Tinder Charges Extra For Attractive People

[Takes off earrings and shoes.]

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Get comfortable. I have things to say.

As a single woman living in the year of our Cardi 2018, I utilize dating apps to meet male humans. I have been using these apps on and off since 2005. I don’t want to use them, but call me unlucky, call it resting bitch face, I simply don’t meet men in real life. Don’t cry for me, there’s wine.

The most consistent app in my rotation has been Tinder. Not because it’s any different or better than any other app, but simply because it’s got the numbers. Everyone uses this shit.

I’ve used Tinder for free, I’ve paid for upgraded memberships, I’ve done it all. I certainly don’t know why. In all my years of singleness (over a decade straight) I’ve never once had a relationship that began on Tinder. Or any other dating app for that matter. In fact, all the swiping, money, time, and effort have netted an ROI in the negative, so essentially I’m just doing this now for sport.

A few days ago I opened Tinder, almost certainly to punish myself, and I noticed a new feature, “Top Picks.” I do not pay for the most premium membership at the moment, I am not “Tinder Gold,” only “Tinder Plus,” so I only get one “Top Pick” per day.

Would you like to know what “Top Picks” are? They’re hot people. And you have to pay extra for them.

Tinder shows me a list of ten or so “Top Picks” each day, and I get to swipe right on one of them. Bait, if you will. If I want to swipe right on more than one “Top Pick” per day, I have to pay for it, with a Tinder Gold membership, a little over $50 for six months. Beyond that, I can pay even more money to Tinder to gain access to a larger number of “Top Picks” each day on top of my Gold membership. I can literally pay per hot person if I want to. And if I don’t want to pay more, if I see something wrong with a company charging more for access to its “best” users, I don’t have access to them. Because they’re hot, and I’m cheap.

While I have worked at many a start-up and understand a company’s need to earn revenue, to quote my best friend who I texted immediately after discovering this feature, this is fuckery on another level. Essentially, Tinder is now corralling its attractive men behind a firewall, and if you want to see who they are, or ever have a chance at connecting with them, you have to pay up, sweetie. Ain’t nothin’ free. Except ugly people.

Oh, swipe through our leftovers all you want to, we fucking dare you. But the men you want to see aren’t in gen pop. We have an algorithm that determines who is “desirable” (call it what you want assholes, it means hot), and we hide those from people who don’t pay us money even thought we’re still making money off them because we show them advertisements. If you’re lucky, we’ll throw a hot person in every 100 guys or so, just to keep you swiping, so we can show you more ads. If you want to cut straight to the good stuff, it’ll cost ya. Swipe, swipe, sweetie. You don’t want to be single anymore, do you?

I’m sorry, was it previously too easy to find attractive men before? Did Tinder spy opportunity in abundance? Or did they just take the baby pool of attractive single men in my metropolitan area and boil them down to the volume of a mason jar? And then lock the jar in a cabinet? And then sell it on Etsy?

I was (in theory) fine with a Tinder Gold membership that gave me access to a pool of people that had already swiped right on me. That just saved time and made good sense as an app feature. But Tinder now finding a revenue stream in the desirability of some humans over others is an abominable culling and a shameful affront to humanity. And because we all know that the odds greatly favor men on Tinder, this is actually an affront to women. Biiiiitch.

Because single women don’t get a short enough stick (pun fucking intended), Tinder is now capitalizing on the desirability desert we wander in every day of our single lives.

Hey there little lady, are you single? Are you sick of never, ever, ever finding anyone on Tinder that you’re attracted to who isn’t also giving the camera the middle finger, taking a photo from underneath their own chin, or holding a giant fire arm? Well, have we got a deal for YOU! For just a few cents per person, we’ll give you access to something we know you desperately want, while taking full advantage of your desperation and our position as an aggregator of attractiveness. Is your future happiness worth a little money? IS IT?

In conclusion, fuck Tinder. Apart from being an insulting revelation of the fact that they not only gather data on and rank, but also favor certain human beings over others, this is just a shitty way to do business. How soon before they’ll take people’s money in exchange for placing them in “Top Picks?” Are we to suffer the online dating version of SponCon, making financial sport of single people who just crave company? With one feature, Tinder is changing online dating into something only attractive people with flushable income can ever have a shot at. This is a disturbing, and grotesquely opportunistic development. Things just got ugly.

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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