I’ve spent hours curating a dating profile, putting myself on display to the males in my surrounding area in the hope that a mix of ‘wholesome me’ (pictures of me welly-clad, with my labrador) and ‘fun me’ (pictures of sequined, messy nights out), emanate the perfect balance of innocent purity and outgoing minx. This is all in the hope that I might secure a date with a bang-average ‘entrepreneur’, only to realise, 4 G&T’s down, that the wedding I had planned and children I had named will in fact never exist, because, what a surprise, we are not a good match. I delete the app. I get bored. I start the whole process again. *Breathe*
I was recently optimistically swiping on ‘Hinge’ – an app I hadn’t tried but had heard great things about from my cool London friends. I wasn’t not sure it’s popularity had hit the South- West yet, however it was novel and I was enjoying it (or at least telling myself I was) when a notification came through:
“Tom has invited you to start the chat”
This notification made me want to be single forever. I stopped swiping, put down my phone and stared woefully out of the window across my garden. After making the first move and liking his picture, Tom wanted me to chat to start the chat. Sorry WHAT?! I realised in that moment, (and I’m ashamed it took so long to realise it), that these apps are degrading. A male had just invited me to entertain him. He would chose whether I was pun-y enough that he might deign to reply. Why do we put ourself in an environment where that is the norm?! Surely it is easier to go and actually meet people and be rejected in real life? At least that generates embarrassing situations which may lead to great Bridget Jones-esque stories. What stories can I tell of getting rejected in silence through my screen?
The amount of rejection my friends and I deal with on a daily basis because our opening lines are weird, or our pictures don’t show the appropriate ratio of bare-bottom to Barbour, is astonishing. I was once even unmatched for saying I was free on a Saturday night for a drink – apparently not the ‘done thing’…
I digress. We are in a national emergency. Not only did that notification make me realise that I had to delete all dating apps, but also that we are putting forward a version of ourselves that isn’t real. We present all our best parts, ignoring all the wonderful things that people actually like us for. For example, the ‘drunk lisp’ I have acquired, that my best friends say is endearing, cannot possibly be conveyed through a phone screen. We hope that we don’t disappoint online-dating suitors in person, however this is only inevitable when we have sold ourselves as something which we simply aren’t. It’s all walk and no talk. We should be working on ourselves and our personalities rather than our appearance and online persona. Perhaps this is what creates commitment-phobes of my generation. With an apparently endless stream of options, how could we possibly ‘settle’? We seek out the best-looking people, with the wittiest one-liners, when in reality, there is so much more to what makes people attractive.
In my new chapter of living without dating apps, I am going to be more appreciative of people’s personalities, not their go-to karaoke songs and whether or not they have a picture of themselves downing a bottle of ‘Bolly’ in Val-d’Isere on their Instagram.
Look forward to an impending report on my progress. Ciao for now, you brave, online-lovers.