Men’s experiences and behaviors on dating apps are shaped by the gender distribution asymmetry on these platforms, usage patterns and results, motivations of use, and perceived benefits. This study contributes to the understanding of the outcomes of men’s use of dating apps, by identifying the social trajectories of use observed on Tinder. For this purpose, I use the concept of ‘career’, as discussed by Erving Goffman (1963), Howard Becker (1963), and David Matza (1969), to answer the following research question: What are the ‘moral careers’ of male users, and what are the factors that influence their engagement on the Tinder dating app? The study relies on 25 semi-structured interviews with 22 self-identified heterosexual and three self-identified homosexual male users, held between 2019 and 2022, and a sample of 22 online accounts of Tinder use, published on Quora. The analysis shows the emergence of five ‘moral careers’: the serial dater, the relationship-oriented dater, the passive dater, the episodic dater, and the discredited dater, with associated narratives. The findings contribute to the understanding of the dating practices and effects stirred by dating apps, with a focus on Tinder. It also illuminates specific masculine behaviors and goals within the app, with an accent on their dynamics.
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