I went on 15 dates over the course of a few hours, talking to people I never would have otherwise. But it was all the same questions I had faced on Hinge, and sometimes all the same directness I had seen on Grindr. All of a sudden I was becoming better and more refined at delivering the “be my boyfriend?” pitch to strangers. It was the combination of every Twitter bio and Instagram description I had drafted in my notes app. In my head, I was just trying to mull over my Tinder bio to ensure it had the equal weighting of funny, hot and approachable?
One date asked me what my most controversial opinion was – I asked him for inspiration, before he replied with: “I like pineapple on Pizza. ”
Of course, this is a better answer than if he said something genuinely controversial, like “I believe in the death penalty” or something. But I panicked and said I don’t like tequila, which isn’t true but seemed like a worthy response. Another asked if I preferred Rick and Morty or Family Guy.
Someone else, maybe double my age, tried to woo me by declaring that he worked in an “affluent” suburb and owned “properties”. I had spent so long swiping my finger to limit my dating pool to exactly who I wanted, the regularity of “dating preferences” became incredibly stark when I began spending 4 minutes with someone with an investment portfolio.
But, while online dating might continue to be dark and twisted, ripping our hearts out and putting it on an app, it’s something that makes it easier to meet people that are somewhat compatible
My nicest date of the evening was with a trans woman. She had done speed-dating before and used it to meet a bunch of people without the dangers that come with going to straight venues and spaces. Just two people forming a connection – something online dating could never achieve so quickly.
Tinder, Grindr, and now Hinge, my suitors know how tall I am, my political leanings, and whether or not I love taking MDMA.
When the host called “last dates”, I caught the eye of someone with bleached hair and gave him a drunk smile. He smiled back, and I didn’t chat to him for the rest of the night. All of a sudden, being left on read paled in comparison to getting flaked face-to-face by someone with an eyebrow piercing.
I had another beer poured and sat down with some of the others. Lockdown tarnished our brains and social skills in ways that we’ll continue to realise as the months go on, but sitting at a table, and talking to strangers, felt far easier than any anxious thoughts in my head led on.
I sat next to my hottest date of the night, our arms and knees touching, with him drinking the beer I had bought. I felt as if I had achieved one of my goals of the evening: flirt with a stranger without the hand-cuffs of my phone.
When the bar shut, I walked to the station with him. He talked about how he was from South America and I talked about, (sigh) living in Berlin. After a hug and a kiss on the cheek goodbye, I walked to the station giddy and accomplished, like the straight couple flying away in the car in Grease.
That was all I got for my troubles: an email with the subject line “About last night,” sent at 1AM, telling me I had spent $25 to be told: “lol you’re still single!”