We are in the age of fast-food dates, thanks to Tinder. It’s quite amazing. Who cares about getting to know a person, right?
After going through a really tough break up, I wanted to discover what it was like to go on a few casual dates, casual being the key word. And as a trailblazer for optimism, I decided that I would try Tinder. What could be more casual than that?
Tinder is a basically ‘would you fuck or not?’ app. I got bored quickly with messaging back and forth; avatars don’t feel like real people and I’m from a generation where sex is similarly instinctive, with a strong appetite for immediacy. My narcissistic curiosity and appetite for constant validation were fueled by Tinder’s addictive swipe function. And I can only assume it 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.
After getting a bit of a repetitive strain injury in my thumb from obsessively swiping left and right, I decided on three guys I would go on dates with.
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? I’ll never know.
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, and 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 showed interest. But at 28, I knew: why let myself be deluded?
Last but and definitely least there was Dean, 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 genitalia. But unfortunately that’s the typical male message on Tinder. Dean gave me the impression he has Tinder-banged so many women in London that three in ten 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. And yet after a mere twenty-four hours, I felt a little uglier as a person. You put a picture of yourself up, and almost immediately, 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. But I realized I can’t switch it off; the need for real deep connections is too large. 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.