An English Lit student analyses first messages on Tinder
‘Hey pretty girl, I checked you out and I like your thing x’
by Cathy Cooper
Tinder is truly a marvellous place, constantly challenging your expectations of men and making you lose a little bit of hope in humanity with every swipe. As an English student however, Tinder messaging is an endless trove of opportunities for analysis and interpretation.
Are the number of ‘y’s at the end of ‘hey’ really directly proportional to how much the guy wants to sleep with you? What about self-deprecating humour? Here are just a few jewels of analysis from two days of research.
The Poetic Type
What may seem like a cheeky first message alluding to anal sex is evidently so much more than that. This guy has taken inspiration from Persian literature and language forms in the same way Robert Frost did. What an intelligent and sophisticated young man, using the first person to imply power and dominance as well as a Persian love quatrain, whilst ensuring humour in the message to detract from the potential shock for the receiver through the content of the message which subliminally makes the content more acceptable.
It ‘sounds’ like love
Sometimes it’s all in the way you say it, and this is the perfect example. The Romantic Poets often used the ‘p’ consonant to imitate in speech the mouth movements of kissing to peak the desires of the female listener, and this man is subconsciously reusing this effect.
The complimentary one
Intriguing. Opens with a compliment to make the girl feel admired and more receptive to conversation through flattery whilst also placing the woman in position of girl to comply with traditional tropes of masculine dominance. The use of the noun ‘thing’ as well is intentionally vague, in order to elicit a response from the now curious ‘girl’ and to attempt to show potential interest in something other than appearance through not being specific. Leaving the first message open ended in order to stimulate conversation is one of the more sophisticated Tinder tactics.
The ‘clearly after one thing’ guy
Through the inclusion of sexually explicit acts the writer alters the microcosm of the conversational world to a different level of social openness to that of the macrocosm of society, making the girl receiving the message feel as though such sexual explicit content is acceptable and correlates to romantic intent, without the male author making any such romantic gestures.
The mystery of ‘heyyyyy’
This is the conundrum, why add the extra ‘y’s and ‘n’s? On a literature analysis level it can only be put down to an attempt to mimic speech, and in this case potentially imitate a Joey from Friends style ‘How you doin’?’. A desire to recreate speech through textual representation is commonly used to create the effect of being closer to the truth and reality, thus giving the effect of making the compliment more sincere. On the other hand, when overused as in the above example this can have the opposite impact on the reader and create a tone of humour and insincerity about the romantic advances rather than an attempt to convey honest and truthful thought.
The too cool for Tinder guy (on Tinder)
What do you do when you want to use online dating but don’t want to be categorised as a ‘typical’ Tinder user? This guy has selected a mocking tone to his first message to create the meta effect of critiquing a subject from within itself similarly to meta theatre where plays occur within plays to reflect on its own theatricality and performative nature, which shows he is self-reflective and aware of how social perceptions of men on Tinder are not favourable.
Overall this has been a very interesting dating discovery, showing that using online dating and being an English student were never meant to be. You will read into anything you get sent and assess it as if it was Chaucer.