Monday 22nd October

| BY Natalie Dembinska

From Issue 48 of Ten Men: Love Me Tinder by Natalie Dembinska

TM READ NATALIE CHARLES JEFFREYSadly it turns out that my name is not Madonna. And his isn’t Rupert. Nor were we in it for the box-office receipts. Which means that I am now a single, 35-year-old woman back on the market, not that I was ever off it. My biological clock is ticking, my ovaries are dying. So where does someone like me turn? I may be desperate, but I’m not yet desperate enough for Guardian Soulmates. I also recently bought a phone named after a fruit, and so, being a living-on-the-edge kind of girl, I decided to turn to Tinder.

You know that saying “the devil’s in the detail”? I never gave it much thought either, but then I made that brave decision… and suddenly I saw the light. The devil lives on Tinder. And his attention to detail is more extinct than T-Rex. Who admittedly is alive and well in the land of Jurassic World, but that doesn’t mean resurrecting him was the best of ideas.

If it were possible for a species to be more prehistoric than the one that came before it, it would be the modern heterosexual man. Which is why, instead of exploring how much of a celebration of retardation they might be, I’m just going to list my many, many questions, in the hope that someone, somewhere, can give me some answers. And I’m not even talking about the obvious Where’s Wally? game that seems so popular right now, whereby you only post group shots and you have to eeny, meeny, miny, moe the picture and hope you come up trumps. Are you John? Is it you? Could it be you? Or is this possibly some kind of group-dating situation?

Did I also mention that my Tinder settings are set to a 45km radius… and I’ve managed to run out of options. In London. It’s a fucking miracle that Tinder hasn’t self-combusted on me. Or that I haven’t fallen victim to repetitive strain injury from all the left swiping I’ve been doing. There really is nothing like seeing that pink pulsating circle telling you that you’re out of options to boost your self-esteem. Am I a bitch who knows what she wants? Or am I just that bit too difficult for the average guy? Personally, I think I’m the former. And since when are standards a bad thing?

This whole online-dating thing really shouldn’t be that hard. When Rihanna sang about finding love in a hopeless place she’d obviously never been on Tinder. I, as you’ve probably gathered, have. And here is what I have learnt. Or should that be observed? I like to think that, in writing it all down, I’m on the cusp of some anthropological breakthrough. Probably not, but what else have I got to hope for?

So, Andy Warhol-ing your profile picture. Could you please tell me what you’re trying to communicate about yourself by superimposing your face onto a picture of Kim Jong-il while wearing a Marilyn wig and putting it through a Warhol filter. I feel like the message may have gotten lost somewhere along the way. I know that ‘bad boys’ can be sexy, but I don’t think that ever really applied to dictators.

The Ferrari man. Or should I say the man who wishes he had a Ferrari but doesn’t and so instead poses with his customised Ford Mondeo, complete with tail fins? Not to be rude, but how small is your penis? And why are you hell-bent on making me think I have a larger big toe? Talk about a lack of big dick energy.

The faceless man. You’d be very surprised, but it somehow turns out that heterosexual men do not have faces. Laugh all you want, it’s true. And let me count the ways of their facelessness for you. I’m not even going to mention my favourite chest close-up, face obscured by fried-egg emojis. Am I, without realising it, living the Naked Attraction dream? Just the naked torso in general. Especially with the backdrop of a gym. I don’t need to see you pumping iron to believe that you don’t.

And since we’re already on the subject of chests, a very special shout-out to the shower selfie, shot from the angle of the shower head, complete with streaming water. Are you a fan of Madonna’s Rain video, too?

Does a leg of – I want to say roasted, but more cindered – lamb qualify as a profile picture? Is this your way of saying you don’t know how to cook? Or that the last time you ate out you suffered from acute food poisoning, because really, whatever is on that plate looks like it must have come straight out the other end, or even the same end, post-consumption.

Emojis are the hieroglyphics of our times. Why use words when a picture is worth a thousand of them? Or should I say 20 miniature pictures are worth zero of them?

This next point doesn’t actually require words – well, writing anything. Allow me to present a very straight-up copy-and-paste job of my everyday profile swipe life. In his defence, he did actually attempt to write a bio. Using actual words. Me (Him): “I’m not a bank account”. You (me): “Looking for something meaningful. Single. Not have more than a child. Animal free. No smoking. Be of any race, I’m colour blind. Tolerant. Be able to look after yourself. Be fit and healthy (slim/athletic/curvy).” No mention of me not having a criminal record, though, so who knows, I could still be in with a chance. I think the application process to be a Tesco cashier is less demanding.

What is a “biz dev in the digital space”? I’m assuming it means business devil. But then, would a real business devil really refer to themselves as that? And don’t most business devils know how to spell?

And what the hell is a pleasure consultant? Is that one of those people who masturbate women in a circle so they can rediscover their om while singing Kumbaya? Also “iceberg welder” – is that a fetish? Something to do with lettuce? Are you wanting to dress me like a salad?

London-born Africa-inspired. Africa-inspired how? A love of fine Moroccan ceramics? Safari? Or in that way Joan Rivers once suggested to an actress who said she wanted her adopted African child to know their heritage: put it in a room with a jar of flies so it can feel at home? Let’s be honest, he probably doesn’t have enough of a sense of humour for that. Or even know of Joan Rivers.

There exists a surprising number of people named Rod. As well as a few Rods – it seems that, between 1977 and 1987, Rod was a popular name. Could it be that they were all named for the Stewart one, having been conceived to the strains of Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? the name bestowed upon the child in some misguided hope that it would grow up to be sexy? And since we’re already talking names – Frisko. What does it mean? Is the bearer of it frisky? Or is he a fan of frisking? Also, Rich-rd. Who are you? The Will.i.am of suburbia?

“Do not let the bed of a broken man become your only place of worship.” Don’t worry, Bubbles (for the person who quoted this is apparently named Bubbles). As in Michael Jackson’s chimpanzee, and we all know how that turned out. So don’t worry, Bubbles, I am definitely not going to let that happen.

Sapiosexuals. Is hooking up with a girl who can spell and once in a while form a sentence some sort of new fetish thing, too? Do we really have to give a sexy name to a girl you can hold a conversation with? Is it scary for you to speak to us if we’re not “sexual” in a Latin-sounding way? I love my mind, too. More than I’ll ever love yours.

The guy looking for a girl with a “smuttering of intelligence”. I like to think that I have a smattering of intelligence, but then I think maybe not. Obviously, a “smuttering” is some higher plane that I have yet to reach, seeing as I have no idea what that even means.

The return to frosted tips. Are we living in some sort of Back to the Future reality? Just because *NSYNC might be reuniting, it doesn’t mean that frosted locks should be reuniting with your head. Has Justin Timberlake gone back to a poodle perm? No. There’s a reason for that.

A special shout-out to Vagelis, who decided to superimpose his head onto the body of Lolo Ferrari. Don’t worry, he put a classy B&W fixer over it. I’m not entirely sure who he’s looking to attract, but he’s obviously a boob man. Is Lolo’s husband still alive? If so, maybe they could get in touch.

Though I have to say that the submissive sissy wanting to do my housework is tempting. And I would get paid for the pleasure, rather than have to pay someone else to do it. Apparently, no task is too degrading or humiliating. Do you think I can get him to clean the grouting in the bathroom? I might have to sign up for Tinder Plus, or whatever it’s called, so I can go back through all my swipe lefts and find him. Good domestic help is hard to find.

Illustration by Charles Jeffery.