ESPN the Magazine contributor Sam Alipour has a piece in the new issue where he explores life in the fast lane at the intersection of sports, fame, sex and the fascination of every older guy in a committed relationship in 2016: Tinder.
Seriously, as a married guy, the idea of digital dating apps is something I have an endless curiosity about. It’s like anthropology to me. A chance to study the mating habits of singles in a world where you can arrange to hook up with complete randoms without ever leaving your chair is mind boggling to someone who can’t experience it. A while ago I did a podcast with Lucy the Intern on the subject and it was one of the my favorite ones I’ve ever done.
So naturally I read Alipour’s article with interest because I can’t imagine what guys with athletic fame, looks, money and talent could do with a technology that gets even nobodies instant, commitment-free sex. He did not disappoint. Because of course, it ended up being about two very different Patriots players:
Patriots star Rob Gronkowski tried Tinder four years ago just for laughs, he says, “and I was matching like crazy!” I tell the “chickmagnet4life” — seriously, that was his AIM screen name — I’m not faring as well. It hits him like a bolt of lightning. “You’re not killing it?” Gronk says. “You’re not doing it right.” The tight end offers two fixes: First, … “Swipe right on everything. Get the ball rolling.” Second, … “Make them laugh. Just Google ‘Tinder pickup lines.'” (Sample: You must be a dictator, cuz I have an uprising.) …
Entertainment aside, some lovelorn pros see Tinder as a means to enter the game sans their jersey [such as] Terrance Knighton. “A lot of the guys over there who are on Tinder are looking for love, and that’s hard to find in a club where people have the wrong intentions,” says the Patriot. “Tinder weeds out those people. They just set up a semi-blind date with photos that aren’t too revealing. It’s working out for them.”
If you’d asked me going in what Rob Gronkowski’s approach and Terrance Knighton’s approach to scoring with strangers on Tinder would be, I’d have guessed that Gronk swipes right on everything and uses cheesy, Googled pickup lines and Pot Roast wants to avoid jock chasers and meet women who like him for who he is. That just seems like the most Gronk and most Knighton thing ever.
So anyway, it’s yet another look into a ecosystem I can’t inhabit. One, because I’m not available and two, because I’m not attractive, have nothing to offer and would rather stay home and watch “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” than go out to boink a stranger. But at least I have another reason to live surreptitiously through some Patriots players.
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