30 stages of getting back into dating

  1. Right, breakup schmakeup, let’s get back onto the dating scene
  2. Hmm I work in a 99% female environment
  3. I’ve also already dated all eligible friends-of-friends
  4. Ok, back to the internet we go
  5. Going to stick with just Bumble, I mean I’m the one who needs to make the first move here, so that’s me reclaiming my power right?
  6. Yay setting up a new profile, fun times
  7. Looks like no one’s taken a decent picture of me since 2014…
  8. How do I sum up myself in a couple of lines? #existentialcrisis
  9. Ok photos chosen, witty-yet-modest profile written, COME AT ME BOYS
  10. **Swipes left for half an hour
  11. Beginning to remember why I deleted this thing in the first place…
  12. Oo hello tall guy working in London with a cute dog, righty swipey for you
  13. WE MATCHED I AM ON FIRE
  14. Crap, need to come up with an opening line that is suave and funny and flirty and not at all desperate or boring
  15. Shit this is really hard
  16. Does sending an emoji count? How does Bumble qualify these things??
  17. ‘Hi how’s your week going?’
  18. Good work Charlotte, good work
  19. Now the guy has only 24 hours to respond?! Most of my friends take at least two days to reply to WhatsApp messages, let alone someone I’ve never even met!!
  20. What’s the etiquette on swiping right on someone you matched with on Tinder about a year ago?
  21. At least it’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one trying and failing to meet someone
  22. Oo hello new match, let’s see who you are
  23. Hmm.  Must have been a drunk right swipe…
  24. Ok chats are developing with Cute Dog Guy, I feel a date coming on
  25. **2 days later** Christ I’m not here for a pen pal, just ask me out for a drink dammit
  26. Oh hello, look at all these new matches
  27. Three chats going on, such a player right now
  28. And all three of them have asked me out for a drink! Get in
  29. Hmm, this week and next week are already pretty busy. Forgot how time-consuming this dating thing is
  30. It’s Friday night and I’m meant to be going on a date but all I want to do is get into loungewear and eat pizza and watch Netflix. Maybe I’m not so ready for this dating thing after all…

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Hi Tinder, we need to talk…

Big news people – I have deleted Tinder.  And no, it’s not because I have a boyfriend (here’s hoping).  Call it boredom, call it becoming disenchanted with variations on ‘hey babe, wanna come over?’ messages, call it giving up on the whole dating thing for a while…  Whatever you want to call it, it’s happened.  Ciao Tinder, it’s been an interesting couple of years, but I’m done.

How do I feel?  Any withdrawal symptoms?  Other than missing the occasional ego boost – no!  Perhaps it’s because this is the first time in ages that I’m not on tenterhooks the whole time, waiting to hear back from some random guy who looks vaguely attractive in photos, and might even be attractive in person, but will inevitably turn out to be a big disappointment.  I can focus on other things (friends, exercise, career, writing etc.) and not worry that committing to Thursday and Friday night plans will take out the two key date nights of the week.

My Tinder experience has been something of an emotional rollercoaster, and while I certainly could have done without the lows, everything has overall been a learning experience.  Heartbreak – it sucks but ultimately time heals everything.  Being ghosted – the guys who do this aren’t worth your time or energy.  The man who you date for a while but doesn’t want to commit to anything – enjoy it for what it is and don’t get too attached.  That person who calls you three times before you’ve even met and says that you might be The One – run for the hills.  I think it’s fair to say I’ve had a very broad experience of the thing…

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If anything, Tinder has made me realise what I do and don’t want in a relationship.  When I first downloaded the app way back in 2013, I had recently been through a break-up and needed a distraction and a little self-validation (don’t be shocked, nearly everyone does it).  Those criteria were quickly filled, and gradually my attitude towards dating changed.  I’m now not ashamed to say that I want a boyfriend, but it’s taken me this long to realise that I’m not going to find one on Tinder.

