On Thursday, Feb. 14 the third annual Tinder + Tacos event took place at the Graduate School of Business (GSB) at 7:00 pm. Tinder + Tacos was a student lead event organized by Peer Health Advocates and Judi Pierce, manager of wellness and community outreach in the Division of Student Life. Pierce said that the event evolved from an idea to share Tinder experiences in the community.
The first event three years ago drew about 70 people and doubled the following year. This year, there were enough students to fill the lobby and crowd the room, estimated at over 100. The structure of the event has remained the same by having student MCs, a taco bar and open mic platform to share stories.
“This is my first time at this event, I noticed it on the student forum, the name is really catchy. Plus my friend Emm is hosting and I wanted to support them,” said Mills student Bernace Bernardo.
The MCs for the event were Emmely Tot Mariena and Vania “Luna” Gutierrez. Gutierrez asked the audience who had been present for last years Tinder + Tacos event. Then, Gutierrez asked if it was anyone’s first time attending, and a majority of the room raised their hands.
They proceeded to make an important public service announcement–that folks were going to be talking explicitly about dating, sex and everything that falls in between, and acknowledged if at any point people needed to step out, to know that they have that option.
Alongside Bernardo, Katie Funes similarly responded that she had heard of the event in past years but hadn’t gone before.
“I’m excited my friend is MCing, and honestly excited for tacos,” said Funes.
Others who had attended the event before, such as Imani Smith, recalled previous years.
“Last year the food was great, and they had an option where you could submit your stories in advance or choose to share in person,” said Smith.
Mills student Grace Patterson shared that she was looking forward to this event.
“Last year, the event was in a smaller space in the faculty staff lounge, which got really crowded. I came with the intention of just getting food and leaving, but stayed once I started hearing people’s dating stories and experiences,” said Patterson.
The food consisted of flour and or corn tortillas, arroz rojo, refried and black beans, roasted veggies, carnitas and carne asada, with sides like guacamole, salsa tomatillo, tomato salsa and fresh chips.
The expansion of the Tinder + Tacos event was made possible by the financial support of the Associated Students of Mills College (ASMC). This extra funding contributed to providing food and prizes.
“This is just the kickoff event for sex, relationships and health month. We are going to have an event on kink, an event on queering sex ed, how to break up with someone and just a lot of interesting things” said Pierce.
Gutierrez acknowledged the complexity of Valentine’s Day.
“Valentine’s Day is a weird thing, it’s like: a capitalistic scam, but also a day that a culture tends to shift towards celebrating love, I hope. Well, that’s what it could potentially be and what we’re here to do,” Gutierrez said.
They emphasized that the latter is what the Tinder + Tacos event was intent on celebrating.
Mariena established the ground rules for the event by asking folks to respect the space and clean up after themselves. Mariena stressed that if people wanted to film someone sharing their story, they had to get explicit consent from that person before filming.
They also reminded everyone that there was a sign up clipboard going around, and if people wanted to tell a story they were welcome to do so at any point. They also detailed the rules of the raffle, explaining that if someone entered, they had to be present during the raffle drawings in order to win.
Mariena announced the prizes: a gift card to Good Vibrations, a feather tickler, a tub of Nutella, two tickets to the Black and White Ball, “Curvy Girl Sex: 101 Body Positive Positions to Enhance Your Sex Life” By Ellie Chase, “The Explorers Guide to Planet Orgasm” by Annie Sprinkle and “Cunt Coloring Book” by Tee Corinne.