I'm properly single for the first time in about 16 years after two serious relationships; consecutive relationships not concurrent ones I hasten to add! I won't bore you with the details but suffice to say I've been pretty floored for the last few months. However, it's now time to get back on the horse, so to speak (ahem), and dive back into the dating scene (God help me).
Obviously a LOT has changed since the last time I was single. I mean, we didn't even have smart phones, let alone dating apps (and no, I'm not 'ancient' for those of you in your 20s reading this in shock). Up until last week I was blatantly refusing to join any of these "online dating things and their shenanigans". But as time wore on I've accepted that no, I won't meet someone in my living room, and equally, Irish men are, by and large, useless at approaching you in bars; we women can be intimidating to be fair, and I don't want a drunk come on.
I started to look around at all the options and, for where my head is at right now, dating websites are far too serious. Do you want children? What's your marital status? What's your income? Is Religion important? Good lord, I have trouble deciding what to order from a restaurant menu, let alone map out my life in bullet point format for a like minded soul mate! While Tinder has come in for some flak over the years, mainly from people who don't use it (including me in the past), it's actually the closest thing to 'real life' dating that I've found.
You base your decision in the first instance on how someone looks. 'Oh my god, how shallow!', I hear you cry. Get a grip. That's what we all do in real life on a daily basis. If a guy or girl approaches you in a bar, you have a few seconds to size them up. You know nothing about them and in a split second you decide whether or not to give them a chance. But that doesn't mean that only models need apply. There's someone for everyone as the saying goes, and speaking with friends who use the app, we have all swiped right for things such as a nice smile, nice eyes, nice arms, etc. The next step is getting to exchange a few texts and see if you like the sound of each other, and then you can meet. After that it's a yay or nay.
Of course there are horror stories, but I haven't spoken to anyone yet who has been anything other than polite and courteous, and I believe that is because only those who you match with can speak to you. I had a very bad experience with another App where anyone can message you and literally within 5 minutess of joining I had ten disgusting messages. Needless to say it was deleted immediately!
My female intuition, that tells me if a guy in a bar is a creep or a good guy, is in full swing with examining people's photos; believe me, I'm swiping left WAY more than I'm swiping right. And so far so good. Here's what I've learned are red flags to avoid when judging a guy based on his pics:
- No Tigers - that also goes for snakes. I've no idea why so many Irish men have profile pics posing with half drugged tigers in Asia. It does not show that you are well travelled. It shows that you are a moron.
- No Weapons - yes, weapons. The number of men posing with guns and knives is bizarre. This is Ireland, not the Deep South, and even then I'm pretty sure they'd draw the line at knives. We ladies try to avoid potential rapists and murderers wherever possible.
- No Bare Bodies - look, you may have worked out hard in the gym to get that buff body but we do not need to see it. It looks tacky and we know you are full of yourselves. Equally if you never work out, why are you showing me your flabby white tummy? Is that a turn on nowadays? Did I miss the memo?
- No Group Photos - I'm here to meet you, not your mates. It's also not a game of Where's Wally with me flicking back and forth between photos trying to identify the common denominator! Also, as a rule of thumb, if there are two guys in a photo and one is very good looking, it's going to be the other guy's account. Trust me on this one.
- No Ex Girlfriends/Wives - we all have a past and that's fine, but you're on this app looking for your future. You, in your wedding gear, or wrapped around your ex is not conducive to that. When they crop them out of the photo it's bad (we can still see them FYI), but when they scratch out their ex's face it's just plain scary.
- No Children - some people have children. That is fine. But Tinder is NOT the place to display them. If you want to tell people up front that you have them, mention it in your bio. It's not appropriate to display them to internet strangers. Stranger Danger people!
- No Scenery - again, we are here to meet you. If you only post photos of scenic mountains and the ocean then I've no option but to swipe left as I have no interest in the Lucky Dip bag.
There are a lot of decent guys on Tinder, of all ages and from all walks of life. If you're dating or considering it then I'd definitely recommend it. But maybe use my seven point plan as your guide, and if you know any men using the app, you might want to share the above with them to improve their chances.
If you are on the dating scene and have any tips to share, please let us know in the comments below.