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

 

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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.

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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

 

Can I buy you a drink?

Given that the last six months or so have resulted in a rather prolific rate of Tinder swiping, online dating profile writing, dating, and then blogging, many people have asked me the same question: why don’t you just meet people normally?  Gosh well thanks, I’d never even thought of that…

So my response is this:

A. Of course I’d like to meet someone in a normal situation, and all of my past relationships have come about because of ‘normal situations’, but dating is fun and can be pretty simple

B. Have YOU tried meeting someone in London?  This place is huge!  And when I’m on a night out I’m more focused on having a good time with my friends than eyeing up someone across a dimly-lit bar.

C. I genuinely HATE being chatted up on a night out, and this brings me to the main topic of this post…

I would imagine that nearly all girls have had the same experience as me.  You’re on a night out with some friends, you’re all having a good time, you go to the bar to get the next round in.  Next thing you know, some midget with coffee breath is just dying to buy your drinks for you whilst at the same time trying to race through all those ‘do you come here often?’ questions.

It is one of life’s great conundrums – why is it always the guys who you don’t want to chat you up who do the chatting up??  Now, if a guy is witty and charming and funny I might be able to get over the lack of height and the halitosis, but this has never happened.  I also take issue with the unwritten rule that if a guy buys you a drink, then you owe him something a bit more than a few minutes of conversation.  Last year a girlfriend and I were in a bar in the City, and a group of guys who were there ended up buying our drinks for us.  We were polite, said thank you, hung out with them for a while, then decided to take our leave from our new pals and go elsewhere in the multi-levelled venue.  Apparently, this was a bad choice on our part.  Various insults were thrown our way, including ‘sluts’ and ‘bitches’, and no matter how many times we tried to escape this group of so-called gents, they just seemed to be everywhere.  If we’d known this was going to happen, we never would have accepted those drinks.

Then there are the guys who seem to think that certain topics are acceptable when trying to woo a girl on a night out.  One incident where a guy mentioned rohypnol within the first three minutes come to mind.  To all the men that read this, this is never EVER an acceptable form of ‘banter’.  It just isn’t funny, and you never know the history of the girl you’re speaking to.  Just steer clear of rohypnol OK?

Any girl will tell you that there are many more aspects of being chatted up that just simply don’t sit well with us.  Someone you don’t know invading your personal space with no invitation, someone bending your ear about a topic that is incredibly boring, someone monopolising your attention when you’d much rather be dancing with your mates or flirting with the hot friend of a friend who just showed up… the list goes on.

Of course, there are the rare times when we get chatted up by a guy that actually piques our interest, and there could be any number of reasons why we say yes to one man and no to another.  Interesting conversation, chemistry, attractiveness etc.  So I’m not saying that guys shouldn’t approach women and attempt to chat them up.  My point is, they should learn to realise when their advances are not being reciprocated, and should learn to bow out gracefully.

Key indicators that your chat-up lines are not working (and this applies to girls too):

  • The other person is turning their body away from you, or is trying to establish at least a foot of clear space between you
  • His/her friends come over to drag him/her onto the dance floor and he/she puts up no resistance at all
  • He/she makes no attempt to keep the conversation going
  • He/she does not want to come outside with you for a cigarette
  • He/she says ‘look, it was nice to meet you but I’m just here to have a good night out with my friends’

chatup

 

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.

Face value

If you ask a girl about what she looks for in a man, she might give any number of answers.  ‘I want a guy who makes me laugh’, ‘I’d like to find a guy who I can trust’, or ‘I just want someone who gets me’.  These are all valid points, and these answers may certainly be truthful.  However, I wonder how much is not being said.

We’re used to men focusing on the physical: ‘I’m a boobs/arse/legs guy’, ‘full lips are a must’, ‘she can’t be fat’ etc.  These criteria tend to preceded the funny/kind/intelligent aspects, and whilst women might not be as vocal about it, we also have our aesthetic preferences.  Let’s be honest, the physical attraction has got to be there at some point, so why are we judged as being shallow by saying that we’d like a guy who’s tall with great arms or a chiselled face or rugby thighs or washboard abs?  Why aren’t we allowed to openly say that we’d like to be chatted up by someone who looks a bit like David Gandy and it doesn’t matter (initially at least) if they don’t have the wit of Oscar Wilde?

Granted, it depends on what kind of scenario you’re in.  I know I’m not the only girl who, when on a night out with friends, will pull a total bitch-face* at anyone who doesn’t score at least 7/10.  In a situation where you’re making quick (and slightly vodka-blurred) judgements, both men and women will assess a potential flirting partner on their looks.  It may sound harsh to say it, but you’re not exactly going to gaze across a bar at some 5’9” overweight sweaty balding guy wearing an England football shirt and think ‘oooh I bet he’s got a great sense of humour, c’mere STUD!’  Or maybe you would, in which case we have completely different tastes in men…  Perhaps the difference lies in what a girl’s ultimate goal is.  If she’s looking for a quick fling, then it’s understandable she’d want it to be with some hunk with biceps big enough to throw her around the bedroom and cheekbones you can cut yourself on.  Personality isn’t the main factor here, it’s sexual chemistry and physical attraction.

