By Jessica Hake – Theatre Editor
It’s 2020 and there is an app for everything. Want a late night Tiramisu? Get on Uber eats. Want to find out when and where the next bus is? Click on B & H buses. Want a relationship? Get Bumble. Want a shag? Swipe right on Tinder.
In my group of peers (yes mum I have friends), all of them have dating apps of some sorts. That is aside from those who are in committed relationships, and don’t need an app for affirmation and clarification that they are not repulsive.
I seem to be somewhat the anomaly, refusing to download Tinder, Bumble or Hinge. Partially because I have no desire to deal with the admin these apps entail, and also because I’m still hopeful that I can sell myself to someone better than an app ever could. I have used Tinder before but it was only for random sampling on a school project – a dating app seemed a smart way to gather data, although my teacher wasn’t that supportive at the time.
There is logic to downloading these dating apps. You have a higher footfall, more people know who you are and can decide whether to interact or not. There also seems to be a level of fun with the mere establishing of a profile – I know someone who got the bus to Brighton with the sole purpose of getting profile pictures on the beach during sunset for Bumble.
So why do I resist? Shockingly no part of it is due to fear of being catfished, those online safety videos from school lessons clearly didn’t hit hard enough. I reason that now I’m 18 and I have escaped all the paedophiles, I am not that attractive a prospect for an online creep.
Part of the problem is objectification. We grow up being told not to judge a book by its cover yet these apps focus on the superficiality of humans. Apparently the ‘swipe left’ and ‘swipe right’ options work if you know your type. The issue is, I don’t. History dictates that the only people I’m attracted to are those I have no chance with and for some unbeknownst reason don’t want to be with me, so how am I meant to judge on face value? (Timothée Chalamet if you’re reading this I am talking to you)
The other problem is that I hate texting. If the other person is charismatic, smart, genuinely funny and appreciates a good meme, then it’s fine. Yet I’ve struggled to not drown in the mundanity of those first initial messages. I also hate admin and have discovered I really battle with replying to messages succinctly. I don’t think I should ever be a personal assistant- if I can’t handle instagram DMs, I probably shouldn’t be let anywhere near a critical schedule.
From my basic knowledge, charismatic, smart, genuinely funny men who appreciate a good meme don’t seem to dominate the dating app world. Hence why I doubt whether or not I would find much success on the aforementioned apps.
I am also sporadically lazy. I go out to spend time with people when I know they’re funny, I’ll have a good time and I really want to. This is why I think my friends need to start stepping up and bringing potential partners to our catch ups. My friends know me, they know what I like, they know what I hate and I think they’re probably the best suited to finding me someone.
I’ve heard people slate blind dates and setups with the same vigour students slate the Tories, yet for some reason I haven’t been discouraged by this. The idea of a blind date, established by a trusted and informed friend, seems to be a viable option. However, I’m not that much a fan of official dates and much prefer being with mates in a casual capacity with the option of intensifying it later.
‘Friends with benefits’, ‘No strings attached’ and past experience tells me that the causal relationship I’m leaning towards categorically does not work. Yet, I’ve never had an experience that suggests that starting a relationship with the intent of romance is better and healthier than establishing a foundation with a known peer and working from there instead.
When I ended my relationship with my only ever ‘official boyfriend’ (who I never really liked and only dated out of feeling the need to establish a precedent of having a boyfriend), my father made the shrewd observation that I never wanted a relationship. He suggested that I only ever dated this boy because I wanted to understand what the fuss was all about. Arguably, I feel the same now.
When I think back to positive romantic experiences, it has been when everything has been quite calm, built on shared love of Tarantino or some other focal point, and there is no pressure. The best moments have been when there was no hidden agenda, it was just a carefree moment of fun that goes down in history as a sweet moment in time, nothing more.
Like Daniel Sloss says in his stand-up specials on Netflix, the discourse surrounding relationships is that if you’re single you’re weird because people are meant to be in twos. Apparently, people are meant to live inside this bubble of being a ‘couple’ and if you deviate from that norm then society has a tendency to reject you.
On my winter break I quickly became sick of the question ‘Are you still single?’. Maybe that’s why people in couples seem so smug and have that expression on their face that makes you want to slap it right off? They can answer that question honestly and not receive a patronising tilt of the head and a pat on the shoulder as you’re ‘reassured’ that ‘it will get better’ by some distant family friend called Karen.
Overall, I think it’s best if I don’t download Tinder, Bumble or Hinge. Instead, I will probably go and apply for Channel 4’s ‘Blind dates’ because although I may not be actively wanting or be ready for a relationship, I do love food.
Image credit: David Shutter