Amy Collier’s previous work for The Toast can be found here.
I make my way downtown to a hip Manhattan dog park. In olden times, youths frequented dog parks to relax, drink cocktails, and maybe find a fellow dog owner to take home. No longer. In this brave new world, all of the park goers clutch their phones and swipe furiously through the latest hookup app: Tindog.
How does the now infamous app work? It’s simple, really. Set up a profile for your dog. Swipe through pictures of adorable dogs and their owners to find pals for your dog—or your next lay.
The venue is alive with young folks talking and laughing and judging dogs like bowerbirds judging nests. “What do you think of this one?” a woman asks her friend.
The friend scrunches his face at the puppy. “That dog is garbage. Pass. Definitely, pass.”
At a bench in the back, I find a group of Wall Street idiots. Craniel is wearing a blazer, jeans, and a photo album as a necklace, with the words “Women I’ve Slept With” written on the cover. (The subtitle reads: “No Really This Is an Integral Part of My Identity and Without It I Don’t Know Who I Am.”) Next to him is Maxtopher, who removes a wad of money from his vest pocket and counts it throughout the entire conversation, and Branthony, the third guy. Just three nice, normal examples of men who would never give a woman who wanted them for more than a hook up any red flags at all. They all use Tindog.
“I do it a little bit differently,” says Maxtopher. “I pretend to have a dog, play the whole ‘I have a dog’ angle, and then break it off once they realize I don’t have a dog.”
“That’s not cool, man,” says Craniel, whose Labrador, Brett Easton Ellis, rests at his feet. Craniel is a bit of a legend among his friends. They’ve all seen the photo album hanging around his neck. He also has profiles on OKaspca and Coffee Meets Beagle.
“How many dog owners did you sleep with last week?” asks Branthony (the forgettable one).
“Let’s see. There was the woman with Bananas the Pomeranian, and the one with the two Yorkies Salt and Peppa. Oh, and the St. Bernard girl.”
“No man, it was four. You missed the girl with the dog like the ones from Sesame Street.”
“Oh, yeah. She was really good at spelling.”
Maxtopher and Branthony high-five the book hanging around Craniel’s neck. Craniel leans in. “See, My angle is, I trick them into sleeping with me by being really up-front with them about just wanting to sleep with them. And they buy it.”
“Oh, so you’re basically being honest and they respect that because many of them are looking for the same thing as you,” I say.
Craniel winks at me. Maxtopher shakes his head and mutters, “Total genius.”
Could it be that these finance jerks would be more committal and, more importantly, less annoying without Tindog? Absolutely. It is this reporter’s opinion that were it not for Tindog, Maxtopher would be a warm-hearted kindergarten teacher just waiting to shower attention on a special lady until one day he meets a student’s single mom, falls deeply in love, and stays faithful to her for the rest of their lives; Craniel would donate both his kidneys to dying orphans; and Branthony would do something, too, probably. The important thing to understand here is that technology, not lifelong reinforcement of misogyny, makes monsters of all of us — and we only have Tindog to blame.
Next I travel upstate to a college dog park, where a group of undergraduate women and their dogs gather. Directly in front of me sits Sherry and her dog, Mia. Allow me to describe her in the kind of detail I didn’t bother with when describing the men I interviewed: long silken hair like a ’60s movie star, sultry eyes, and a curly tail. She barks.
“Miaaaaa,” says Sherry. “Calm down.” She pats Mia on the head and asks her who a good girl is. It is Mia.
Dating is rough now that everyone uses Tindog. Sherry tells me, “Guys don’t know how to get your tail wagging anymore because they have a bunch of other options immediately at the ready. One minute they’ve got their paws all over you, the next they’re barking up Tindog before you’ve even left the bed.”
“The sex isn’t even that great.” adds Mindy.
Sherry nods. “No bones about it.”
Then there is the catfishing.
“I met up with this guy once and he had used pictures of this adorable little pit bull,” says Allison. “I got there and he was holding a Maine Coon.”
I ask the women, who aren’t just dating sleaze bags created by a society that objectifies and dehumanizes women and discourages men from active communication, what will become of the human race now that Tindog has ruined dating forever, and also their lives. Their confused stares give me all the answers I was looking for.
As everything begins to lose meaning, I head to Brooklyn.
“I wouldn’t be like this if it wasn’t for Tindog,” says Roscoe, who looks as unique as anyone in a Williamsburg-based band. “It makes everything too easy.” He opens his fridge, which contains nothing but Nutella, some cake, and several packs of PBR. “I’m just a normal responsible adult who is enabled by this terrifying new technology.”
He slathers a piece of cake in Nutella for breakfast, and whistles for Balzac, his german shepherd, to come to the table. “I chose his name because it sounds like ‘Ball sack.’ I’ve never actually seen anything Balzac directed.” Before I can comment, Roscoe starts to feed Balzac the cake and Nutella.
I point out that chocolate can be lethal for dogs. Roscoe rolls his eyes at me and asks, “What are you, a cop?”
It’s terrible, what Tindog has done to him.