I tried Tinder, after my first breakup with a long term boyfriend. My Tinder experience was so bad, it became a joke with among friends, so I went to a Halloween party dressed as the Tinder app. Creativity is my middle name homies.
Anyway, so back to the Tinder experience back in ZA. I am single! The shame! I left my perfect boyfriend because I didn’t love him anymore. Life is hard, what can I say? My then, work mates are all married. They were obsessed and more excited to do the swiping themselves. Ready, set go. Freshly single, what could possibly go wrong?
I ended up going on a date with a guy who asked me to make sure we met somewhere with underground parking because he didn’t have a window in his car. The horror. I should have stopped there, but wait. It gets worse.
“Do you want to see my car’s photo shoot?” he asks me.
I smile nicely. But inside I am screaming. This man is a chav.
“what the actual fuck” is what I am thinking.
“Yes sure, I would love to see your cars photo shoot” dammit Janet. Too late to run away.
He whips out his Samsung with a cracked screen and flicks through photos of him posing with his car at the North Gate shopping centre (in the car park). Sorry, let me repeat that, North. Gate. Shopping. Centre. For those of you who DON’T know about the North Gate Shopping Centre in Johannesburg- think of the sketchiest mall you know of… picture chavs running wild. Pimply teenage boys with low slung jeans. Smell of forgotten dreams and possibly Z grade weed. You get the vibe. If I could pin point a low point of my dating life that was definitely it. If hell was a place. That moment was it.
But wait, do I ever learn my lesson? No, I fucking do not.
2016, EJR arrives in London, stress free (then) and looking 10 years younger than I do now. I think I came here for love! Lovely London. So many men! So many opportunities (I actually came here for money but we aren’t supposed to say such things). I had heard of Bumble and I was all TOO KEEN to flip through that shit and get my profile up and running. Just because, we don’t have Bumble at home and it was exciting. I was so excited then. Bumble is supposed to be the Rolex of dating apps.
“Guys are serious on Bumble” I hear. Goodie. Husband! I am coming for you.
I work in mobile advertising, doing things that you don’t understand. So in another thread, I am constantly surrounded by new technology, apps, services, the works. It fascinates me that we are such a young, modern generation, we should be meeting people in REAL LIFE. In the same breath I remember that this IS our life. Instant messaging is what WE are. We want things convenient. Right now. In your face. Tap tap tap! Instantt messaging! Instant pizza delivery to your bedroom. So, what is more convenient than picking out your next hook up on an app? Oh how modern of us.
Why else are we on the apps? I ask around. Ego boosts (mostly, not all people do this, but 95% of people do). Feeling sad on a Sunday? So what is better than swiping through an app from the comfort of your own home (bra-less, make up free) to see what hot dudes are nearest to you. What is a bigger thrill than seeing what strangers could potentially be your future hubby? The clock strikes 8 pm and Bumble is on fire. Oh a match! I am so fabulous and gorgeous! Good for me, cue warm fuzzy feeling. Someone liked my profile and my ‘personality’ even though they don’t know I am mentally unstable. Oh what a time to be alive.
I think many of us are on Bumble or Tinder because we are lonely. Some parts of us want a relationship, other parts are unsure. These apps offer a safety net for that grey area, if that makes sense. We’re also on the apps because it’s what everyone is doing. “I matched with this guy on Bumble…”. He is “XYZ”, but is he really who he says he is? Are we really who we say we are? Is he in it for the same reasons you are? I used to match with everyone. My profile was about liking pizza, exercise and gin. I am sooo original, it’s scary. But is it ALL me? No. I am still making out in my profile that I am cool. I am not.
I decided to run an experiment on Bumble. I added to my profile “I am conservative and I am not here for Netflix and Chill”.
Let me tell you that cut my matches in half.
So here is MY ANSWER- (for the most part) these dating apps are a platform for people to find short term flings/ hook ups. I hear Tinder is now a place to find sex with no strings attached. What is this life we live in?
I want a man to court me (repeat man – we will discuss this later). Yes! I want flowers! I want romance! Is this so much to ask? WHAT HAPPENED TO US AS A GENERATION and settling with Netflix and chill? This is a load of bollocks.
Ho hum new generation of fabulous lovelies! Let us start a conversation with a random person we matched with online, after growing up in a time where our parents told us to NOT talk to strangers online.
The more I ask around and try to understand why we are addicted to swiping when mostly nothing really comes out of it (some people do meet their loves online and I think that is great). I see a pattern with the same answer : “I want someone to talk to”. I can appreciate that. Sunday nights can be lonely. Everyone is cuddled with their partner and here I am, alone, on my tenth packet of Nik Naks. Tomorrow I will go to work and my assistant will ask me how many bags I ate. He will sigh and tell me “you should stop doing that”. I know. I know. He will tell me this while he is swiping on Tinder. Time for me to sigh. He is only 22. He is there for hooking up. Not for love. He thinks I am insane. I am practically 100 years old in his eyes. He once overheard I was going on a date. He said “Ellen, you go on dates?” (obviously a scary thought). Thanks for the vote of confidence.
So now lets go back to the ‘chat process’ on dating apps. There is the pressure to think of something witty to say first. Stress stress. Will he/she think I am lame if I just say “Hello, how are you?” like a normal polite person? Must I pretend to be cool? I am not very cool so this is a difficult task. How to be cool. I need an app on that. I must not act intense! But I am intense. I must not tell them what I do for a living. But they ask? I must not act all coy. But I am private. So what does this mean? I must pretend to be someone I am NOT in order to get a date – how does that work?
