Tindering In Your Thirties

By Josh Quarmby on 29 January, 2017

It’s 7.35 pm on a Thursday night. Right now, many of my mates are at home with their partners, wrestling their young children in to bed or nursing their newborns to sleep. Others are out with their girlfriends enjoying an evening out, probably going to go home for a night of completely underwhelming sex. At least that's what I tell myself. What am I doing? I’m about to throw myself back into the dating scene. After a year of being single I’ve made the decision to put myself out there again. Why the hell not! There's only so much mindless TV a guy can handle. So I download tinder.

I can’t believe this is how people meet these days. Surely I could just go to a bar like they did before phones and technology ruined our ability to communicate effectively with members of the opposite sex. Or I could even be introduced to someone by one of my overly enthusiastic friends who constantly ask me why I haven't found a nice girl, like they are in some way invested in me getting married and having kids. Instead, at 34 years of age, I’ve been reduced to swiping left and right to find someone to go on a date with.

To create my profile I have to upload some pictures of myself. I look for some shots that paint me in an interesting and positive light. Pictures that women will want to swipe right for. Ruggedly handsome, athletic, adventurous. Who am I kidding? That was me in my twenties. I scour through my photo library to find some pics where I don't look like a mildly overweight and balding bloke whose idea of adventure is trying a different coffee shop on his way to work of a morning.

I'm now prompted to write something about myself. I opt to briefly portray the best version of me in order to increase the likelihood of scoring that elusive date. That's the end game here, isn't it? This whole process is making me feel like a car salesman trying to sell off a used vehicle like it's something new and shiny. For Sale: One slightly used 80s model, doesn't run as good as it used to, Drinks too much, still relatively shiny, though on closer inspection buyers will notice some exterior damage. The spare tyre is included. Jeez, I'm a real catch.

I begin swiping left and right hoping for a match, pawing through dozens of pictures of single women. This is easy. I soon realise I have a type. I’m not sure she’s going to be on here. Am I being too fussy though? I flash back to some advice from a former colleague of mine, Alex "You know your problem mate. You're too picky. You like your girls with a pulse. Me? I just like them warm." Helpful Alex, Cheers. I learned fairly early on not to take seriously any relationship advice from men in their 40s who are still bitter from their divorces. I continue swiping in the hope my perfect match is out there.

The first picture I come across is a 27-year-old pulling some sort of weird duck face. She's attractive, but why the need to pull that face? I swipe left for no. The following girl is a 31-year-old posing in the downward dog yoga stance on the beach. I marvel at her flexibility as my mind wanders off to a place it shouldn’t. The next potential is posing in a different yoga stance, this time on a mountain. I come across a photo of a group of girls who look like they are on a hen’s night. I'm not sure which girl owns the account, so I swipe right anyway. It soon becomes apparent that most girls on this site either do yoga or have participated in a charity run where participants get covered in splashes of colour. In their efforts to be different and stand out from the crowd, the female profiles morph in to one big online dating cliché.

Finally, success. My phone buzzes with exciting news. YOU HAVE A MATCH. A seemingly attractive 29 year old who look as if she could tick at least one of my key search criteria….a pulse.

Knowing a huge percentage of women using an online dating service wait for the guy to make first contact, I construct a short and engaging introduction and wait for the response. The response never comes. Was it something I said? Did I try too hard? I briefly ponder what could have been. My phone beeps again, and the game continues...