Being forced out of the only place you’ve ever known where to meet other singles, the pub, now that the kiddies have taken over and you are positively ancient in their eyes, it isn’t long before you start thinking of alternative routes to finding someone you might stand a chance with. Fortunately, in this day and age, you have the whole world at your fingertips, and by that I mean the whole world of single people who have an internet connection.
Back when I was in my twenties you had one site where it would be possible to meet people of the opposite sex for…sex, or maybe a date as well if you were feeling extra flamboyant, and this site was Plenty Of Fish, or POF. Having embarked upon a decade of relationships though, this internet dating stuff passed me by. I had single friends who had put up their profiles and if you believed anything the lying bastards said, were hammering it. A different girl every night.
Now, before we go any further I need to clear something up. Being afraid of my own mortality, I long ago figured out the way to stay young, or at least “at heart”, was to adopt the Peter Pan mentality. No, I wasn’t after shagging bossy thirteen year old girls in their nightgowns, bringing her two younger brothers along for the ride, all the while my little pet fairy watched on absolutely heartbroken because she knew she was the right one for me, even if we were a different species and she was just four inches tall.
The Peter Pan mentality is to always keep that sense of mischief, that sense of adventure, alive in your heart by not taking anything all too seriously in real life and knowing, although everyone else will die, I will not because I’m Peter fucking Pan, I can do what I want, even flirt with my horny, four-inch-tall, flying sparkle rat.
The reason I bring this up at all is that I mentioned my friend’s having sex with a different girl every night. They weren’t girls, they were all very much woman as far as my mates could tell. I’m not sure they asked for ID before getting down to it but let us just assume there was no statutory rape going on.
I call all women girls until they hit about fifty which still feels dreadfully old to my immature brain but is none the less hurtling towards me like some sort of bad joke. Fifty and over are ladies. It is just the way I’ve always done it, men are lads and remain lads until the day they die.
So, having failed miserably in the pub I decided to get online and have a look. I didn’t bother with Plenty Of Fish, I went straight to the big guns which we all know is Tinder. If you’ve been hiding under a rock or have remained in a “happy relationship” and have no clue what I’m talking about, Tinder is an app you can download. You put your name in, your age, upload a few photographs of yourself and you’re ready to start playing. You choose what species you’d like to match with (I chose girls…women) and then I decided to target girls…women, between the ages of 30 and 40. That’s my decade no matter how much pixie dust (glitter), I attempt to eat.
It’s a relatively simple game Tinder, a girl’s…woman’s profile will engulf the screen and then you swipe either left for nahhhh, the state of her, even her teeth have teeth, or right for fuck me I’m in love, we’ll have such beautiful babies…or something to that effect.
So it’s swipe left for not interested and right for very interested. You need only your thumb, left, right, left, right. You can read the person's bios, flick through their photo galleries to make sure that one shot she looks cute in isn’t in fact a fluke and she’s really a munter…it’s a fun game and I started playing it.
Some of the girls on there are absolute stunners, you could fall in love with them. They all want you to join them on Instagram, claiming they “don’t really hang out here often but you can find me at sparklyprincess101bullshitbullshitIjustwantloadsofinsta-followers”.
These girls…women, don’t want to speak to you, but fear not because there is someone out there for everyone, it’s a numbers game. You keep swiping, swipe right, swipe right. Each time you swipe your screen a new profile of a new girl…woman pops up for your consideration.
Now, picture the scene. I’m at home alone, well obviously, it looks like it’s just me and the cat keeping my bed warm tonight. Me using him as a living, purring hot water bottle, him using my nose as an arsehole scratching device, the trade-off seems a little unfair but he’s the only company I have on this particular night so I let him do what he needs to once I’m asleep.
I’m swiping, swiping, swiping, and then I come across a girl…woman, let’s call her Emma, because that’s her name. And Emma, she’s stood there, outside a house. Most of the girls will have backdrops with stars and twinkles in the air, or a photo of them pissed, out in a bar, showing us guys what a good laugh they are, huge fishbowl cocktail in one hand, sticking out their tongue which, like the liquid in the glass they are holding, is illuminous blue. I know right, classy.
For Emma it’s just a house, a bit of crumbling pebbledash to her right, and she’s stood there, back straight, completely rigid, hair scraped back, so that her eyes are almost touching her ears. She didn’t smile, no need for that, the moustache would, well you wouldn’t be able to see her smile anyway. She’s stood there, Man United top on, holding a can of Coke. Just by her side, she doesn’t want to make out like she was a rep or anything. And I’m looking at this girl…woman…thing, thinking, is this the best picture you’ve got. You’re promoting yourself, this is a dating site, just smile, well no, you don’t have to smile, you wouldn’t see your lips through the grizzle, but have a shave, or at least trim it.
So she’s there, hair scraped back like a samurai warrior, United top on, a samurai warrior who supports Man United, holding a can of Coke but not promoting it. And then I had to question the person who was taking the picture. I mean, I’m sure this is a friend, someone who wants poor Emma to do well on the dating scene, she’s obviously had her heart broken a few times, had given up with love, stopped waxing that top lip, and I just think, well put the can of Coke down Emma, come on, this is going to be your profile picture on Tinder, you’re going to need to woo the men with this.
