Until recently, hookup apps were straightforward but sleazy.Then along came Tinder, the dating-hookup hybrid that made things simpler, sexier, and particularly lady-friendly.

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Getting a match seems to activate some primal-gratification center in her mind. I’m definitely not the type of woman who walks around thinking that everyone thinks I’m hot, Nicole tells me. (Tinder gets a slight uptick in use on Sundays, that day of hangovers, boredom, and planning.) Sending screenshots of the most ridiculous photos that come up has become a source of merriment for her and her friends.

She does not feel like the people who want to date her are abundant and everywhere, so when a lot of matching happens, it comes as a real boost. There seems to be a preponderance of men posing with tigers, she says.

Then a casual encounter had turned menacing, and Katherine decided she no longer wanted to pursue sex with total strangers. Katherine wrote: You can’t be psycho or I will tell [name of mutual friend]. I first signed up for Tinder in May but found it skewed too young.

But she had a problem: She liked the adventure, she had the usual human need for other humans, and she needed the convenience of meeting people online. When Katherine and Eli downloaded Tinder in October 2013, they joined millions of Americans interested in trying the fastest-growing mobile dating service in the country. He did not, like one guy, start the conversation with Don’t you want to touch my abs? (I’m 32.) When I looked again in mid-October, everything had changed.

He was 27 years old, losing the vestigial greenness of his youth. Around the same time, somewhere across town, a woman named Katherine**1 ** shut down her Ok Cupid account.

He wanted to have sex with some women, and he wanted some stories to tell. She had approached Internet dating assertively, had checked the box that read Short-term dating and the one that read Casual sex.

It uses your pre-existing Facebook network and shows which friends, if any, you have in common with the person in the photo. I was staying only a mile from Tinder’s offices in West Hollywood, and within forty-eight hours both founders showed up on my Tinder feed. Rad and Mateen have shared business ideas with each other for years, and every idea begins with a problem.

Other memorable appearances on my feed in Los Angeles included a guy holding a koala bear, a guy and his Yorkshire terrier, in matching sweaters, and a pipe-smoking dandy with a Rasputin beard, horn-rimmed glasses, and a gold ring the exact shape and size of a cicada. They both grew up in Beverly Hills, although they attended different private schools. The key to solving the problem that interested Tinder: I noticed that no matter who you are, you feel more comfortable approaching somebody if you know they want you to approach them, says Sean.

As a college student, co-founder Justin Mateen perfected a system of party promotion.

He would strike an agreement with a club to ensure a minimum of drink sales. Then he would enlist representatives from the fraternities and sororities of USC and UCLA to recruit people, promising a free ticket for every ten tickets sold from their houses and a monetary prize if they brought one hundred partygoers.

Tinder’s major advantages come from exploiting each of these recent developments.