I want distraction. I want salvation. I want to be wanted and desired. I want excitement. I want a big life. Full of colour. Full of variety and fun. A technicolour life.
Morrissey comes to mind…
On the other hand, I don’t want to leave my house. I want to wear the same PJ’s nine days in a row. I want to eat pizza and cornflakes in bed. I want tea. I want crumpets. I want to curl up in my warm laundry and pretend I’m a lying in a cloud. I want Christmas candles. I want safety. But more than that. I want solitude; glorious, peaceful, solitude.
This is the first time in my adult life that I have been single* And mingling… is not really my forte. Neither is socialising or going outside. I’m basically a cat. As soon as I’m outside, I’m ready to come back in.
So, it should come as no surprise that this modern gal has turned to the unsavoury world of dating apps.
Excitement, validation and entertainment are all just a swipe away.
Basically…it’s shopping. I’m shopping. I’m flicking through photos and photos of eligible men. I’m not, quite sure what I’m looking for. Well I do know…something to fill this void in my heart.
I’m aimlessly window-shopping. Just killing time. I’m eternally restless. Just wandering and wondering and searching for meaning. For purpose. For a connection. For this thing. This thing that will make me happy. I’m flicking, browsing. I’m looking and judging and day-dreaming. Ah the prospects…ah the excitement of something new! Something shiny. A new toy! A new beginning.
Something to complete me. All I need is that thing. That thing that that will fulfill me. That thing that will make it all alright. As soon as I find it, my life can begin.
So I’m on a mission. I’m on a mission to find salvation through dating apps.
And my new passion is highly addictive.
I cannot stop.
I have third degree burns on my right index finger from all the swiping. The gratification. The high…fuck…the high you get when you get a connection or a match! It’s like someone injecting pure serotonin straight into the heart. Boom!
And my poor little apple products are basically working in shifts.
My laptop sits on my lap and is used for social media stalking of potential matches. My ipad is laying awkwardly on my crotch just above the laptop. I mainly use the ipad for swiping/browsing but because it’s quite big it’s not ideal for typing. So, in my right hand is my iphone which I use for messaging.
I am obsessed. I can spend…and this is fucking insane…up to 5 hours a day doing this. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up. I haven’t even opened my eyes yet and my arm is grabbing my ipad to see if I got a match during the night. When I didn’t get one I’m hurt. I question everything about myself. Maybe my photos are wrong? Maybe my bio isn’t witty enough. Maybe I’m too old? Maybe I’m not sexy enough? Not enough selfies? Or dog filters? Not enough full body shots? What’s wrong with me??
I feel despondent.
Bumble tries to sell me a package that allows me to see all the people who swiped right for me. I think…this is probably the best thing I could be spending my money on. I buy it and feel instantly worse. All the guys who have liked me are either old, fat and greasy, or young and vain with their first photo being a gym selfie.
Is that all there is? Is that all I deserve? Fuck man. It’s highly depressing as you come to realize that these people think they stand a chance with you. Oh, Jesus is this who I’m gonna end up with?
Put a pin in that…I want to talk a little bit about the photos people are using in their profiles.
Firstly, let’s unpack your demographic. Who are you trying to attract? Women, right? So, it’s probably worthwhile thinking about what women want. And NOT what you want them to want.
Right, time to channel Mel Gibson and work out exactly….
Phew! that was a lot of awfulness. I need a breather.
Right, ready for part 2?
- Women love…Snapchat filters!
2. “This-is-me-in-bed” selfies
3. “I-have-a-car” selfies
4. “Look-I-have-a-bathroom” selfies
And last but by no means least:
5. “Hey-I-work-out-sometimes” selfies
It’s awful, right? But by God it’s so interesting. Why do they do this? Do they think we want this? Do other women want this? Am I the odd one out? I mean, I’m laughing. I’m laughing because I’ve worked it out. I know why they do this. It’s a very primal attitude. It’s all about spreading the seed.
This is what they’re trying to say us:
1. Snapchat filter = “I’m just a big kid who wants to be loved”
2. Sleeping selfie = “Look, I’m sensitive and innocent”
3. I have a car = “I have a car which means I can provide for you”
4. Bathroom selfie = “I have an anus”
5. I go the gym = “I’m strong and I have muscles which means I can protect you”
Another very interesting phenomenon I’ve come across is and well I don’t wanna appear overly racist here but…erm..well, white boys all seem to look the same. And I feel like they know that. They take comfort in it. Like they must know, right? They must know they’re all the same person. I mean it’s like a glitch in the matrix. See for yourself:
Freaky, right? I mean: “which one are you?”
“I’m all of them”
Let’s move on, to something that also blows my mind.
Knowing full well that we are living in an overly visual and selfie-driven world, and bearing in mind that tinder is all about the PICTURES, it completely boggles my mind that people are using such shit photos. I mean no one is expecting you to be the Bailey of Bumble but come on!!!! You can do better than this!
These are all real profiles by the way. This is real shit. How am I supposed to find a mate like this? What is this doing to me?
The impact this type of consumption is having on me is already becoming pretty evident. I’m anxious. The magnitude of options available at my fingertips is intimidating. How will I ever choose just one partner? What if I find one and we marry and then someone better comes along?
There is too much choice. Too many options. It’s too easy to keep swiping and keep looking for more. For different. It’s too easy not to commit.
I’m becoming increasingly fickle and shallow. There are so many guys. It’s becoming overwhelming. There is no real connection. No deep conversations. These guys mean nothing to me. They are not real human beings with feelings and hopes. They’re just shots of endorphins. They’re the answer to my serotonin craving.
They mean nothing to me. They have no purpose other than to make me feel like I’m still worthy. I’m still relevant. I still have it. Like I can still have a relationship and a family when I want one.
These guys are disposable.
They’ll be gone tomorrow and someone will be there waiting to take their place
And I am never satisfied. Capitalism and consumerism is based on the concept of dissatisfaction. We are dissatisfied with our current lives. We are restless. We are unhappy. We are searching for something. And these apps are telling us what that something is. Love.
But it’s not love. It’s not real. It’s a distraction. Because now it’s piss easy to get a date. No longer do we have to build up the courage to approach someone in a bar. No longer do we feel genuine rejection or genuine joy. Because it’s not genuine. We’re hiding behind a screen. We are detached. We are not invested. Because if this one says no…there will be another one along to take its place. We are conditioning ourselves to be eternally disappointed, to be chronically dissatisfied. We’re always chasing our next high and never fully appreciating the now. We’re not present. We’re not engaged. Once we’ve scored our high we’re happy. Until that happiness dissolves and we gotta chase the next one. And the next one and the next one.
I remember a time before this. I remember walking into a room…I remember smells, I remember what it’s like to catch someone’s eye on the tube or in a bookshop. I remember what it’s like to find out the guy you like, likes you back. What it’s like to psyche yourself up before asking him out…the fear, the excitement, the anticipation… I remember, meeting people and feeling that spark, that connection…the banter….it’s like finding a treasure. It’s what makes life worth living. It’s fear. It’s exposing yourself. It’s letting fate dictate your future.
I am no longer on Bumble or Tinder and I doubt I will be again. Relationships are just not my priority right now. And these apps are clouding my focus too much.
So I’m going to leave it all up to fate. And I’ll sit back comfortably in the knowledge that so far everything has worked out exactly as it was supposed to.
I will be patient. I will not wait. I will live.