swiping at duke

Sydney Lapine

I grew up in Utah and so having a Tinder account was practically unheard of.  If you made an account, everyone found out about it.  It was hot gossip. Even when girls admitted to downloading the app, they felt the need to shamefully whisper some excuse for doing so. Imagine my surprise when I came here and everyone was making Tinder accounts, talking about it as frequently as we complain about Market Place dinner. In fact, if you’re a Duke freshman without a Tinder account, you ain’t gettin any.


Let me paint a scene for you: It’s a Friday afternoon, and I’m still praying for a fun night.  I spend way too long picking out an outfit, straightening the life out of my hair, and turning my eyes dark enough that you’d believe I got clocked in the face with two baseballs. We go out to dinner, make desperate attempts at finding something exciting to do, and eventually give-up as we are rudely awakened by the reality of college during covid. 


We end up on the floor of someone’s room, send some “cute” snaps in hopes of getting a late-night invite.  Then, it’s time to swipe.  It’s time to flirt. It’s Tinder time. In our new covid reality, meeting people is practically impossible without (permitted) gatherings of greater than three people or in-person classes. To make matters worse, we don’t get to see noses or mouths and at six feet apart, it’s difficult to make “accidental” contact. So, while we recognize that the idea of Tinder — dissing people based solely on the way they look—is harsh, desperate times call for desperate measures. 


Hiding behind a screen, Tinder allows its users to forget that the people they swipe left on are real people with feelings. When the pictures attract a swipe right, comments and conversations that would never be appropriate in-person are excused or even encouraged because it’s Tinder. Gross pick-up lines on Tinder are just a joke but had they been used as I was standing in line at Il Forno, I would’ve filed a sexual harassment claim. 


If the pick-up line is granted a reply, the college hookup culture of casual or “meaningless” sex and ghosting begins, a culture that values appearance and further engrains sexism. Initially, my fear of being labeled a “slut” (a term generously used in Utah) prevented me from joining Tinder.  My concerns were legitimized when I started to take notice of the behaviors of the few Duke boys I have met in conventional ways.  I had hoped that college would magically transform high school boys into “men” who respect women. Instead, I’ve overheard them rating and then ranking girls (word on East Campus is that the Duke average is a 6.7), yelling words such as “cunt” and “whore” in the common room (while girls are present), and discussing (and embellishing) details of every hook-up to a vulgar extent. 


Despite all of that, my boredom and curiosity drove me to create an account.  In actuality, joining Tinder made me feel empowered.  There’s no waiting for the guy to make the first move (overrated) because I have the power to swipe right on whoever I want. By joining Tinder, I can actually admit that I want to hook up with someone without feeling judged. Plus, when I match with someone I find attractive, it’s a major confidence boost.  While some messages I’ve received have made me slightly uncomfortable, most of them bring a much-needed laugh to an otherwise mundane first semester of covid college life. 


As of now, I have only actually met up with a Tinder boy once (2/10 experience TBH) and I doubt I’m going to meet anyone boyfriend- worthy (or in true Utah spirit—husband-worthy). But I’m enjoying quality entertainment and while covid is cockblocking us all, online dating apps seem to be our only option. 


If you give Tinder a chance, you can try out some of your boldest pick-up lines or sharpen up your flirting skills so that you’re prepared for your “meet-cute.” Or you can just enjoy the shirtless pictures (or the 32738 pictures of boys bragging about the fish they’ve caught if you happen to be someone who finds that hot). 


If you’re not desperate enough to download Tinder yourself yet, let me give you a sneak peek of what you’ve been missing.  Here are the best pick-up lines I received or witnessed second-hand on Tinder:


“Are you from Australia? Cuz I want to see you down under😳😂”

“I’d say you’re beautiful but they say beauty is on the inside and I haven’t been inside you yet”

“Lauren, I must have dyslexia cuz I think you’re unreal”

“Are you out of toilet paper cause I’ll be your Prince Charmin”

“Are you a sea lion? Cause I want to see you lion next to me”


This giphy

Him: “was poppin”

Me: “Brand new whip just hopped in”

Him: “Respect you know it” 

*blesses me with his unsolicited snap username*


The one who forced me to ask for his snap:

Him: “hey. Do you remember the rice krispy treat commercials?”

Me: “do I remind you of them because I’m so tasty?”

Him: “not where I was going with that but that was funny haha”

Me: “where were you going with that??”

Him: “was gonna ask if you could help me remember how it goes, I just can’t remember the first part. ___! Crackle! Pop! Rice krispies!

Me: “snap! Haha” (gotta add the ‘haha’ to make it less awkward)

Him: “yeah for sure it’s @cameron**** :)”


My personal favorite:

“Hey believe it or not duke is making me write an article on the finer things in life… I was hoping I could interview you for it. What do you say ;)”