Whether it was connecting with a boy at the pub for a midweek date or a one-night stand telling you to be quiet because their housemate was watching Fleabag in the other room, apps embraced us with open arms. They blasted into our lives in the same way that Instagram and Facebook did: mammoth companies profiting on our desire for love and sex.
Internet-dating fatigue isn’t new. But being trapped in a state-sanctioned lockdown brought out its worst qualities.
Two weeks after New South Wales exited a four-month lockdown, I found a real, physical, queer speed-dating night. The lockdown was Australia’s first taste of watching the world continue to revolve while stuck inside, and I was eager to escape. And while I had ambitions of being a gay Carrie Bradshaw, the reality felt much more like I was a newborn foal learning how to walk.
When the host called “last dates”, I caught the eye of someone with bleached hair and gave him a drunk smile. He smiled back, and I didn’t chat to him for the rest of the night. All of a sudden, being left on read paled in comparison to getting flaked face-to-face by someone with an eyebrow piercing.I had another beer poured and sat down with some of the others. Lockdown tarnished our brains and social skills in ways that we’ll continue to realise as the months go on, but sitting at a table, and talking to strangers, felt far easier than any anxious thoughts in my head led on.
Tinder, Grindr, and now Hinge, my suitors know how tall I am, my political leanings, and whether or not I love taking MDMA.