Trinder - the epitome of dead dating culture
The facebook page where Trinity students can post bold declarations to other students
Dearbháil Kent: ’Everyone wants a Trinder post to be about them, but why?’
It’s a Tuesday morning. As I enter the arts block with an impending hangover that will probably send me reeling later, I pause to do what every other student has done since Trinder has started: I check to see if someone has posted about me. It’s slightly narcissistic, but there’s a sense of validation, the adrenaline of anticipation and a rush of dopamine on discovering Trinder posts about you or your friends. Everyone wants a Trinder post to be about them, but why?
If you’re not in the know, Trinder is a serendipitous Facebook page where Trinity students can post anonymous, lustful and bold declarations to other students. Its creation comes at an interesting time, as Tinder plans to roll out “Tinder U” - Tinder for universities - over the next four years. While Trinder could have spiralled into a platform akin to ask.fm, notorious for malicious and hateful posts, Trinder remains tender-hearted, wholesome and benevolent for the most part. It remains an anomaly among much social media; all odious posts intent on shaming people have been met with equal backlash, discouraging hateful posts in the future.
Trinder obviously operates anonymously, so it minimises the fear of rejection for the lonely hearts club in Trinity. Understandably, approaching someone you know considerably well, ready to pour out every single emotion you ever had for them, is a thorny issue. If they don’t see eye to eye with what you are saying, there is a great likelihood you’ll see them again and it’s t going to probably a little bit awkward. On the contrary, if you say nothing, then you’ll never know.
Dating culture in Ireland is, after all, obsolete. Honestly, ask yourself, when’s the last time you or a friend have been asked out of the blue on a date? I’m going to guess you can’t remember. This, unlike so many other things, can’t be put down to Catholic guilt alone. If you find yourself at the beginning of a potential infatuation with someone who frequents your spot in the library, go up to them and ask them on a date instead of passively posting your infatuations on Trinder. What do you have to lose? Nothing.
Long gone are the days of our parents when they would muster the courage to walk across the dance floor to pursue their beloved by asking them for a dance. The reality is that half of the time they were probably rejected and returned to their friends, crushed, during their favourite song. Trinder, then, is indicative of the times we live in. No app or social media has taught us how to deal with rejection; this is the physical manifestation of Trinder.
And yet our generation has grown up in a society where sex is more accessible than ever before. With the rise of the internet, anything and everything we’re inquisitive aboutis within the reach of our fingertips and a reliable wifi connection. But it feels like relationships are backwards; people are more open to sex than they are to dating.
Everyone craves sexual gratification; we want to think of ourselves as desirable to others. The rise of ‘no strings attached’ relationships are prevalent in today’s society as more and more people become open to hook-up culture, we’re open to talking about sex as it’s seen less taboo as it has been in previous decades.
A large part of Irish culture is engaging in social relations with alcohol, and I do feel that it’s part of the problem of Ireland’s obsolete dating culture. People feel the need to have a drink or two before pursuing their infatuation. Alcohol is renowned for lowering inhibitions; it’s science. Alcohol induces a state in your brain where it becomes more relaxed, less neurons fire as a result and you get that blissful, bubbly sense of self. It can give us the Dutch confidence and encouragement we need, as many Trinder posts have recounted.
What about those among us who don’t drink or who are just plain shy? With the closure of clubs in Dublin, it doesn’t give us much of a diverse nightclub scene to meet people. The last time I went to Workmans’ Club on a Wednesday, I felt like the oldest person there and I’m 21. I think many people, myself included, have gotten to that point where we’ve grown tired of what is probably yet another futile drunken interaction with a stranger. Trinder then holds a strong ground, as Trinity hosts a vast, diverse population of students with similar interests. A report about dating from Report Linker surveyed 550 people aged 18-64, on people they’re dating or in a relationship with 39% of the participants had met each other through friends, 12% through bars and clubs, 9% through similar hobbies and 8% through dating apps. If you’re going by these statistics, you have ample opportunities to date someone in Trinity. Just ask them on a date!
I do feel that there is a large proportion of Trinder posts that are coming from shy, introverted people; students are grappled with the fear of rejection and it immobilises their pursuits before they even begin. Pair this with the gender bias towards men being the ones to pursue relationships, it’s no wonder why so many posts are coming from students who - I can only surmise - have ‘what ifs’ circling in their head. There’s a certain status quo or etiquette to asking people out, and I feel like it doesn’t include women. I need to practice what I’m preaching but if I were to ask a guy out, he probably wouldn’t take it seriously or worse, get the wrong idea. For women, it’s not a normalised notion but if one by one we start asking guys out, we can make it a common occurrence. Dating culture in Ireland needs to take a leap of progression and for the students in Trinity, it’s Trinder.
We all need to take a leap of faith and leaf from our parents’ books. You’ll never know if you don’t ask. That girl you see all the time in library; that guy you sit beside in all your lectures; chances are they are just as curious about you as you are about them. Don’t let the fear of doing something trap you into doing nothing. Ask them out! You have nothing to lose.