Yes, you’ve read the title correctly. Your’s truly has installed Tinder and found a great new source of entertainment. Actually, it all started with me not putting a passcode on my previous iPhone (bad idea) whilst celebrating Scottish Dependence Day weekend (which a thing, now, by the way). Coming back from buying a round, I found myself in possession of a rather active Tinder account, some interesting Snap Chats, and one quite disappointed young man somewhere in the wilds of Cornwall. After an eventual deleting of said first account and the setting of my match preferences to women aged 18-28 on the new one, the rather long train journey back to London was made much more tolerable by Tindering with the lovely ladies of the West Country the entire Tyrrells and tea fueled way (fun fact: one can consume enough of the ‘free’ refreshments to make a first-class upgrade worthwhile, not just for the seat, before reaching Reading).
At this point, you’re wondering how all this background information relates to my misadventures in online dating, well thank the English class system. You see, the pub in which this initial Tindering took place was in Rock, Cornwall. Apparently, this means something to people who give flying fucks about what others think, so my opener of ‘Oh, I just spent a weekend in Rock with some mates celebrating Scottish Dependence Day’ in response to a girl who initiated contact with me by inquiring about my weekend, worked. Therefore, I had a Tinder date setup before 11 o’clock on a Monday morning, and continued swiping away, seeing how many matches one can get in Central London on a Monday. Rather stupidly, I had scheduled this Tinder date later in the week on the night before I was to depart on the first flight of the morning to New York. Now, why did I pick this time and girl instead of the other 47 matches I had achieved before lunch on Monday? Well, one does always go for the surest option when playing with time constraints, and it’s rude to say no to some seemingly nice, cute, Tory-leaning, and smart girl asking you out, right?
How did it go, well my normal meet at a bar/pub, alternate buying rounds of drinks, then suggest a good bottle of wine I happen to have open back at my place at her turn went exactly to plan. Now, had I not stopped off for a quick pint with one of the Tinder installers right from the office, I may have bailed. But, I didn’t, and after swapping the undrinkable New Zealand plonk for a 50p per glass pricier White Bordeaux as the Sav Blanc on offer, which obviously cemented me as a man of taste and culture, it was off to mine for some more vino. Of course, there was then a mad scramble to get the next potential Hyacinth Bucket (who used the word ‘toilet’ after her fifth glass, which was quite a turn-off in hindsight) to leave, pack for ‘merica, sleep, and not miss the car to the airport before a few well deserved Bloody Marys in the Clubhouse to prevent a hangover that day. Yes, my flying Upper Class (upgrading with miles, mind you) may have helped seal the deal on the date, but I’d like to think it was my charm and knowledge of French varietals… I really do love a country where appearances matter, but being the seemingly couth one in any sort of relationship is honestly not something at which I excel. When your grandmother failed to complete finishing school, one really does have a reputation to uphold. And, yes, I may use more vulgar terms for the lavatory in private or public after the third pint, but I would never call such a place a toilet, ever.
I should at this point mention my Tinder pictures included a fairly mediocre shot of me with the pitch of the Emirates Stadium in the background from the upper box level, which was accessed via free tickets mind you, a picture of the family golden retriever puppy, passport/champagne/seat-pod/FT on the ottoman obligatory ‘I got upgraded a-holes’ Instagram pic, a shot of a the rather stunning Camel Estuary I had just taken and made my cover photo, and an old skiing shot, where I have helmet hair and look like Stevie Wonder. Basically, an accidental targeting the aspirational middle classes with the appearance of being upper-middle class. This is apparently a big deal, because my background and what I liked to do with my leisure time was the subject of every non-hookerbot conversation. Maybe I have a gift for selecting these girls with my swipes, but the young women of London (predominantly found south of the river for some reason) desiring what they seemingly thought I represented and willing meet me after the dinner hour for drink on a school night at a pub in Fulham, despite living off the Northern Line, was far larger than I would have thought. However, I was off to America, so the soon to be disappointed social climbers of South London would have to wait for me to look down my rather long nose at their cleavage. Don’t worry, I got all their numbers, and, yes, the surname ‘Tinder’ now has quite a few entries in my iPhone’s contacts.
