States as Tinder profiles
Davis Gonsalves | Wednesday, September 19, 2018
I have noticed a general trend among the population at large, but particularly within Notre Dame, that certain states have more positive views attached within them. These are amplified at a university that draws from the whole country. To see how these views manifested themselves in a more intimate context, I made Tinder accounts for four different states: California, Texas, New Jersey and Indiana. Their profiles were stocked with pictures of the state including maps and general attractions. Bios were always the state motto, here are the results:
I chose California due to it being the largest state, having the largest number of members in the freshman class, but most importantly, because it polarizes so many. I was baffled to hear from friends that they thought California was a bottom five state when I had assumed that it was universally No. 1. Early complications tainted the data of California. When setting the year I was born, I tried to get as close to the Sept. 9, 1850, date as possible but Tinder does not allow you to say you are over 99 years old. Quite discriminatory to centenarians if you ask me. I went with what’s closest, setting my birthday to Sept. 9th, 1919, but this posed an unforeseen consequence. No sane person sets their age limit to incorporate 99 year olds on a dating app; they feel they are a tad desperate at that point. Unfortunately, there were still people who I matched with but I would not describe the conversations as fruitful. I made the first move saying, “I know you probably don’t care about a guy with money, but if I were my own country, I’d have the fifth largest GDP.” She said she already knew that fact in a slightly annoyed tone, probably because I was too forward. Next, I asked another match, “So you like natural resources and a booming economy?” to which she replied, “No I just like Disney.” Zero for two on the California responses but we look further with Texas.
Texas followed, because studies (probably) have shown that Texas citizens have the most state pride. My hypothesis was that although I may not have as many matches as a California or Indiana, the quality and intensity of these conversations would have no equal. I remedied the age situation by making the birthday the same day as Texas independence (Dec. 26) but making my profile 21 to capture a more indicative Notre Dame crowd. I had 18 matches and some even made the first move. Double entendres involving Texas’s size were enjoyable, but even better were the people who started the conversation with an all caps Texas. My hypothesis looked correct, Texans had the most pride for their match. Of my 18 matches, 11 were actually from Texas and almost all my first moves were reciprocated. Of all these profiles, acting as the Texas one was the most fun. This lone star has found his constellation.
Many students here identify as from New Jersey, but in my experience, they have the least state pride, so I guessed there would be a high matching rate but low conversation rate. I was correct. In fact I had the most matches with this account. Twenty-one in total but only six responded to my first message and only one actually messaged first. The trouble came from starting a clever message with New Jersey. Do you talk about your state’s heroin usage? Do you pretend to be Snooki? How do you make connection when everyone knows your state is one big suburb of New York or Philadelphia? The few conversations I had were nice but none of them were with native New Jerseyites so I felt they had a misconception of who they were matching with. The novelty of possibly going on a date with a government entity was enticing, but ultimately shrouded in delusion.
Lastly, Indiana became the final profile so I could represent Notre Dame’s home state, and also to delve into the difference in matching between townie Tinder accounts and Notre Dame students. I had a few matches here, 16 in total but more townies than ever. Since Indiana was the last account made, I felt many people were worn out of the novelty in matching with a state, seeing three prior. Although the Notre Dame student matching dropped, townie matching remained constant. You may be wondering how I discerned between townie and Notre Dame student profiles, and all I can say is you can tell pretty easily by style and selection of photos. There are some proud Hoosiers, but they were often younger. These 18 and 19 year olds have not become jaded through the harsh criticisms Notre Dame students give toward the state they live in. My conversations were relatively cordial as the Indiana entity, except one student, who asked bluntly, “Why do you suck” and another said they would go on a date with a state just not a Midwestern one. The regional differences, although harsh, were fair for a state that elected Mike Pence.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.