At 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Earls at King and York is roaring. From the surrounding towers, players descend to blow off steam and seal the deal—with clients and that night’s conquest. This is their playground. And Tinder is their Little Black Book
(Image: Dave Gillespie)
Valerie met “The Suit” on Tinder. She called him that because he was the quintessential 30-something Bay Street guy—handsome, wealthy, confident and married to his job in finance. Valerie, like others I interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition that her real name not be used. She’s in her late 20s and also works in finance. She lives in a downtown condo and often travels internationally for work. Like The Suit, she’s an aggressive, high-functioning, time-strapped professional, and she found that men who worked downtown were more likely to share her pragmatic approach to dating. Plus, these guys were close by. Giving Tinder conquests nicknames helps Valerie and her girlfriends keep track of who’s who during their daily debriefs. It’s also part of the fun. There was Miami Vice (drove a white Range Rover and had a slicked-back ’80s hairdo), Bromeo (who bragged about his designer loafers) and Sweater Vest—a nice guy who took her to the AGO and invited her to a friend’s housewarming party, but ultimately, Valerie didn’t feel a spark. Which is important to her. She says a lot of guys she meets approach dating like an investment, and she checks a lot of boxes—she’s smart, career-driven and a knockout, with Barbie-blond hair and Brooke Shields brows. But if the passion isn’t there, she’s quick to cut things off. With The Suit, chemistry was never a problem. Sometimes they did the typical getting-to-know-you activities—going to the movies, cooking dinner at her condo. But often, their meetings were transactional. And the sex was hot.
For Valerie, the advantage of conducting her sex life through her smartphone is that it allows for maximum productivity with minimal effort. With a series of quick clicks and swipes, she can schedule dates with a new guy, sometimes two, every day—mostly coffees, which are a good way to see if the attraction she feels from a photo measures up in person. If a prospect seems promising, she might agree to a future drink. If not, he’s eliminated from the “roster,” which is the term Valerie and her friends use to describe the collection of Tinder guys they are simultaneously messaging or dating. These women are part of a generation reared on Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer—ambitious, fearless and wildly confident about what they want. They have no time to nurture long-term relationships. The men in their lives are conveniently slotted in for sex—and Tinder is the tool that makes it all happen.
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