So here we are, new year, new attitude, and a phone with more memory due to a lack of dating apps.  I’m giving this whole ‘once you stop looking it will happen’ thing a go, and am already far happier as a result.  And to highlight the fact that I’ve done the right thing, something popped up on Buzzfeed today that proves you never really know who you’re talking to:

Last Autumn I matched with Jake – attractive doctor, from Surrey, based just outside of London.  Jake also had a husky.  Jake basically was the dream.  We exchanged messages over Tinder for a couple of days, by which time I thought it was appropriate to suggest transferring to WhatsApp and gave him my number.  I never heard from him again.  Sick burn dude…  But hey, these things happen.  Jake was promptly forgotten, no doubt replaced by the next Tinder Tom/Dick/Asshat to come my way.  It wasn’t until my lunch-hour scroll through Buzzfeed today that I remembered all about Jake.  Why?  Because Jake is actually called Mikhail Varshavski, is a doctor based in New Jersey, has been named People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Doctor Alive’, and has over 1.2million Instagram followers.  He’s on Buzzfeed because he’s offering up the opportunity to go on a date with him at a charity auction.

So yeah, I got well and truly catfished.  ‘Jake’ had simply used Dr Varshavski’s Instagram photos to create a profile.  What could be easier?  The moral of the story is: if something’s too good to be true, it probably is.

What can else can I say Tinder?  It’s not you it’s me, I’m just not in the right head space at the moment, you’re taking up too much of my time, I just want to be on my own for a bit, and every other break-up platitude that I’ve heard in the last three years.  It’s been a journey, but we’re through.

Delete

 

40 thoughts every girl has had whilst swiping through Tinder

  1. I’m not sure I could love a Gavin
  2. Or anyone with ice gem hair
  3. Why have so many guys stroked tigers?
  4. And been up Macchu Pichu?
  5. If I see ‘if you don’t look like your pictures then you’re buying the drinks until they do’ I might throw a tantrum
  6. Same goes for ‘willing to lie about how we met’
  7. Ooh a group of three guys, two of which are very hot, let’s look at a couple more photos
  8. Dammit02
  9. This guy is hot but really ripped and therefore probably only into going to the gym and talking about protein and therefore not someone I’d be interested in
  10. But I’ll swipe right anyway, just to see if he’s into me…
  11. I’ve swiped right about a dozen times today and got no matches.  What’s wrong with me?!
  12. Seriously, how many guys are called Tom these days?
  13. Gym selfies.  Jog on.
  14. Same goes for super-intense close-up moody selfies
  15. And those oh-I-just-happened-to-be-lifting-up-my-top-and-flashed-my-abs-whilst-taking-a-selfie-in-the-mirror photos
  16. Oh.  A cock shot.  Great.
  17. Cock shot with a beer can next to it for size reference.  Well this guy’s thought of everything.
  18. ‘Recently moved to London’, would probably think that a date in Leicester Square on a Saturday night would be a good idea.  Swipe left.
  19. Ooo a guy a used to fancy at uni.  Should I swipe right?
  20. But what if I swipe right and we match?  Wouldn’t that be super-awkward?
  21. And then he’ll tell everyone about it and it would just be totes hilaire for them but totes not-hilaire for me
  22. Screw it I’m swiping right anyway
  23. Errmahgahhhhd we matched!!  He fancies me!!!  I KNEW it!!
  24. OMG he just messaged me!  Hyperventilating right now.
  25. ‘Lol swipe right for a friend!’
  26. Dickhead.  Unmatch.01
  27. This guy has a bevy of bimbos in each picture = player = swipe left
  28. Strongly suspect that this guy, whilst attractive, is pretty short.  Analyse each photo carefully.  Yep he’s shorter than his girl mates.  Swipe left.
  29. I swear I recognise this guy, he’s really hot, have we been on a date before?
  30. Meh, what’s the worst that could happen?  Swipe right.
  31. Oh now I remember.  His opening message was ‘sit on my face’.  Unmatch.
  32. Holy hell this guy is super hot and tall and has a great body and all of his photos are really well lit and professional-looking and haaaaang on he looks quite a lot like David Gandy…
  33. I’ve matched with the last six people I’ve swiped right for, I am ON FIRE!!
  34. Eesh dude sort out that monobrow
  35. Wow my phone battery has run low really quickly
  36. My god this guy could be The One, definitely swipe right
  37. OMG we matched!!  Please message me, pleeeeeeeease…
  38. ‘I could go down on you for hours’
  39. Oh ffs…
  40. ‘There are no new people in your area’.  Screw this let’s have a look on Happn.03

And the best policy is…?

No doubt about it, dating has been an education in all sorts of ways, and one particular lesson that comes to light again and again is how to tell someone that you’re no longer interested.  This will come about because of one of two reasons:

  1. You’ve been on one or two dates, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the guy (at least, most of the time…), but there’s a bit of a chemistry fail and you don’t find yourself wanting to see him again.
  2. He, for unknown reasons, decides that seeing you again isn’t the best way to spend his time.

