Since we’re all stuck at home, corporations are desperately trying to capitalize on the pandemic by coming up with new ways to consume our free time. From Tik Tok to Nintendo releasing Animal Crossing New Horizons, we are constantly being offered things to keep our minds off the world beyond our quarantine spaces. Among the various outlets of entertainment being offered to us, Tinder has tried to remain relevant by making the passport feature free; now, you can change your location at no additional cost, thereby substantially opening up your dating pool. In this article, Life & Style explores the dating scene of some of the biggest cities outside of the U.S.

Graphic by Stephanie Zhu / North by Northwestern

Toyko, Japan (Melissa)

So, I’m currently studying Japanese, and I thought visiting Tokyo might be a good way to recuperate the language skills I lost during our extended spring break. I matched with a few people, but no one messaged first, probably because of the language barrier. I did end up chatting with a guy who reached out initially in English, and the conversation probably would have died quickly had I used Google Translate to communicate. Speaking to him was great practice, but I got jaded sooner than anticipated, mostly because I was afraid of sounding dumb with my Japanese 111-2 skills. Overall, Tokyo had some cool folks, though I noticed a lot of profile pictures were partially covered so you really couldn’t tell who you were talking to. Also, some photos were heavily edited, which was rather jarring.

tinder flirting GIF by The Webby Awards

Paris, France (Melissa)

Paris was really cool! I matched with a bunch of really cool girls, most of whom attended fashion/visual art schools. They didn’t message first though, so I only ended up talking to the one gal who did. From that, we started following each other on Instagram because we’re both really interested in fashion, and we’re friends now. Overall, Paris had a great “artsy” Tinder scene.

season 3 tinder GIF by Broad City

Marseilles, France (Vaibhavi)

I went to Paris first, but I found that most of the people there were Americans like me, looking to practice French with someone. Valid! However, I wanted to practice speaking with a French native, so I tried my hand at Marseilles. A lot of guys seemed hyper-masculine, so I changed my filter to show only girls. I matched with many artsy girls pictured among flowers, showing off cool tattoos and colorful makeup. I’m really excited to actually talk to them (though I am a bit self-conscious about my French) and hopefully make some new friends! I will say though that one girl greeted me with a hearty “Salaam!” without knowing anything about my ethnicity or my religion. I’m sure she had good intentions, but it was still odd.

Copenhagen, Denmark (Vaibhavi)

Nothing too remarkable about my experience in Copenhagen. It was just a bunch of Scandinavian guys (for some reason more guys than gals/nonbinary folx popped up on my screen) who I didn’t match with, maybe because their bios were all in Danish. I don’t speak Danish. The one guy whose bio was in English asserted that he was blond-haired and blue-eyed in his bio, as if I couldn’t tell from his photos.

bel powley i refuse to troll the internet for a date GIF by Carrie Pilby The Movie

Dublin, Ireland (Vaibhavi)

One thing that really hit me was how different Tinder norms were for people from different countries. In Dublin, almost everyone had a little blue checkmark next to their names. I didn’t know what that meant. I thought, maybe they were verified on Tinder like how you can be verified on Twitter…? Or maybe they had Tinder Plus? I looked it up, and apparently it’s Tinder’s “Photo Verification” feature so that people know that you’re actually you. I wish Americans used that more often. Otherwise, nothing much to say about Dublin!

I guess my main takeaway from this is that it was interesting to see the differences in what people from different places chose to include in their bios and whether there were similarities in the way their photos were framed or shot. If you’re learning a new language right now, it might be fun to check out Tinder Passport so you can have pals to practice with. Even better if they have the little Photo Verification symbol next to their name so that you feel safe giving them your social media handles. (Seriously, why did it take me virtually traveling to Ireland to find out that this was a thing?)

fox tv GIF by loveconnectionfox