You might have noticed I don’t share details about my personal life on this blog. That’s not to say I haven’t considered it – I’ve written many a cathartic, confessional post in the past only to assign it to my Macbook’s Trash at the point of publishing. It’s laying yourself bare to an unknown audience and that’s pretty scary.
I’ve been thinking about this lately because - as clichéd as it sounds - 2016 has been a voyage of self-discovery and I believe writing will aid the assimilation of a few thoughts. I’m also hugely aware how important it is to let the reader in from time to time; so in amongst my outfits shoots and musings upon shoes you can expect to see the odd personal post from now on.
I’ll keep the context short and sweet; smack-bang in the middle of dry January I found myself single following a long-term relationship (it’s actually one of my proudest achievements that I got through that break-up month without a single sip of liquor – we’re all familiar with the healing powers of a G&T when the going gets tough).
Hence 2016 has been about re-acquainting myself with the world of dating - which, let’s face it, mainly revolves around apps these days - and having only toyed with Tinder briefly there’s lots to learn. So to kick things off, I thought I’d share 5 observations I’ve made since becoming a singleton in 2016:
It’s all about Instaflirting
Remember Facebook Poking? Apparently it still exists – I learnt this first hand after I posted a status lamenting its demise, only to receive a barrage of Pokes. Except no-one Pokes unprompted anymore. The millennials have migrated to Instagram where alongside sharing photos of your avo toast and hashtagging it #blessed, flirting is the name of the game. In the dating-sphere in 2016, nothing says ‘I am watching you but no need to call the police’ like an Instagram Like, and a Follow from a fittie never fails to make me loose my sh*t. Most of the apps now also offer the option to integrate your Instagram handle into the platform – a sure fire way to boost your likes above the coveted double figure mark, as long as you’re down with picking up the occasional stalker along the way.
App Bingo should be an Olympic sport
You soon realise London is small dating pool when the same faces appear on each and every app. This isn’t the bemusing part – I learnt a long time ago this city is much smaller than it first appears. No, what baffles me is the number of men that seem to want to play a game of ‘App Bingo’. I’m currently active on three apps, and I have matched a fair few attractive guys on each and every one. Post-match we will engage in some conversation ('You again!' etc), yet nothing materialises from the interactions. We'll probably swap numbers, and once in a while you'll receive a 'Hey we never met up!' text without an actual invite to go on a date. I'm genuinely perplexed by this phenomenon - if you can explain it do get in touch.
Don’t forget to take a break
Let’s face it no-one enjoys rejection. I went through a phase a couple of months ago where every dating app conversation ended abruptly and every date I went on sucked and I started to question if my conversational skills were to blame (I do have an unhealthy desire to drop puns into every interaction). Self-doubt is not cool so the moment that starts to set in, recognise it’s nothing personal and take a break.
WhatsApp has got your back
If there’s one thing that being single has reminded me, it’s that the solidarity of sisterhood is a wonderful thing. The ‘Dating Screenshots’ WhatsApp thread is legendary in my circle of girlfriends. What started out as a forum to share screenshots of Tinder’s most bizarre blokes has become a safe haven to discuss everything from bad dates to bodily functions (my girlfriends are the coolest, nothing is off-topic). If you’re single you really should gather up your besties and create similar, if only to send out a distress signal on a Friday to see who’s around to rescue you from the driest date with the dullest lawyer who has just compared your lovely leopard print shoes to Theresa May's (OFFENCE VERY MUCH TAKEN).
I’m legendary in my group of friends for my stalking abilities, the FBI ain't got nothing on me. I’m aware that publishing this is tantamount to dating suicide, yet in truth the sooner a boy learns this about me the better. I picked up the habit from a young age - between the ages of 16 - 19 I stalked a boy who worked in my local Virgin Megastore and bore a passing resemblance to Dougie from McFly, pretending to look at records just to be in close proximity to him. To cut a long story short, we ended up dating and ever since the stalking habit has stuck. Thing is, in the world of online dating in 2016, it’s super-easy to get caught out by hitting ‘Like’ or ‘Favourite’ or ‘Follow’ or ‘Friend Request’ in error, and I’ve created some bloody awkward situations for myself (3am Facebook friend requests aren’t creepy, right?). I have almost certainly blown my chances with some nice boys who are now categorically scared of me. So unless you want to do ‘a Sophie’, resist that stalking temptation y’all.
*Dating advice very welcome in the comments below, I'm clueless. More to come soon.*
Photo: Natasha Marshall