Either way, fair enough.  But how to communicate this lack of interest to the other person?

In my experience, the age-old just-stop-replying-to-messages-and-hope-they-get-the-hint tactic has been pretty effective, if not a rather annoying one.  And yes I’ve been on both the receiving and giving end.  I’ll admit it’s a rather cowardly way out of a tricky situation, and can leave you or the guy wondering for weeks about what happened, what did I do wrong etc.  Perhaps it depends on how many dates you’ve been on…

  • One date: not really much to worry about there and if he thinks it wasn’t great then the girl almost definitely thinks the same.
  • Two dates: a slight kick in the teeth but hey at least you haven’t wasted too much time/energy/money.
  • Anything beyond that: heellooooo a little explanation wouldn’t go amiss here!

I know I’m not the only girl who needs some sort of closure, and being a practical type of person I would rather know what went wrong so I can make appropriate efforts to not repeat the same mistake in the future.

Then there’s the honesty tactic, otherwise known as the ‘it was great to meet you but I think it’s best if we call it a day/just stay friends’ approach.  I’ve only ever been on the giving end of this, and it’s been met with varied reactions.  On the whole, most of the replies I’ve received have been along the lines of ‘ok no worries it was nice to talk to you best of luck’.  After all, what can you really say to someone who just isn’t interested in seeing you again?  Then there have been the slightly bitter ones: ‘so glad I wasted a Friday night with you’ or similar.  I get it, the male ego is a fragile thing.  Admittedly, there might be slightly more diplomatic ways of getting one’s message across, but overall you’re still saying the same thing, no matter how much you sugar-coat it.

Ultimately, there isn’t really a way of winning here.  Silence is met with confusion, honesty is met with resentment.  Personally, I lean towards Option B.  I can understand that telling someone outright that you’re not keen on the idea of a second date can be a tad brutal, but at the end of the day isn’t it saving everyone an awful lot of time and emotional energy?

Last autumn I was dating a guy for a couple of months and all seemed to be going well until he suddenly just stopped replying to text messages.  Whilst I wasn’t particularly upset by this, it did leaving me questioning my words and actions for a few weeks afterwards.  Was it something I said or did?  Was it the fact that I was a fair bit younger?  Did he meet someone else?  I guess I’ll never know.  What I do know is that I would have appreciated some sort of explanation behind his abrupt disappearance, no matter how hurtful it might have been.  In the long run, aren’t we better off knowing these things and learning and growing as people as a result?

Guys, you should all know by know that nearly every girl goes in for a bit of self-flagellation in these kinds of situations.  So do us all a favour: grow some cojones, and just be honest.  Seriously, it will reduce the rate of drunk texts and tearful phone calls by a huge proportion.

honesty

Meat market

Much has been written about how men objectify women, how they treat us as objects, how they’re only interested in having sex with us et cetera.  While this may be true of some guys, I would never make a sweeping statement that encompasses every single person on the planet in possession of a penis.  However, in my more bored moments of Tinder swiping (left), I’ve noticed an increasing trend where men are beginning to objectify themselves.

Even ten minutes on Tinder will show you that there’s a huge proportion of guys who will put up photos of just their bodies and not their faces.  Gym selfies, mirror selfies, lying-in-bed selfies, abs-and-nothing-but-abs selfies…  Since when did from-the-neck-down become the most important part of this whole attraction thing??

man06

 

I mean, great, the guy’s got a good body, but I can’t be the only girl who thinks the following:

  1. What’s so bad about his face that he doesn’t want to show it?
  2. He clearly spends a lot of time in the gym and probably eats protein at every meal, resulting in a worrying lack of conversation about anything other than cleans, squats, reps and which whey powder is the most effective
  3. I don’t want someone who’s going to judge me when I eat a large Dominos in ten minutes flat

But back to the objectifying thing.  For hundreds of years women have been under pressure to conform to certain body types, but this has now extended to men.  Blame Abercrombie or David Beckham or the current (awful) trend for ultra low-cut V-neck shirts – the fact is, more and more men are spending more and more on their appearance.  You only need to spend an hour in your local gym to see a plethora of pumped-up protein-packing peacocks grimacing in the mirror whilst lifting an assortment of weights.  And you only need to spend a minute on Tinder to see that suddenly, the body is the only thing that counts these days.

man11man04

 

Granted, I’d be the last person to go out with someone who was obese, but isn’t there something a bit grotesque about a guy who looks like he’s taking a shit the whole time?  I’m all for working out and taking care of yourself and taking pride in your body, nearly all of us do it to some extent, but this obsession with body fat percentage and CrossFit and looking like Arnie back in the day has all got a bit… much.

