Wednesday, 3 August 2016

On match-making apps, single life and a modern dating photoshoot

Oh, dating and single life in 2016. It's all lolz.

I mean, sometimes it seems totally tragic and makes you want to tear your hair out in despair, run away to the ocean and live out the rest of your life alone as a mermaid. But the rest of the time, it's pretty lolz.

I date.

I'm on the dating apps.

Three of them, to be precise: Tinder, Happn and Once.

Everyone knows Tinder, and to be honest I think it's reached Facebook-level ubiquity amongst my generation. It's sort of a given that any single 20-something will been Tinder. Or the vast majority anyway.

See someone you fancy in the pub? Great. You'd better go home and try and find them on Tinder later. God forbid you actually go and talk to them in person.

And let's be real, even if you do meet someone in real life, it's never that romantic is it? People seem to meet through work or in a bar.
I go through phases with Tinder (and the other two dating apps too tbh), but you can't deny that that swiping is darn fun.

Tinder is weird though. And you get some weirdos. (We'll get to those.)

But then plenty of my friends are in long-term relationships that started on Tinder. It's just normal now. Would I prefer to meet someone IRL or through friends? Of course. But you've gotta roll with the times.

Then there's Happn, which shows you who you've crossed paths with.

Good in theory, but totally overwhelming in practice. Do you have any idea how many men I cross paths with on an average day in London? It's absurd. You'd need to be on it all the time to get anywhere and ain't nobody got time for that. So if I like someone on Happn, the chances of matching with them are super slim because it's very unlikely they'll even see my profile.

I think it'd be better if you could somehow search, for example, for people you crossed paths with at a certain time or a particular place so then you can try and track down that hot guy across the room from you in Pret at 4pm last Saturday. You're welcome for the idea, Happn.
And then there's Once, which is meant to be a step back to more traditional match-making. You put in your details, a bunch of pics and some info about what you're looking for. Then, real people - proper matchmakers - send you one match per day.

Well, supposedly one, but pretty much every day I get a notification saying "It's your lucky day! You got a second match." So I feel like maybe it should be called Twice but that's not so catchy. I like that on Once you tend to get a bit more info about your potential suitors, but it's yet to lead to any dates.

The trouble is, everyone googles everyone these days. I try not to do it when dating someone, but it's hard to resist.

A guy with whom I was chatting on Once actually told me he'd stalked me online and that I "sure tweet a lot!" Like, AND what? I mean, is it just me or was that a bit of a weird thing to say? He didn't even know my last name so must have done some serious stalking.

Although it's not as creepy as when I get message requests from men on Facebook saying they've seen me on Tinder. Again, considering they only see my first name I have no idea how they find me. I haven't had any too awful messages but it's still creepy. I mean, do they really think I'm going to reply? Are they that desperate?

Speaking of desperation, I am just basically never going to swipe right on someone who super-likes me. It's just too keen, boys. You've got to play it cooler.
So yeah, dating apps. I mean, there are a ridiculous number out there, some of which are insanely niche. But I'm only on three.

ONLY three!? cry the coupled-up/older amongst you. But it's the norm. *shrugs*

Like, I'm totally fabulous and awesome and loving life and having a bloody awesome time by myself, but it might be nice to have a special person, ya know? It looks kinda cute in rom-coms.

So if one hopes to find a companion for restaurant-frequenting, one hits the apps. And if you want to do it seriously, you've gotta commit some serious time to swiping and scrolling. I never do because there are too many fun things going on in actual life which is why I'm probably going to die alone, but I hop on and off the ole apps.

However, you have to sift through a fair few no-hopers before you find anyone who might even potentially be what you're looking for.

Let's see...

Alex 24 was not the one. What was that emoji!?

And unfortunately for Paul, opening by criticising my employer was never going to get a reply.

There are guys who clearly are not boyfriend material (and apparently haven't even bothered checking for typos)...
*swipes left*

Does Charlie 33 not sound like the very definition of lovely?

Of course there are plenty of guys who only want one thing (maybe the same goes for girls, I wouldn't know)...
I mean, fair enough, do what you want. But if that's not what you're after, you just have to weed those guys out.

