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A night in the life of a London singleton

A night in the life of a London singleton

Last Wednesday started like any other for me at The PHA Group; the morning paper reviews, the hustle and bustle of colleagues arriving and an averagely assembled bowl of cereal. There was very little indication of what I was in store for…

PHA is filled with people either married, engaged or in long-term, committed relationships, I however, am not one of those. And thus, when word got out that a Sun journalist was after ‘attractive singles to take part in fun dates’ for a feature, my hat was thrown into the ring. Not for being particularly aesthetically pleasing, might I add, but simply for a lack of alternatives and a bit of fun.

After some gentle persuasion, I agreed and suddenly my Wednesday night no longer featured a microwave meal and The Apprentice but a date with a woman I had never met before and a Sun photographer. Bemusement? Nerves? Excitement? A combination of the three was probably accurate.

Gareth was looking to find love in the Capital.

Gareth was hoping to find love in the Capital.

As always with these things, nothing is ever completely straightforward. The ‘funny quirk’ of the date was that I would have to kiss the lady in question prior to exchanging pleasantries and have it snapped on camera. Not an alien concept to me, I must admit, but without alcohol as a lubricant, a far more unnerving task.

I arrived at the appropriately named Match Bar, slightly past the arranged time of 7pm, in a juvenile attempt to maintain fashionable, but soon realised I had been trumped as my date proceeded to make me wait until 7.15pm. Unflustered, we got down to business (not a euphemism on this occasion I’m afraid) and adhered to the instructions from the photographer.

And so the moment came for the long-awaited kiss. Laughs were exchanged and disappointingly for those wanting any gossip, I handled the situation like the consummate professional I am. With that photo and others of the two of us in ‘natural date poses’ taken care of, it was time to enjoy the flow of alcohol and each other’s company.

Drinks were consumed, anecdotes were swapped regarding our careers and the evening was proving to be rather a pleasant one. The suggestion of dinner round the corner was made and being someone to never skimp on food, while naturally also wanting to extend the evening, I accepted.

Three courses and a few bottles of beer later, the evening wound down and being the gentleman I am, ended with a peck on the cheek and insisting my date took the first cab ride home.

It was certainly an experience which captured the imaginations of my peers and one that got tongues wagging in the office. Questions reigned in to me the morning after and, harbouring the cricketer in me, I returned most with a straight bat. However, ‘Yes’ is the answer to the question on most lips; my date has asked me out again, and a second date appears very much on the cards…

Love Me Tinder

In the forever advancing world of social media, every platform is only ever a snap(chat) second away from being old news, and it seems that the time has come to say the words that Mark Zuckerberg never wanted to hear – Facebook is officially for your mum.

Over the past year, numerous reports have cited apps such as Snapchat and Instagram as being the go-to sites amongst social media savvy teens, many of whom have proceeded to abandon Facebook in their droves. However, it seems that it’s now not just the teens…

Sat in my local pub in Clapham last weekend, I couldn’t help but notice that I was surrounded by tables of fellow twenty-somethings all hunched over their iPhones, their expressions a mixture of approving nods, looks of indifference and in some cases, audible marks of disgust… another Miley Cyrus-esque celeb haircut fail? Nope – welcome, it seems, to the world of Tinder…

Launching last autumn at a party at the University of Southern California, Tinder has spread across college campuses in the US faster than an outbreak of glandular fever, and it’s now making a similar stir this side of the pond, with daily downloads of the app currently hitting between ten and twenty thousand.

But what exactly is it?

Tinder is essentially an app version of the old classic game, ‘kiss, marry, push off a cliff’ (and other more crudely named variations…) in that it essentially provides you with a platform on which to rate or reject people in your local vicinity – think ‘Hot or Not’ meets speed dating, but speedier… you don’t even have to wait several minutes for a bell to ring to affirm your disinterest – simply swipe their face from your phone screen in seconds. If you happen to like someone who has liked you back, then a ‘match’ is made and the messaging can commence.

Tinder’s popularity seems to be rooted in the fact that its users don’t actually think of it as online dating, but view it more like playing a game. Plus, unlike other dating sites Tinder is actually fun to use and thanks to the fact that you can only message people with whom you’ve made a match, you avoid being inundated with an inbox full of ‘selfies’ of shirtless, fake-tanned men posing in their bathroom mirrors, which can only be a bonus…

Whilst it may sound superficial, Tinder merely mimics the social dynamics of the offline world, providing a platform for us to do all the things we like doing online but won’t admit to… namely acting shallow and making snap judgements about people based on their appearance.

Have you dared to date via Tinder? If you’d like to share your Tindering tales with us, then Tweet us @Pha_Digital… we’d love to hear from you!


Cover courtesy of Nancy, <I’m Gonna Snap!,