As a twenty something singleton, the world of dating is a perilous maze to be navigated most cautiously, in some vain attempt to save any possible shame, mortification or general humiliation. Having just graduated, been recently heartbroken while also with a huge overdraft; I was quite literally ruined and thus was soon forced to fly back to the nest. As I completed my final drive back from university, it become unbearably clear that, at the tender age of 21, it would now be absolutely impossible to meet someone. How would I find ‘the one’ if I am no longer in the midst of student life; meeting new people or simply catching the eye of a fellow scholar across the library? Cue the shock horror realisation that my only opportunities to now find true love were quite possibly now restricted to work or sweaty bars and nightclubs. Having had two failed relationships that sprung from the workplace, and with the thought of VK strawpedos and a bad hangover weighing heavily on my mind, alternative options were soon considered.
And so, it was over a frenzied group chat WhatsApp session that the answer befell me and my friends – the solution would be, of course to join Tinder. For anyone who isn’t aware of this new mystical world, this miraculous app makes it easy to survey possible dating candidates in your area, swiping through and anonymously selecting those that catch your fancy. Why had we not found this before! The answer to all of our problems! An app that lets you silently declare the fact you fancy someone and removes all possible chances for humiliation? A gift from above. Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that this bright new world also bought with it its own set of hurdles to overcome.
The first snag, was one that had not crossed our excited minds – how does one start conversation on Tinder? Do you go in with a funny line? Do you just try a ”Hello, how are you”? Acknowledge something from their bio that shows you have actually read it?! Being able to hide behind the relative anonymity of your phone keyboard takes away that fear of rejection that is present during an in person, sober approach. Then once that feat has been achieved, and the conversation begins to flow, how on earth do you sustain it for more than an hour? Nevertheless, we all persevered with our swiping and several nonstarter matches, downright creepy chat up lines and a number of failed conversations later, I managed to procure a tinder date! It all seemed far too easy – and quickly the excitement was replaced by sheer fear; what if they didn’t talk in person or didn’t look anything like their pictures? I suppose in a way, this is no different to the normal questions that might plague ones brain during the pre-date jitters. Only with Tinder the fact you have already invested time in this person makes these fears seem all the more real. I also hadn’t been on a proper date since I was about 16. My previous relationships had grown from the relative safe ground of friendship, and this new possibility was daunting. Rest assured tinder told me we had a mutual connection – hurrah! One topic of conversation was pre-established. Surprisingly, the date went well, and several dates and a run in with the parents later, I soon found myself in the murky waters of ‘casual dating’. After my good experience, my friends persevered with tinder, one managing a string of dates and finding himself in similarly muddy surroundings.
The term ‘casual’ raises several questions: what is casual? If casual; can you still talk to others on tinder? How are you meant to feel if the other person is talking to others on tinder?! And the most daunting one of all…when does one propose you both delete tinder? These questions are all piled on top of the usual apprehensions; why haven’t they replied to a text? The fear of wondering whether a lack of reply to a text means they are no longer interested, swiftly followed by the important need to ‘play it cool’. Let’s not even mention the sheer chaos that could be caused to your fledgling relationship by proposing the talk on exclusivity! Winning the Hunger Games could well be an easier feat.
Of course, these are questions that have haunted those willing to tackle the dating scene since the beginning of time. But Tinder makes it ten times easier to keep tabs on your new squeeze – you can see if they have been online from the very comfort of your duvet. And yes, the older generation will tell us that these are all issues that can be resolved by a simple conversation – but in the early stages of courting, no one wants to be that person. The result, is of course endless evenings spent over analysing messages, checking their online status and then trying to act completely nonchalantly. Nightmare.
Experience has taught me that tinder is a great means to kill time; mindlessly sweeping through photos, getting that confidence boost when you get a like and being able to drop conversations without any guilt when you realise maybe you might want more than just a ‘netflix and chill’. It is also an undoubtedly easy way to meet people, possibly make a new friend, and maybe if you’re really lucky, find someone you find attractive and actually can see yourself quite liking. The downside? Tinder might be able to give you that leg up in the dating world but when it comes to keeping a possible Prince Charming? Well you have to do that bit yourself – and when you’re living at home, that becomes a whole different ball game. A post for another day I think.