“No guile, no game, no girl,” said the fictional dating coach Hitch, played by Will Smith in the movie of the same name, to his newest customer.
Dating advice, in formal and informal manners, has probably been around since dating was invented (I once heard dating was invented when cars became common). But now there’s a new kind, one that takes away all of the tiny bit of effort that Tinder requires. Meet TinderUs: A service that will effectively pimp out your Tinder profile and coach you on flirting, all for a mere $50.
See, for a long time, dating was pretty tricky: You had to get out of your pajamas and go out to meet people, introduce yourself and make some chit chat, possibly ask them on a date, eventually go on said date, then be pleasant and charming, and finally close the deal (whatever that means to you). Then online dating came along, creating a marketplace of allegedly single people looking for other single people, and despite the efforts dating profiles required, things already got easier just by putting it on the Internet.
And then Tinder came along, completely taking any sort of lengthy effort out of online dating and stripping it to its even more bare minimum: photos and conversation. But TinderUs is making even that odious task go away.
I spotted the service on Product Hunt, a community board for tech products, last Thursday, where it quickly sparked a conversation between a few community members, with Product Hunt cofounder Ryan Hoover even asking at first if it’s “for real.”
And it is. It’s the side project of a London-based fella who asked to remain anonymous. He said he’s “been using Tinder for a short while now and [has] been quite successful in getting dates.” TinderUs is the business that resulted from him asking his “fashion friends” to help some of his buddies who were not having much luck on the app.
Today’s Tinder date
TinderUs has a pretty good little business model. For $50, unlucky and unmatched Tinderers can get their profile photos and tagline curated by fashion industry pros, as described by the company, and even get coached on how to chat and flirt with their matches for optimal meetup potential.
“I’ve seen some friends who complain about their lack of success. I got some friends who work in fashion to look at their profiles and give advice (same as offered by us now). They saw an immediate jump in matches — all from a short consultancy!” TinderUs’s founder told me in an email.
“We have consultants who work in the fashion business. Their job is knowing what looks good. Dating and fashion go hand in hand!” he added.
Tinder is all about love at first picture, so getting fashion people to pimp out profiles is almost too obvious and logical of an idea.
And if we look at TinderUs in the short run, it’s actually a perfect great idea. TinderUs’s customers, which, the founder admitted, are currently mostly men, are presenting themselves better and potentially even more accurately. Lord knows how many wonderful dudes out there blow their chances simply because they’ve somehow picked their worst picture ever and didn’t know how to open a chat with a pickup line that strikes the perfect balance between “Hey” and “So do you wanna have children?”
Tinder — online dating in general, actually — is a new-ish medium. It’s hard, and not everyone has an eye for aesthetics or knows how to market themselves to potential romantic interests. Your Tinder profile is all you have on your quest for love (or sex), so it has to serve you well.
Of course, dating profile optimization is nothing new. OkCupid had its “My best face” feature experiment which would surface the alleged best photo you should used as your profile picture. Plumer and Tinderlytics A/B test your photos, along with some other analytics. You can even find a willing and generous soul on Fiverr to make a long video of feedback about your dating profile.
“In my opinion, Tinder allows people to ‘practice’ chatting with the opposite sex,” TinderUs’ creator said.
“We help you with your presentation and social skills through some quick, expert advice that can be used in any situation. It’s a confidence thing,” he said.
And that’s fair.
Tomorrow’s bad pickup line
It’s no secret that Tinder is the easiest, least demanding version of online (and real) dating. You sit in the comfort of your pajamas, and you swipe. You swipe, and you make small talk with strangers. Sure, conversing can be tricky at times, having to think of engaging questions to ask or replies to give. But let’s remind ourselves that you are sitting with a phone in your hand, hiding behind your Tinder profile with matches served right into your palm, and typing words onto a screen.
This is not even remotely close to the efforts of putting real pants on, going to the bar (or wherever), and talking to total strangers because they ordered the same beer as you, and you therefore get to hit on them.
Not. Even. Close.
What I’m worried about here is that this could be a detriment to our social skills in the long run. Yes, this sounds a bit dramatic, but bear with me.
As a young single female in a city touted as having more men than women, I can tell you that high-quality interactions and effort are hard to find from men. We’re all busy, so why should they afford me any effort beyond a text message when it conveniences them (coincidentally, always at 2 a.m., but that’s another conversation) or meet up with me instead of doing anything else they could be doing?
Now, they don’t even have to put on a clean shirt and go hit on me at a bar — they just swipe and type.
What I’m getting at here is the erosion of social skills, the increasing perception that “romantic” matches (read: people to hook up with) are to be served up in an app, and if you can pimp out your profile to get even more of them, then all is fair in love and war. Never mind that when you meet them, you look a lot more unwashed than what your pictures promised and you have zero interest in asking questions or saying anything of substance — probably because you’re on your phone, swiping.
And no, this isn’t everyone; and yes, this can be very helpful for some folks to unleash their wonderful personalities. And no, not all of TinderUs’s customers are men, and this applies to women, too.
We might be setting ourselves on a dangerous course of thinking that, because there is an “Uber-for-dates,” you don’t even need to learn actual social skills.
But on an optimistic note, let’s hope this helps clueless Tinderers get a clue and maybe even inspires them to go flirt in the real world.