Tinder (Noun) - Dry, Flammable Material. Like This Post. Lol.

As the entire card shop window passing public will be aware, Valentine’s Day is coming. Like a thoughtless, emotionless, charging rhino made entirely of money, hurtling towards a cliff of doubt, overlooking a ravine filled with guilt and determined to bring everyone over the edge with it, it is coming. One way or another it will engulf you. You will love it, hate it or spend a suspicious amount of energy projecting the impression that it just doesn’t bother you at all, yeah? Maybe it doesn’t, whatever, this isn’t about you.

I’m quite a solitary creature - I enjoy my own company, often seek out a safe space away from other lifeforms and regularly want to destroy pretty much every other human I come into contact with. However, I also find myself feeling quite lonely, quite often. You’d think this disparity would make me a mysterious, intriguing puzzle, waiting to be unboxed and painstakingly pieced together in order to reveal the delightful image that, in this case, isn’t even nearly on the box. You’d think that one of these two feelings would override the other so that I wouldn’t keep finding people, building something with them and then pushing them away, often through the now obviously flimsy walls of the thing we built, causing untold emotional damage. Possibly to them too. You’d think more people would swipe right, right? Wrong.

I recently tried Tinder. Let’s just get that out there, shall we. The whole deal - paid for it and everything – and it hasn’t helped. If anything, it’s magnified a few of my deeply rooted issues and I didn’t need that. This gnarled up, burnt out tree stump is really fucking securely rooted already. As an example, I am horribly shallow. I knew this but had allowed myself to normalise it, using Tinder has put a stop to that. I have spent an unhealthy amount of time swiping left on a series of probably quite lovely people. Not visually lovely, obviously. Weird nose. Swipe left. Fat neck. Swipe left. Too thin. Left. Awful clothes. Yep, you’re getting it, left. Sure, we do this irl but people look different in the flesh, their attractiveness changes depending on their behaviour and, crucially, we can’t physically brush them aside like a trading card that doesn’t have the stats we’re after. Also, perhaps more importantly, I am not getting many matches (or whatever they’re called) myself. I have never felt as undesirable as I have since I signed up. A quick google reveals that, statistically, users spend over an hour a day swiping images of strangers into either the I Would or Would Not pile. Over an hour. A day. God, it’s pathetic.

I’m aware that Tinder has a reputation as a hook-up app rather than a long-term relationship type thing, and I’m aware that I am not a hook-up type of guy. I’ve tried it, I didn’t like it and I wasn’t very good at the bit where you leave them alone afterwards. Still though, I’d imagined that more people would be interested in knocking boots, even if the mere suggestion would make me incredibly nervous. I’m fine, I feel like that needs saying having read what I’ve typed so far. I’m just not sure what I do now, where I go from here. I’m not even sure this digital dating thing is the best way to go. I’m getting Old, I realise that, and thusly I’m finding it harder to move as graciously along with times as I once did. They are a-changing a little too much in some areas, if I’m completely honest.

So, do I give up now? Because nobody wants to talk anymore, in a can I buy you a drink, do you come here often kinda way, and my expectations of looks and relationships have been pushed to ridiculous heights because of films and television and probably porn and previous partners and my eyes and oh my god I’m a monster. Why am I not just happy to be? What am I hoping someone else will bring to the life table? Why the shit am I asking you? Ultimately, I have decided I won’t be using Tinder after the month is up. I’ll be using it until then, obviously. I’ve bloody well paid for it and there are children in Africa who’d love to silently judge the fuckability of complete strangers while hoping someone’s positively judging them back. Poor little sods.

I’m happier, and more comfortable, awkwardly approaching women in bars, slurring something hopefully hilarious and charming at them and seeing if they lunge at me in a sexy way or a violent way. Or a violently sexy way. Also if I don’t cancel my subscription soon I’m pretty sure I’ll be walking up to them and rubbing my thumb across their face while cheerfully saying ‘NOPE’.

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