Here’s a feature of Tinder I thought more people — at least some people — were aware of: you can use it to see which jerks from your high school, who ignored you for years, would actually like to date you now. Turns out people don’t know this, and that’s not okay.
Here’s how it works. You just go back to your hometown on a routine trip to visit your parents, siblings, and whichever parking lots are emotionally significant to you. While you’re there, leave the Discover setting on your Tinder app turned on. Do not turn it off! This step is pretty easy because you don’t even have to remember to do anything; the setting is on by default.
Then, when you get back to whatever city you actually live in now, and start swiping, you’ll see a healthy mix of people in your general proximity (some of whom have already swiped right on you and some of whom haven’t seen your profile yet, and you have no way of knowing) and the profiles of anyone who swiped right on you while you were in your hometown. Tinder doesn’t pull any new people from the old location, but it has to show you the right-swipers, even if you don’t return to the app for days or weeks after you go back to your usual adult life somewhere else. It’s not a bug, just a loophole I exploit to feel momentary highs of petty vindication.
Here’s an anecdote to help you understand how nice and harmless this is: yesterday I went to the farmer’s market in my hometown, which is about a six-hour drive from NYC, where I now live and work. I was looking for sweet corn to bring back to Brooklyn and share with my roommates, but it’s too early for sweet corn and I forgot. Instead I picked up a quart of late-season and extremely ripe strawberries! I also locked eyes with my fourth grade soccer coach, whose son, a one-time basketball star and hometown hero who never gave me the time of day in high school, swiped right on me on Tinder the last time I was home.
His son was in my physics class and used to copy all of my lab results and then ignore me to flirt with my cool friend who always had new, interesting high-tops. Now I’m the one doing the ignoring, and it’s a victory I’ll carry in my heart for whenever I need one. This boy’s dad and I did not discuss the “missed connection,” but I knew, and that’s all that matters.
Why aren’t you doing this? This is Tinder’s best feature, assuming your life trajectory mimics mine somewhat, in that I was a weird and off-putting teenager and now have three to five decent photos of my face to put on a dating app. Start now?