feminism / Jan 2016: Starting Over / sex

Trying To Find A Feminist Tinder Date

New beginnings includes breaking up with your boyfriend of two years and joining Tinder. My aim? To find a feminist date.

After being incredibly nervous about joining Tinder (have you SEEN this video?) I thought: “Fuck it, I’m great!” and made a profile. It had an array of photos and the following blurb:

“If you like film or television then I’ll probably like you. Cliched creative type/writer. MA magazine journalism and BA philosophy. Not looking for casual flings. Simpsons/It’s Always Sunny/Peep Show obsessive. Talk nerdy to me. I will never speak first.”

The matches came flooding in, and my ego spiked momentarily. And then they started talking.

Human man: How nerdy are you?
Me: How nerdy are YOU?

Human man 2: What did you think of the new Fallout?
Me: I haven’t played it.
Human man 2: You haven’t played it? #notarealnerd
(I unmatched immediately)

Human man 3: Where would you put yourself on the nerdy scale?
Me: Medium rare? Sorry I didn’t know it was a measurable scale so I’ve used meat measurements.

Human man 4: I’ll be really impressed if you can tell me who I’m dressed up as in picture 4.
Me: *radio silence*

Human man 5: Wow, you’re at least a foot taller than me.
Me: Is that a problem for you?
Human man 5: … I like to feel like I can look after the women I’m dating, it’s probably been more of a thing for me than the girls.
Me: Well it ain’t the 1940s anymore so you don’t need to worry about looking after your women.

Sigh. The ‘testing’ of women on their nerdiness or a subject normally (and incorrectly) attributed as a ‘male interest’ is still very much alive, much to my disdain. Was the gene pool of my home town synonymous with cesspool, just as I feared? I was starting to think so, but then I got some of the following messages and there was a glimmer of hope:

Human man: Dental Plan!
Me: Lisa Needs Braces!

Human man 2: Are you hyped for the new Peep Show tonight?
Me: Yeeeeeeeeeeees!

Human man 3: Who’s your favourite It’s Always Sunny character?
Me: Ooooh what a difficult question…

Human man 4: I’m just a normal, functioning member of the human race and there’s no way anyone can prove otherwise.
Me: That is an excellent jokette.

Human man 5: You fucking idiot, Jeremy! You total fucking idiot! That was YOUR job, you fucking moron! You cretin! YOU’RE A FUCKHEAD! THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE! A FUCKING SHITHEAD!
Me: It was a joke, Mark. I was joking. It was a Christmas joke.

After much weedling, I decided to go on a few dates.

The Dates

The first was disastrous. He told me he would go back in time to kill Courtney Love because it was her fault Kurt Cobain died, and also that possibly his uncle killed his cousin. He also hated ex-porn star women who become famous as cosplayers because they’re not real fans.

*Downs Cidre*

I went to the toilet after an hour and my friend arrived ‘out of the blue’ and we left after another hour. Upon leaving, he tried to hug me three times and I rejected them all. My friend laughed and it was possibly the most awkward moment of my life. He waited for his bus opposite the pub while we went in the direction of ASDA, when actually we walked there and back so we could kill some time before going back into the pub.

The second guy I met was decent, and I was all excited about the prospect of it going somewhere. That was, of course, until I was ghosted after he arranged a third date. Ouch. That definitely hurt a lot more than it should have, and I vowed to be more cautious and less vulnerable when meeting someone from freakin’ Tinder.

The third guy seemed hilarious, and I was excited about going out with someone who could keep me on my toes humour-wise. And yes, credit to him, he was hilarious, but we also held almost comically opposing views. The whole date was us discussing white privilege and feminism (neither of which he thought were valid things) and I wasn’t sure if I hated him or was intrigued and fired up by the intelligent conversation.

The most showing thing, however, was when a guy pinched my arm really hard on the way to the toilet to get my attention, and I came back with a red patch (which eventually bruised). How can we not need feminism when this is what girls have to put up with when they’re just trying to go for a whizz? He didn’t seem to have an answer.  We arranged to meet again and had a long discussion on whatsapp about white privilege (again), and then we kept rearranging and I’m not sure when/if we’ll see each other again. A friend of mine said it probably wouldn’t work in the long-term, and she’s probably right. Could I really have a relationship with someone who didn’t agree with the same basic fundamental principles as myself? He was hardly my idealistic feminist date, after all.

Date four was almost as big a disaster as the first. We sat in forced, awkward conversation at a pub before we saw Star Wars, and he cracked his knuckles every three seconds throughout the film. I was so glad we’d decided on an activity where we both had to sit in silence and ignore each other, because I don’t know what I would have done otherwise – my saviour friend from date one was away and I’d probably have had to do a runner post-toilet. I thought about doing it in the cinema, but I really wanted to watch Star Wars again…

I didn’t know how to handle the awkwardness when I came out so I became magically glued to my phone, refused to make eye contact and had to heavily reject his offers of walking me home. I’ve never been so cold to someone in my life and I could tell by the tone of his voice he was annoyed and possibly a bit shocked. Whoops. I was probably a bit harsh but I didn’t know how else to reject him without him thinking I was in any way interested, especially as we’d got along so well online.

Enter male pride. I received this message a few days later:

“Hey, you seemed pretty cool I just don’t know if I really want to date anyone of any description right now. Just wondering if you might like to be friends?”

Are you serious, guy? I rejected YOU, you jerk. It’s like being fired and then coming back to work a few days later and going: “Guys, I know this might be difficult for you, but I’m quitting. Please, don’t cry.” Instead of telling him I’d already started working on my next Tinder match, I went for good ol’ fashioned radio silence.

Date five was not really a date so much as an I’m-already-at-the-pub-and-marginally-tipsy/horny-and-my-friend-is-chatting-to-someone-else. It’s all a bit of a blur and yes, I ended up using Tinder for what everyone jokes that it’s for. Cue my sister calling me a dirty stop out for the foreseeable future and me laughing at her old fashioned views.

So did I find a feminist tinder date? Not really, but I found out more about myself than anything. I’m impressed with myself for overcoming my fear of online dating (based on a fear of rejection) and it’s given me a confidence boost while also helping me clarify what I do and do not want from a guy. I used to feel pressured into returning attention when I received it but now I’m happy to actively take the reigns and say “no thank you” to someone I only half like. I found some decent people and some awkward ones, too, and to be honest it’s been a lot better than I ever thought it would be. I’m relaxing my Tinder obsession now though, because it’s a lot of effort and not a huge amount of pay off when things don’t go anywhere. Also, it really highlighted to me how different a person can be online over face-to-face, which was kind of scary.

I’d like to leave y’all with some tips for the guys of Tinder. If you’ve got a picture of yourself with a gun – that’s a paddlin’. If you’ve got YOLO in your profile – that’s a paddlin’. If your profile is just a list of things you want from a girl rather than anything about yourself – that’s a paddlin’. The worst thing I’ve ever seen? “Send me the pussy – [hissnapchatusername].” Please, that guy, make your NYE resolution castration.

– Katherine Hockley

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