D(w)a(i)ting

“What the fuck is ‘D(w)a(i)ting’?” I hear you cry, some kind of algebraic formulae to help find the perfect match?

No (I’m shockingly bad at maths).

Well, it’s the concept I like to think of, of that thing where you’re the discerning over 35 singleton, who, for whatever reason, has stupidly decided to enter the online dating space.  Or, even just the dating space.  Dating isn’t so much dating, as a the ability to get comfy with ‘waiting’.  And hence, we have ‘D(w)a(i)ting’  (geddit?)

I’ve been subjecting myself to various online dating platforms since September or October of last year.  With absolutely no success whatsoever.  So I have to ask, is the current approach to dating working?  Does anyone have any real success on these things? and no I don’t mean your best friend’s brothers, mate from work’s cousin’s boss who met his second wife on internet dating, 10 years ago.

By its very nature, is it plausible to say that the swipeable generation of apps is incapable of allowing us to make genuine connections with people?  I’ve heard stories of successes, but for the most part they seem to be of the millennial generation, and not really anyone over the age of 35.

The success of these apps relies on a ground swell of people in the right matching categories to be using them.  And, here lies the problem:

Location

Location, Location, Location… and it really does matter where you live when it comes to finding someone.  This is essentially what’s happening, dependent on where you live.

  • if you live in London, you’re quids in.  Higher propensity for singletons in every age range, on your doorstep with the same tastes as you.  So why are you on the app and why are you still single?
  • If you live in a major town or city outside London, you’re probably next down on the tier for luck, even if you commute into one of those locations, you’re probably still quids in.
  • If you live in the sticks.  Well, exactly.  I speak from experience, I live the same distance out of town as it would take you to get from Mottingham (that’s not a typo, SE London) to the grotty end of Notting Hill, yet I might as well live in Azerbaijan.  The ‘local’ choices I have rotate through all the apps, they swipe right, I swipe left, repeatedly (ask yourself, why we haven’t matched on any platform and I think you might find there’s a reason).

The conclusion to this, if you live outside of London, you’re not interesting (on paper, screen).  Even if it has nothing to do with cost, and more to do with the quality of life.

Target audience

If we’re talking simple demographics, then most of the apps represent data points that cover the basics – age, location, likes, basic bio, photos etc.  Some will cover what job someone does (but that can get sketchy, I’ll be writing about that next week). 

Demographic information is plausibly richer depending on the locale where someone lives – if you’re in London for example, the richness of the demographic data is likely to be stronger than if you’re out in the sticks.

The most basic of these things is ‘age’ and what I’m getting at here, is that the majority of these apps are targeting themselves at a younger demographic age set.  Why wouldn’t they?  It’s reasonable to say you’re looking to couple up and settle down you’re more likely to be in your 20s.  If you’re older than that you’re more likely to be coupled up. 

Although there is data that suggests there are a lot more single women in their 30s than there was a decade ago.

If you look at the apps or sites that target over 35s (and you might not want to), well, at least not without having consumed sufficient quantities of alcohol, they are, for the most part unpleasant places to dwell. 

Their design is clunky and too filled with too much information.  Or they’re leveraging existing platforms that were targeted at a younger demographic and don’t have enough people in the right age group.

Or your a man over 40 who’s only interested in women in their 20s because… well, I don’t know why… men, perhaps you’d like to clarify why?

So where does that leave us?

Well, that’s the exact question I keep asking myself.  Which was driving me crazy, so I started asking other people (I am a user researcher, in part).

It appears I’m not alone in being alone and the vast majority of women in my age range and demographic are ditching these app’s wholesale. 

There doesn’t appear to be much in the way of an alternative either.  You need to be well connected, sporty, a raging extrovert or prepared to pay ££££ to a ‘discreet’ matchmaking service.

Why are we in a position where the choices are hookups (because let’s be honest, that seems to be all the swipe-apps are good for) or cringeworthy badly designed sites that need you to wade through a ton of people in the hope there’s one that you want to talk to.

So, dating over the age of 35 becomes one long game of Dwaiting.

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