MODERN DATING: PLAYING IT SAFE

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It’s another Friday night and you’re home alone – again – with a box of pad thai and Magic Mike blaring on your laptop screen. Channing Tatum’s doing his ripple dance to Pony. Everyone’s out for date night, all your exes are hopping from one exotic floosie to another, and you’re sitting there twiddling your noodles, wondering why you can’t be twiddling a Channing Tatum look-a-like instead.

Oh ye, it’s because you don’t have a social life, and the few times you actually do manage to go out, no one’s got the minced meat to approach you. That’s the scenario for a lot of 20- and 30-year olds these days. Going out to get with people has become somewhat redundant thanks to social media platforms. People would much rather go through the blunt and virtual motions of swiping, liking or blocking than, good heavens, speak to a person face to face. As a generation, we’ve lost that ability because we’ve been mollycoddled by technology. It’s an online meat market, and we’ve allowed it to fester into a mainstream hook up culture.

Having said all of this, I joined Tinder a few days ago and I’m bat s*** crazy about it. As much as I will probably always agree with the truths that are said in this Vanity Fair article, my lone voice doesn’t have the power to change the predominant dating strategy of the 2010s, and whining about its many faults isn’t going to get me laid. If you can’t beat them, join them.

I signed up with my iPod shaking in my trembling hand. How do I maintain my privacy settings? How many creepy perverts are going to infiltrate my inbox? What if one of them shows up outside my door? What if I fall for a fake profile? I asked all these questions because having to call up the London Metropolitan Police for a restraining order on an online sex pest isn’t a walk in the park. I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, it’s hell. We’ve all heard the horror stories, and we’ve all been through it at some point, so people’s apprehension when considering a platform such as Tinder is absolutely logical.

I serendipitously discovered that there are indeed ways to keep all this inconvenience at bay. I can’t say they’re 100% fool proof, but they do work wonders. So if you are planning on entering the Tinder sphere, do bear these 3 main points in mind for your own safety.

 

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#1 Maintain your integrity – One of the first steps in joining Tinder is choosing six pictures of yourself. For an actor, I’m quite camera shy when off duty, and I usually stick to face frames when I bother to pick up my iPod for a selfie. But then it dawned on me that I’ll be up against a load of other girls who do the whole duck face, elevated cleavage and bend-over-hot-pants-shorter-than-my-vagina pose. I’m not that girl. I could be if I wanted to, but it’s simply not who I am. It’s not how I roll. Now, with all due respect to anyone who goes with this style, but if you portray yourself as cheap, then expect cheap to come right back atcha.

I know, I’m giving in to rape culture and endorsing the ‘she was asking for it’ mantra by saying all of this. However, let this introduction to Tinder be a personal experiment. Let’s see how many good guys your face – not your body – can attract. Let’s see how many guys swipe right just because you have a genuine and honest smile or warm eyes. See how many men will try to match with you just because you seem like an interesting person. You’re in control. You can either turn this into a ****fest, or you can open doors to meeting people who want to respect you for who you are. It all depends on what you want.

#2 Don’t give too much away – Tinder is actually very discreet when it comes to your personal information. Your surname is not revealed, and neither is your location despite its calculation of the distance between you and the other person. The amount of detail divulged is in your hands, especially when chatting on Tinder. Even in face to face scenarios, don’t give away your real surname, your address, your place of work or your number. Keep those to yourself until you’ve built enough trust with the other person. You are in control of your privacy.

#3 Choose wisely – Prepare to get excited during your first few hours on Tinder. You’ll be swiping through an array of handsome singles, and you’ll like the look of quite a few of them. In three hours, I gathered 19 matches, and I had 7 chat windows open with them initiating the conversation. And no, I’m not bragging. It was very flattering, but as I was juggling with all these conversations, I realised to my disgust that I wasn’t even keeping track of who I was addressing. I was merely firing flirtations without knowing the guys’ names. That was when I put the swiping on pause, and stuck to the people I had collected (God, what a horrible word).

Remember that you’re dealing with human beings here. Don’t let your dating venture turn into a beauty queen pageant. Take your time when playing the game and get to know personalities, not penises or pussies. If it doesn’t work out with the first batch, then you may get back to swiping. You’re in control of making this a humane and respectful experience.

Happy Tindering!

Are you on Tinder? How has your experience been so far?

Let us know in the comment section below.