It’s a revelation – this is where all the single men of London are! Posting photographs of themselves with tops, without tops, with smiling faces and moody black-and-white photo faces, in the pub, up a mountain, cuddling dogs, kids or glam girls on a night out – a pic that says, look, women love me! I’m a catch!
It’s online shopping for a boyfriend – and the choice is big. Almost overwhelmingly so.
I can’t quite get my head around how never-ending it is. I spent most of Saturday swiping yes and swiping no, thinking that I’d get to the bottom of the pile and then see where I was – but it obviously doesn’t work like that. The pictures keep coming.
I’m erring on the side of generosity with my swipes. Anyone with a nice smile and their top on is given the benefit of the doubt. The result is that I now have 43 matches, and more messages pinging through than I can cope with. Every hour or so there’s a new: ‘Hi Marianne! How’s your day going?’
I find it weird to tell a total stranger about how my day is going – do they really want to know I am just doing laundry and am about to head to the supermarket? I don’t think so, so I settle on the boringly vague ‘Great thanks! How are you?’
I am using a lot of exclamation marks. This is not something I like about myself.
I had my first rude text within a few hours of joining. It was from a guy called Jon who said he was a management consultant and looked very clean cut. Our exchange went like this.
Him: Hi, Mariannne!
Me: Hi, Jon!
Him: I love your hair.
Him: When it comes to getting a dirty job done, I’ll take a red headed woman…
Him: It’s Bruce Springstein .
Me: Oh. Take it he’s talking about cleaning the oven?
Him: I wouldn’t mind seeing you bent over my oven. Or is that too rude?
And actually yes, it was for straight old me, so I didn’t reply.
An hour later another message: You can wear rubber gloves.
I didn’t reply to that one either.
Then yesterday I got another message: We could forget the gloves?
Ha, ha, ha! Anyway, he is deleted now – so is Stephan, who also messaged me yesterday.
Him: Hiya. How are you?
Me: I’m good thanks, how are you?
Him: Well thanks. Nice pics of you. Found love on tinder yet?
Me: Thanks. I only joined on Saturday, no love yet. What about you?
Him: I’m not looking for love. I’m looking for an affair.
Me: So you’re married?
Him: Yes? Does that freak you out?
Me: No, doesn’t freak me out but it’s not a road I want to go down.
Him: Is there anything I can do to change your mind?
Me: No, I’m afraid not. Why are you looking for an affair? Does your wife know?
Him: I’m in an open relationship. Married 15 years. Things die down down after a while. Realities of a long term relationship. What’s your longest relationship?
I didn’t really feel like getting into how I do well to get to the six month mark, so instead I just wished him good luck in his search.
An hour later I got another message from him: Can you hook me up with any of your friends?
And for those two slightly risqué texts, there have been many more seemingly normal ones and the upshot is that over the next week I have three dates lined up: a 6ft7 (!!) finance guy this Sunday, a 6ft Scottish guy who works for the NHS next Wednesday and a 6ft4 management consultant next Sunday. I specify their heights because they all seem to in their profile.
I like tall guys, so I’m delighted by this transparency.
So there you go, my first five days on Tinder. Friends who have warned me to be careful – that there are lots of guys just looking to hook up, lots of guys rebounding – but most people my age are going to have a history and might well be in the market for something casual. That’s life. I’ll just have to do my best to judge the people I meet. Assuming I do meet them. I have a friend who got stood up for three Tinder dates – with no message or anything. Anyway, we’ll see.
The truth is it all seems like a bit of a game – all this swiping and texting. There really is no way of knowing if you’ll have chemistry with someone based on a few texts. Which is what Matthew Hussey says too. He says online dating is fine as a way of broadening the net but we should not rely on it exclusively.
He says that what makes us like someone is such a random thing – it could be the way they move, their shy expression, their hands – and when you’re online you can’t pick up on these tiny things.
He also says that it’s too easy to stay on your sofa chatting online as a way of avoiding interacting with people in the real world. Or that even if we do meet people, we get in a cycle of endless first dates. Online dating can make us feel we have endless options so we don’t commit, we always think something better is around the corner.
I get what he’s saying about using online stuff as a way of avoiding real life communication and vulnerability.
Being on Tinder this week has allowed me to avoid going back to the pub to visit my twinkly barman. It’s not that I think that he is the man of my dreams, I just know that in the name of really challenging myself, I need to do it. It’s a lot easier to play around on Tinder than it is to look a man you like in the eyes and feel your heart beating and your tummy flipping.
Anyway, I’ll report back. On both my online and real-life interactions.
In the meantime I would love to hear any of your dating stories.