I’m once again at the stage where my life has calmed down enough to actually be able scrape together a couple of hours for a date once in a while. There are lots of things I love about being single. Independence and self-sufficiency and the fact that the entire bed is mine to do extravagant triple roll-overs. But there’s stuff I dislike too. Like having no choice about having to be independent and self-sufficient, 100% of the time. And triple roll-overs are boring if there isn’t someone to occasionally bump into (I’m sorry, Mum, but I do have two children – I think it’s time I confessed I am no longer a virgin).
Does anybody meet anyone anymore other than online? Maybe it’s just that I have a very married group of friends. They are married, and their friends are married, and their cousins are married… on and on to the nth degree. They’re one big sea of happy marriedness, apart from one guy called Bob that everyone brings up with a worried look and the disclaimer “Well, there’s Bob, he’s single… but there was that incident with the cat and the glass eye… and then the hospital stay… no, you know what, maybe not Bob. Probably not your type.”
So, online it is. Which means Tinder. Of course, there’s other dating sites. Heaps of other dating sites. But you go to the website and then suddenly you’re dealing with personality profiles and aspiration calendars and please provide a DNA sample HERE and sacrifice this small animal HERE and then it becomes so much bloody admin that I might as well be doing the pile of paperwork that’s guilting me out from the corner of my desk. Whereas Tinder just requires you to log in with Facebook and then maintain the coordination to move your finger an inch in either direction. That’s about the extent of movement I’m capable of after seven o’clock at night.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had some great, and random, conversations on Tinder. Sometimes it’s immediately obvious that we have zero in common, and the guy is allergic to kids and I’m allergic to hipster beards, but we spend an hour trying to out-funny each other before wishing each other goodnight and good luck. It’s nice. People are interesting.
I’ve also made some good friends and had a couple of short term relationships. But my staying power on the app tends to be about two weeks. Then I get Tinder-fatigue. It all gets so samey.
I sat with one of my married friends, showing her how it worked. “It’s like internet shopping, but for people,” I explained. I swiped right and a match came up. She looked at me, stars in her eyes, the possibility of vicarious romance blossoming.
“No, no, you don’t understand. Lots of guys swipe right on anyone who’s female and under fifty. There’s even apps that do it for you. It’s pretty likely that I’ll never hear anything from this.”
We looked at the profile together. Phil likes long walks on the beach and meaningful conversations. He enjoys cooking… but not cooking for one. Oh, please, Phil. Don’t pretend that you don’t eat cold baked beans straight out of the tin while hanging over the kitchen sink like the rest of us when we have a night off.
My friend snatched the phone from me. That’s the thing about people who’ve missed the internet dating phenomenon. They’re all completely fascinated and desperate to play with your dating apps.
“Nope, nope, nope…” the left side of the screen was getting a lot of action. Then she suddenly paused, wide eyed.
“Is it a bondage scene?” I called over from the kettle, noticing her frozen posture.
I picked up the phone and studied the picture. Strange close up. I passed it back to her.
“Pretend it’s an elbow crease,” I advised. “And swipe left. Pretty please.”
I’m two weeks into this bout of Tindering. Getting close to the burnout stage. But I’ve connected with some people who seem lovely, and normal, or at least not normal in a way that complements my not normal. Maybe it’ll end in friendships. Probably it’ll end in nothing. But maybe… There’s still a little part of me that believes in fairytales. Or even just a damn good piece of erotic fiction