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The users who reappear after limitless left swipes possess change into favorite urban legends.

Kaitlyn Tiffany

Alex Hammerli / The Atlantic

Alex is 27 years outdated. He lives in or has access to a dwelling with a immense kitchen and granite countertops. I truly possess viewed his face dozens of times, regularly with the equal expression—stoic, notify material, smirking. Fully equal to that of the Mona Lisa, plus horn-rimmed glasses. Most days, his Tinder profile has six or seven photos, and in each one, he reclines against the equal immaculate kitchen counter with one leg crossed lightly over the diversified. His pose is equal; the angle of the list is equal; the coif of his hair is equal. Fully his outfits switch: blue suit, shaded suit, purple flannel. Rose blazer, navy V-neck, double-breasted parka. Face and physique frozen, he swaps garments fancy a paper doll. He is Alex, he is 27, he is in his kitchen, he is in a pleasant shirt. He is Alex, he is 27, he is in his kitchen, he is in a pleasant shirt.

I truly possess regularly swiped left (for “no”) on his profile—no offense, Alex—which would possibly maybe well tranquil presumably verbalize Tinder’s algorithm that I would no longer want to gaze him all all over again. Nonetheless I tranquil compile Alex on Tinder at the least as soon as a month. The most most favorite time I saw him, I studied his profile for loads of minutes and jumped after I realized one worth of life: a cookie jar fashioned fancy a French bulldog exhibiting and then disappearing from at the assist of Alex’s appropriate elbow.

I’m no longer the most attention-grabbing one. When I asked on Twitter whether or no longer others had viewed him, dozens said certain. One girl answered, “I are dwelling in BOSTON and possess tranquil viewed this man on visits to [New York City].” And it appears that evidently, Alex is never any longer an isolated case. Same mythological figures possess popped up in native relationship-app ecosystems nationwide, respawning every time they’re swiped away.

On Reddit, males frequently whinge in regards to the bot accounts on Tinder that characteristic mountainous-beautiful ladies folks and flip out to be “follower scams” or advertisements for grownup webcam companies. Nonetheless males fancy Alex are no longer bots. These are real folks, gaming the system, changing into—whether or no longer they imprint it or no longer—key figures within the mythology of their cities’ digital custom. Treasure the get, they are confounding and frightening and a itsy-bitsy bit romantic. Treasure mayors and notorious bodega cats, they are each and every hyper-native and greater than life.


In January, Alex’s Tinder popularity moved off-platform, ensuing from the Recent York–based mostly entirely mostly comic Lane Moore.

Moore hosts a month-to-month interactive stage notify called Tinder Are dwelling, for the period of which an target audience helps her compile dates by balloting on who she swipes appropriate on. At some stage in remaining month’s notify, Alex’s profile came up, and at the least a dozen folks said they’d viewed him ahead of. They all identified the countertops and, obviously, the pose. Moore told me the notify is comical because utilizing relationship apps is “lonely and complicated,” but utilizing them together is a bonding skills. Alex, in a single plot, proved the thought that. (Moore matched with him, but when she tried to quiz him about his kitchen, he gave simplest terse responses, so the notify had to switch on.)

When I indirectly spoke with Alex Hammerli, 27, it became as soon as no longer on Tinder. It became as soon as thru Facebook Messenger, after a member of a Facebook community bustle by The Ringer despatched me a screenshot of Hammerli bragging that his Tinder profile became as soon as going to wind up on a billboard in Instances Square.

In 2014, Hammerli told me, he saw a person on Tumblr posing in a penthouse that overpassed Central Park—over and over, the equal pose, altering simplest his garments. He cherished the premise, and started taking photos and posting them on Instagram, as one plot to preserve his “astounding dresser” for posterity. He posted them on Tinder for the first time in early 2017, largely because those were the photos he had of himself. They possess labored for him, he said. “Different ladies are fancy, ‘I swiped for the kitchen.’ Some are fancy, ‘When can I come over and be assign on that counter?’”

Hammerli exhibits up in Tinder swipers’ feeds as frequently as he does because he deletes the app and reinstalls it every two weeks or so (with the exception of for the period of the holidays, because tourists are “awful to connect with”). Despite the indisputable truth that his Tinder bio says that he lives in Recent York, his rental is on the total in Jersey City—which explains the kitchen—and his neighbor is the photographer at the assist of every shot.

