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The theory goes that when you’re learning a skill – whether it’s ninjutsu or 21st century mating rituals – you’ll make greater progress if you practise intensively. After 30 minutes on Tinder – the app that lets people hook up with the swipe of a finger – frantically registering my interest with no regard for acne, bodyweight or bad teeth, I’m rewarded with several matches. “If you want to appear confident, be armed with something to open with. Talk about the weather if you have to.” K from Tinder is a nice, slightly chubby nanny. Loads can't) My second nanny of the day, teetotal L, again from Lovestruck.
For the next month, I’m going to date as many women as possible. I’m met by E at a Tube station on a freezing Sunday night. She’s from Lovestruck, originally from Riga, and works in Mayfair for an oil company. I suspect she would put out if we met over wine, rather than coffee and cake. Sublime planning means I only have to walk 100m to my next date, B from Lovestruck, who sadly hasn’t walked 100m herself in quite some time. Delightfully dim but, that apart, she’s not my type.
After all, it’s not always easy to big yourself up without sounding conceited or (even worse) desperate.
But did you know that one in three couples now find love online?
Or you could follow our flowchart and find the one designed to pair you with the woman (or man, or costume-wearing sex slave) of your dreams.
If it works, I’ll be cruising through meet-ups on a kind of irresistible autopilot. My four o’clock, J from Lovestruck, is an attractive career woman in her forties. Arranging dates in a small geographical area is vital if you’re stacking, but timing is a minefield. I dribble out the same chat and by the fourth date, I just want to go home.
But there’s a lot of catching up to do, as I discover when I sign up for a dozen sites, apps and singles nights. A couple of hours beforehand I have a pep talk with dating expert Hayley Quinn, who warns me that coffee dates often seem like job interviews. Not a single one of my marathon dates contacts me for a second meet-up. I head to a Mayfair nightclub for speed dating (originaldating.com), counting each four-minute contact as 0.25 of a date.
But on the whole, people appreciate honesty, because surprises just aren’t that romantic in the context of internet dating. Avoid clichés and platitudes If dating websites are to be believed, absolutely everyone on Earth ‘seizes the day’ and is looking for their ‘partner in crime’.
On the internet, people seem to feel the need to say things like, ‘I love to have a good time,’ as if this sets them apart from the rest of humanity.