I refer to myself as a serial girlfriend. I’ve been in a relationship pretty much my entire life. From fourteen to almost twenty-one I had a long term boyfriend, then another for the six months following that and then a brief six month interval that lead to my most recent ex. So here I am, at (almost) twenty-five years old, having only been single for six months, ever. As a near dating virgin, I was scared shitless. I didn’t know how to date, how to meet people and I felt like I never really knew who I was as an individual. Even more confronting was how much dating had changed since I was last single. It seemed like Tinder was the only logical answer (or so my drunk alter ego thought) and with that came many mixed emotions, specifically to do with the negative connotations associated with Tinder – is it really all about finding a quick fuck?
Fortunately, my drunken alter ego AKA Allegra Spark had enough foresight to lay down some ground rules. Firstly, as I would now be living alone, no boys would be allowed to come to my place until I could trust them. That was simple enough – who needs a stalker! Next, I allowed myself to give boys my Facebook details as one can unfriend them, but you can’t undo giving someone your phone number. A rule that I suspected I would have trouble adhering to was try not to go home with boys after the first date, but I felt I needed to include it to feel like less of a slut. Next, taken straight from my sister’s rules, always swipe right on a boy you know; whether it’s for laughs or for real. Finally, I needed to make sure I could respect myself and, whilst I admittedly didn’t know what exactly I was looking for on Tinder, it was most important that I didn’t do anything I wasn’t comfortable with and didn’t do anything that would compromise my values. With my ground rules laid down I was ready to swipe until I either felt good about myself or I felt like I was simply being objectified and that my initial reluctance was correct.
So I swiped my little drunken heart out. I laughed, I was shocked and I felt validated each time I got a pop-up informing me of yet another match. My self-esteem was starting to feel somewhat rejuvenated; maybe I was more attractive than I had first thought? Then I finally had a bit of a conversation with a few boys and eventually arranged my first date! I took myself to bed, feeling very smug and settled into what would become some sort of school-night-drinking-swiping routine.