One of the biggest complaints about online dating apps like Tinder is that the people on there are only looking for one thing: sex.
Which means that the messages those people send get explicit real fast.
One woman in Los Angeles, 31-year-old filmmaker Jessie Kahnweiler, got fed up with that. She invited her sexting Tinder matches to come over. They probably thought they were walking into no-strings-attached sex, but instead Kahnweiler wanted to talk … about their Tinder messaging.
Kahnweiler comes across as frustrated and exhausted with online dating, but she doesn’t react angrily to these men. She has some questions for them; namely, “Do you act different online dating than you do when you’re normally trying to date a girl?”
Watch for yourself. (This being an exercise in confronting sexters, the video contains explicit language.)
Yes, these men admit, they do treat women differently online than in real life. “I guess online,” says one man in the video, “you kind of focus on what you want more than what the other person would want, too.” Rather, he says, you’re asking, “Is there someone that wants exactly what I want? And then BAM LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN.”
But here’s the thing: If you’re online looking to meet someone, why not act as you might in person? We often treat online communication, especially among strangers, as if it’s all about the transaction and finding what you, the user, wants. But conversing with a person is not like ordering coffee to go and then picking it up at the counter, exactly as you ordered it online 10 minutes earlier. A point that doesn’t always sink in among online daters.
“You seem like such a nice, gentle dude,” Kahnweiler tells one of the guys in the video. “Do you think that this is a turn-on for me?”
He responds: “It’s a compliment.”
Just like street harassment is a compliment, right? By meeting her sexters in real life, Kahnweiler is reminding these men (and online daters everywhere) that comments made online can be just as offensive as shouting those things on a street as she walks by. The Internet may seem anonymous, but it is another street we all spend much of our day walking on. And just as dressing a certain way doesn’t mean a woman is asking to be harassed, simply being on a dating app doesn’t mean that women are asking to be spoken to sexually.
Kahnweiler ends on a positive note: “I feel like, a lot of these guys, they talk this really big, pervy game … but then, meeting them tonight, they’re mostly just sweet dudes that are lonely and looking for love, too. I wish they would’ve brought that personality online and not been pervy.”
So if you wouldn’t say it in real life — with the other person sitting across from you (cameras or not) — don’t type it into Tinder, either.