sex & relationships

How technology changed my dating experiences

My very first dating app experience is one that could have put me off dating forever, meaning this article would never have been written and, kids, if you’re reading this, you may never have be

My very first dating app experience is one that could have put me off dating forever, meaning this article would never have been written and, kids, if you’re reading this, you may never have been born.

I walked into Costa and waved at a man who turned out not to be my date. Not a good start. Blushing, I went to order a coffee and that’s when I saw him: A man, who looked vaguely like his picture, sitting in the corner drinking water and tapping the table with his fingers. I smiled and sat down as we got the awkward “how are yous” and “nice to meet yous” out the way.

“So, what do you do?” I asked.

“I work in petrol care. But, um, at the moment I’m looking after my brother. My dad’s in prison you see, and my mum’s off the rails so, I’m kind of like his dad at the moment.”

The silence that followed was deafening until I hysterically tried to change the subject, moving from lasagne to dinosaurs with impressive speed. Not long after, I made my excuses and rushed back to work with, so I’m told, a look of horror on my face that didn’t fade for the rest of the day.

Verdict: I was so terrified by this date that I deleted the app, swearing to myself that I would never go on a date again. But, true to my promise to you, dear reader, I downloaded a different app and powered through.

A Poor Man’s George Osborne

My first impression was that he looked like the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which was ironic considering he didn’t pay. Tall, broad and oh so public school, my second first date stood waiting for me outside Starbucks in a very swag suit. We said our hellos and went to buy coffee, and that’s when I started sweating.

For no reason other than the Gods wanted to play a cruel joke on me, it was suddenly really hot and I could feel myself burning up. Luckily, he started talking about himself (I got the feeling he enjoyed that topic) about his personal training, his new business and his super king size bed. I started fanning myself down with my hands, not, I assure you, as a reaction to his bed, and suggested we go for a walk along South Bank. After walking for a little while, we started walking back, which is when he discovered the 9 year age gap.

“No way, you look so much older!” He shouted at me, where the date abruptly ended.

Verdict: We had a lot in common and he seemed like quite a funny guy, but there was absolutely no chemistry. And he thought I looked like an old hag. After this date, I made the decision never to go on a sober first date ever, ever again.

Irish Irish Coffee

There’s a first date with a drink, and then there’s a first date with a drink and an Irish guy.

That morning I received a photo image of an adorably cute guy wrapped in a leopard print blanket, asleep. Written underneath was: “I’m never drinking again. Until tonight.” We had arranged to go for a cocktail after work, which he assured me he was still up for, so I waited for him outside the bar. He came over to me, and said, “I’m never drinking again. I mean apart from the cider I just had.” Then we walked down to the bar, got drinks and he said, “I’m never drinking again, apart from right now.” Seriously?! He really didn’t do much for the stereotype, I’ll tell you that.

We had one cocktail, then another, and he suggested grabbing some dinner. We wondered to a tapas restaurant, chatted for ages, and then he suggested another post dinner drink. We talked, we laughed, we flirted. And then he gave me “that” look. I swept my hair back and then – he didn’t kiss me. As I walked to the station, I was confused more than anything. There was definitely a spark, so why no kiss?

Verdict: Even though he turned up half cut, he had the most glorious jaw-line I’ve ever seen so perhaps I should have taken the bull by the horns, as it were. My solution? More alcohol.

Laced in Chelsea

From chatting to this particular gentleman, it was clear that he was intelligent and cultured. He made reference to books that I pretended to read at school, bands I’ve never heard of and history I have no knowledge of. Considering I have a history degree, this was worrying. I was, therefore, incredibly intimidated when he suggested going to the Battersea Power Station for our first date – my industrial history is very rusty.

I had no reason to be intimidated. As the queue to the Power Station was too long, we went for a walk through Battersea Park to Chelsea where we talked about everything from broken bones to past relationships, managing to get through the entire park without a single awkward pause. Then we hit up the first of five pubs, and that was us done; by pub two we were best friends, by pub three we’d had our first kiss and by pub four we’d given all our change to a tramp and befriended three pissed Chelsea housewives.

