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RELATED: 5 Dating Apps That Actually Work It takes about 10 seconds to understand Tinder's cleverness: a dating service designed to never explicitly feel like a dating service.

She keeps telling me how she can't wait to take a ride on my motorcycle, a reference to one of my Tinder photos, in which I am straddling a Triumph, one I admittedly put up to look cooler than I am.

When I confess to Meg that the bike isn't mine and that the photo was taken during the first and only time I'd ridden one, she doesn't seem to hear me.

The effect is that instead of feeling like another lovelorn castaway handing the reins of your heart over to the algorithm of, say, Match.com, you have the sense that you're merely putting a minor addition to the same social network you already share with a billion people. " So reads the message that appears on my phone the next morning. There's Michelle, as well as -year-old Ashley, and Lori, a 22-year-old whom I felt vaguely creepy for liking in the first place.

Because Tinder is purposely casual, rendering indistinguishable the boundaries between those looking to hang out, hook up, and get hitched, I'm not even sure, as I leave to meet Ashley, if I should think of this as a "date." Whatever it is, I wish I could report that it turns out to be life-changing, and that, as I write this sentence, Ashley is in the next room, reading the paper in a forearm stand, wearing nothing but lingerie and trusting that I'll accurately convey the glories that have bloomed between us.

"She looks like fun," I think, and so I press my thumb onto the screen and swipe her to the right, a gesture that passes for flirtation here in the peculiar world of Tinder, the mobile app responsible for "introducing" us.

With that, the word liked flares up in green, a virtual stamp denoting my interest, and Michelle vanishes into the digitized ether as quickly as she first appeared. I contemplate this for about a second, then forget Michelle entirely, distracted now by Christine, the 36-year-old in a sequined evening gown who has taken Michelle's place. Certainly more age-appropriate, but she is 28 miles away and, more to the point, doesn't inspire the sort of fun thoughts Michelle did.

I give her my number, and soon enough-stranger are an entertaining diversion.


 
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