‘Why am I talking to 10 guys?’ The rise and fall of dating apps

Swiping, benching, ghosting… Dating apps can be so cold. Now that disgruntled singles are realising the best way to meet someone is in real life, will a new world of ‘offline dating’ bring people back together?

I can’t remember how we started talking, only that we were sitting on the rooftop of a friend’s house with the fake leather of the sofa underneath us tacky on the back of my thighs. He wasn’t my usual type. In his vintage football shirt and mullet he looked a bit like an art school student, but he was funny enough to make up for it. We spoke about the benefits of dating posh people and he said they always know good restaurants and then offered to take me to the pizza one his ex showed him. I joked that pizza is never that expensive even when it’s fancy and he said, “Exactly!” We talked and talked until the sky turned raspberry ripple colour and it was time to go home and I jumped in an Uber and he texted me on the way home saying that he liked my snake print boots. We messaged for a couple of days after that, until eventually he stopped replying.

A few years ago a situation like this would have materialised into a date. As would that guy I kissed all night through club smoke a week later. The teacher I met through Hinge would have actually taken me to see the new Bond film we talked about. But this stuff doesn’t happen any more, we find connections and then we let them fall through our hands, we choose nights out with friends instead of date nights, we work too hard to make time to go out at all, we delete dating apps, redownload them and try again, then ignore the people we match with. It’s not my fault and it’s not the fault of the men I’m approaching. It’s dating as a whole. It’s in crisis.

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