I know right, you might be reading this as a fellow single girl and thinking ‘hell, bitch be crazy, she’s never gonna get laid again’.
And to be honest with you, in my hazy hungover state, I had all of the never-gonna-get-laid-ever-again-anxiety. It seems to be the only gateway into anything remotely romantic/attention giving in this day and age and whilst pissed from post work drinks, I’d deleted the lot. Bosh. Gone.
Like so many twenty-somethings, my dating life of late has fallen into two categories. Category 1 – nothing. Category 2 – online. I’ve tried everything from Tinder to Badoo and the only long term thing I’ve managed to get from it is RSI in my thumb from all of the swiping.
I’d got to the stage this one Wednesday evening when I, half pissed, got on the train and looked at my notifications. I’d had 16 new Tinder messages since leaving the office. I opened my phone and before my next stop I could have signed myself up for dates to last me through to the following Monday, if I’d so wished. Yes, some of the guys I’d been chatting to were funny. On message. They were attractive. In their filtered pictures. But it dawned on me that I had no interest in going to meet any of them.
I’ve done a year & a half of the leg work. Of answering the exact same questions every single time I match someone new. Yes I’m 27, yes this is what I do for a job, no funnily enough I don’t fancy a ‘bit of fun’. It’s the same cycle, day in day out. One out of 10 you have the initial conversation with actually follow through to the next day, and only one out of 10 of those ever transpire into a date. By which point, you’ve probably dedicated about two weeks having banter with a guy behind a screen, you psyche yourself up and only one out of the ten you meet you actually have a spark with.
It’s hard work. It’s admin heavy. And I’d got tired.
So, I developed drunk woman fierce independence. You know when out of nowhere you’re Beyonce and can take on the world because you’d had a bottle of Savvy B? And I deleted the lot. In one fail swoop, I kissed goodbye. I was going to meet someone that I had a real life spark with, that conversation flowed easily with, that I didn’t have to hunt out in a bar whilst holding Tinder open because I’d forgotten which one of the 5 guys I’d been talking to that week I was going to meet.
I woke up the following morning, remembered what I’d done and for about 12 seconds actually regretted it. ‘Well how am I ever going to meet anyone now?’ was the first question that popped into my head. And the fact that I asked myself that made me not re-download them immediately and pray to the iCloud gods that they’d saved my chat with fit Greg, 29 from East Ham before I lost him and our potential future together for good.
I’d fallen into the online dating trap. The one that makes all single people think that nobody meets in a normal arena anymore.
‘Sod it’ I thought, I’m going to give it a go and prove the trap wrong. And off my home screen they stayed. Lost was a few potential good dates, long gone was Greg from East Ham and I was left sitting there actually fully watching a TV programme rather than having the weird sex chat based distraction.
To be honest, the first day or so was odd. It felt strange not to pick up my phone and just have a random flirt on a Monday just because I could. I saved all of the phone battery because it wasn’t constantly buzzing with notifications of another match, another two weeks of chatting, another not great date. But to be honest, I felt a sense of freedom from it all.
I wasn’t checking to see if someone found me attractive enough to muster up the energy to swipe me. I wasn’t constantly on the hunt for the next half arsed attempt at a date. I wasn’t thinking I should keep Friday nights free in case someone was to ask me out.
I want this story to end with me going ‘and then last Friday I walked into the pub, it was 1999 again and a bloke with a glint in his eye asked me for a drink and now we’re married’.
It obviously doesn’t. But I‘m approaching things a bit differently now.
care less about it all. I’ll make an effort to hold a stare over a bar again. I’ll smile back. I actually notice people’s winks or nods in pubs or on the train because I’m not staring down at my phone when my mate goes off to the loo or I’m in between stops. Staring down at my phone answering yet another message from yet another stranger.
I’m not obsessing on how long it’s been since I went on a date, or got laid or had a flirt.
I actually a feel a bit more confident now I’m not paraded in front of randoms for them to judge me purely on how I look.
And you know what, if I stay single for another couple of years so be it. But I’m hell bent that the next time I fall for a guy it will be a bit more real. In real time. In real life. With his real face.
Not the face he wanted me to see. The face that was actually 5 years old and filtered to fuck.