Investments for the damned: Should you buy stock in Tinder, or Ferrari?

November 19, 2015 Originally published on SFGate

Do you believe in love? In sex? What about modern hookup culture, fast and disposable and cruel? I mean really believe in it, as more than just a generational fad, a lifestyle option or a tantalizing weekend prospect? Enough to, say, bet some real money on its erratic but irresistible future?

You’re in luck. The Match Group, which, until this very post I had no idea existed but which apparently owns a bunch of moderately popular, second-tier online properties including, Tinder and OKCupid, is going public.

It’s true! Not only you can soon own stock in the legendary (AKA “your grandma’s favorite dating site”), but also Tinder, the wildly popular, vastly obnoxious hookup app that’s revolutionized sex and dating, that’s spawned a million smarmy bros and sexist cretins, that’s destroyed real courtship for an entire generation by reducing all who use it to an awkward collection of desperately chosen photos and a handful of clumsy words that can, like everything else in modern culture, be instantly dismissed with a heartless swipe and a drunken “OMG no freaking way.”

Too cynical? Most certainly. As someone who prefers dating the old-fashioned way – i.e.; stumbling blithely through the slippery, hypersexual happenstance of life until the gods of serendipity take pity and/or you get very, very lucky – owning shares of Tinder might indeed be just the right kind of bargain.

Hell of a lot sexier than owning stock in Ford, no?

Hell of a lot sexier than owning stock in Ford, no?

It all depends, of course, on the future of romance technologies. Do you believe modern love is best served/delivered by apps and algorithms, personality tests and questionnaires? Or are we on the wary precipice of some new, far weirder dating/hookup possibilities, something related to instant DNA sampling, genetic code-matching, yoga pant appreciation quotients and virtual reality goggles that utilize pre-cognitive synergies to match you, via sub-dermal haptic signal, with someone who has sufficient class to leave the DreamForce T-shirt and lazy hoody at home on a first date?

Put another way: Will the post-Millennial generation really be using Match and Tinder in 2020? Unlikely. More importantly, does saying “I own stock in Tinder!” feel too much like saying “I have questionable oral hygiene coupled to very meager sexual skills”? Most definitely.

Maybe Ferrari can help. The storied Italian automaker to the ultra-rich and the Euro-trashy just went public on the NYSE (well, 10 percent of the company did), with possibly the coolest ticker symbol of them all: RACE.

Ferrari! Total gorgeousness. Ridiculous power. Stunning racing heritage. Some of the most beautiful sheetmetal in the history of the automotive arts. And now anyone can own a few shares. Even I admit to a strange adoration for the entirely preposterous Ferrari FF, the company’s $250,000, 650-horsepower, four-seater, four wheel-drive, V12… station wagon. I mean, good lord.

Ferrari! Also, alas, terminally linked to the worst of excessive Euro-cheese, to all those fantastically vulgar, ultra-rich offspring of the world’s shipping tycoons and oil sheiks – viciously spoiled rich boys who race their Ferraris, Bugattis and Lambos around Dubai and Miami wearing distended, diamond-crusted 50K Hublots, Gucci thongs and souls the size of Chiclets. Also: Ever drop in to the Ferrari Store in downtown San Francisco, before it closed? A true tourist dystopia. Like Chuck E. Cheese for Italian sports cars. Sort of embarrassing.

Then again, who cares? It’s Ferrari, for chrissakes, which is sure a hell of a lot sexier than saying “I own some shares in GM.” It might also help if you believe, like Ferrari does, that the rich will only get richer, oil will last forever and the bored ostentatiousness of the excessively wealthy will remain forever morally repugnant. Or, in Match’s sake, that love will always prevail, sex will always find a way, and your grandkids will forever wince at the story of the time mommy was totally drunk and accidentally swiped daddy to the right – and life, almost despite itself, figured it all out anyway.

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Mark Morford

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