Come in for a quickie

Here’s yesterday’s Sunday Times Conch. It’s about modern dating techniques. Oy Vey.


We’re living in a quick hook-up culture. When I first started dating online ten years ago, you had to fill in a four-page questionnaire, including your likes (long walks on the beach, flirting and a sense of humour seemed to be standard across the board), and dislikes (dishonesty, gonorrhea, trying to spell gonorrhea, and scam artists). You described in great detail how you looked, using euphemisms like ‘traditionally built’, or ‘nice personality’, and posted pictures if you were thin or brave. This information was fed into a giant computer where it went through a complex algorithm and spat out your compatible matches.

I was once a 67% match with a black Jewish man named Noah Masipa, who already had three wives and was looking to add another one (who could cook) to his complement. That’s a true story; honesty was in the top three qualities I put in the ‘Describe your Personality’ section. Cooking was not.

Fast-forward a decade and Tinder and it’s offshoots like Grindr (for gay people), 3nder (for threesomes) and Blendr (for sightseeing hookups) rule supreme. In our entire history as a species, we’ve never required less information about a potential partner than we do today. We’re satisfied with as little as looks, location and the knowledge that they have a smart phone and enough cognisant ability, coordination and data to be able to swipe either left or right.

I’m genuinely concerned about the next step in the evolution of dating. Perhaps they’ll add a clock to it? Instead of being able to surf through potential dates at your leisure, you’ll have to make a split second decision. Your potential life partner’s face will pop up on your screen for literally a second, so you’ll have to be really quick on the draw. Or should that be quick on the pull. And that will be the only information you get. It’ll be speed dating on, well on speed.

But there is hope. Once, in my other life in advertising, I sat in a marketing meeting that went on for several weeks. And that was where I learnt about The Adidas Principle. Basically, each generation defies the generation before. So for example, if your father wears Nikes, then you will more than likely choose Adidas. And then we wash, rinse and rotate as each new generation comes along.

So maybe the tide will turn for the next generation and future daters will go back to actually requiring information to decide if they’re mentally, emotionally and physically compatible with another human being, before deciding to meet for that first coffee. A potential partner will have to supply an unabridged birth certificate, a five-year work and relationship history, and submit to a fertility test. (You can decide if you want someone fertile or infertile – the latter being my preference.) Followed by a few months chatting via email and telephone, a background check by a private detective, then three, maybe even four dates before you shag. Yeah, I know, sounds tedious. Don’t worry that’s only for the next generation. As you were.

Tinder dating app photo

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