I am also tired of boys. I don’t want a boy (below the age of 28) I want a man. Too bad the ‘boys’ extend to ages of 35 these days. Where are the MEN? Ah, they are all married, that’s where they all went. Do I want to stretch my Bumble age range to 40 plus? Not really (I do like older men though but somehow feel better meeting them randomly by chance, rather than on an app – what would Freud say?). I did try extend to a higher age. on Bumble once (max age was 40). Well, the pool isn’t great. Cue too many bald men working as cashiers and looking like they have had a hard life and possibly hard meth. Is this judgey (not all are like this). Yes, but I work my goddam dick off and I will be DAMNED before I share a life with someone who is not on ‘my level’. I am power and career hungry (actually probably why I can’t get another date- do okes want timid women? Is this a thing?). I need someone on my level. Those men are NOT on Bumble, they are out there on the hustle.
I have been on three Bumble dates. The first was really nice, I obviously imagined the niceness because he didn’t want to see me again. That is fine. Second guy, was a South African, he told me he wanted me to be his wife after the first date. I would have been happy as he had a maroon passport but he was a bit short and I need tall children. Not great for reproductive purposes (he also told me he would be the boss in the bedroom that was ACTUALLY the main reason I didn’t ring him back). Potential sex pest. I am used to those from my job, but I get alot of money out of my job so I am happy to smile and wave. I am also mainly with my bosses at the times when the sex pests come out, which is mostly after some expensive wine at business dinners. But at least, I am safe (anxious laughter).
Before I launch into my stories, you should know I haven’t been on a dating app since Dec/Jan. I am too tired for this shit! Chit chat lala. I love my Nik Naks. I am OK with my Nik Naks and I remember I am never actually lonely. I have 7 work husbands. I have tons of single girlfriends. I have tons of married girlfriends. We are fabulous. We are free. I make no sandwiches, I don’t hear to anyone. For now, its OK. I used to be afraid of being alone, London teaches you alot about yourself and I have learnt that I never want to settle. I will wait and meet someone when the time is right. This is OK. Cheesy. But OK.
The last Bumble date I went on, went OK actually. I arrived after work for a drink, I am thinking, he is nice. Let me act as NORMAL as possible. We choose a quite bar type of place by my work. He starts telling me he owns 23 Physios. I am impressed. I like a man in a suit (he is in a suit) I also like a CEO. Straight after telling me that he says “but I am not wealthy, I am poor”. Jesus. I am alarmed. Do I look like a gold digger (actually don’t answer that)? “Don’t worry” I say, “I can pay for my own peppermint tea”. Why the fuck did I just say that? I ordered pepper mint tea because he tells me he is not drinking. In this day and age this means “I am not consuming an adult beverage”. PLEASE GOD I NEED AN ADULT BEVERAGE! But I am so good, with my peppermint tea, being healthy. Healthy healthy lalala. The conversation continues relatively normally. Now he is telling me he does cross fit. Oh God, not a cross fit person, please Lord. ANYONE BUT CROSS FIT PEOPLE. I have lost 27 kgs from NOT doing cross fit; please don’t tell me about it. I listen politely. He is doing a competition tomorrow. Hence no adult beverages.
At this point I am trying not to wonder off into a day dream, where I am bathing in gin and tonic while drinking a gin and tonic with an umbrella straw. We are now talking about organic tooth paste. Jesus please take the wheel mate. Why must we have organic toothpaste? I appreciate if you like the organic toothpaste, but I am not converted. Leave me to use Colgate or whatever. I am fine. My teeth are fine. Bottom ones a bit crooked, but I have no fillings at 26 so I am fine. He tells me he doesn’t have a car but rides his bike in his suit. I don’t care if you have a car or don’t. This is London. We are now discussing fruit smoothies. I am now feeling like a bit of crazy is coming on. Sometimes I can’t stop the crazy, it just wonders into my brain. I work in a free environment where I am insane most of the day and my bosses let me be whoever I want. My parents always let me be whoever I want. So in actual real life situations I think I take strain. The word vomit is coming. “I LOVE BANANAS IN MY SMOOTHIE” I tell him excitedly. Why am I even saying this? You know when you say a word, and then you just want to say it one more time. Well for some reason I had a banana fetish in my crazy brain that night and was addicted to saying the word bananas. I’ve said it about 4 times now. Bananas. I am singing Gwen Stefani B-A-N-A-N-A-S in my head. I am bananas and I need to stop. He asks me if I want to say bananas again. I did. Just for luck. He tells me I am funny. I am amazed. I feel like dancing. Woop woop! Another one bites the dust. But he is not for me. Shame.
We leave and he walks me to my tube station, even to the platform. He is alarmed when I say ‘I need the Ealing Broadway tube’. Oh God, now he knows I live in THE WILD WILD WEST of London, which is not very cool, but anyway. I still think him walking me to the tube and right to the platform was very sweet. Chivalry is kind of still alive. Men won’t send you flowers anymore (why does no one send flowers? Want to get laid? Send the flowers), but SOME will walk you to your station. He tries to kiss me on the cheek. It’s one of those awkward European double cheek things. I am awkward as it is. I don’t even like new people hugging me. Why do people do that? Don’t hug me if you don’t know me. Shake my hand for God Sake. It’s made awks now because he thought I needed to get onto the West Ruislip train. So now he has done this awkward kiss thing and we are stnading waiting at the platform. A rat is running on the floor. I am wondering where it is going. I think I will call him Bert. He looks like a Bert. I am also wondering why gave up my car in ZA and why I am here taking public transport wth Bert. How. did. I. Get. here. Why Bert?!
The Ealing train arrives. I clamber on. Mr Physio is still standing there. I feel like I should wave or do something. As the doors shut I shout “BANANAS”. He looks frightened. Why am I like this? The train drives off. I can still see Bert. He is also alarmed. If he could talk he would probably say “Jesus, take the wheel!”
I never saw Physio again.
This shit is bananas… b-a- n- a- n-a-s….