Tinder is 10 years old. Humans are no happier, but tech companies are richer. But then, perhaps not everyone joins these sites looking for romantic happiness. They might just want to pass the time, get a confidence boost or see who’s out there.
I’m celibate and don’t date. In April, I joined Hinge and Bumble for a month because I wanted to know two things. Am I hideous? And does my type (sporty, good boys who are younger than me) like me back? Every 27-year-old within a 20-mile radius got in touch, as did a significant minority of actual teenagers.
I met one person for a drink. He was a chill, intelligent, woke guy who works for a charity. He came back from the unisex loo with a big grin, saying: “Yay! They have free tampons and sanitary pads!” Two glasses of wine later, he wanted to debate the hypotheticals of endemic sexual violence, asking softly: “What would you say if you had, like, a 16-year-old guy [accused of rape], who genuinely didn’t understand consent?”
It was a waste of time. There are eight billion people on the planet. What are we supposed to do, interview each other one by one? Dating apps cleverly tap into people’s yearning, their susceptibility to romantic fantasy as a salve to their existential dissatisfaction. I think that longing is a permanent and normal feature of human nature. It is not related to reality, cannot be sated and adds poignancy to daily life. We should live with it.
And what of Mr Rape Debate? In the end, like a true male feminist, instead of splitting the bill, he sat back and let me pay for the pleasure.
Call that a party, Sanna?
It’s outrageous that instead of enjoying the afterglow of a totally normal minibreak, Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, has had to submit to a drugs test and a global media remorse apology tour. Her sin? She went to the beach and the sauna, then bopped around in her seaside holiday home.
Is Marin having to appease cheap political attacks from cynical opportunists over nothing? What is this, The Handmaid’s Tale fan fiction? A medieval warning for any woman who doesn’t behave like a penitent nun?
I came of age in the 90s. I know what partying is and Marin didn’t do it. Partying involves taking the tube home two days late, in a damp silk dress, ravenous, reeking of Moët, sweat and stale Shalimar, a bunch of plastic cocktail twizzlers in your clutch bag, with glitter on your face and extreme dehydration, followed by a 20-hour sleep and three days of cystitis. And no footage to memorialise the event.
Meghan’s real offence
A woman can’t win, whether you’re a political leader or a royal wife. The Duchess of Sussex’s recent podcast revealed how she was “accused” of being ambitious when it became known that she was dating Prince Harry.
Given that she was already self-made and her ambition was no secret, the timing of the insult is telling. I think it was class-based and racialised, tapping into the stereotype of the uppity, grasping woman of colour, the social climber who thinks she deserves higher status than what the world has set aside for her; the woman who marries into her social position by using her charms, instead of working and crying and grafting and sweating and fighting every inch of the way.
But as Meghan and Marin know, whether you married up or tried to have some downtime, if you’re a woman trying to live her life, the world will find a way to make you pay.
Bidisha Mamata is a broadcaster, critic and journalist for BBC, Channel 4 and Sky News
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