The Taxonomy of Tinder

Love is just a dead deer away.

By Maya Merberg, SUNY Geneseo


Maybe you’re considering joining Tinder because your friends are on it and you’re curious to see what the buzz is about, or maybe you’ve been matching and unmatching for years in search of a soulmate (in which case my best advice, really, is to look elsewhere).

Either way, whether you’re in it for keeps or kicks, the Tinderverse can be immensely confusing. To help demystify the lusty ecosystem, I’ve been collecting data and scientifically swiping for months in order to create a comprehensive roundup of all the guys you’ll meet on Tinder.

When observing an unidentifiable single college guy in his natural habitat, Tinder, simply match him to one of the following types and you’ll find all the information you need to potentially match him to yourself.

Guys With Dead Animals

Gamesmen might seem like a strange start, but I assure you it’s all too common. It actually might be written into the Terms and Agreements of Tinder that anyone who hunts or fishes must post a picture of themselves solemnly posing next to a freshly slain deer or fish.

Navigating Tinder: A Field Guide to the Male Swiper

Sometimes, every picture on someone’s profile will be dead animal after dead animal. I think that most of the time, guys who do this are attempting to assert their dominance and masculinity.

Maybe it works on some girls. Personally, when I’m swiping through Tinder and come across a deer in a puddle of blood, I sometimes vomit a little in my throat. To each their own.

Pro: If you are only on Tinder to find a reputable pest controller or exterminator, he can probably take care of it.

Con: If you are on Tinder for any other reason, he probably can’t.

Guys with Cute Animals

If a guy’s first picture doesn’t contain a huge dead animal, it likely has a tiny and adorable alive one.

Navigating Tinder: A Field Guide to the Male SwiperMy theory on this is that guys are hoping girls will conflate the puppy’s adorable face with his face, and will just swipe right in a frenzy of cuteness.

Unfortunately, and I am not proud, but this has actually worked on me a number of times. I’m not sure if I’m hoping to see more pictures of the guy’s pet, or maybe start a blossoming relationship with it if we click. Who knows? True love has never been rational.

Pro: This guy probably has an adorable pet, or is at least associated with one.

Con: You have to be wary not to let this manipulate you into thinking he is better/better looking than he is.

Guys Who Don’t Stop Messaging

 It’s no secret that guys tend to make the first moves when it comes to romantic relationships in Western culture. This is also true of dating sites. While Tinder can seem far removed from authentic romance or dating, it seems that men are usually the ones to send the first message. And sometimes the second. And third, and fourth, etc.

Even if the girl has not reciprocated, some guys are not going to give up. In their defense, the question could be posed as to why a swiper would choose right when she has no interest in talking to the swipee. But not everyone uses the app as a serious way to talk to and meet people, and it does not come with an obligation to reply to anything a user doesn’t want to.

RECOMMENDED
Starbucks: The Very Delicious Snake in the Grass

Pro: This guy’s persistence is admirable. If you guys date, he won’t be the one to give up on the relationship.

Con: He won’t give up on the relationship. Ever. Even if the only relationship you have consists of him having a one-sided conversation in your inbox.

Guys Who Only Swipe Right

Besides always being the ones to message first, another Tinder stereotype is that many guys swipe right to every girl no matter what. This is not inherently a bad thing—it is in fact the best way to maximize one’s prospects. It’s just important to keep in mind that a match with someone who does this probably doesn’t mean as much.

Of course, you won’t ever know if someone does this unless they tell you. I have actually seen men in real life rapidly swiping right to everyone on Tinder while not even looking at their phone screens. Not exactly how Romeo found Juliet.

Pro: It might seem shallow but he isn’t passing judgments on anyone just from their pictures, but rather waiting to see who he likes talking to. He might also be more open to different types of people.

Con: Matching with someone who does this is likely not a valid self-esteem booster.

Guys You Know From High School

Using Tinder when you’re home on breaks can get awkward. You’re bound to come across guys you went to high school and haven’t talked to in years. Unfortunately, I am for some reason pathologically compelled to swipe right to everyone I know, whether it’s a friend’s sibling, an old coworker or a 3rd cousin. My curiosity to see whether we match overwhelms my rationality.

Obviously, this is a terrible idea that defeats the purpose of Tinder.

My sympathy swipes could potentially result in a rekindling of a high school fling, or give you a chance to talk to an old crush. More often than not, though, it makes an already awkward situation even more awkward. Exacerbating awkward situations happens to be one of my greatest areas of expertise, so doing it on Tinder doesn’t faze me. That said, I can’t in good faith recommend it.

Pro: If people see you two out together, you don’t have to say you met on Tinder. You merely re-convened on Tinder.

Con: Sometimes when you finish high school the last thing you want is to have anything to do with your graduating class ever again.

The murky waters of Tinder can be even harder to figure out in the face of the diverse breadth of college guys who use it. I’ve found that with a bit of practice, patterns become more apparent and it doesn’t take long to become a skilled navigator of male users (and their animal accomplices).