"I'm new to Tinder and already oh so tired of the one word messages – Hey. Hi. Hello. Or pics of Joey from Friends asking me "How you doin'?"
Are the men I've been speaking to using the seedy reputation of the app as an excuse to be lazy? Are they just obsessed by sex? There's got to be more to an opening gambit than this, surely?
So I decided to put my potential dates to the test, using Brexit as my litmus.
Partly out of boredom and partly because I, like many others in Britain, want more information and opinion before I cast my vote in the EU referendum tomorrow.
This week I replied to all the basic Tinder messages I received with a cut and paste question “Hello. Are you an inny or outy? As in Brexit. And why. I'm collating opinions...”
I sent 58 messages and received 37 responses – a surprisingly impressive response rate of 64%.
(of my highly unscientific experiment...)
35% Don't know / care
There were a few odd responses but I was pleasantly intrigued by the convincing and well-thought-out arguments I received. No-one patronised me or presumed I knew nothing on the debate.
However, only 38% of the respondents asked about my opinion in return. As expected, the more base responses were from those whose leading photos were of their abs.
The only negative response I received was one that read, “WTF... Tinder is for something totally different than making surveys about the EU. Cheers.”
Perhaps more surprisingly, the question worked well as a filter to identifying a Tinder match I would be interested in.
I felt it gave me a better insight into potential date, and them as a person.
Of course I immediately disregarded any ignorant or foolish answers, but I was drawn to the compelling arguments, even if I didn’t hold the same views. They were engaged in the issue and put time and thought into their replies.
They didn’t have to – this is Tinder, after all.
This experiment confirmed the fact that I’m not looking for someone who always agrees with me, but someone who can provide a rational, balanced argument without getting wound up or offensive.
A man who can eloquently express himself is an attractive thing, and not as rare as I thought.
I think some men used their arguments as a way of flexing their mental pecs in my direction. And this tactic worked far better than a selfie of them with no shirt would have.
Who knows, maybe political debate will one day replace the dreaded ‘dick pic’ in dating discourse? Here’s hoping.
I expected more men to be affronted at my probing question, but it was not so.
Somehow ‘In’ or ‘Out’ seems less invasive as a question than asking which UK party someone votes for. It is harder to judge someone on the EU than pigeonholing them as a Tory or a Liberal because there are endless grey areas.
Unlike many people, I wouldn’t be against dating someone with different political views. I think having two sides to an argument is always a healthy thing. The biggest turn off for me would be someone with no opinions.
In fact, one of my Tinder guinea pigs who had previously not caught my attention gave a great reply. And even though I did not agree with it all, I thanked him.
We chatted some more and it turns out that he lives round the corner from me – and we are going for a drink at the weekend.
At least we will have plenty to talk about."
Natalie's Tinder-Brexit messages
Highlights from the In camp:
“I'm an inny in both senses of the word. I am in because I think nationalistic pride has no place in humanity's future. I mean, what if aliens attack and we're all too busy arguing over what country is best or if we should help this Syrian or that Syrian.”
“Better for British students, they can study abroad. Better for workers around Europe. Better for security.”
“Inny. Outies freak me out. Did I pass the test?” (Then another message three hours later..) “My response applies to belly buttons too, naturally.”
“The thing is, I never considered the UK to be part of the EU. More part of USA. And we don't have the Euro. But I'd say 'inny'. Better to unite than separate. I'm getting sick of all the nationalistic attitude. We are all together in the same world.”
“I'm an inny only due to the fact that I work in finance and know the implications it COULD have on our economy and also how risky it is.”
Highlights from the Out camp:
“Erring towards out since I think Britain should have its own sovereignty and not be governed by a bunch of bureaucrats in Belgium. But I'm here for fun not to talk about politics.”
“House prices will stabilise or go down so I can afford that cute place in Hampstead I’m looking at.”
“I'm an outy. And nothing else comes into it apart from my job. If we stay the NHS is doomed. If we get out we have a chance.”
“I'm an outy. I think immigration is out of control putting massive strain on schools and the green belt. I also don't like playing things safe!”
“Haha will the answer seriously affect my chances of getting a date? I'm an outy.”
And some gems from the 'I don't know / care' massive:
“I'm a 'don't give a shitty'”
“I like in and out. On the third date.”
“I haven't made my mind up yet, will research on Wednesday night.”
“Is that politics?”
“Neither. I think the establishment is just shifting its control over the people by creating an argument that is irrelevant. Just political tactics.”
“You can only know one – my belly button or brexit.” (Another message an hour later) “Which one???”