Tinder in a big city often feels like a bottomless pit of unfamiliar faces, making it prime swiping territory for singles. But what happens when the majority of profiles you see are familiar faces?
In the Shetland Islands, which has a population of around 23,000, people who aren’t in the market for a date join Tinder just to be nosy and see what everyone else is doing.
In the Shetland Islands — an archipelago 300 miles to the north of Scotland — swiping on Tinder feels much like scrolling through your Facebook feed. You’ll see familiar face upon familiar face, be they friends, family members, colleagues, ex-partners, and neighbours.
Marjolein Robertson — who’s lived on her family’s croft in Shetland her whole life — says that Tinder is pretty popular on the islands, but she’s fairly certain no one’s using it right.
An aerial view of the Shetland islands, Scotland, United Kingdom.
Image: Getty Images/DeAgostini
Many Shetlanders — even those in committed relationships — join Tinder just to be nosy and find out who’s looking for love. Much like your curtain-twitching neighbours snooping on you as you return home from a date.
“Like most other Shetlanders, I got Tinder to see who else is on Tinder,” says Robertson. “I don’t think we’re using it right.”
“They’re not there to swing, they’re there to see who else is there.”
She says that Tinder in Shetland “makes no sense” because you’re likely to know half the people — sometimes more — you swipe through. She says if you decide to swipe right on someone you know, it’ll be perceived as “pretty serious” from the get-go. “Because you probably already know them really well and are going to their sister’s wedding that weekend,” she adds.
“Many folks in relationships, even married, are all on Tinder. I’m talking both halves of the couple,” says Robertson. “They’re not there to swing, they’re there to see who else is there. It’s just a lot of people hanging around looking at other people.”
Simon, a Shetlander on Tinder who prefers to just use his first name, also says that being on Tinder in Shetland doesn’t necessarily mean you’re looking for a date. “In London, if a friend says ‘I saw your BF on Tinder’ it means he’s cheating,” Simon said over a Tinder chat.
A view of the Shetland Islands, outlined in red.
“But here, it can mean anything. It’s such a small community that cheating is harder. We all know each other, all recognise each other’s cars,” Simon adds.
He said that it can be “kind of boring” in Shetland, so Tinder is a good way to see if there are any new additions to the community.
“When people are new to the island, Tinder becomes one giant swipe party.”
“With so few people, Tinder is an amazing way to quickly find out who is new to the island.” In fact, Simon says that if he doesn’t know someone who’s popped up on his Tinder, then they must be new to the island.
And, when people are new to the island, Tinder becomes one giant swipe party. “There was a brief period when there was a large construction going on in Shetland and there was an influx of about 2,000 workers on the plant. Maybe more. Tinder exploded. Many new men,” says Robertson.
An Atlantic puffin in Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Unst, Shetland Islands.
Adam, who’s only ever matched with seven people on Tinder, says that the community on Shetland can be nosy when it comes to other people’s affairs. He says they’re probably on Tinder “just to get something to talk about.”
Robertson says that dating online in Shetland is “weird” given that you already know everyone. But, broadening one’s search perimeters isn’t really an option, as travelling to Scotland is costly and time-consuming. “Madness. 28 hours return trip on a boat or £200+ pound on a flight. That’s immediately grounds for a proposal,” says Robertson.
Matt Holmes, a friend of Robertson, met his girlfriend on Tinder three months ago. But, it wasn’t exactly easy. He says he knew most of the people on Tinder, either personally or through mutual friends. But, once he’d established that they weren’t interested in him romantically, it was strange seeing them around the island.
The Shetland Islands are best known for Shetland Ponies, which originate from the archipelago.
He says that because of the close-knit community in Shetland, it would be impossible to use Tinder for casual sex. “I think with the way news travels around here then if you used Tinder for a few hookups people would start talking or something,” says Holmes.
Singletons frustrated with the limited pool of new faces should take heart: meeting a partner on Tinder DOES happen. (Rarely.)
Shetland swipers are hitting up Tinder for sexy and non-sexy reasons. It’s prime territory for nosy neighbours to snoop on singles. But, much like a social network, Tinder is useful in signalling new additions to the community. When swiping right doesn’t lead to a hookup or date, it may bring a new friend instead.
from Mashable! http://on.mash.to/2toK5SD