Emma’s like ‘No, no. I like Coke.’
Well yeah, yeah, we know you like Coke but, you don’t have to…that doesn’t have to be the first thing people see. Leave a little mystery.
I don’t know.
She only had the one profile picture. Some of the girls on there might have ten pictures, in bikinis and on holiday, at photo shoots and all that, it’s quite nice to look at actually, but Emma, no, she just had the one. This was obviously the best you’d get from her.
Who knows, maybe there’s someone out there swiping. Kevin. He also loves Coke, and he’s swiping, swiping, ewww, no, look at that, bikinis, I’m going to be sick. You can almost see her nip…oh hang on, who’s she? I’ve got a mousta…she’s got a moustache, wow, oh my God, and…I like Coke. And she’s holding a can of Coke. This is amazing, God I hope I match.
Yeah, it’s a funny game. The basic premise being you swipe right, and if the person you’ve swiped to say you like, also swipes to say they like you then it’s a match.
Hooray! Well done. But even if you do match with someone nothing’s guaranteed. It’s not a date set up or anything, you just then kind of enter what I like to call the abyss of bullshit. You’ve matched with someone, Rebecca let’s call her, and what I like to do next, and I don’t know how out there this is, but when I think I like the look of her, she likes the look of me enough to swipe right, I’ll say hello. It’s a radical way of thinking I know. Call me a game-changer, I know, crazy. To think you’d actually try and strike up a conversation with somebody who has basically told you ‘You’re a bit of alright you.’
‘Hiya Rebecca, how are you?’
The app shows Rebecca’s online, she matched with you two minutes ago, you can see she has read your message saying hi, and still nothing back. Not to worry, try again, this time be a bit funny, let her know you have a personality.
‘What’s up Beccy,’ not Rebecca any longer, we’ve matched, we’re friend’s now, ‘What’s up Beccy, got a sore throat?’ Ehhh? Because we’re texting and don’t need to speak, I’m on fire, this will surely woo her into a reply.
It still shows Beccy’s online, that she’s read your second message and again, nothing. By now you’re wondering why the hell this chick swiped right on you in the first place if she wasn’t ever going to open up any mode of communication, but not to be deterred, you will one day laugh about this little rocky patch when recounting how you met to your friends at dinner parties, now blissfully happy in your relationship having finally found your soul mate.
Third time a charm, that last-ditch attempt to get words from this woman, ‘Hi Beccy, you keep reading, but no answer. What's up?’
You’re just asking a question, LOL. Put a LOL on the end, because you’re laughing, it’s funny, oh how you’ll laugh recounting this to the grandkids one day.
She reads the third message and you’re waiting for a reply now. No one can be this ru…a message flashes up, Rebecca has reported you to Tinder for abuse. Do not try and contact this profile again.
But we just matched? Why is she reporting me to Tinder now? How on earth was I abusing her? I just can not understand this bitch Beccy’s thinking. That’s the equivalent of going to a bar, seeing a girl…woman you like on the other side of the room (probably with her mates, drinking drinks which make her tongue go blue), you make eye contact, she smiles back, you wave because you’re such a fucking fanny, then stop the wave half way through but she catches it and laughs. When she approaches the bar to get a drink she beckons you over, all smiles and flirty eyes and as soon as you’re beside her saying hello, she turns her back to you and completely ignores you. That’s exactly what this is like. Undeterred you try to get her attention, we matched, we laughed from across the room, hi, how are you? And she then gets you kicked out by the bouncers for “harassing her”.
It’s a weird place this Tinder game. But it isn’t all Emmas and Beccy’s, there are the thrill-seekers too. Those who yearn for an adventure. You’re swiping, reading the profiles, “I just want an adventure,” “Oh I need someone to go on an adventure with me!” “Adventure seeker seeking the adventurous.”
Listen love, you’re a forty-year-old newly divorced single mum with three young kids, the only adventure you’re having is down the discount aisle at your local supermarket, let’s have it real now.
But, my all-time favourites…and I don’t know what they’re thinking, but when I swipe a profile, it is generally based on attraction, I like to be attracted to them or I would maybe have read Emma’s profile and discovered, as well as liking Coke, she also shared similar likes and dislikes to me. I may very well have been the Kevin she was looking for. As it is though, she didn’t quite make the cut because well, she looked like the Honey Monster’s hairy uncle. But credit where credit’s due, she was showing people the real her. On the other side of the spectrum is the profile photos of women smiling for the camera with donkey ears and a Snapchat surgeons mask over their faces. I don’t get it, I just cannot fathom why these people think this is going to be the photo that will attract anyone. I simply can’t understand the thinking, because again, if I was in a bar and there was a girl in there with donkey ears and a surgeons mask, having a great time, without a doubt, she’s a real wild child heart breaker I’m sure, with stars everywhere behind her for some reason, I don’t think I’d ever approach them.
It’s a funny old world.
You do get a few through though. Every hundred or so swipes might actually be a normal person. Some also not quite as normal. My first Tinder date was I believed one of the “normal ones” and turned out, well, let’s just say, not the person she was making out to be…