Humanitarians of Tinder #PoorPeopleSelfies

I’m sure, by now, some of you think I wake up like this:

This is actually untrue because, on most days, I actually wake up like this (pun very much intended):

And then I go about my day, being ***flawless and slaying everything within a 1-mile radius like this:

My daily slaying regimen aside, I have taken a break from my Orange is the New Black binge to blog about this great website called Humanitarians of Tinder, which is way too amusing to even be offensive. Yes, there is an actual website that curates screenshots of Tinder-ians in Third World countries, smiling while draped in “indigenous peoples”. Of course, because what’s a better accessory than poor people in the Third World? Those picture perfect natives, bless their hearts. It’s awesome, isn’t it? Now, at the swipe of a finger, you can “connect” with singles in your area, and hit it off by trading stories about your mutual affinity for poor people of color. Life-changing technology, this one.

For those who don’t know what Tinder is, Tinder is an app where you can “connect” with people in your area. When you sign in, you’re presented with different profiles, and you can swipe right or left to indicate your interest. If you get a match, voila!, “connection” made.

Sounds harmless, right? Except, Tinder is chock-full of hormonal, dubious-looking college kids and divorced dads in the throes of a mid-life crisis. This one guy’s profile only had pictures of his van, and I’ve watched enough Law and Order:SVU to know what a van means, Mr.!

(By the way, I only know this much because I once made a Tinder profile. For social anthropology research purposes, of course.) 

I think this is my favorite photo of a Tinder humanitarian:

I mean, what’s not to love about this guy that’s smack in the middle of this sea of “indigenous peoples”? The fact that one can’t tell why he seems to be dressed in the same uniform as the students (seriously, Jeff Gulliver or whatever your actual name is, some context would’ve been nice) or the fact that it seems like he’s looking into the camera and pleading to be air-lifted out of this vortex of swarming Africans? Or the fact that the picture looks very much like this scene from Game of Thrones?:

I really don’t get the point of putting up such pictures on Tinder. Let’s be real- nobody is on Tinder to admire the largesse of your heart or the depth of your character. Nobody. If I wanted to get someone to pick me as the object of their alcohol-induced affection, and I knew the said person had all of 3 seconds to swipe right for yes and left for no, I wouldn’t put up a picture of me sweating, with damp hair and no make-up. I would probably Catfish by putting up pictures of one of those perpetually upcoming, picture-perfect Instagram “models”.

On a serious note, these people that you parade in your pictures do not exist for your personal gratification. They are not a garland that you can wear around your neck, they are not a pin to put on your lapel to show everyone how well-stamped your passport is, or how well-heeled “fortunate” you are. Stop using them as props to capture your fancy conquests; they are not there for your entertainment, nor are they there to sate your desire for social or personal validation. They are most certainly not there for you to use as Tinder “single-and-ready-to-mingle” signifiers in order to capture the attention of potential-serial-killer Larry from 1.5 miles away.

You probably took such pictures while you were “giving back” in a developing country. It is admirable that you gave up your summer of First World luxuries to connect with your inner philanthropist and observe poverty at a micro-level. Really, it is. “The people” thank you for it. However, save your cool tales of self-redemption for your grad school application; Facebook doesn’t care and Tinder most definitely doesn’t care. There is barely any justifiable reason to pawn poor people in exchange for social media validation. Come on, show some restraint.

For those going abroad this summer (or any time in the future), here is a top tip on how to take poor people selfies: DON’T


PS: I realize that I just referenced 4 TV shows in one blog post. Is there such a thing as TV rehab?