"You make a profile, upload some pics of you looking cute, insert a sarcastic quote about brunch, prosecco and / or your uber rating, you swipe away and you get a date. Badda bing, badda boom - welcome to dating in 2018 and **sing in the tune of Billie Piper track** This is How We Do It. "
Apps are pretty much how I get 98% of the dates I go on. You make a profile, upload some pics of you looking cute, insert a sarcastic quote about brunch, prosecco and / or your uber rating, you swipe away and you get a date. Badda bing, badda boom - welcome to dating in 2018 and **sing in the tune of Billie Piper track** This is How We Do It.
It all seems easy - RIGHT? But what happens when he cancels, he flakes 30 mins before, 'Oh that sucks girl' but plenty more fish in the sea right? When the cute guy you matched with didn't message you back.. well I guess he got a better offer right...? What happens when the cute guy who cancelled your date because he had to work late at his office in Shoreditch is actually in Clapham at 11pm according to his location on Bumble? What happens when you meet someone who is by all regards, great - but the fear that your legitimate soulmate could be 3 swipes away keeps you from committing. Are these apps getting us matched, or are they deteriorating our happiness, our mental health and self esteem?
I'm on the fence, and I'm not sure how I feel about dating in the age of apps anymore.
There are times when dating apps make me feel great. You can't not when you boast a Tinder profile with 2000 matches, when you match with boys who look like literal models on Tinder and men want to buy me dinner 3 nights a week. I mean gal's gotta eat right!? I'm literally living Carrie Bradshaw S3 in her best life and it's just fucking wonderful. I love being single! But then.. he cancels, and another one leaves after just 1 drink, and he didn't reply to my great joke about the hat he was wearing in his profile pic, and that other one did look a bit like a player in his photos.. maybe that's why he's not replying?? God then there was that guy that was 5ft 4 and a bit fat.. maybe I should just go out with him anyway?? Oh fuck he hasn't texted back and I don't have any other prospective dates. I gotta get swiping.
I. AM. EXHAUSTED.
In Dolly Alderton's memoir 'Everything I Know About Love' she remarks on the sheer ridiculousness of one of her oldest friends getting out of a long term relationship and meeting a boy in a bar, and if you listen closely enough you'll hear the nervous laughter of 300,000 single girls because does this ever happen anymore? I personally have gone on ONE date with a man I met in real life in the last year of dating, let that sink in. One date, out of a possible 70ish? I don't count, that would be weird, but the simple fact is, people don't meet in real life anymore.
Part of this is wonderful - it means we meet people we wouldn't usually mix with, I can nab a date with a banker from Putney and a hipster from Shoreditch in the same week without having to pretend I really like going to the The Duck and paying 5.80 for one pint or nodding my head and trying my best to look 'cool' in a die hard, trendy bar. But part of this means easy come, easy go. And people will cancel without feeling bad - because they haven't met you yet, so why should they feel bad? People in relationships will browse on apps to see what the dating scene is like, and to rate people's pics, and men will outright message you things like 'hey - you look like a fuckpig.' and not think about it twice, because they don't owe you anything. Being cancelled on, walked out on, ignored, and then insulted in one week could take a hit on someone's confidence and make them feel pretty damn shit, and can you really blame them? I know it's happened to me.
And then there's the fear. You meet a guy, and maybe you're 4, 5, 6 dates in. It's getting comfortable, comfortable enough that they give you morning sex before a long day at work, comfortable enough for them to order your favourite drink before you get to the pub to meet them because they've memorised what it is, and comfortable enough to bring you over a GU pudding and a bottle of Oyster Bay when you've had a shit day because they know that's what it takes to cheer you up. But on the 6 days a week you don't see them, you're still swiping, still wondering what's out there, and still looking. Do we even know what we're looking for? I could very well meet the man I marry on an app, and that fact terrifies me. What if I pick the wrong man? What if I stop swiping too soon and miss out on my soulmate?
So... What Do I Do?
Know your warning signs.
If a boy cancelling a date is reducing you to tears, don't beat yourself up for overreacting, recognise it and act upon it. Treat yourself, buy a doughnut, order a deliveroo and do what I always do - take yourself out for a date, because cliched as it may be, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.
Delete the Apps
Or pause them, stick them in a folder you can't see, and don't look at them for a while. Call your friends, go for dinner and cocktails, be basic, listen to some Taylor Swift, buy some new jeans, throw some millennial pink stuff around your room just because you can and because BEING SINGLE IS FAB.
Flirt with boys in real life, give your number to the hot bartender who is serving you tequila shots, dance to Whitney Houston and just live your best fucking life.
Oh and eat some pizza - I don't know why, but I'm fairly sure it will help.
Photography by Kaye Ford