Top of the list during the summer months are the local and foreign citizens who appear to have made it their life’s mission to save poor innocent African babies, and then tell the world about it. They fill up their social media pages and Tinder profiles with pictures of themselves painting orphanages, building low-cost houses or simply holding on to wide-eyed kids with captions that clarify just how much they love Africa.
Who isn’t going to fall for someone who seems to spend all of his or her time climbing Table Mountain or taking long walks on the beach? Though these Tinderers may only have ventured up Lion’s Head once, they didn’t miss the opportunity to snap a few dozen selfies to help paint them as the ultimate outdoor go-getter. Usually accompanied with a bio reading something along the lines of ‘Live for the outdoors!’
These Tinderers appear to spend more time with hydration packs strapped to their backs than in normal society, hence their need for the app in the first place. Gallery images are filled with photos of epic hikes, muddy mountain bikes and recent angling achievements, and bios include breakdowns of personal bests and favourite running shoe brands.
Spend 10 minutes on the app in Cape Town and you’ll stumble across at least one Lycra-clad yoga enthusiast striking a pose somewhere outdoors in the city. For the pros, it’s usually something daring atop Lion’s Head at sunset, but for everyone else, a pose on a deserted beach appears to do just fine. And if they don’t reveal their passion for the practice in the photos, you’ll most likely get an apology for slow response times with an excuse along the lines of, ‘Sorry, was at yoga’, followed by the lotus position emoji. Casual mention of veganism usually appears on the top line.
The cynic claims to be bored and disillusioned with the shallowness of the app, but uses it ferociously. Bios openly state their dislike for Tinder, and yet if you hesitate for a moment with your replies you’ll feel their wrath for your apparent unjustified display of disinterest. It’s a typically Capetonian approach to life. This is also the person most likely to still be lurking around the app when you reinstall it after a three-year hiatus.
This person has it all, and they’re not afraid to tell you. ‘Charming, funny, intelligent, good looking, loving life, loads of friends, fun-loving, live for the outdoors, but just as happy beside the fire with a good book and a glass of wine.’ What they can’t explain, however, is that if everything is so peachy in their lives, why is it that they’re resorting to Tinder when it comes to meeting new people? Pictures usually include at least one attempt to include all aspects of their shining personality, typically a selfie taken at a wine estate.
The shameless Instagram Tinderer is on there only for the likes and affirmation. With a linked Instagram account and responses to questions typically along the lines of, ‘Aren’t you following me on Instagram?’ or ‘Just watch my Instagram story’, there appears to be little reason, or desire, for any real-world conversation.
Thousands of foreigners have decided to set up shop in Cape Town, and they’re determined to call it home. Unlike the fleeting visitors, who have those little red pins that say, ‘Current destination: Cape Town’, lonely expats use South African slang in their bios and have pictures of themselves kicking back with their mates at Mzoli’s and buying furniture for their apartments. They do everything possible to make it look as if they’re going nowhere, when it’s usually just a matter of time before they decide to call it quits and head back to their actual home.
A close relative of the lonely expat, the lonely homecomer takes to Tinder immediately on return to Cape Town after some time abroad, primarily, it seems, in order to solve their existential crisis when they realise how little has changed since their last life-changing journey. Easily spotted thanks to their pictures of beaches in Thailand, ski resorts in the USA and trains in Europe; give them half a chance to tell you about their most recent trip and you’ll not only win their favour, you’ll be gifted with an array of inane details of their most recent excursion.
Though it’s not always easy to say whether they’re South African or not, you’ll suspect you’ve met the summer model when your heart skips a beat at the unparalleled beauty staring back at you through the glass of your cellphone screen. And then, the suspicions will be confirmed when you immediately swipe right with unrivalled enthusiasm, only to never see their perfectly lit face ever again.