While I cried on the floor of a club toilet – because a guy I had fallen in love with, just moments ago, had gone home with another girl – a good friend told me, ‘you know, you won't find anyone if you’re looking for someone’.
It got me thinking; when you want something, particularly regarding relationships, you will begin doing things you would never even have conceived of before. Believing I would never find someone above 5 ft. 8, who was honest, employed and not on the sex offenders register (that is actually what my Tinder bio says), I started scouring east London coffee shops in the hope of finding an attractive hipster guy. I stood at bars in search of any normal looking semi-sober man, who may too be on the lookout for his soulmate; I would position my friends and I on the dance floor near a group of attractive men in the hope of enticing them with my dance moves; I would make the depressing pilgrimage every Wednesday night in a hideous crop top to the Vault to dance the night away, whilst downing snakebites amongst some of the worst men you will ever meet in the hope that one of them might be normal.
It is after all this—of course—that you will want to join Tinder. God's gift to bored, "on-the-edge of giving up all hope of love" humans; the dating app where people can get a quick shag, and they don’t even have to be nice about it!
I had gotten myself into a rather unpleasant cycle of lost romanticism. I was crying over cancelled dates, bad dates, good dates that led nowhere, unanswered texts, unopened texts, unanswered snapchats, unconfirmed follow-backs on Instagram. It was pathetic. I would cry, and then either watch Eat Pray Love or a good TED talk – usually about how I should love myself. And then, as if by magic, I would flip open the Tinder app and get myself back out there like a troop to the front line.
So one night, about a month ago, I found myself crying at a TED talk once again – this time about how the greatest relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. I picked myself up, took to Tinder and searched through my recent matches and actually found a cute guy, Dom. Employed? Check. Attractive? Check. Just spent a year abroad in Havana? Check. He literally ticked all my boxes, so I took the plunge.
Within in minutes, we had arranged to meet at London Bridge on Friday for drinks – how is this so easy I thought? Then, he asked for my Instagram? Well, I gave Cuban Dom my name and then as quick as he had appeared, Cuban Dom disappeared. Three things occurred to me that Friday as I sat in bed alone: 1. How f-ing rude. 2. Am I honestly that ugly on Instagram? 3. HOW UGLY AM I ON INSTAGRAM?
We had not exchanged more than 20 words, but my feelings were genuinely hurt.
I phoned my friend Amy the next day.
"Well, that’s really odd and rude but who cares?", she asked, with a tone of genuine confusion.
"I care, because it hurt my feelings", I reply, as if it is the most obvious thing in the world!
"But why? I mean, you don’t even know this person?".
I had not even thought of that.
Maybe it was Amy’s ever-understanding words, maybe it was the inspirational TED talk, maybe it was my growing sense that I was beginning to act like middle-aged divorcee trying to get themselves back out there. Who knows for sure?, But, there and then, and for the first time since I started university (it has been three long years), I deleted Tinder. I had both conviction and knowledge that not only would I not find my soul mate on there, but that it was also mean-spirited, vain and bad for my mental health. I did exactly what the TED talks always say to do, I embarked upon a relationship with myself.
I realised I had been wasting so much time on things that were leaving me more unfulfilled and lonely than when I started. What if I stopped wasting hours scrolling through Tinder, and stopped becoming increasingly hungover from sports night? What if I actually left the club at a normal time, not because I was drunk crying, but because I wanted to get a good nights sleep? I think about those wasted moments spent in ubers, chatting to the driver about my non-existent love life, while my mate was practically undressing her night’s conquest on the back seats. I knew I could not get all that time back, but I could at least change my behavioural patterns. I made a list of all the things I knew would actually fulfil me. Some were ridiculous, like embarking on a yoga retreat in Bali (I may have watched Eat Pray Love a few too many times now), but others were more achievable. I wanted to read at least one book a month, turn my phone off more, start driving lessons and actually do reading before seminars.
Most importantly, I realised, I would never find myself if I was always looking for someone else. People will come and go but in the end, all you have is yourself, so get to know you. Find out what you like, who you want to be and stop trying be what everyone else wants. The people on Tinder do not know you, and they don’t want to! So, go to a coffee shop, or for brunch, to the cinema, the theatre, art galleries, exhibitions, talks, concerts. London is full of possibilities and perhaps I had been overlooking them for the sake of romanticism. The next time you feel like crying over someone on Tinder, just delete the app and move on, life is too short! In the words of Ru Paul, "if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?"
Can I get an Amen?
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor