headline-bigHeadline English

Self-presentation stereotypes

Once princes would rely on portraits to find their spouses (1). Now the young and benevolent have Tinder. A mobile phone dating application.

While back in the old days, finding the right match might have been a matter of careful political calculation; today, at least at Tinder, it is a matter of first impression.

One would therefore expect the wannabe lovers to try to be as original as possible to attract potential partners. Despite some undeniable efforts, though, profile pictures seem to be fairly monotonous and fall within just a few categories.

In the case of Tinder, the first one involves beer…and boys. Either drinking a beer, miming drinking a beer, or having their face obscured by beer. Tinder has a lot of „does this drink make me look sexy?“ going on. And 99% of the time, the answer is no.

Number two: festival fun-timers. Festival fun-timers like to have fun. There’s nothing wrong with fun except today it’s fun from a generic (2) production line. Photos of mass festivals have become Tinder’s standard for conveying (3) the message „I’m fun!“.

Number three: a girl with a moustache. The underlying message of this type of photograph is probably: “I look great even with something like this”.

Number four: the athlete. This includes people showing off their worked out (4) bodies as well as Tinder’s large proportion of snowboarders and horse riders.

Number five: the traveller. For this sort of person, the only point of being photographed outside the Taj Mahal is that it might help them find The One through Tinder one day. In fact, the “I travel” message is the ultimate Tinder photo cliché.

Perhaps the Russian theorist Propp was right in arguing that there really are only a couple of stories that can ever be told. In this sense, Tinder may be just like real life. Or even better.



  1. What is Tinder?
  2. What are, according to the article, the similarities and differences between the princes of olden days and the ‘young and benevolent’ (1st paragraph) at Tinder.
  3. Why should, according to the article, people interested in finding a lover through Tinder, strive for originality?
  4. Does the article say that they are in fact succeeding in their efforts to be original?
  5. Does the article suggest that hinting at beer in your profile makes it more likely to actually attract people?
  6. What is the motive for people described in the article under category 4 to get photographed?
  7. Does the article argue that self-presentation in real life is substantially different from self-presentation at Tinder?
  8. Summarize the article!
  9. What is your opinion on meeting people online? Do you think that it is just like meeting people in real life?
  10. Do you have any online friends that you have never met in person?


spouse (1) – a husband or wife.

generic (2) – relating to or descriptive of an entire group or class; general.

conveying (3) – to communicate or express something, with or without using words

work out (4) – to practice, exercise, or train, especially in order to become proficient in an athletic sport


You can find additional explanation and more examples to help you understand and use English words and phrases at https://dictionary.reference.com, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/, https://www.merriam-webster.com/ or https://www.ldoceonline.com/