‘Tim from Brighton would like to connect with you – we think you’d make a great match!’
Hmm ok, as tempting as that is, Bumble, Tim has strategically worn sunglasses in each of his five pictures, has bet that I ‘can’t make him laugh’ as one of his profile facts (f*ck off, I’m hilarious) and seems to like his black Labrador a little too much. Ladies and Gentlemen – the time in history has arrived in which we are relying upon algorithms to inform us, via email, of our recommended shags within a 5-mile radius – what a time to be alive!
We’ve all seen the evolution of dating apps, from the launch of Tinder – now well known as a sort of one-night-stand database, to the rise of apps like Bumble and Hinge- which are aimed at the development of relationships, through finding ‘real connections’ – because you’ll definitely fancy someone who shares a Facebook friend with that girl you met in the club loos last Saturday (she did compliment your dress, to be fair). All of this dating might seem to be pretty cool and cosmopolitan – sashaying around Soho, Samantha Jones-esque, en route to dimly-lit bars… but let’s face it, the reality of online dating in London is more à la Bridget Jones. Maintaining an air of ‘cool girl’ mystique whilst trying to remember who you told your funny camping story to (and on which app) and walking with google maps an inch from your face, treading in puddles and dog poo whilst trying desperately to locate your date in the arse-end of Shoreditch. Let us not forget the recurring nightmare of being enthusiastically introduced to a man you recognise somewhat… ah yes, you have already cruelly rejected through the form of a left swipe. All in all, it is bloody exhausting.
It strikes me as pretty ironic that at one moment in my day I can be intimately sharing body heat with group of tightly compacted strangers, nose is firmly planted in an armpit, (on the tube, I’m not a total weirdo), yet at the next, I find myself glaring at the ‘dine in for two’ deal in my local M&S (joke’s on them, cause if you think I can’t finish that alone, you’re wrong mate). If my only chance to rectify this is to turn to dating apps, I at least think they could be a little more helpful – maybe they could include reviews within profiles, like any other decent online shopping platform – ‘Tom was lovely and bought me merlot, but unfortunately had crippling halitosis’, ‘Whilst he was very attentive, Will’s laugh did remind one of a coughing dog’, ‘Had a great time with Jeremy, until he politely informed me that I had “passed his test” by managing to eat an entire burger!’. Having said that, I can be sure that my own reviews would read something like ‘clammy hands, anger problems, makes bad jokes’… possibly not my best idea.
For anyone who has experienced it, you have to admit that the feeling of being confronted by hundreds of prospective ‘Mr Rights’ at your fingertips is utterly overwhelming. If, by some miracle, you do manage to navigate this landscape and end up on a date with a fortunate young man (or old man, no judgement….well maybe a bit), an unavoidable thought springs to mind – how could anyone settle, when there is seemingly endless options out there? It does seem impossible that the odds would be stacked so precisely in your favour as to meet the love of your life on a dating app, yet we all have that friend who likes to tell us about her cousin’s neighbour’s hamster’s babysitter who is now blissfully married to the Prince of Bumbleville. I think this is supposed to be comforting, yet somehow leaves one feeling surrounded by smug marrieds (another Bridget Jones reference, roll out the pity parade)
With all this said, in those moments of feeling sort of like Finding Nemo in an ocean of arsehole-fish, it is worth reminding yourself that you are not alone in this predicament –believe me, we have all been there (unless you’re name is Marjory and you’ve been happily married for 44 years – if you’re reading this Marjory, congrats). The effects of the online dating world are becoming all too familiar to us: “both male and female Tinder users experience low self-esteem, body shame and negative moods” and thankfully the stigma surround it is slowly fading away (don’t act like some sort of righteous Tinder-virgin, it’s so 2000-and-late). So, it’s time to start talking about it. Laugh about arriving 20 minutes late with a stress-induced SULA (sweaty upper lip alert), get opinions on that perfectly slutty/chic outfit, ask that mutual friend whether Jeremy has some sort of burger-fetish (!). Trust me, crying with laughter is very cathartic, (I practice it daily, downward dog was too tricky with the sweaty palms), and much better than the alternative.
Everyone around you is searching for a connection with another person, whether that’s for friendship or true love – so you can choose to feel futile about this, or you can grab onto the Shazzer to your Bridget Jones/ the Samantha to your Carry/ the Dory to your Marlin and just keep swimming hun.