Verdict: Despite the obvious breaking of the ‘don’t get drunk on the first date’ rule, this was hands down the most fun first date I’ve ever had. Shut up, I’m not blushing.

There’s Chemistry

The first time I saw this guy, I was relieved. I had been wearing heels all day and the thought of walking around the Science Museum for their late night adult evening had me whimpering in pain. As he approached me, I took in his height and safely decided to switch my heels to flats. That’s not to say he wasn’t my type, but being 5’3”, height is rarely what I look for in a man. After becoming accustomed to his Northern accent, conversation flowed easily, and we spoke about our jobs, our families and our love for nerdy museum trips as we walked to the Science Museum. Despite being 25, he got IDed on the way in, which he managed to shrug off cooly. It must happen a lot.

The great thing about Science Museum lates is the booze. We shared some wine, laughed at the space toilet and wandered through the museum with that childlike excitement that only happens when you’re with someone you have a connection with. We passed on the silent disco and bitched about the DJ, walked past the tranny bingo and spent a long time chatting. We kissed at the end of the date, fuelled by much wine, a great date and the fuzzy happiness that comes with it.

Verdict: While we got on really well, there was no spark, but I nearly forgot about all that due to the location. Science Museum Lates happen on the last Wednesday of every month. What are you waiting for?

Hockey Jock

This is the first date that I was actually nervous about. Not because I was anxious about what he would think of me, but because he is a foot taller than me. I pulled my highest heels out of my bag and gulped. I would need to drink a lot to get through this shoe pain. And I did.

He met me after work, and I was immediately attracted to him. He was tall (luckily my heels were doing the job and he wasn’t too tall) good looking, and very charming. After the first drink was out of the way, conversation flowed quite freely and it wasn’t long until we were joking and laughing together as if this wasn’t an awkward first date arranged on an app.

One drink turned into two and so on and so forth until we were getting out our phones looking for the nearest karaoke bar. Somewhere after our second kiss, reason slapped me in the face and I insisted we get the train home before this turned into a wild night of debauchery and I would have to turn up to work in yesterday’s clothes. There was some pretty steamy kissing on public transport (sorry, London) and then we said our goodbyes.

Verdict: He was obviously a really fun guy, and it was a really fun date, but he seemed to bring out my immature and crazy side, which I’m not sure is a good thing.

British Transport Bore

Did you know that travelling to Wales actually takes less time than you thought it did? Neither did I, until my first date with an IT consultant. I actually work in IT (unexpected I know – we’re not all middle-aged men) so I thought that if all else failed, we’d have something in common as we work in the same industry. I was wrong.

After 10 minutes trying to convince him that the company I work for is actually kind of a big deal in the IT space, he brought up his favourite topic: transport. Until this point he had come across shy, and a little unsure of himself, but as soon as he started talking about his family’s different living locations, he was on a roll.

“So really, if you think about it, the train misses out the stops on the way, whereas on the motorway, you’re reliant on traffic and various other factors: accidents, weather conditions etcetera. I mean, it could be raining, snowy, icy…” This was about the time I fell asleep with my eyes open.

Verdict: I feel bad because he did genuinely seem like a sweet guy, but just a tip to all you transport loving gentlemen out there: leave it out of the first date conversation.

Overall Verdict

Before using dating apps, I was convinced that dating tools weren’t for me. I was a firm believer in meeting someone the traditional way, getting to know them, then going on a date – if you both got on. But since I became single earlier this year, I’ve discovered that it is impossible to meet people the traditional way, because no one has the time.

Dating apps made me realise that dates aren’t hard to get, if you’re looking in the right places. You could have a date tonight if you wanted to. No, I’m not joking. And in an unintentional journey of self-discovery, I found that I actually enjoy dating, despite the crazies that encouraged me to get me to a nunnery.

It’s no overemphasis when I say that dating apps have opened up a whole new world when it comes to modern dating. It is hardly the “jungle” that Bridget Jones frets about any more. Of course, with new styles of dating come new dating problems… but that’s for another article, don’t you think?

What do you think? Has technology been beneficial for dating? Are apps the way forward? Have your say in the comments section below.

Image: Don Hankins