Men on Tinder manage to be awful in a myriad of different ways: from city boys blabbing about getting you into Tiger Tiger for free because they "know the bouncers" to gym bros describing their biceps like they were works of art. What's consistent, however, is the confidence. That DM-sliding, dick-pic swinging swagger that knows no boundaries, nor anything about what women find attractive.
Still, I don't think it's fair guys get to take on these gross dating personas. What would happen if women spoke to men in the way they speak to women? Never afraid of tackling the big questions, I logged onto the app to find out.
Safeguarding my conscience I steered clear of male nurses or anyone working for an NGO. Everyone else was fair game.
DICK PIC BAE
Tinder is swarming with semi-nude men who look like they just finished a dirty webcam session in a Best Western Hotel in Clevedon. In order to bypass the app's censorship regulations, they've normally packed it into a pair of tight sweatpants, and are experts in using low-angles, mirrors and trick photography in order to reveal just enough and then a little bit more.
Basically, the dick pic crew want quick sex and are very upfront about that, so when I spoke to them in their own language ("wanna play" lines + aubergine emojis) many of them proved, predictably, up for getting their burrito into my taco:
Others, however, struggled with my pungent, meaty metaphors – perhaps a telling indication that coming from a girl, unsolicited sauciness is far less accepted:
Or maybe they were just stunned by my breathtaking Tinderotica:
All it took was four suggestive emojis for this daddy to abandon me completely:
The blank space is deafening, daddy.
My dick-swinging left me without a date, so I went to the next rung down on the ladder of shameless exhibitionism. Gym boys might be building their bodies into unstoppable fuck-machines, but they aren't looking to shag necessarily. Their day is a strict regiment of chest presses, bowls of chicken and brown rice - there's very little time for actual sex unless it's so rigorous it counts as cardio. Given the complex jargon these people use, I knew adopting the Gym Bae voice was going to be a real challenge, but I was up to it. After swiping past a number of sculpted men holding anything from large trouts to ex-girlfriends I found my first catch:
I couldn't believe it. Gym bae bought it, graciously lapping up my lies like strawberry whey powder. Whether it was because he got to quote his body fat index, or because he's just desperate for casual sex, it was working. Most of the other benchwarmers were into me too:
Despite the inch of cellulite smothering my body, none of the men called me out. Even if you don't know what an abdominal oblique is, you can just pretend you do and men will still shag you. Oh, except this guy:
When they're not handing out vouchers for piss-weak Jägerbombs, club-night promoters and guestlist recruiters are on Tinder. In a way the skills required for dating and club promoting are very similar, except this time instead of trying to convince people to spend an evening watching Tinie Tempah's tour-DJ at a members' club in Mayfair, they are convincing women to do stuff to their penis.
The first promoter I spoke to had a bio which read "living in Soho centre of London" – a deeply concerning sign that the housing crisis has reached the point where postcodes make good chat-up lines. His main picture showed him wedged between two table dancers in matching promo leotards, instantly marking him out as the type to sit bored out of his mind in segregated VIP areas sipping free bottles of 4% champagne. Was he, however, going to be bored by a taste of his own medicine, as I became Guestlist Bae?
Despite talking like an "I Only Fuck DJs" starter pack, most of the DJ Khaled acolytes continued to entertain me, at no point dismissing my offers of free booze as unbearable. Success!
Some guys are completely incapable of flirting, so instead they have developed a foolproof methodology in the guise of ironically bad chat-up lines. These are the boys who think the way into a girl's pants is to talk like Christmas cracker, and then include a photo of them in a t-shirt that reads "The Man (up arrow) The Legend (down arrow)". Yes, they want to shag you – but only if you have got good bloody banter!
Upon seeing a photo of a 34-year-old man posing with the Harry Potter, 9 ¾ platform installation at King's Cross, like a French tourist on a school trip, I revved up the banter-bus and prepared to give him a Uni Lad style roasting:
Initially, I thought we were getting somewhere, but given the bottomless black hole of irony, metaphor and innuendo, I soon realised the only action I was going to get out of this was a feature-length script for a Harry Potter snuff film.
Woke bae is the type of guy to wear a "This Is What A Feminist Looks Like" T-shirt in his profile pic. He cares about gender equality, in as much as it's a good mechanism for getting girls. Emma Watson's #heforshe campaign exists in his brain as #heforshagging. Woke bae's bio reads "swipe left if you are socially conservative". He Instagrams himself reading Caitlin Moran books. You get the picture.
Despite all my hopes that out-woking the Tinder's Woke Baes, but honestly I struggled to "stay woke" for long enough to really make an impact.
Woke bae will respect you boundaries, but just so you know...he doesn't have any.
For my final trick, I decided to go for the most laid-back of Tinder's lover boys. Weed baes want to get laid, but preferably preceded and succeeded by a big old lovely joint. Over-confident, ganja fuccbois love the devil's lettuce, but apparently what they love even more, is girls who speak their language:
I was convinced the origami comment was pushing my luck, but the kush crew kept lapping it up. I was smoking:
I ended all my Tinder conversations in one go with a copy and paste, convoluted message about getting back with an ex-boyfriend. I doubt my matches were particularly fussed, but I didn't want to take the Tinder dickhead character to the point of stringing people along for sex and then going silent – I'm not a method actor.
If being a macho arsehole taught me anything, it's that blokes respond pretty well to their own game, I thinkthey found reverse mansplaining attractive. Maybe this experiment proves something really important about egocentrism and attraction. More likely, I could have shat in a bucket and transcribed the sound it made, because most guys will agree with anything in the hope of a date.