Clearly, these guys who choose to post headless photos of themselves are proud of their achievements, and if that’s what you’re into, then fine.  But by doing this, isn’t it the female equivalent of posting a mirror selfie in just underwear?   Just as a lot of guys will make the assumption that this girl in underwear is ‘easy’ and ‘up for it’, girls as just as likely to make the assumption that the topless guy has nothing to offer apart from his body.  To me it says ‘I’ve got a great six-pack but sod-all conversation’.

But hey, you could always talk to this guy about steaks, bikes, and how he’s way better at fake tanning than you are…

man08man09

 

Teenage dreams

For those of you that don’t know, over the last few months I’ve become a bit of a running enthusiast.  With two 10k races coming up this summer, training is well under way, and part of this training is running the 9.5k journey home from work once a week.  It’s a well-established fact that when you run home from work, a backpack is required (purse, keys, oyster card, clothes etc.), and this week mine decided to chafe.  I mean, really chafe.  I now have symmetrical marks on each side of my neck that look a lot (aka exactly) like hickeys.  Fan-bloody-tastic.

hickey

Ah hickeys, those symbols of teenagerdom and fleeting romance.  That internal struggle between wanting to cover them up but yet wanting everyone to know that you’ve got one.  That glee you got from pointing out a hickey on a friend’s neck, squealing ‘who gave you THAT??’ in carrying tones.  A hickey was part badge of honour, part rite of passage.  And also part ‘ewww why did you let a guy bite you?’

In a weird way, my present non-hickey has made me slightly nostalgic for the real hickeys of my youth.  Or rather, the simplicity of relationships back then.  In my little boarding school bubble, everything was remarkably easy.  You snogged a boy, you established that you liked one another, and hey presto you were boyfriend and girlfriend.  Simples!  There was none of this faffing about for months ‘seeing each other’ and then a really painful conversation along the lines of ‘where is this going?’  You’d always know if your boyfriend cheated on you because the whole school would know before you.  Hell, half of my year knew I was going out with a guy before I had even been consulted.  You knew a guy’s history before you’d had his tongue shoved down your throat (the annual ‘pulling tree’ drawn out by bored girls was a real help here), you saw each other every day, and when the ultra-meaningful three-week relationship came to an end (he kissed someone else/you got bored/he wouldn’t respect your lack of desire to give him a handjob) all you needed was a Bacardi Breezer-fuelled school disco to find your next snog sensation.

Of course, it was all terribly complicated and traumatic and dramatic at the time.  The teenage years were littered with tears, fumbled attempts at ‘going all the way’, and year groups divided over whose side to choose in a break-up.  There are certainly parts of it I don’t miss: where would we be if every drunk mashing of faces turned into a relationship?  And thank heavens we aren’t forced to encounter the object of our (somewhat misguided) affections on a daily basis.  Then there’s the gossip, the rumours, everyone knowing more about your relationship than you do yourself…  Although having said that, some work environments can bear a striking resemblance to school in certain aspects.

Maybe I’m just nostalgic for the 17-year-old me.  The girl who didn’t think that 90% of men are bastards, and who wasn’t going on endless disappointing dates.  Sure, I had my fair share of teenage angst, but that was child’s play compared to what the last eight years have thrown at me.  I distinctly remember one house party where I literally ran screaming out of a tent when my ‘boyfriend’ started to unzip his jeans and guide my hand to the terrifying thing that lay beneath.  At the time I was mortified, but now I’m proud of Teenage Me for not doing something she didn’t want to do.  You go girl!

Doing a one-nighter

There are many girls out there for whom a one-night stand is an unthinkable thing.  Sex with someone you’ve only just met?  No thanks.  Getting down and dirty with someone you barely know?  No way.

Now, I will freely admit that I have had a few one-night stands.  And to clarify: my definition of a ONS is having sex with someone you hadn’t met before that day and most probably won’t see again.  I’m not proud of it, but neither am I ashamed.  For those of us who don’t attach emotions to sex, and who can go into the act with open eyes and a knowledge that it will be a purely physical encounter, one-night stands are hardly taboo.  But there are many out there who would never consider doing at, and judge those who do.

