Opinion: Do Gentlemen Prefer Bland? De-feminising Tinder

Suffering from feminist fatigue this Valentine's day, our Deviance editor trades in her watertight Tinder profile for that of a Disney prom queen princess. The results are repulsive

Feature by Kate Pasola | 08 Feb 2016

My friend is excellent at online dating. It’s not necessarily her right-swipe and bednotch tallies that I envy – impressive though I’m sure they are. It’s more that she’s achieved the actual goal of online dating. A goal beyond sustaining a first date conversation that isn’t about the fact you’d both liked Ryan Hemsworth on Facebook (omg!), beyond hollow one-night stands, beyond feeling like your soul has been melon-balled out and swallowed up by an undeserving bro who peacocked you with his stupid vintage shirt.

Her Tinder aptitude has landed her a top notch champ who she doesn’t even hate one bit. If online dating earned university credit, she’d be eligible for a PhD in filtering through fuckboys and Nice Guys to find dating gold. And, as her willing tutee, my online profile too exists as a set of watertight frontiers to weed out the worst Tinder has to offer. Sort of like a Takeshi’s Castle for fuckboys.

My bio contains a reference to something niche enough that only the fairest of them all might notice. There are six nice but slightly intimidating photographs of me; well-composed selfies, a snap of me lolling with a wide open mouth and cake in my hand, and a shot of me flying through the air like the gangly praying mantis that I really am.

I’m sure that with an ounce of patience, this expertly crafted profile will recruit me a sensational person with the foolhardiness to take on a feminist praying mantis with a loud laugh. But at the time of writing we’re pretty damn close to 14 February, and I’ve begun to wonder my reluctance to be graceful/mild/wholesome is probably the reason Domino's has already texted me to enquire about my Valentine’s Day plans. Would it be different if I’d been socialised into a meek angel who brushes her hair instead of braiding it, who wears blouses rather than blazers, and whose primary ambition is to be some dude’s asset?

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So, I did what any ordinary woman under such circumstances might do – I took a sledgehammer to my Tinder. In place, I uploaded demure photographs taken of me on tame-hair days, reading novels and baking biscuits. The niche-reference-trap also disappeared. In its place, an outline of graceful hobbies and interests fit for a Disney princess prom queen: playing the flute, drinking cranberry sodas(?), waiting for Love’s First True Kiss. I wondered whether I’d gone a little far – surely my new profile was too repulsively Victorian to pass for a real life 21st century woman? What modern man would ever want to match with someone quite so bland and eager to marry after the first date?

I needn’t have worried. Inundated with matches and ‘super likes’, I felt as though I was crowdsurfing on a population of m’lady Tinder boys clamouring for a woman more dull than themselves. Each message telling me I had ‘beautifully sad eyes’ or that I was ‘one in a million’ was flanked by opening gambits about my cooking. Topless men quoted Sleeping Beauty at me, and a guy from Roehampton whose bio read ‘Thug Life’ requested I bring my flute to the first date.

I pondered the one thing in common that these batches and batches of men shared. They were visibly refreshed by my profile’s passivity, alike in their clear contempt for an enlightened female race. My batches and batches of admirers proved it’s very easy to get a date on Valentine’s Day, as long as you play the game properly. But really, if being a feminazi praying mantis is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.