Trinder – the epitome of inhibited student dating culture

Maybe just ask the subject of your library infatuation out?

­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 check on Trinder’s latest updates before facing an hour of Latin grammar. I 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?

As the generation who grew up with the rise of social media, we’ve been conditioned to want instant gratification; Facebook, Instagram, and even Tinder have all played a part in that dopamine rush we get when someone likes our picture or when you match with that handsome guy you always see on Ussher 3. 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 sad-faced and gloomy during their favourite song. Conversely, no app or social media has taught us how to deal with rejection; this is the physical manifestation of Trinder.

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 somewhat a thorny issue. If they don’t see eye-to-eye with what you are saying, there is a great likelihood that you’ll see them again, and it’s going to be a little bit awkward.

“if you find yourself at the beginning of a potential infatuation with someone in the Lecky… ask them on a date instead of passively posting your infatuations on Trinder.”

On the contrary, if you say nothing, then you’ll never know. Dating culture in Ireland is obsolete.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 in the Lecky, 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.

In the Netherlands, Tinder is taken much more seriously. My friend explained that using Tinder in his town is like you’re looking for a girlfriend: an idea most of us find bizarre. Of course, that is the whole premise of the app but it doesn’t mean that it is always used for its intended goal. Our generation is also the generation who grew up in a society where sex was much more accessible. With the rise of the internet, anything and everything we were inquisitive about was within the reach of our fingertips and a reliable wifi connection. 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, and empowered by, hook-up culture, we’ve become more honest when talking about sex than in previous decades.

“I think for many people… have gotten to that point where we’ve grown tired of what is probably yet another futile drunken interaction with a stranger.”

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 crippled dating culture. People feel the need to have a drink or two before pursuing their infatuation. Alcohol is renowned for lowering inhibitions, and induces a state in your brain where it becomes more relaxed, less neurons fire, and as a result and you get that blissful, bubbly sense of self. It can give us the Dutch courage 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 where we can meet people. The last time I went to Workmans on a Wednesday, I felt like the oldest person in the place 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 ReportLinker 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 within in Trinity.

A large proportion of Trinder posts are coming from shy, introverted people. 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. 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.

That girl you see all the time in library; that guy you see all the time during your lectures; chances are they are just as curious about you as you are about them. Ask them out! You have nothing to lose.

Dearbháil Kent

Dearbháil Kent is the current Student Living Editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister Latin and Philosophy student.