I only wish I'd started screens hotting more of these as there have been some real gems.

But to do it properly, you have to work hard on crafting the perfect profile.

It's a shallow world, is that of dating apps, and it works both ways. I'll dismiss a guy if he:

  • is wearing a V-neck T-shirt or a vest (hate them)
  • has taken a selfie (god forbid a mirror one), lest it's a group shot
  • has a grammatical error in his bio
  • only has group pictures (mate I don't have time to work out which one you are)
  • reveals he's shorter than me #soznotsoz
  • has tattoos or earrings
  • says he's just visiting (and is thus definitely only after a hook-up)
Brutal, I know. But a gal's gotta be picky.

I know for a fact that the majority of men are not so picky. Yet I still believe it's important to put thought into my own profile, largely because the image I create of myself should say something about the type of guy I hope to attract. 
You guys, pictures are so important, and that is something Saskia Nelson realised a few years ago.

I came across Saskia's story when I interviewed her for work (have a read here, amigos) and was super impressed: after years of online dating and encountering men who looked nothing like their photos, photographer Saskia spotted a niche in the market and realised she could really help people by setting up the UK's first specialised dating profile photography agency. 

Saskia believes (and I do agree) that it's soon going to reach the point where fuzzy, bad-quality, badly composed pictures just aren't going to get you anywhere when it comes to online dating. Everyone's upping their game, and she's helping them.

Extremely kindly, Saskia offered to take a few snaps for me, which was both daunting and exciting.

With a couple of changes of clothes, Saskia shot me in various places along the Southbank, showing me just how knowledgeable about all this she is. We started somewhere quiet so I could get over my nerves, before moving to busier spots when I'd found my inner model. (Watch out, Gigi.)
She was fantastic at putting me at ease and by the end of the shoot I was having a ball. Um, can I have a professional photographer follow me round all the time, pls?

The idea isn't to take pictures that look like you've had a photoshoot, but rather to create the impression you've been hanging out with a friend who just happens to be an awesome photographer with an amazing camera.
What do you think of the shots? I'll be honest, I rather like them.

I haven't added them all to my dating app profiles yet, but a guy did message the other day to congratulate me on my great face, so I think they must be working. If nothing else, it's just lovely to have a couple of pictures of myself that I actually like.

And to be honest I think it's fascinating that this new industry exists - Hey Saturday may have been the original dating photography agency, but it's not the only one any more (I may be biased but I'm fairly certain it's the best one.)

So we shall see, eh friends. It's all fun and games. And hey, I'm in no rush. Being young and free and single in London is so much fun I can't even tell you, but if someone were to enter my life and make it even better, I'd be down for that. And maybe in this day and age, a nice snap might help bring that about. Who knows?!

Would laaaaaave to hear your thoughts on all this, friends! Are you on the apps? Have you had any similar experiences? Are you tempted to have a photoshoot?


  1. I guess I can be classed as lucky, as dating is never something I've had to do - having fancied a guy at sixteen, a month after meeting it turned out he fancied me back, fast forward six years and we're planning the wedding! However equally I can't give friends dating advice and do occasionally feel I missed out (though obviously wouldn't change what I have for the world). Good luck - and you look so pretty in these photos!

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Lifestyle Blog

    1. You say nothing you've never had to do, but dating is fun too! That's a really sweet story though - congratulations! And thanks Chloe :) x

  2. I loooove the pics! They look fab and I bet they will be perfect on your apps! I haven't used any as they weren't around when I was single but I think it's a great idea as I have heaps of single London friends and I know they find it hard to find people!

    Jasmin Charlotte

  3. The photos are beautiful!! It's nice how natural they are - plus you look really lovely in them :) I'm not on any dating apps, partly because I find them a little bit creepy but also I don't know how well they'd go down in my profession. I don't really want any of my patients finding me while I'm wandering round the hospital haha! Guess I'm going to have to stick to the good old-fashioned way...
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

    1. Thanks so much, Jenny. Ooh yes I do understand your worry. Good luck! x


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© Handbags and Cupcakes. All rights reserved.