For those blissfully unaware of how the world works, Britain has a fairly strict class system, where people are supposed to know their place, but are looking to jump up one rung on the ladder. For the most part this promotion/relegation system works quite well for them, but just like in sport, America doesn’t even bother with such nonsense. Yes, there is an almost identical class system setup by the second sons of the English nobility in the South and their Yankee merchant-class counterparts in the North, but new arrivals and people west of the Eastern Continental Divide aren’t told of such things. It means nothing to their corn-dependent existence, so why bother, right? Despite mass swiping for a bit in Central London, I only got leggy foreigners and seemingly respectable, middle class matches. Not so in America. That whole classless society thing has been taken to the core of the American working classes, who ironically think they are the middle class? I still don’t get this whole social class thing, but I did find an accessory app which lets you swipe right to every woman within 50 miles, which I then did to quite different results.
In fact, this is where the hilarity ensued with a tinge of sadness for utter lack of English fluency amongst Millennials in the world’s remaining superpower. Yes, I invented a little sociological experiment, which I like to call the ‘Tinder Lunch’. What is a Tinder Lunch you ask? Well, it’s when you go to lunch with a Tinder match with whom you expect entertainment and, most certainly, not mutual compatibility. You cannot pay any part of the other party’s bill, and it doesn’t count as a date, due to their being no possibility of it going anywhere else. Setting yourself a one hour time limit, you can flatter your ego and see what sort of disgusting eating habits others with whom you most likely would have never crossed paths possess. Also, laughing at the work of cut-price plastic surgeons can be part of the deal, should you choose wisely. Who knows, you may actually hit it off with someone and want to meet for dinner or drinks.
It is the – always in app if you value your privacy – text exchange to set things up, which is where things become interesting. My first Tinder lunch was with an Eastern European immigrant, who claimed to be fluent in five languages. Obviously, I couldn’t be bothered to come up with any original material with such a well-read polyglot/gold-digger, so I used only Rod Stewart lyrics for the entire conversation, save directions to the chosen restaurant. Thankfully ‘Rod the Mod’ has a massive back catalogue, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding suitable quotations. Upping the degree of difficulty would be using Mike and the Mechanics, but ‘crumpled bits of paper filled with imperfect thoughts’ make you look like far too much of an introvert for the job at hand.
How was the lunch, well interesting is the best word to describe this… Apparently, in the former Eastern Bloc, under-the-muscle breast implants are not yet a thing. I’m generally not attracted to swarthy women anyway (ok, there is the obvious Kate Beckinsale-type exception), but my God, awfully done fake tits are a major turn-off! Yes, I sat there eating my steak salad unable to break eye contact without laughing under my breath, and it most definitely looked as if someone had put a couple sandwich bags of gelatin in there. If failed states like Venezuela can produce decent plastic surgeons, then why can’t the former second world? And, no, they didn’t all move to the UK.
Now, you may be asking what we talked about. Right, I have been complimented, far too frequently for my own good, on how attractive my voice happens to be. Being the sort of person that I am, the mere idea of my deep baritone being a turn-on of any note, means I am in love with the sound of my own voice. Just ask my mother, she’ll go on for hours about it, which may then give you an idea for where I got such a gift.
Anyway, one of the topics of actual discussion, after she tried to ascertain my bank balance, was how was I with monogamy. Answering honestly, I proceeded to tell my dark-featured companion about how I was sent home from school with an angry note from the headmistress aged five for practicing kissing with these Australian twins under a pile of coats while my ‘girlfriend’ was out for the week with the Chickenpox. She somehow thought this was a joke. I then began to give a few more examples of my seeming lack of ‘fidelity’ outside of a clearly defined relationship with rules against such things, which seem to have a common theme of leggy blondes as the culprit. Actually, if anyone knows a leggy blonde who would genuinely respond to a wooing via the extensive repertoire of North London’s only ‘Scottish’ rock star, please let me know. Just because I’m enjoying my occasional catch-and-release Tinder lunches, doesn’t mean I’m opposed to interviewing for the role of current girlfriend and/or future mistress.
After finishing my salad and, much to her shock and disappointment, splitting the bill, it was time for me to get back to work. I’ve been on a number of other Tinder lunches, but those will have to wait for another day. It should be noted: these do not constitute dates, which keeps my always pulling on the first date streak alive. Yes, a gentleman isn’t supposed to kiss an tell, but they also don’t describe Francis Dashwood as a model Chancellor of the Exchequer and Englishman. For now I leave you with what I consider the most appropriate theme song for Tinder, which happens to feature ‘Rod the Mod’ and the great Ronnie Wood on guitar: