After a tough break up, I wanted to discover what it was like to go on a few casual dates. Casual being the key word. As a trailblazer for optimism I decided that I would try Tinder, after getting a bit of a repetitive strain injury in my thumb from swiping right and left all the time I decided on three guys I would go on dates with. It’s quite amazing, we are in the age of fast-food dates. Who cares about getting to know a person, right?
Tinder is a basically ‘would you fuck or not?’ app. I got bored with messaging them; avatars don’t feel like real people and I’m from a generation where sex is similarly instinctive along with appetite for immediacy. My narcissistic curiosity and appetite for constant validation were fuelled by Tinder’s addictive swipe function. And I can only assume feeds that caveman part of a male brain that places women in hot or not categories, viewing them as a piece of meat a la Sports Illustrated.
So you’re asking what about the dates? First there was Dan, member of a band, bartender in the evenings. He was the nicest and I can safely say (in hindsight) authentic. He was the kind of guy who liked to hold your hand under the table. He let me watch him play in his band a couple of times, and gave cute kisses on the cheek before he went on stage. He was a keeper, and not the poster boy for Tinder. Why the hell was he on Tinder?
Then there was Oliver, exactly the sort of 20-something that Tinder or OkCupid would welcome: trendy, active on social media, possibly polygamous (a cheat), but honest about it. We went on a couple of dates, it was easy to talk to him, nothing was off the cards. That made everything almost too comfortable. I felt my 16 year old self come out again when a cute but undeniably self-involved hack shows interest, but at 28, why let myself be deluded?
Last but not least there was Dean, Shoreditch, 29, who I never even managed to meet up with. As he thought it would be a good idea on his first phone call to ask if I liked big gentalia. But unfortunately that’s the typical male message on Tinder. Dean gives me the impression he has Tinder-banged so many women in London that three in 10 children born in the next generation will be his.
Unlike some of my male friends, I was going on dates and receiving messages – but I felt ugly. I thought being validated through compliments and matches would give me a sense of confidence. I mean after 24 hours I felt a little uglier as a person. You put a picture of yourself up, and after 48 hours, you get men messaging you. But the experience just left me feeling hollow. I lost all my looks. I no longer had it. The world might not have decided I was ugly but I did.
I wanted to be one of the guys, to think I could have casual flings. I realised I can’t switch it off; the need for real deep connections. Call me old fashioned, but what ever happened to that amazing moment where you bump into each other in the supermarket or meet at a party, and start connecting? I’ll wait for that moment. Tinder deleted.