Earlier this month Tinder rolled out a fancy new update called “Verified Profiles,” in which blue checkmarks are used to sort out the famous people from the normals. According to Tinder, this feature was added so that when “notable public figures, celebrities and athletes appear in your recommendations, you’ll know it’s for real.”
Tinder, of course, did not release the names of the people who had been granted the coveted blue checkmark, but the company did say there was a waiting list—which implies a lot of celebs are participating. Meanwhile, regular people everywhere started fantasizing about grabbing drinks with the likes of Chris Evans or Jennifer Lawrence after some simple swiping and witty banter. “Dreams can come true,” thought the people.
Being a journalist, I wanted to know who these famous swipers were. When Tinder wouldn’t tell me, I attempted to gather this information the old-fashioned way: Swiping. Swiping and more swiping. Since July 7, the day the apparent verified accounts were announced, I’ve swiped between 200 and 500 times every day (there are a lot of people on Tinder).
And there I was, swipe number 657, when it happened! I matched with Jake Gyllenhaal. Yes. Can you believe it? We bonded over our love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and fresh guacamole (with lime!). I even told him how much I love Taylor Swift, but promised to stop listening to her music if he wanted—you know, because of their history. We were so similar. He was a rich and famous movie star, I was a person who watched Netflix a lot. We went on a couple dates, and now we’re getting married. ALSO, THIS IS TOTALLY MADE UP.
The truth is, I saw ZERO blue checkmarks on Tinder. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
I know what you’re thinking—maybe you don’t live near celebrities. Valid point. Except I do. I live in Los Angeles, where you can throw a rock and hit a celeb. I saw Colin Farrell at Coffee Bean recently. I went clubbing with Kirsten Dunst. Harrison Ford walked by me on the street. I ran into Mena Suvari at the gym. I served Taryn Manning a glass of wine. Ty Burrell asked me a random question. And not to brag, but I was once at a party with Neil Patrick Harris. You get the idea.
So when I began swiping in my celeb-filled zip code, I had high hopes. I thought, surely, I will run into at least one blue checkmark. Tinder has gone to so much trouble to tell us all about the checkmark system, they made a big to-do when it rolled out. They made it seem like more than just a handful of celebs (a.k.a. Hillary Duff and Ed Sheeran) are currently using the app. And Tinder wouldn’t lie to us, would they? I mean, why create a whole verification system for four people? What’s the point?
Don’t get me wrong—there were moments of hope, split-seconds when I felt like I had come close to a Verified-worthy person. Like this guy, who looks exactly like that famous beard model:
Or this guy, standing on a “red” carpet:
Or this guy, who could maybe be famous (one day) and likes hoods:
But none of them had checkmarks!
So perhaps the Verified system is just a marketing ploy meant to exploit our Cinderella dreams and convince us to shell out cold, hard cash for an otherwise free app (yes, gaining access to certain features—like changing your swiping location to a more celeb-friendly city—requires users to pay a fee).
The truth is, even though some celebs have been vocal about Tinder—mainly Hilary Duff, with her Tinder-themed music video (which now seems more like product placement)–there probably aren’t that many famous people who need an app to swipe people away. They do that enough in real life. And besides, celebs who have tried Tinder, like UFC champ Ronda Rousey, say being famous worked against them.
So are a significant number of famous people really using the dating app? Who knows. But I do know that, if you’re hoping to find one, you will likely have to be very, very persistent. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I did ask Tinder how many users have been given “Verified” checkmarks so far, and how many are on the waiting list. The company has yet to respond.