Xuefei Jessica Thompson
Dating app fatigue:
I admit to being a die-hard hopeless romantic. I dream of the day Mr. Darcy will sweep me off my ‘publishing feet’ (Bridget Jones is my spirit animal). I dare say most women I have confided in share my romantic hopes. However, to my disapproval we have entered a new cultural phenomenon of casual dating and meaningless sex. The idea of ‘giving it up’ early days will somehow aid you in embracing your femininity and weed out the misogynistic men from your life? The courtship and dating I read about growing up is no longer a form of art, but a game in which men use to feed their egos and toxic masculinity. A relationship has become a tug of war, the individual that ‘cares less’ has the upper hand. With this new cultural revolution and advancement of technology, dating apps have experienced a boom in users. Tinder has been downloaded more than 50million times and matches 26 million singles every hour.
But how successful is the market giant really?
Online dating has become a somewhat cultural cliché. Men complain about the lack of sincerity from their female counterparts, whilst women can’t seem to build a genuine connection. In a sea full of ‘dick pics’ and sexual jokes I managed to shortlist 3/75 matches I would consider socialising with outside the context of ‘never having to actually meet them.' Even then, I decided they were just the best of a bad bunch and quickly deleted my profile. I completely forgot about my secret 78- hour -long rendezvous until my father mentioned that his entire amateur football team had already seen my profile, sent him screenshots and nicknamed me ‘Tinderella’. Safe to say, I was ready to erase my entire existence and purchase a one way ticket to Miami where I could be a ‘thot’ in peace.
Why were these men in their 40s setting their age preference to 18+? Why were they not condemned for borderline nonce behaviour?
Women on tinder are viewed as desperate whilst men are geezers. This is due to the connotations that are still attached to women, whom actively seek romance, to this day. I soon realised why I joined this ‘army of desperate women’ in the first place.
I embody an alter persona when messaging over an app. I have no intent of actually meeting these men and therefore I am not afraid to be bold. I call them out on their cringey pick-up lines and below average chat. I am in essence authentically me because I am not afraid of making an arse of myself. That and the idea of free validation lured me in.
My point is, fear is the main thing that holds us back from approaching a stranger in real life. The embarrassment of being publicly rejected haunts us.
If we can collectively agree online dating sucks, yet blindly approaching an attractive stranger is too nerve racking...what is the solution?
Well, what if I told you there’s a way to skip the small talk, meet each other in person, with no pressure of having to finish the date… and you are able to bring a friend?
… pretty bloody ideal if you ask me.
That’s exactly what I did. I participated in Thursday’s live dating event in Manchester.
What is Thursday?:
The app shows ‘potential daters nearby. Users then have 24 hours to match, chat, and set up an IRL meeting with a said suitor. ’ (Thursday app bio).
All matches and existing conversations disappear when the clock runs out.
Events are hosted at a different venue every Thursday. You can arrange to meet people you’ve matched with casually at the designated monitored venue. (points for safety!).
‘F*ck dating apps. We're a members club that connects singles in-person, every Thursday.’ (Eventbrite)
Entry before 9pm is £2.75 for both men and women, equality! we love to see it.
Drinks were fairly cheap although I was on the fresh agua all night with a shot of lemon juice to spice things up.
During the event:
We were checked for ID, tickets and our Thursday dating profile at the door. The bouncers were welcoming. I have never had a problem with security or bouncers. But these were some of the nicest I’ve encountered. The manager of the bar, whom I unknowingly had a brief conversation with towards the end of the night, was friendly and even asked for feedback. The staff were efficient with drink orders and glass collection, maintaining a tidy environment. The location, On The Hush bar Manchester, reminded me of the revolutions chain. It was a club/bar hybrid.
The atmosphere was on the awkward side, a few groups of girls left the venue shouting ‘there’s not enough guys here’ to the door staff as they exited. I would estimate the event consisted 60% of women. More men arrived around half nine, but a good chunk of women had already departured.
A variety of ages were present. Whilst not always utilizing a flirtatious tone, I had a few enlightening conversations about politics. It's possible to treat the event as a platonic social opportunity. But, you would be taking the spot of someone with the designated intentions as tickets are limited. I took advantage of the fact that I would never usually find myself in the presence of a 42 year old banker from Nottingham. I picked his brain for banking tips in a light hearted conversation. The lord knows, my student loans are multiplying by the hour.
On the app, I had about 12 matches and 80 likes. I received a range of quality openers, some I even see myself recycling for Mr. Darcy. In the early hours of the event, the men did not sport the chat that I had experienced on the app earlier. They huddled around the bar scanning the women with their eyes, whispering to each other like children in the playground. None of them made a move. I felt like I was a piece of rump steak at the butchers market.
A few drinks later, everyone seemed to loosened up a bit. But it still felt like a rather bizarre version of speed dating. The music was a tad too loud, the crowd was a tad too big and the conversations were a tad too awkward. Around 10pm I was seriously debating putting myself out of my misery and having a pint somewhere else.
Just as I was grabbing my things, three stunning men entered the bar. In an attempt to be nonchalant, I reached out my arms into THE most convincing fake stretch, and hung my coat back up. I heard a small chuckle from the door staff. One of the Greek Gods approached me and to my delight the conversation flowed. However, after a couple minutes in, it was abundantly clear there was no chemistry.
We would’ve matched with each other via the app and probably exchanged numbers, texted for a few days before arranging a meetup in a weeks’ time. Within 5 minutes of real life interaction, we had breezed past all those steps and come to the conclusion that we were not compatible.
Only confident men initiated conversation with me without the awkward self-depreciating jokes. These are also the same type of men who would stop me on the street. These men don't need a dating event to cushion their rejection. They take a chance and can handle the result. If this is your type, you will not gain anything extra from this event that you would not get out of a normal bar.
From a males perspective, if you are not the type to approach women on the daily or in a bar. You will get more out of this event.
What to wear?
Most girls dressed for a casual night out. Fancier than pub classic but not quite Tape London attire. I would suggest dressing to your personality. There was office casual for the more mature, crop tops and low-rise jeans for the students and bodycon bold coloured dressed for the in-between.
Would I return?
It was an eye-opening experience. But, unfortunately under the same circumstances and event regime, me and my mate will not be returning. However, if you prearrange to meet at the venue, it would be a great low-commitment way to get to know one or more people simultaneously.
“Thursday: The Dating App: Worth Being Single For.” ThursdayApp, https://www.getthursday.com/.
“Thursday @ Lono Cove, Manchester.” Eventbrite, https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/thursday-lono-cove-manchester-tickets-254463947517?aff=ebdssbdestsearch.