I had heard from ladies folks on Twitter, and from one of my offline company, that Alex became as soon as coarse in their DMs after they matched on Tinder. When I asked him about this, he said, “I’m very narcissistic. I have that.”

Hammerli works in digital advertising and marketing, though he would no longer bid with what firm. He uses Tinder exclusively for casual sex, a indisputable truth that he volunteered, alongside with an evidence of his views on prolonged-time period relationships: “Idiotic in a prepare the assign we switch on from shit so without misfortune and toughen iPhones yearly.” When I asked whether or no longer he’s ever been in love, he responded: “lmao no.” Monogamy, he said, is “a trip-over converse thing.”


Hammerli’s systems aren’t precisely harassment, but they pause border on spam. They violate Tinder’s terms of service, and the firm is supposedly cracking down on the account-reset hack that he so diligently employs. (Tinder didn’t reply to a matter for commentary about Hammerli’s account.)

He’s no longer the most attention-grabbing one utilizing this system. “I truly possess hundreds of photos of this one guy Ben on LA’s Bumble scene,” one girl told me over Twitter, alongside side that he seems to be to possess a singular profile “literally” every day. She’s been seeing Ben’s list—regularly accompanied by a singular straight-from-the-box bio, a lot like “Procuring for a partner in crime”—for at the least a 300 and sixty five days, and says “MANY” diversified ladies folks possess told her they’ve viewed him too.

“Ian in NYC who claims to be a authorized respectable would notify up for me and my roommate at the least as soon as a week,” yet any other girl wrote. “It became as soon as so frequent that I began to judge he became as soon as a bot account. So I matched with him out of curiosity as soon as and he became as soon as real!” Yet one more girl asked whether or no longer I had viewed a man named Craig, who became as soon as extremely muscular, became as soon as regularly standing in a swimming pool, and had given his age as 33 for “at the least the past five years.” (I had no longer, because I will date simplest those that are my steady age or up to 18 months younger.) “I’ve bustle into him so repeatedly, and so possess loads of of my company,” this girl told me. Guys fancy Craig, she hypothesized, “comely judge they’re being chronic and possess no thought they are minor cyber web legends.”

These legends appear to be extra long-established in mountainous coastal cities, but smaller cities possess them too—I heard from a girl in Des Moines, Iowa, who told me just a few hideous profile that had stunned her and her roommates (the bio became as soon as about how “girl’s [sic] are shallow”), as well to ladies folks from Durham, North Carolina, and Toronto who had recurring figures of their very have (“Tights Man,” a man who became as soon as concerned with pantyhose, and “Recent to the City,” a man who became as soon as forever in need of navigation attend, respectively).

There is one thing alarming about these chronic males: We’re dwelling in a prepare the assign persistence is often a euphemism for additional dreadful kinds of male habits. Nonetheless there’ll most likely be one thing impossible about them: While the most attention-grabbing mental response to relationship apps is to pause that all americans is the equal, males fancy Tights Man and Craig have interaction in space in native cultures, and remind bored daters that folks are particular and fine. It’s odd, and a itsy-bitsy bit thrilling, to in actuality feel so uncommon about any person that is simplest a pile of photos on an app. Hammerli’s stunt didn’t manufacture me want to this level him, but it absolutely did manufacture me want to know every thing about him.

While I became as soon as happy by Hammerli’s thought that love is simplest appropriate for those that are dwelling within the Midwest, I became as soon as a itsy-bitsy dissatisfied by the easy and largely inoffensive actuality of his shtick. I in actuality feel pretty fancy I’ve ruined one thing. The excitement of a Tinder star is the moment of shock and recognition among those that are accustomed to drudgery. Discovering that hundreds of diversified ladies folks had the equal fascination with Granite-Counter Man offered me with a brief reprieve from the bleak, long-established chore of shopping for any person to this level. Nonetheless talking to the man himself became as soon as no longer the equal fun because, in that conversation, I became as soon as on my own all all over again.  

I haven’t viewed Hammerli on Tinder this week. It would be because Tinder has indirectly caught on to him, but Hammerli also told me he became as soon as thinking of taking a “sabbatical” from the app. The kitchen wasn’t fun anymore, because each person anticipated it. It became as soon as time to work on a singular gimmick.

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