THE BLOG

Tinder - An Exercise in Empowerment

26/08/2014 14:32 BST | Updated 25/10/2014 10:59 BST

2014 has not been my year to date. I have gone through a break-up, arranged marriage drama with my family, as well a few things here and there at work.

So it would be fair to say, that when I got to June, sans a boyfriend, having finished my 3rd semester (they make me use the American version) of distance learning study I was pretty much burnt out and #done. A few friends at work were talking about Tinder and as a woman without anything to lose, I thought, well, why the hell not, I'll give it a go - at the worst no one will find me attractive/desirable and at best I'll get to meet a whole bunch of new people that maybe otherwise would not have met. Reading is small but it's not that small. (I'm the sort of person that bumps into people I know when I'm taking the train or on holiday).

I downloaded the app, opened it up and for the first time in my life I allowed myself to be the shallow girl that I've always berated other women for being. I couldn't believe (and still can't) that I have so much power - he's cute 'Swipe right' he's ugly 'swipe left'. When I started I had loads of matches (this could largely be because all my photos look like they're of a different girl) and was speaking to a bunch of guys. The wonders this does for your self-confidence is immense. I will not lie, that after coming out of a relationship that had little-to-no physical intimacy this was amazing. I'd had no idea that men would actually find me attractive. I have a policy of being as honest as possible, and that means that really? I'm not sexy. My idea of a good time is sat reading a book with Made in Chelsea on telly or spending copious amounts of time at the gym (heaven help you if you try scheduling a date when I have a crossfit or netball session).

My bio is wonderfully pretentious so I was pleasantly surprised when some people were able to quote it at me and ask me intelligent questions based on it. (Oscar Wilde and fantasy books - they're a great benchmarker). So already the guys talking to me, were potentially guys I would speak to anyway, Tinder just sped up the process. However, I would be lying if I said there weren't a few duds in the bunch. The guys that seem to really get off on the fact I'm a librarian 'Oh are you a sexy librarian?' No. No I'm not. I wear jeans and t-shirts. I also don't wear glasses or heels. That shit needs to be nipped in the bud straight out. Honest, remember? What is weird is seeing people you work with on Tinder :s I never really know how to deal with that, wink at them when you see them?! Flirt with them because you know that they're single and actually if you didn't work with them you would be All Over That. (If you're interested I went for the latter, I don't think he had any idea or he was playing the same game as me. Only Tinder knows).

That's not to say that I haven't had some epic dates - at both ends of the scale. There was the guy who tried to convert me to being a Liberal Democrat - we also made out the first time we met, so I suppose I should take the blame for this one. The next guy, seemed really nice while we were whatsapping - then I saw him. No. My brain, my libido all shouted NO! at me. Unfortunately, I then had to spend the whole afternoon with him. Walking. Along a canal. He also put his chewing on the gum on the table in plain sight while we were having lunch. Rookie mistake. There was the French swing dancer who seemed convinced that we were having a great time. Nope. I was more interested in my food (Thai if you were wondering). There was the wonderful date with the guy who read to me and we had a picnic in a hotel room (best date by far tbh). There was the guy who suggested 'All Bar One' on a Friday night as a first date location (er what?). And then there's the guy who was open to having Lebanese, who is a great kisser and invited my friend and I to his BBQ. It's a really wide spectrum and they're all nice guys! Also let's not forget to mention the guys that I'm just 'chatting to', the Lawyer in Oxford who seems excruciatingly dull but then surprised me with a few choice comments. There's the Indian guy who can fly planes but lives in London. And then there's a very marriageable (if you're into that sort of thing) mechanical engineer somewhere in Surrey.

For some reason, these guys have matched with me?! ME?! The girl who when she was 16 couldn't get a guy to look twice at her, or at university was overlooked for the very cute lil blondes that she was friends with. And when I was travelling no guys really wanted me because I was plump and didn't really fancy doing fire poi or jumping in the sea fully clothed (sea water, that stuff eats your clothes). The best part is that they are all incredibly different, all smart and all very funny. But they all hit different parts of my personality - actually helping me to discover the different sides of it. Helping me to fine tune the things I want and the things I definitely don't want.

I'm not ashamed to say, that Tinder has been great for my sex life. I've never had so many options! But that's the wonder of it - obviously you can say no/block/unmatch. But if that's what you want, there are so many people willing to oblige you! And some people aren't going to fulfil you sexually but they may do it for you intellectually, or maybe you get a new person to go to the gym with? In my case, it's just helped me to move on from my ex but also to be more open to meeting people, yes some of them will be awful but some of them will be amazing!

I want everyone to use Tinder, when have we, as women been able to pick and choose so easily? I've been showing the ladies I go to the gym with how it works. I have regular conversations with guys at work trying to bring them around to the idea. I fully appreciate that my experience with Tinder as a woman is vastly different to that of a guy. Also, I am not looking for anything longterm - which I know governs some people when they're swiping through. That's the beauty of it though - whatever you're looking for? Tinder probably has it! Threesomes? Check. Really buff guys who are more arms than brains? Check. Guys that obsessively pose in front of landmarks (LOOK AT ALL THE TRAVELLING I'VE DONE), check.

Using Tinder has managed to make my summer infinitely more memorable and fun than I ever thought it would have been. I have never felt more self-confident of myself as a woman. So ladies - go out there and take advantage of it, it's there for the taking!