One of my New Year goals was to start dating again and I have to admit to procrastinating somewhat. As readers will know I’m not a fan of online dating sites. And it’s probably because I am a xennial – I mean who has even heard of that? But this is the definition…
The theory goes that the Xennials dated, and often formed ongoing relationships, pre-social media. They usually weren’t on Tinder, for their first go at dating at least. They called up their friends and the person they wanted to ask out on a landline phone, hoping that it wasn’t their intended date’s parent who picked up.”
However, I was recently at my friend’s 40th birthday where she told me she had met her Mr Right online and they were getting married this year. In fact as she looked at her ‘couple friends’ it actually appeared that they had ALL met online with some now married and some with kids.
A couple of months ago I tried ‘Hinge’ and got put off quite quickly. However, since regaining my inner sass after my New York trip I decided to experiment. One dating site a month; A one off monthly fee; a commitment to give it my all and after a month if no luck move on with the aim to keep persevering until Mr Right pops up – whether online or in person. Or until I got fed up. Here’s what happened…
Hinge (Pre March): The premise is you answer three questions about yourself and upload photos. You can respond to a photo or an answer. They say it’s better than right swiping. But you still swipe left if you’re not interested (so not that different then).
Half heartedly tried Hinge (this is pre actual experiment) as another friend met her boyfriend on there. Within two days I ‘met’ Fred. A good looking, successful 45 year old man working in Canary Wharf; we shared a love of ‘Remain’ and wine. I liked that he didn’t want to become a pen pal and he suggested a date pretty quickly; we agreed Borough Market and he asked to meet me either Friday or Saturday. My last message suggested Saturday afternoon.
When I woke up Thursday morning he had GONE. DISAPPEARED! Not being up to speed on all this I checked the FAQs to discover that for him to disappear he has to either physically block me or he’s deleted himself. And to be clear, to physically delete means he has to hit ‘delete’ twice! I tell my friend about this who tells me; ‘you’re so down with the kids – you’ve been GHOSTED’ – I’ve been WHAT? Yep, there’s actually a term for people who just do this. And I just thought – what’s the point? You’ve not only wasted my time – you’ve totally wasted yours. So I threw my toys out of the pram and deleted my account.
Bumble (April). Upload some info and photos. Like someone. They like you back and you match. The female must make the first move within 24 hours and they must respond in 24 hours or you’re lost forever. Dramatic drum roll.
This is the first online site in my actual experiment. I wonder if I have too many photos of me and Rex, but figure they show me at my most natural. I have to say, the men on Bumble were more to my taste than those on Hinge (albeit I think there’s an algorithm that brings up the hot ones first). I have become brutal though.
- If their photo is of them taking a selfie where their phone is in the shot (particularly if it’s clearly in a bathroom) they’re left swiped. Means they don’t have friends to take the photo.
- If they haven’t written any commentary they’re left swiped. They’re not serious.
- If they haven’t bothered to choose their photos and just used their latest Facebook photos which show a meme; them with their arms around women or blurred they’re left swiped. Ditto.
- If they work in London but live outside they’re left swiped. I’m not getting in my car to drive to Tunbridge Wells every weekend.
- And quite simply if I don’t fancy them – even if their profile aligns to my tastes – they’re left swiped. Shallow I know.
- I’ve been getting quite a few likes myself – but some of them are total opportunists I would say (although you could argue that some I like may say the same) nevertheless – generally left swiped.
Despite this brutality I right swiped about five men on my first go and two matched. On one I changed my mind (yep brutal). The second was called Tom and he was right up my street. Good looking, 6ft 2, good profile (didn’t demonstrate any of the issues above). So I messaged him. And he responded.
‘Good morning Terri! What a wonderful match and thanks for making the first step ;0) Are you already out and about this morning or is your border collie still holding you down ;0)’
…referencing the message I sent to him. I responded. And 24 hours later no word. I haven’t been ghosted – he’s still showing but no response. What did I do wrong? Or maybe it wasn’t me? Maybe he was hedging his bets. Anyway I broke an apparent rule of etiquette and gave it a second written attempt; as there was no response in 24 hours I just unmatched us. I don’t want to face rejection every time I open it and wonder where they went! This makes me feel good! I want my future man to show interest.
I then went on a swiping mission. And ran out of people to swipe. Bumble just showed me a blank screen. Taking a pause for 24 hours. Because I have no choice apparently!
Three Weeks On…
So… here I am about three weeks on from writing that last paragraph and well four things have happened:
1) I got bored. The time you spend swiping you could just actually be ‘going out’ and having human contact! I’ve a busy life; work, half marathon training, own a dog, have a social life… why am I wasting valuable time sitting and swiping?
2) I was a little concerned about my left swiping brutality. I’d never be that brutal in real life (ok – maybe with the selfie in the toilet…) but that’s not how you choose people; you choose them on a connection you’ve made, regardless of all that other stuff. Rightly or wrongly my first impressions of someone online are completely different to meeting them in person. I just don’t feel it’s authentic (on both sides).
3) It occurred to me that actually – I’ve NEVER dated. I met my childhood love in the county orchestra. My first long term boyfriend was introduced to me by a friend. The love of my life I met in a pub door way in Camden and the last one was also introduced by a mutual friend. They were all either pretty long term, intense and generally good relationships but in between them I never dated – I had one shorter relationship with someone I met at work but never felt the urge to date – I just liked having my own time again.
4) And finally… it occurred to me that I’m actually not that desperate to meet someone yet… given what I’ve just written – the next person I meet could actually be the next one I have a long term relationship with and so I’ve decided to stick with what I’ve done over the past 30 years of my life; carry on enjoying it and know that someone, somewhere is going to pop up when I least expect it!
The experiment was exceedingly short lived and whilst I know online dating has worked successfully for some of my closest friends I just figure that I personally have more chance meeting the right person for me when I’m out on a run, walking Rex or at a wine event, gig or festival than I am sat on my sofa glued to my iPhone. And it will be a much more fun way to do it.
In the meantime – here’s a little collage of some famous men who I have a thing for… please do pass anyone who looks like these my way. Thanks!