By Emily Erickson
Like many others in my generation, I spent a large portion of my life waiting for something significant to happen — some could say, for the most significant thing to happen. Starting at the age of 11, I was consumed by this great yearning. And as autumn approached each year, I spent mornings peering outside of my window, hoping, near willing, to see the speck I’d read about growing larger; its great wings taking form, flapping purposefully and carrying the letter that would change my life.
I’m, of course, talking about my Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry acceptance letter, addressed to, “Emily Erickson, Room Above the Stairs, Amherst, Wis.” carried by the post owls that are a mark of the wizarding community.
As years passed without receiving my letter, and tragically, without personally showing any shred of magical ability, I was forced to accept that I was, in fact, a muggle, or a non-magical person. But despite not being able to take Transfiguration or Defense Against the Dark Arts or play Quidditch, there was still much to be learned from the wizarding world I loved so much.
Not only have I been able to perpetually transcend the trials and tribulations of everyday life by reading and rereading the series, I’ve been applying the books’ themes to almost every aspect of society and culture today (i.e. Tom Brady is to Slytherin as Aaron Rogers is to Gryffindor, and neo-Nazis are to Death Eaters as the Wizengamot is to Congress).
But, just in case I haven’t lost my non-Millennial readers yet, instead of writing my own book, “Harry Potter and the Sociologist’s Mind,” I’ll merely apply it an equally Millennial-relevant topic: Tinder.
Upon prompting from my peers, I recently delved into The Department of Mysteries that is the popular matchmaking app used by Millennials worldwide. And as I’m fortunate enough to be dating a particularly nice Ravenclaw fella myself, I entered the app merely to unveil the mystery within.
If you’re unfamiliar, Tinder’s goal is to simulate our experience when we are on the prowl for a potential partner, as the app presents the user with several photos of a prospective “match” with a short description of themselves or their catchphrases in their biographies.
Like scanning the faces of potential mates in a bar (The Three Broomsticks, obviously), the app allows you to “pass” on those you’re uninterested in by swiping left, and “connect” with those you’re attracted to by swiping right. If both you and your potential partner swipe right, consequently connecting, you are then permitted to begin conversation.
Upon my exploration, I found Tinder nearly as spellbinding as the wizarding world, and was therefore able to draw parallels between the two.
The different angles the prospective matches took in describing themselves could be divided into Hogwarts houses as easily as if I were the Sorting Hat myself. (The sample was taken from Seattle, Wash., and the names have been changed).
Roger, 30: program engineer at Microsoft, “This is an experiment testing interesting hypotheses about Tinder and online dating. Swipe right to engage more, and left if my ultra-liberal photographic personality makes you see red.” Ravenclaw.
Dustin, 25: “Just looking for someone to love. Nature, exploring, food, sex, photographs, philosophy, games, friends, etc. Trying to be the best person I can and get the most out of life. Let’s get a drink and get to know each other.” Gryffindor.
T, 28: “More soul than a sock with a hole.” Slytherin.
Jake, 29: “Looking to meet people for meaningful connection. Primarily seeking true friendship or open to seeing where things go (as I’ve never fallen in love with someone while looking). Extrovert, cook, listener, giver, sharer of life experience. To be honest, I really just need a hug.” Hufflepuff.
Tony, 29: “Lifting things, from Ohio, meat, I live at home with my parents, unemployed, I play video games all day, Dungeons and Dragons.” Troll.
Married, 33: “If the name didn’t give it away, yes I am married. No, she does not know I’m on here. Feel free to judge, that’s your prerogative. I have my reasons. Honestly, I’m not getting any attention at home. I’m insatiable and very open minded. Looking for something discreet but the chemistry has to be there. If you want to know more, just ask.” Voldemort.
And so, after my not-so-extensive research, all I have to say is – to all the muggles out there searching for love via Tinder (and without the Weasley’s Wonder Witch Love Potion), channel your inner Sorting Hat before swiping left or right. You just might spare yourself from matching a troll.
Emily Erickson is a freelance writer and bartender originally from Wisconsin, with a degree in sociology and an affinity for playing in the mountains.
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