You might not have heard of Killing Kittens, the charmingly named company that hosts sex parties in secret locations, but you may well have bankrolled it. During the pandemic it was given £170,000 of public money, meaning taxpayers like you and I have coughed up for this whips’n’chains outfit. But that’s a story for another day.
Now Killing Kittens’ owner Emma Sayle has another money- making wheeze. She’s launching a dating app called WeAreX. It will be a space, she says, for adults to converse ‘without shame or guilt or judgment’. Nudge, nudge… Sayle says the site will be a ‘kind of AutoTrader’ for online dating.
Quite why she wants us to imagine oily-fingered blokes shaking their head at the state of your old banger baffles me, but perhaps she wants to conjure up an app that facilitates the transaction of sex as easily as AutoTrader handles the transaction of cars. Vital statistics: 36; 28; 38. Alluring curves. Full service history. Wink, wink…
Maybe the idea of an AutoTrader for dating is meant to make us feel titillated. Maybe some are glad to be liberated from stuffy old conventions like getting to know someone for more than five minutes before talking about sexual preferences.
Now Killing Kittens’ owner Emma Sayle (pictured) has another money- making wheeze. She’s launching a dating app called WeAreX
CLAIRE COLEMAN (pictured): Maybe some are glad to be liberated from stuffy old conventions like getting to know someone for more than five minutes before talking about sexual preferences
But for me, a new app on the dating block elicits a sigh – and not of the ecstatic kind. Another one? Doesn’t the dating app scene feel long past its use-by date?
Once upon a time I loved the apps. Rewind a decade and you’d have found me staring at my phone, swiping away. Nice smile, 5ft 11ins, teacher… swipe right. Eyes like a serial killer, wears berets, can’t spell … swipe left.
Sick of seeing me moping around after a break-up, in 2013, a friend secretly created a profile on Guardian Soulmates, where intellectual men listed their interests in Bob Dylan, red wine and Scandinavian philosophers I had never heard of. While that didn’t lead to any dates, it was the gateway drug to more addictive apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge.
As a hardworking sort of person I loved the fact I wasn’t just waiting around hoping to meet someone; I was grabbing my love life by the gizzard. And grab it I did! Soon I was fitting in several dates a week. Swipe, swipe, swipe: poets and bankers, gardeners and builders, lawyers and comedians.
Some evenings I would ‘double-stack’ the dates, meeting one chap for a drink at 6 and another for dinner at 8. It was, after all, ‘a numbers game’, as I evangelised in my new role as Ambassador For the World Of Dating Apps: ‘You’ve got to put in the hours, meet as many people as possible, and eventually you’ll meet one you like.’
Simples, as the meerkat says. Except after a couple of years I realised it wasn’t that simple. Because, while most of the men were nice enough, that elusive thing called chemistry was rarely there.
Real-life attraction is a funny old beast. The person across a crowded room might be buck-toothed, squinty, nerdy, ragingly arrogant, Not Your Type – but somehow you are drawn to them. I missed that weird flip of the heart that happens in real life. I was tired of feeling like I was being interviewed for the role of girlfriend; one man I met in a London members’ club told me it would be healthy for us to reveal our ‘baggage’ at the start. ‘But… but… during our first drink?’ I stuttered.
There was one four-month relationship with a very nice man, but we were in no way suited, I was just desperate to escape online dating for a bit.
But for me, a new app on the dating block elicits a sigh – and not of the ecstatic kind. Another one? Doesn’t the dating app scene feel long past its use-by date? (stock image)
Real-life attraction is a funny old beast. The person across a crowded room might be buck-toothed, squinty, nerdy, ragingly arrogant, Not Your Type – but somehow you are drawn to them (stock image)
After a couple of years I quit the apps, stopped scanning the digital horizon and, soon after, got together with my husband (a friend I had known since I was 18).
While I didn’t have the best of luck with dating apps, it seems like those were the glory days for online romance.
A few years ago a male friend bemoaned his single status and said he couldn’t be bothered with the admin of being on an app. ‘I’ll do it!’ I said gleefully, setting up a Tinder account in his name and nostalgically swiping my thumb across the screen (just like riding a bike). But – what was this? Practically every profile showed a woman of insane beauty, a parade of Eastern European supermodels. ‘Yeah, they’re all fake profiles,’ said my friend. Another friend tells me the levels of ‘ghosting’ are epic: ‘We send messages for weeks but they never want to actually meet.’
Of course dating apps can lead to happy-ever-afters. I’ve thrown confetti at a couple of them. But I can’t help but think that, for many, this is a treadmill that doesn’t take you any further forward.
Tinder’s user numbers have dropped, while shares in Bumble have fallen. It seems we’re falling out of love with dating apps. They promise an easy path into love, but who says these things should be easy?
Awkwardness, risk and rejection are all part of the game. The effort involved in real-life flirtation may be higher – but the rewards tend to be, too.
Farage gets my jungle vote
A genius move of I’m A Celebrity bosses to try to sign up Nigel Farage, the ultimate marmite politician. Those who love him will tune in to hear his pearls of wisdom, those who loathe him to watch as he chows down on kangaroo anus.
A long time ago Farage and I nipped out of a posh banquet to have a ciggie break on the pavement. Despite our political differences he was very good fun.
The rumoured £1 million ITV are offering will seem like a bargain when millions more viewers tune in. I’ll definitely be one of them.
A genius move of I’m A Celebrity bosses to try to sign up Nigel Farage, the ultimate marmite politician
I applaud Jen for grieving in silence
Social media tributes to Matthew Perry continue to flood in from everyone who ever met him. I’m waiting for a post from someone who sold him a sandwich 17 years ago.
So kudos to Jennifer Aniston, the Friend who was there for Perry during his addiction struggles, and who – aside from a joint statement with the cast – has kept a dignified silence.
So kudos to Jennifer Aniston, the Friend who was there for Perry during his addiction struggles, and who – aside from a joint statement with the cast – has kept a dignified silence (stock image)
As Storm Ciaran prepares to do its worst, pictures emerge of a couple swept off a wall and into a raging sea. Thankfully, they were saved — but how could they be so stupid? Walk along sea walls in gale force 9 winds and you’re at risk of being swept out to sea. Don’t these exhilaration-seekers know that it’s not just their own lives they’re risking, but also those of the people who will attempt to rescue them?
Surprise! The nepo babies are cashing in
The 30-and-under rich list contains a lot of familiar surnames: Brooklyn Beckham, Lila Moss, Gabriel Jagger… not to knock their hard work, but the list rather depressingly proves the old adage: it’s not what you know, but who.
Lila Grace Moss and Kate Moss attend The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022