I’m hardly a veteran of online dating. I’ve had about four dates in the past year, all of which reached the giddying heights of ‘meh’ on the enthusiasm scale.
Tasteless words, bland conversations with overpriced cocktails at a below par bar in London. Slipping away at the end wondering why he wasn’t The One and when The One will show and will he show any time soon, yada yada yada.
Thinking back to an ex-boyfriend who has settled down with probably the love of his life. That beautiful house in Nova Scotia I passed up, a life of security I kicked to the curb in favour of romance, good looks, charm, lust – all the things I felt I deserved and wasn’t getting from him.
So I’m hardly an expert in online dating, is what I’m trying to say. But I’ve been on and off apps for five years, thirsty for love, so I think I’m allowed to pour a couple of my experiences out onto paper, in the hopes they might help somebody. Maybe resonate with somebody else caught in this twisted cluster of hurricanes, desperately seeking another to fill that gigantic void we’re conditioned to believe we all have deep inside.
Here’s my completely unsolicited and wholly biased advice on online dating.
Don’t leave it too long before meeting up
You can’t – in fact, you mustn’t – stumble your way through conversations for months on end. Every ‘hey’ and flattering remark is another drop of paint on the canvas. But that canvas isn’t real; the picture you’re painting is just a figment of your imagination. You haven’t actually met this person and it’s possible that when you do, they may not live up to your expectations. Ergo, meet them as soon as you feel comfortable to do so.
Try and say something other than ‘hey how’s it going’
Surface talk is fine, but the competition out there is hot and sticky, like the fire of a thousand suns. You have to stand out and annoyingly, surface talk doesn’t cut the mustard. It smacks of a lack of effort and things to say.
Match with people you fancy
It may go without saying, but I’ve often matched with someone whose clothes I don’t want to rip off, simply because I liked a small portion of their bio. And yes, there’s something to be said for personality – looks aren’t everything – but if you’re not slightly curious to see him naked, why bother matching? This comes from someone who spent the last year of her relationship sans intimité.
Body pictures *may* get you more likes
This is something I only just found out. Adding a full body picture to my selection of snaps, as opposed to just head-shots and selfies, is I *think* the reason for acquiring a couple more likes under my belt. What can I say, I’ve got killer thighs.
You’ve got to put in the hours
I’ve moaned and groaned and deleted the app and then re-downloaded it out of frustration because waiting for The One is a lengthy pursuit; he doesn’t just fall into your lap. (Or maybe he does for others, but certainly not for me.) Swiping is a part time job, as demonstrated by this infographic from Visual Capitalist. Just 17% of 18-29 year olds have ended up with someone they met on a dating app.
Squash the stigma
Accept you’re on an app and though this was typically not ‘the way’ to meet someone yonder year ago, it’s the done thing today. And much more so when you’re a millennial living with your family, chained to your suburb during lockdown. So quit self-flagellating over the fact you need an app to meet someone, because that’s totally fine and dandy and the stigma needs to be squashed like the UK’s 2020 summer holiday plans.
Go on an app hiatus if it’s all getting too much
Feel your self-esteem wavering like one of those air dancers at a car dealership? Fed up of dead-end conversations? It may be time to take a break from the daily grind of swiping. When you do go back to it, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated – like a scab freshly healed over.