson said. “I learned what I do and do not like in a guy. I think the stigma is that Tinder is for desperately single [and] horny people.”
Former UT student Nate Roberts said he noticed a stigma within dating apps that glorify and benefit boys who are toned and fit. Roberts said he has been rejected on the LGBT dating app, Grindr, for not being in shape.
“People say pretty mean stuff,” Roberts said. “I’ve had people of color say to me ‘You’re white, and you like black people?’ Although hookups are the end goal for Grindr users, [users] face discrimination and prejudice.”
Roberts said within the college community, Grindr users are usually open about their expectations.
“Grindr is a [place] where people are ready to send a dick picture before they send their face,” Roberts said. “I’ve had people ask me to suck their dick with the lights off and in a dark apartment.”
Grindr user Andrew Smithson said many people aren’t comfortable being as forthcoming with their intentions as others.
“I don’t know why people say ‘just looking for friends’ when everyone there is really checking it for a hookup or to find a boyfriend,” Smithson said. “It doesn’t make sense to me when your profile picture is your washboard abs, but you don’t want a hook-up? That’s what I use it for.”
Smithson said he notices students are often unwilling to share their involvement with Grindr.
“I don’t want anyone that knows me to know that I use this,” Smithson said. “I usually check it every night to see if a guy wants to hang out or go on a date. I had a guy hang out with me, but he didn’t want to do anything. He left five minutes after, but he seemed desperate to hang out with me while we were talking on Grindr. It seems that students are uncomfortable looking at Grindr in public, afraid their friends and colleagues will see them.”