Tinder – a cautionary tale

“I nearly spent the night in prison, because of a date with a guy I met on Tinder.”

Yes, you read that correctly.

Amy Clarke* (23), a former Tinder-user, experienced a crazy second date in August last year.

How it started…

Amy says that she downloaded Tinder, the online dating application, because she wanted to find out how digital communication affects social relationships and emotional attachments.

Amy, an art student at Stellenbosch University, had been chatting to her date for about a week, when they decided to meet. On their first date Harry* was the perfect gentleman.

“I actually quite liked him. He was very kind and sweet. But now I realise why he was so nice.”


It was a match for Amy & Harry.  Photo: Saarah Survé

She wanted to see him again

After working a night-shift at a bar, Amy decided to tag along with Harry, who needed to deliver a parcel to Cape Town International Airport, for an early morning flight to Johannesburg.

“We planned to have a coffee at the Woolworths café.”

Something wasn’t right

“I waited in the car at the cargo freight area, while Harry went inside. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something fishy was going on,” Amy explains.

“I realised that I had gotten myself into a huge f***ing mess, when Harry returned to the car with the police and sniffer dogs.”

They searched the vehicle and apparently found something suspicious. “I was immediately separated from him and escorted to a small office space by a female police officer, where I was interrogated,” Amy says. 

Harry’s parcel contained cocaine.

Amy thinks that the police officer took pity on her.

“I think that she saw me as an innocent bystander, after I showed her the Tinder chat messages between Harry and myself and she believed me.”

Amy was let go without being charged. She does not know what happened to Harry. He never messaged her again.

Would she still recommend Tinder?

Yes, despite her experience.

“I think that it’s a great way for people who struggle socially to find company. The concept of technology as a way of connecting should not be shamed.”

Any tips for new users?

Her advice is to be safe and smart, and learn from her story. (See below for 10 more Tinder tips)

*Names were changed to protect identity.

Perhaps after reading this story, you’ve decided that Tinder is not for you. The non-Tinder-users in the video below would agree. Hear them explain what the app is in their own words, and why they’re not using it.

Top 10 Tinder Tips from 5 Tinder users:

  1. Don’t take Tinder too seriously – have fun!
  2. Make your photos count. Don’t post gym pictures or selfies – too many will make you look vain.
  3. Don’t believe everything that someone tells you, because they will tell you anything to get you to go on a date with them.
  4. Be honest, because lying on an online platform won’t get you far.
  5. Try a different opening line. Change “Hi, how are you?” to something smart or witty, that they’ll remember.
  6. Write something in your Tinder biography, because that could be the difference between a like and a pass. Be grammatically correct – it tells a lot about you.
  7. Be ruthless – don’t talk to everyone.
  8. Skype beforehand, so that you can see who they are before you decide to meet in person. Make sure you meet in a public place.
  9. Be yourself.
  10. Be safe and be smart. Tell a relative or friend that you’re going to meet someone.

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