There’s a singular pleasure of getting a read on the vibe and culture of a place simply by perusing Tinder. You touch down, whether you’ve recently moved across the country or are visiting for a few days, and as soon as you log in — or even earlier, if you use Passport™ — you can put your finger on the pulse of the current tropes, trends, values, and idiosyncrasies of the locale. Sure, you’ll find your travel fanatic adrenaline junkies who are “kind of nerdy” and love tacos, puppies, adventures, and “The Office,” from sea to shining sea. (And hey, don’t hate — who doesn’t love tacos?) But every city has its own unique Tinder personality.
If you’re not wading around in the ocean with a red Solo cup in hand, are you even in Miami? In the 305, you’ll see a variety of nebulous job titles like “entrepreneur,” “partner at tech firm,” and “adventure capitalist,” all of which look suspiciously like flowery euphemisms for “unemployed.” What a “promoter” does is equally unclear. But there will be no confusion over how much your date loves EDM, cars, and the gym. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll Like Pitbull. Any sultry stranger who doesn’t fit that mold is probably just visiting.
Dallas is home of the “low-key homebody who still likes to have fun.” Love of faith, family, and good food are the price of entry in the Big D. If they’re not showcasing a bewildered, freshly caught fish, the Tinder-ites of Dallas are likely cradling a guitar. If you like the “simple things in life” and you’re down to go see Florida Georgia Line next weekend, you’ll have no problem finding a date in Dallas. But if you don’t like sports, like really really like sports, you should probably just leave now.
Evidently, Chicagoans have a real penchant for holding very large dogs as if they are small dogs. There’s probably some sort of deeper meaning to this, and it’s probably related to their great passion for deep-dish pizza. If not posing with an oversized pooch, you can bet your future Chicago flame will be holding court over a flight of Belgian beers. For every “NPR junkie” and “bluegrass enthusiast,” there’s a freewheeling heartthrob just looking for someone to rollerblade Lake Shore Drive with. But be careful how many straight-out-of-Second-City comedians you match with — you never know the number of audiences the story of your Tinder date will reach. And do expect the occasional Liam Neeson meme in lieu of an actual profile.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, in Seattle, is on a boat, on top of a mountain, at Gasworks Park, and having a good old guffaw at a brewery. It’s as if there’s some sort of unspoken photo circuit rite of passage that every newcomer completes on the one sunny day of the year. The recent arrivals are plenty, and the North Face hoodies abound. The intermittent Eddie Vedder reference rings out like a chime in a sea of oyster pictures. Did you know oysters are an aphrodisiac? Have you heard about the legal weed?
Is this a dating app or a casting call? The population of Los Angeles isn’t sure whether they’re looking for a date, promoting their newest single, collecting Instagram followers, or seeking fellow actor/model/photographers to “collaborate” with. (Pro tip: Don’t join the app just to promote something because we’ll ban you. Sorry, not sorry.) Somehow, it’s always the people showcasing physical assets in scantily clad mirror selfies who take the time to express their exhaustion with superficial people. It’s enough to drive the occasional down-to-earth midwestern transplant who hates LA traffic and fakeness to honk their horn in outrage. But hey, at least you won’t be at a loss for eye candy in LA.
In San Francisco, you will know beyond a shadow of doubt the exact number of countries someone has traveled to and the number of times they’ve been to Burning Man. You’ll also know the exact sequence of cities they’ve lived in, as communicated through a series of emojis, airport codes, and arrows in a symbolic language as cryptic as Bitcoin. Also Bitcoin. Many, many mentions of bitcoin. If cryptocurrency and jiu-jitsu aren’t really your thing, you can always go rock climbing or hit the farmers market with your local horticulturist.
New York City
New York City is a smorgasbord of profile types representing all five boroughs, with most of the city’s young professionals congregating In Brooklyn and Manhattan. In Brooklyn, your closest “plant parent” just wants to eat pancakes with you in the wee hours of the morning while listening to jazz and chatting theories of existence. In Manhattan, many people will claim to be too busy for a relationship, but they’d love to take you out for a pickleback after work. Everyone else is just “tryna go to Shake Shack with someone who’s emotionally available.” Aren’t we all?