I’m well aware that a large number of people, both men and women, would have a whole host of adjectives to hand when it comes to describing me and my fellow one-night standers.  ‘Slut’, ‘easy’ and ‘just asking for an STI’ are a few choice phrases that come to mind.  Put the shoe on the other foot, and we could come back with ‘frigid’, ‘prude’ and ‘delusional’.  Tomato tomahto…  Sex and how we approach it, as with most things, is a personal preference.

We live in an era where sexual liberation and equality are becoming more and more prevalent.  Free contraception is on offer to make recreational sex a safe and enjoyable thing.  So why do people still have a problem with one-night stands?  Is it the fact that we’re more open about it?  If it’s OK for guys to do it and talk about it, shouldn’t that be the same for girls?  Does sleeping with someone you’ve never met before make you a morally corrupt person?

Clearly there are different grades of sexual expression going on around us.  If you think of it as a scale with those who are saving themselves for marriage at the bottom and those who make one-night stands a weekly occurrence at the top, most people will find themselves in the vast grey area in between.  Just as a dogmatic Catholic might look at my behaviour with horror, I can be equally shocked by someone who sleeps with a different person every week.  Like I said, personal preferences…

So, you could say that the taboo of the one-night stand is purely relative.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, although I will say that some are more extreme than others.  Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with the occasional (read: once or twice a year) one-nighter, so long as safe sex is practised and both people involved are fully aware that it will only ever be just that: a one-nighter (there are plenty more caveats such as make sure he’s not married/has a girlfriend and don’t do it if you’re a fragile kind of person but then we’d be here all day).  It’s my body, my life, my decision.  I am also of the opinion that sleeping with someone you know and trust and care about is generally a lot better than with someone you only know by their first name.  But that’s not to say that a night of no-holds-barred sex can’t be just as physically fulfilling.  After all, sex is enjoyable (at least, most of the time) and can be great and leave you with an incredible glow and a feeling of physical satisfaction, so why should people in relationships have all the fun?

ONS3

Serious case of cba

Much has been said about how our generation expects everything NOW, whether it’s money, fame, success, happiness, love etc.  Most of us have been told that the world is our oyster, and as  result there’s an expectation of things to come to us freely and easily with little or no effort from our side.  And I’m beginning to think that this attitude extends to sex.

Now, it’s nothing new that people want to have sex, and that they want it often.  Nor is it surprising that not everyone wants to invest in three dates and dinner in order to get down and dirty.  But recent events have highlighted just how lazy some people (and yes I’m talking about guys here) are when it comes to getting laid.

I understand that Tinder has gained a certain reputation for being used for easy hook-ups, and I have nothing against that as a concept.  After all, that radius setting is there for a reason right?  But I’ve really begun to question what kind of girl it takes to receive a message from a guy saying ‘hey hot stuff, fancy coming round to my place?’ and replying with ‘sure, I’ll be there in 10’.  Now I’m by no means frigid, but I really do draw the line at going round to the house of someone I’ve never met before just to get it on.  In the past week, I’ve had two guys offer me their, erm, ‘hospitality’, without ever having met them and with only a few brief messages exchanged.

Tinder2

Or

Tinder1

Call me a cynic, but I’m pretty sure I know what ‘small spoon’ and ‘massage’ are alluding to.  So having gently rebuffed these oh-so generous offers, did I hear from either guy again?  Nope.  So that’s it?  A girl you’ve never met before doesn’t come round to your house the minute you ask her and that’s as much effort you’re willing to put in?  Like I said, I totally understand that the majority of Tinder users (especially the male ones) are just in it for an easy lay, but this is really testing the boundaries of laziness.

It also makes me wonder if this approach ever works.  I’d like to think that all girls are sensible enough to not drop their knickers at the snap of a Tinder lothario’s fingers, but the realist in me knows that somewhere out there some ladies are doing just that, and in the process ruining it for the rest of us.  Also, wouldn’t that be the most awkward situation ever?

Tinder Girl: Hey, you’re Tinder Guy right?

Tinder Guy: Sure am, come on in.

Tinder Girl: So, um, nice place you’ve got here…

Tinder Guy: Thanks… would you like a cup of tea or shall we just get straight to it?

I mean, it’s one step short of invoicing the guy for services rendered.

So, Alex/Luke/every other Tinder chap out there, sorry but you’re going to have to try a bit harder.