Usually I’m great at trends. That off the shoulder top thing? Nailed it. Amy Shark? I pretty much discovered her. But when it comes to modern dating I’m the equivalent of a newborn baby; squirming in confusion and crying every ten minutes.
The sum total of my current experience involves serious relationships interspersed with months of alone time. I spent the better part of the Tinder movement loved up and oblivious. And now I find myself staggering through a new era of hook-ups attempting to blend in while people speak a language I don’t quite understand.
‘Have you tried Bumble?’
‘I actually prefer hinge’
‘I hear Coffee Meets Bagel is the next big thing’
Everything I know about dating has come from friend’s stories and Netflix. And from what I can tell, everyone is either performing very flexible sex acts or knitting matching couple sweaters. I don’t think I’m cut out for either of these scenarios; I’m neither limber or handy with knitting needles. Regardless, I thought I should try at least one dating app. As Keats famously said: ‘Nothing heals a broken heart like Tinder’.
Not one to shy away from such advice, I hit download and got ready to kill some Zombies. I quickly realised Tinder was not the game I thought it was, and that the original hook-up app is kind of lame. Tinder’s been partying since 2012 and unfortunately, it seems like everyone cool has already left. The only people still here is that weird guy standing next to the dip and the drunk guy dancing alone under the strobe lights. And even he’s only interested in ‘eating out, and I don’t just mean you’. Nice.
I don’t want to sound like your mum, but I’m disappointed. Not angry, just disappointed. I’ve spent years watching friends swipe their way into someone’s pants and all I’ve been getting is a bunch of same-same guys called Natho/Jono/Tomo who start their bio’s with ‘I’m into the beach, bangers and banter’. Really Natho? You’re better than that.
I’ll admit that my profile was never going to win a literary award. It was a carefully constructed digital smokescreen. A set of photos showing my best side, nothing alluding to the large pimple on my chin or the fact that one boob is slightly smaller than the other. I don’t think my creation was particularly innovative, so I’m not expecting prose on par with Shakespeare. Or abs on par with Channing Tatum. I was just hoping not to trudge through a snowfall of bad puns and dull photo descriptions.
‘Don’t worry, the baby in the photo isn’t mine ;-)’
‘I’m 6.2 and work in finance’
‘The cutie is my niece, not my baby!!’
‘I’m 6.3 and love music, friends and banter’
So why am I even on the app? If not to find myself a lover from the next suburb who wants me to have the ‘looks to match the personality’. Well, I’m home from travelling and waiting in limbo until my next visa is approved. I wanted some adventure without the expensive airfare and the ease of human connection that seems to come with a life lived online.
Like creating a wishlist on ASOS, Tinder seemed to offer instant gratification without the follow through. It seemed like the perfect way to dip one toe back into the world of dating without actually having to get wet. However, instead of adventurous connections with exciting strangers, all I’ve gotten is a hasty swipe left on an ex-boyfriend and an abundance of shirtless surfers extolling the virtues of ‘eat clean, train hard’. It doesn’t feel exciting or innovative, it feels boring. Instead of interesting conversations and witty sexual innuendo, it’s mindless profiles and stale chat up lines.
Maybe I’m being too critical and maybe Natho/Jono/Tomo will end up finding their perfect 10 online. Or maybe we should accept that Tinder is dead, put down our phones and try some chat up lines IRL. I’ll go first; my name is Rowan and I’m into the beach, banter and bangers.