At some point, I will get back on The Apps. I know I have to. There are geographically convenient men in London just waiting to get shagged, and the only thing standing between them, me and a powerful ten-condom fuck is the fact that I can’t be arsed to take new dating site pictures. Oh! And the fact that my diary is looking pretty full until Christmas. Also that every time I consider meeting a new person I immediately run through all the possible ways it could be terrible/boring/frightening/disappointing until the whole thing starts to feel like admin. Oh God, what if the thing that’s standing in the way of this fun is… me? No, it can’t be that. That would mean it’s my fault. Instead, let’s pretend it’s because none of the dating sites are good enough, and the men I might meet on them are all wrong in interesting and hilarious ways. Join me in completely ignoring the impact my emotional baggage has on my life choices, as I present a few dating site reviews based purely on my prejudices about their brand.
Absolutely none of these are genuine online dating site reviews. I have only actually used one of these sites myself. Consider this post less about the sites themselves, and more a reflective piece about my own ridiculous assumptions, and the excuses I will make to myself to avoid having to go out on dates.
People on Hinge do not fuck. There, I said it. They might have sex, but they do not fuck.
The man I might meet on Hinge has a sensible-sounding job that I don’t understand, where he manages a small team of people whose names I will constantly forget. He has spent most of lockdown learning new hobbies which sound more like punishment than fun: hill running, microbrewing, crochet.
He owns expensive-looking teatowels and his flat is painted in fashionable shades of grey with pops of colour. The man I meet on Hinge will take me on a lovely trip to the Lake District, and at the end of a fun day hike when we’re both showered and fresh and exhausted and horny from the exercise, I will try to suck his cock and he’ll say ‘maybe later, yeah? We’ve got dinner reservations!’ then kiss me demurely on the cheek. We’ll trip downstairs to the hotel restaurant and sit in the bar while we wait for our table.
As he sits down in a comfy old leather armchair, the man I might meet on Hinge will do a big long Dad sigh and say ‘isn’t this niiiice?’ before drinking exactly one pint, plus wine with dinner, and trying not to roll his eyes at me when I nip out before dessert for a cheeky cigarette.
Later, in bed, he will kiss the bits of me that don’t often get kissed, and I will groan and rub my aching cunt against his leg. He will chuckle and say ‘you’re eager, aren’t you?’ and then promptly fall asleep.
People on Tinder give a massive shit what you look like.
The man I might meet on Tinder will – within the first two messages – ask me if I have more pics, with an emphasis on ‘full body’ ones. He will use a lot of emojis and be overfamiliar, then arrange to meet me in a bar where the music is too loud for us to hear each other speak. He’ll nod intently while I’m talking and then finish my sentences and laugh at his own jokes. He’ll look me up and down appraisingly when I stand up from the wobbly bar stool to go to the toilet, then make a comment like ‘I didn’t recognise you when you came in!’ which could be taken equally as an insult or a compliment.
He’ll definitely shag me on the first date, if I like, and I absolutely do like because those cocktails cost eight quid each and I shaved my fucking legs for this kerfuffle, so I’ll look only at the good things about him and pop my blinkers on to avoid any cunt-drying hints of red flags. But when we go home he’ll kiss with too much tongue and insist on giving me head for ages even though I’ve told him I don’t like it because – and I quote – “you’ve never had the kind of head that I give, sweetheart.” If the sex is good, he’ll try to sleep over. If it’s bad, he’ll get an Uber home at 3 in the morning and text all his mates to say mean things about my tits.
People on Bumble like to cuddle. They wear good jumpers and have very shiny teeth.
The man I might meet on Bumble has a t-shirt that says ‘feminist’, even though he has not really examined his feminism in any way beyond nodding and making supportive frowny-face noises when women he knows tell him about street harassment. He’s a breath of fresh, clean, simple air, though because when we engage in conversation about feminism, I enjoy having someone who listens instead of playing devil’s advocate.
The man I might meet on Bumble recycles everything his council will collect, makes regular donations to charities I’ve not heard of and is in almost every respect a far better person than I. On our third date we’ll watch a worthy film, and snuggle – it’s cosy and friendly and I like it, but I’d have voted for something more spicy, like Jason Statham punching sharks, followed by doggy and facials.
The man I might meet on Bumble has a beard, obviously. Is great with kids. Probably a dog person. He might fuck, but only if I’m willing to invest at least five dates in allowing him to convince me that is only a tiny part of what he’s here for. When we do get down to it, he insists on sleeping in my bed afterwards, and I stay awake all night trying to nudge him gently to the far side, and wondering how to extract myself before he asks me to meet his parents.
Plenty Of Fish
The man I might meet on Plenty of Fish will show up an hour late and offer me ketamine.
Feeld – so my prejudices tell me – is an absolute free-for-all of people want to fuck, but who – thanks to their willingness to fuck – are extremely busy and engaged in complex networks of relationship entanglement.
The man I might meet on Feeld will insist on the date starting no earlier than 9pm because he had a ‘thing’ to do before. He spends the first twenty minutes of our date telling me about his girlfriend, then the next ten talking about hers, until by pint number two we’re four layers deep in the network tree and I’ve forgotten what anyone’s name is and I panic because this shit is clearly important to him and I feel disrespectful for having such a terrible memory.
We chat for a while, drink a little, and flirt playfully. We fuck, of course, and it’s nice. He teaches me a new fetish and I’m thrilled by the possibilities of brand new, shiny kinks. In the post-fuck chat I tell him I run a sex blog, and he tells me he’s blogged loads on Fetlife himself and asks if I want the link. He doesn’t ask for mine in return.
As I pick dried spunk from my hair and pull up my knickers to leave, he urges me intently – in the manner of a man trying to dissuade me from jumping into a tank of piranhas – to do my best not to catch feelings.
The man I might meet on Match doesn’t want to go to the pub, instead he wants to take me on a weird activity like Lady and the Tramp Secret Cinema or mini golf on top of a car park near Paddington Station, where they serve cutely-named cocktails from plastic cups and most other punters are also here on dates. Ninety percent of his chat revolves around dating, and how hard it is to find someone who isn’t a ‘timewaster’ – *meaningful stare*
The man I might meet on Match smells good and clean, like fresh laundry, and calls his mum on the reg. He invites me for a weekend to ‘get away from it all’ in Berkshire. Anticipating a dirty weekend, I bring butt plugs, and he looks horrified. When he explains that I might not be ‘wife material’, I realise it’s time to get gone. The train back to London costs fifty five pounds, because I haven’t booked it in advance.
The man I meet on OK Cupid will be a software developer. Strong hands, kind eyes and a penchant for filthy sex that he’s only just begun exploring. He is gentle and caring and dirty, and knows exactly how often to text. He’s funny and fuckable and free with his compliments. He makes me feel happy and safe.
We’ll exist in a joyful fuck-buddy state for a short and blissful time, then he’ll ask me to be something more. And I’ll be scared and sad and so desperate to turn the dial back just one notch – enjoy this sexy thing we have before it rots away into commitment. And I will pray so hard to the God of Dating (yes, of course it’s Cilla) that I won’t have fallen in so deep that I cannot struggle out.
No hope, no escape.
I mean, OK, I’ll probably be back there next week. People on Hinge do not fuck, after all, and I’ve never had a good time on ketamine.