There are several reactions a chap might expect when he tells his partner he is signing up for a smartphone dating app - but hers took me somewhat by surprise.
“Really?” she mused, not looking up from The Star’s crossword. “And who’d be stupid enough to take you off my hands?”
On reflection, my own riposte - “there must be plenty of people that stupid” - wasn’t exactly a zinger.
Still. There it was. Permission from the boss. I downloaded Tinder and, in the name of investigative journalism, I was off.
Or, rather, I wasn’t.
Tinder, for those happily involved or over the age of 28, is basically a 21st century Hot or Not. Fellow users rate you for your looks alone. If they ‘like’ you and you ‘like’ them, the app makes a ‘match’ and allows you to start messaging each other.
Except after 24 hours...not a single match.
I’ll not lie, that hurt. I reassessed my standards and started ‘liking’ more people. Then after a couple more hours I reassessed then again and started liking everyone. I spent 20 minutes literally swiping people through. Like. Like. Like,
Jen was almost old enough to be my mum: like. Anna had a photo featuring four women and it wasn’t clear which was her: like. Claire didn’t even have a picture: meh, like.
I sat in a pub Friday afternoon with one of those, you know, real life females (like!), ignoring her, swiping away at my mobile. Still nowt.
“I think there must be a technical glitch,” I noted. There was an awkward silence.
As an ego-destroyer, it was singularly effective. In the end - thank Cupid! - the matches started coming through Saturday night.
Apparently, in this way, Tinder reflects real life.
Users are out on the town, looking to hook-up and, as the evening progresses, they get more willing to like anyone who could do a passable impression of a human being. In a good light, I can just about pull that off.
“Can I join you in your corner?” asked Holly in one message. None of my pictures showed me in a corner. I blocked her.
“R U out 2nite?” wondered a cutie called Emily. Blocked. For crimes against grammar.
Sophie was more promising. A 26-year-old raven-haired beauty with cheekbones that could open a tin of peaches. I messaged her some idle greeting after noting we’d matched. “Sorry,” she replied. “I liked you by accident.” Then she blocked me. Them’s the breaks.
And so it went. The odd match. The odd message. The odd misunderstanding. A couple of bits of banter led to suggestions of a meeting but I demurred.
I wasn’t sure she’d go for that. And while she’s daft enough to keep ‘liking’ me for real, that’ll do all right.