The worst thing about a breakup, for me, is that sensation of becoming untethered. For months, if not years, there has been your go-to person, the one who's got your back no matter what. Someone who always picks up the phone when you call, who massages your legs after a long run, who makes you coffee in the morning and takes care that the food you've left on the stove doesn't burn while you're 'multitasking'. Having that taken away I feel uprooted, floating in space, completely vulnerable. I don't live in the same country as the rest of my family and nearly all my friends are in relationships, so part of me lives in perpetual fear of turning into Samantha with the flu (which turns into a slightly odd fear of me ever getting the flu, but that's a different story).
So I went on a date.
Earlier this week, a friend of mine (from the cozy embrace of his long-term relationship) posted a little think piece about dating apps, and how he believes they make us focus on our desperation and loneliness, turning us into swiping automatons judging others by looks. We should focus on cultivating passion projects instead, and meet people via shared interests.
I started my online dating journey after doing exactly that. My personal advice: if you care about your theatre/music/book/knitting group, don't date within it. The beauty of dating apps is that they give us the opportunity to meet people we don't already know. (Let's face it, no one's gonna pick you up on the tube or in the line at Starbucks, this is not the world we live in.) Sure, you can only look for hookups (and more power to you). But you don't have to.
For me, a dating app allows me to look outside of my social circle and see just how many people are out there – all different, all looking for some kind of connection. It makes me feel less weird for being single.
I realised very soon that I'm in no mood for swiping, so I took my profile offline within a day. But that one day was enough and on Saturday, I met up with a perfectly normal human, behaved like a perfectly normal human, and had a perfectly normal date.
Sometimes that's all you need.