This is Precious
This is Precious
Q: Sarah, what's your take on dating apps?
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Q: Sarah, what's your take on dating apps?

a kind of personal and also sociological muse-fest (from someone who's been on ALL the apps since shortly after the last ice age)
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Thank you (I think) to everyone who has asked me to do an AMA episode on this subject. I am somewhat happy to speak on the subject because I feel I have some helpful insights. Due in part to the fact I have been on “the apps” for 14 solid years. But also because I’ve just - as in, three weeks ago - come off the damn things and this entailed having a good hard look at myself and the whole system.

I’ve done an audio version of things today, instead of a video. I couldn’t be bothered to have a shower and get presentable. And I’m a bit sick of the sight of my face here. Do share your thoughts in the comments…

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The links I mention

There are a good solid bunch this week….

Here’s the column I wrote in 2010 for a Sunday newspaper lift-out about how to be “thoroughly me”.

It was funny to re-read it, like uncovering your parents love letters…or something:

About men, I learned this: they like to hold fish up high in the air, go to a lot of events on boats toting bottles of boutique beer, “hit the gym”, watch Two and Half Men and Shawshank Redemption and read the Sunday papers. They’re “laid back” and “easy going” and “down to earth”, but “don’t do the club scene any more”,  don’t have time to read (except for aforementioned Sunday papers and Bob Marley’s biography),  get into a bit of the Foo (as in, presumably, Fighters) like it’s 1997, and take “selfies” in bathroom mirrors.

A reasonably typical French man’s profile image…and this is from the sex app Feeld. They will cite their “interests” as including, “museums, Camus, playing my cello” where Australian men will have “salty margs, tacos, banter and BDSM”.

Here’s the blog post I wrote in 2013 after joining two more sites. I share how I went on my first date from one of the apps, and how I was about to take down my profile because I didn’t like what the experience did to me. Ha!

The rules of courtship once made things clear: “you do that, I do this”. Now we send non-committal “free kisses” to each other, hoping the other will take the lead and buy some stamps or make the first concrete, move out into the non-virtual. Me, I don’t respond to free kisses, only the men who “man up” and pay up and send me a proper message or invite into the non-virtual, real world. Which is the equivalent of wanting a man to actually walk across a room and introduce themselves, as opposed to giving a cursive glance as they walk past on the way to the loo.

Here’s the flow boys article: “Eye-Gazing and Spiritual Pick-up Artistry. It focuses on men like Russell Brand’s use of “deep eye-gazing” as a seduction technique on the transformational festival circuit:

“A generation of spiritual fuck-boys has been raised on eye-gazing techniques to cultivate the surface appearance of spiritual depth and authenticity, as a means to gratify their desires.  We are mistaking phony intimacy for actual integrity.”

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I loved reading this essay by a Russian woman comparing US and Russian dating practices. She breaks down late-Capitalism choice optimising v tragic and mysterious fate.

Here’s my post on the Larrikin Myth:

And here’s a backgrounder on Moloch for anyone needing it:

Here’s the Vice column The Problem with Dating Australian Men. This line is telling:

I’ve dated a lot of different men, so don’t come at me for generalising. Degrading myself is one of my hobbies and dating Australian men is one way I do it. 

And I mentioned a podcast where I first heard about Feeld…It was produced by The Verge and you can listen to it here.

Here’s the details of the financial decline of the apps, should any of us care. And another one.

Finally, this article explains how the algorithms make things super dire. So does this.

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I also wanted to include these…

There are a bunch of Tiktok’ers and IG'ers who actually provided helpful insights for singles and folk trapped in the dating app vortex. I’ll share three here:

The Holistic Psychologist posts some home truths, especially around attachment styles.

Jillian Turecki does similar, but focusing on people who get obsessed and hurt by ghosting and unavailable people.

This guy - Daniel Chidiac - seems to have a cult following and his posts are quite delightful. And the chutzpah! He writes an article about himself on his website describing himself as the world’s most eligible bachelor.

All three are a bit ra-ra for me, but the obviousims have helped me at times. Feel free to share your suggestions:

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The New Yorker ran this “Day in the life of the guy who harassed you on a dating app” spoof some time back…some clips from it….

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Over and out,

Sarah xx

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