At the time of writing it’s the end of February, traditionally a month full of red roses, chocolates and, it would seem, mass outbreaks of killer diseases. This gave me cause to ruminate about the world of online dating.


“Alex, 26, old in mind and body. Forever in pain either emotionally or physically. Enjoys rosé, watching Nigella (not for the food) and forty a day.”

 

It’s a hard life on a dating app. Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, SnapFuck – whichever your preferred method of disappointment – all revolve around you having something interesting to say about yourself which other people also find interesting, ideally within the space of a paragraph, if not a sentence, accompanied by photos of you looking like a young George Clooney. I do very little that interests even my friends, let alone Stefanie, 25, from Clacton, and have a selection of photos in which I look like an elderly Arthur Miller. NB: if you’re under 30 and know who Arthur Miller is, we’ll get married tomorrow.

Sarcasm, subversive or self-deprecating humour rarely comes across well on dating apps, yet it seems to be the main mode of introducing oneself to a potential partner. “Let me make a tit of myself first so you don’t have to. Whilst we’re at it, let me tell you everything negative about myself to save you finding out later on and save me having to change for you. You see? My bio said sometimes I’d try and take your kidneys out in the night. What, you thought I was being sarcastic?”
The other tried and tested method for introducing yourself is the classic Likes and Dislikes list. I was going to compile such a list myself but then realised that I don’t like anything and dislike everything. At least I’m being true to myself though, hun. Enter a string of meaningless emojis here.

“Christ if you think this is bad you should see me down at the Golden Oak on a Friday afternoon.”

That said, I met a wonderful (now ex) partner on a dating app and we had two and a half years together. Occasionally the word ‘had’ is removed from that last sentence and replaced with ‘wasted’ but, nevertheless, it is possible to find someone and something meaningful on an app. Kiss enough frogs and eventually, you’ll find Mr Toad, or however the saying goes. Swipe right on enough slappers and eventually, you’ll find someone who’ll split a bottle of rosé with you in the smoking area. Preferably without ever having to utter, or type, the words ‘long walks on the beach’. Indeed, God deliver us from ever having to actually do any of the activities we allegedly enjoy.

Then, of course, comes the date itself. What an event, meeting someone you’ve only ever seen on a screen. I have experienced some spectacularly bad dates. The first that springs to mind was when my date informed within five minutes that “you drink your wine a lot quicker than I drink my gin and tonic” – to which there is no answer. I supplied a feeble “mm” (probably because I had a mouth full of wine) whilst thinking Christ if you think this is bad you should see me down at the Golden Oak on a Friday afternoon. A friend had a date recently with a lady he met on an app and she chose the restaurant for dinner. He arrived at the restaurant to be greeted by the owner, whom he’d previously prosecuted. Another grand start to a first date, I’m sure you’ll agree. I had an equally jolly exchange of messages with a lady who told me after a few weeks of chatting that she sells “naughty vids” and would I like to buy one. Suffice to say that particular fledgeling relationship went down the crack pipe as well.

Perhaps it’s because I couldn’t give a shit about what other people do for enjoyment that I find online dating to be such a minefield. Perhaps it’s because I drink my wine too quickly. Perhaps it’s a combination of these things. In fact, I think I’ve just found my new Tinder bio.

Alex Viveash 

 

Collage by Christian Barthold