On the other hand, I totally accept that someone who doesn’t float your boat initially can grow on you over time.  I have certainly found myself in a situation where I’d met a guy and hadn’t been initially attracted to him, but through spending time with him and getting to know him I became rather besotted.  Average Guy had transformed into Sex God in a matter of months, and no one was more surprised than me.  Needless to say, it didn’t work out, but I think that sort of illustrates my point.  When I think of the couples I know who have been together a long time, nearly all of them were friends before they became romantically involved, and that says a lot.

But I still don’t think that this should mean we can’t admit to wanting to be with a guy who’s physically appealing to more than just his mother.  If we’re talking long-term relationships and even marriage, why shouldn’t I want to be with someone who doesn’t want to make me gag into my pillow a little bit when I wake up every morning?  Obviously we all have varying tastes, and one girl’s David Beckham may be another’s Jonah Hill, and thank heavens for that otherwise there’d be a lot of sad and lonely men and women out there.  But, I do believe we’re allowed to want someone who ticks the box both physically and emotionally.

I’ll admit that I’m pretty damn picky appearance-wise when it comes to men, and perhaps this is where I’m going wrong.  I’ll also admit that at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.  Perhaps I just find it hard to get past the outward appearance in order to know the ‘inner beauty’.  In my defence, I know I’m not the only girl who’s like this – there are girls I know who will only date male models or at least a guy who’s ripped enough to be in an Abercrombie catalogue.  Even I think this is faintly ridiculous – I know that looks aren’t everything and, ultimately, I’d like to find a guy who offers stimulating conversation, humour, and a sense of trust.  But is it too much to ask to be attracted to someone both inside and out?

fat

‘Whaddya mean you don’t believe I was on this month’s Men’s Health cover??’

* Definition of ‘bitch-face‘: looking at a sub-standard guy who has dared to chat you up with a ‘you think you can tap this?!’ expression on your face.  Raised eyebrow optional.

Bone, sandpaper, desert

The term ‘Dry Patch’ is most commonly associated with a lack of, erm, intimate relations with a member of the opposite sex (or same, depending on your preferences) for a sustained period of time.  Most of us will have had one, maybe some of you are going through one right now.  Christmas and New Year are over, few people are going out, and that lovely tradition of Dry January means that drunken hook-ups are few and far between.

Then there are the different kind of Dry Patches: work, creativity, and – what I’m currently experiencing – dating.  My dating dry patch is the result of several factors:

  1. Christmas and New Year is a bad time to start having dates – lack of availability before December 25th (too many parties to go to) then it would seem most of London, myself included, high-tailed it off to the country for over a week.  Hardly prime dating time
  2. Having been hitting the dating scene hard for the last few months, I’ve experienced something of a burn-out.  Tiredness and a serious case of can’t-be-arsed have set in, and at the moment I’d rather spend time with friends and family than a guy who may or may not make me laugh and feel good about myself (whereas friends/family always do)
  3. With the aforementioned burn-out has come something of a knock to my confidence.  Going on several dates with guys (not all at the same time obvs) then never hearing from them again hasn’t exactly left me feeling cocky about my own charms or powers of attraction
  4. Is it just me or has the standard of men out there suddenly taken a sharp dip?  The various online sites I’ve been using used to be full of hotties; now I’m offered a screen full of Average Joes.  Meh…
  5. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to not let affect my love life (or lack thereof) affect my overall emotional well-being, so what better way to achieve this than avoid men as much as possible?
  6. I genuinely enjoy being single.  I can do what I want, when I want, and not have to consult with anyone about my plans
  7. Valentines Day is a month away, which means that starting to date anyone now would result in an awkward stand-off where no one wants to mention Feb 14th, ending in unavoidable disappointment (see here for more thoughts on V-Day).  Am I tempted to get myself in this predicament?  No thanks

So, why am I continuing to scroll through Tinder and check my online profiles?  Because, I’ll admit, it’s rather addictive.  And I’m still of the rather optimistic (misguided?) frame of mind that maybe, just maybe, someone will come along and change my mind on most, if not all, the above points.  In the process of explaining my blog combined with my online dating antics, most people will ask me if I’m looking for The One.  Short answer: no.  But, I hasten to add, dating is fun!  I love meeting new people,  I’ve tried new dating activities (climbing date anyone?), I’ve been taken to some amazing restaurants and bars in the past 6 months or so (oh Mr Hedge Fund, why did you do a Houdini?), and whilst there have certainly been some horror stories, there have been some very decent dates to dilute them.

Long story short, if someone came along tomorrow and swept me off my feet I wouldn’t say ‘hold on there buddy, can you come back in about a month?’.  But I’m actually rather enjoying my dry patch.  I’m not checking my phone every five seconds, I can go for over a week without shaving my legs, I suddenly have a lot more time for other people (including myself), and this time in a month I won’t be disappointed when I don’t get a pretty red or pink envelope and a large bunch of flowers delivered to my desk.

So, who wants to come out and get rip-roaring drunk with me on V-day…?!

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