Why I deleted Tinder

Violet‘s sex columnist Charley Barnard looks at the motivations behind using Tinder, and why she has finally unmatched

Charley Barnard

Charley barnard

Aged 13, I got my first boyfriend. “Got” implies acquired, like I collected him and placed him on a shelf in my heart forever. In all fairness, that’s probably true; you never forget your first love, right? And I will look in perpetuity upon our naïve relationship with a rose-tinted fondness. Since I was 13, I have always had some kind of romantic attention. I’ve always been talking to someone, or sleeping with someone, or dating someone. There’s always been someone I go to with my private thoughts, who I call when I’m overwhelmed. For some reason, this was never a close friend, but a romantic interest. And weirdly, when I replaced this person with a close friend, we ended up dating. (And then it went down in flames, as is often the way.)

When I came to uni, I downloaded Tinder, under the guise that it was merely to meet new people, make new friends, and maybe get some action as and when I felt I needed it (despite the fact that one night encounters will never be my jam). Perhaps not so coincidentally, I ended up on a date, and then another date, until we were messaging everyday and sleeping together a couple of times a week. For me, this was the ideal friends with benefits situation. I may not have been overly romantically interested in him, but I still shared my private thoughts, things I haven’t told anyone at uni. I told myself it was because he was older, and had experienced more of Cambridge, I just wanted his expertise of course! I sought his validation endlessly. In the words of my college wife: “Is it better when he strokes your ego or your clit?” Ego, of course. Always the ego.

When this arrangement inevitably ended, my go to reaction was to get back on Tinder, as my reaction always is when faced with a break up of sorts. My thought process is basically: oh, (insert literally any blank slate I can project feelings on to) doesn’t want me? Better get on Tinder where there are hundreds of people who do! Again, it’s a twisted game of validation, to the point where it’s almost a compulsion. I thought to myself: why do you need to find someone else to push awkwardly into the box of what you think you need, even if they don’t quite fit? And with that, I deleted Tinder.

“Again, it’s a twisted game of validation, to the point where it’s almost a compulsion”

But who am I going to overshare to? Who am I going to send quirky dog pictures to? Who am I going to rely on to give me sexual fulfilment? The answer – my journal. (Okay, maybe not the last two.) I bought a little black book to write my deepest, darkest thoughts. I never thought it would work, but I’ve realised that sometimes I just need to articulate how I’m feeling, I don’t actually need anyone to say anything to make me feel better or – novel idea – validate how I’m feeling! Also, I can add snippets of Plath’s poetry and doodles of flowers into my journal, which you can’t really do to boys, as much as I try.

I found myself thinking, in the wake of the end of breaking it off with this person, “Well, I was lucky to know him, he’ll do great things one day!” and I had to catch myself. Perhaps because Cambridge is so new to me, and I’ve never actually slept with anyone as intelligent as I am, I had subconsciously come to believe that in doing so, I was being elevated. Somehow. I feel ridiculous in typing this, because it is ridiculous. I’m not at Cambridge to find someone who’s brilliant and clever and will one day do great things, I’m here because I am brilliant. I am clever. I will one day do great things. All by myself.


Mountain View

Pocket: Nights Out

So, since I’ve not been actually properly single in 7 years, I’m going to try my hand at it, at least for a little while. I’m going to learn to be self-sufficient. I’m going to go to events, without dressing up nice because I might see some boys (!!) there. I’m going to brush my hair before going to the library, not in the hope that I’ll get a Crushbridge written about me, but because brushing my hair stops it knotting. I’m going to laugh freely without worrying what my smile looks like. I’m going to feed more time and effort into my platonic relationships. I’m going to buy more batteries for my vibrator.