The Great British pub is a terrible place to meet a partner

If online dating were a play, it might be titled The Study of Anthropology That Goes a Bit Wrong. Modern online dating is essentially a long anthropological study. PhD students may want to consider studying humanity via dating apps. All life is there, regardless of intelligence.

Take the monkey branches for example. I’m not sure Darwin discovered this evolutionary step backwards. Swinging from relationship to relationship requires, well, building new relationships while already in a relationship. A 55-year-old friend recently discovered that her new boyfriend of the same age was on a dating app while he was still in a new relationship with her. A friend recognized him on Tinder and let him in on it. Unless all bets on dating apps are off and I’m missing the point, do you at least have the decency to end a relationship before starting a new one?

This useless gossip made me wonder how many times something similar has happened to me and if it happens on dating apps around the world. Online dating is now a billion dollar business with thousands of people signing up every minute. Short version: Dating apps aren’t going away, and this time of year I feel the allure of sitting on a couch, heating up, Deliveroo to order, scrolling through profiles. I mean why go out? I’ll tell you why

Two weekends ago I went with several hundred other people my age and above to a gig put on by the founders of a nightclub I used to go to in Manchester. Hacienda Classical is a mix of 90’s house music and classical musicians, including an orchestra that played so beautifully I almost cried. Reminiscent of 90’s rave culture, the crowd was large but polite and everyone was in high spirits. As soon as we arrived at Printworks, a huge hangar of a venue in South East London, we rushed to the front of the stage, where we stayed from 8pm until well past 1am.

I felt transformed – the pure joy of dancing! I’m convinced it triggered a healthy, happy, natural serotonin or dopamine surge. Then there was the music, which took me back to a time of great discovery. My friend Nicholas bought the tickets and like two big kids we danced, jumped, sang, laughed and enjoyed every minute of it. The next morning it felt good to have spent a night with about a thousand “my people”. Could it be helpful to find “your people” to find a meaningful relationship?

Sorry to say it blatantly, but of course it is. Example: If you have a dog, maybe meet someone on a dog walk? Let’s call him dog man. If I say “him,” feel free to switch for “her” or “her.” To describe dating tribes, sexual orientation/gender preference is completely interchangeable. You’re likely to find Dog Man stalking the local pitch wearing “outdoor” man clothes (which I find oddly attractive). Poor Dog Man is an often-misunderstood conundrum on dating apps, partly due to the myopic nature of dating app description descriptions, but also thanks to the judgmental nature of many, including myself, when it comes to who and what should appear on an app- Profile. Your pet budgie: delete. Ditto kids. It’s weird seeing pictures of kids on dating profiles. Going back to Dog Man, you may have passed the love of your life in favor of Cat Man when it was really Dog Man you were supposed to be with. Introduce? For this reason, unless it’s a pet spider, all animal preferences should be either accepted or ignored on dating apps. No woman wants to spend her weekends looking for a pet store that sells locusts or any form of live food. HOWEVER meet Dog Man in the wild? Yes to that! Especially if you have a dog yourself. What am I talking about, everyone has a dog and I guarantee it’s a poodle crossbreed? Head out into the local field and try arming yourself with a pair of binoculars, not to use them to spy on him – well, maybe – but more as a conversation starter. Consider conversation starter accessories part of your IRL dating weapons.

Big galleries are a bad place to meet a romantic partner. Too busy. I know this after looking at (staring at) a very nice looking guy – let’s call him Art Guy (I’m so original) – who was in fact silently looking at a Picasso at Tate. Well dressed, energetic and feeling lasers burning his back, he quickly walked towards his friend and left, terrified of being kidnapped. A real art event is where you need to go. Any art event will do – go there and get ready to mingle. Even if you haven’t taken an art class before, you need to. Being able to draw doesn’t matter. Participation and meeting new people counts. Cue anthropological study part 2: I haven’t met Art Guy on a dating app, unless I swiped too quickly because of his light blue glasses and pink polka dot shirt.

Attending a trade event like Comic Con is a brilliant excuse to dress up as a cartoon character and improvise for a whole weekend. I’m not entirely sure I want to get away with an Anime Demon Slayer though. But improvising IS a good idea and there are many local theater groups you could join. A good friend joined a theater group to boost her confidence and ended up dating an improv fellow (Theatre Dude). Many mainstream events are running again (for the time being). Literary festivals (Bookish Man), English heritage sites (Wears A Cape Man), guided evening walks (no name for it as it sounded slightly homicidal). It’s a shame The Great British Pub is such a terrible place to meet people considering there’s one on every corner. Pubs are full of families or couples. Or even worse: Football Man. Avoid.

I dabble in and out of so many tribes — art, film, music, fashion, literature — but the tribe I’ve missed the most is the one dancing in front of some giant speakers. My people know the importance of a good tune. One of them even asked for my phone number. So I gave it to him. If he calls, at least I’ll know we have one thing in common. Notwithstanding the pet spider. The Great British pub is a terrible place to meet a partner

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