The old fart in Room 17 is becoming a problem. He does it even when his wife’s on the terrace, sweating, counting her rosaries. Clack-clack. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Ah, Mamma, what would you say if you could see me now? Four stringy children and a fat pig of a husband who belches triumphantly after every meal and snores all night. Clack-clack-clack.
The two of you together
Agreeableness. Altruism. Exclusivity. Intellect. Romance.
Drawings by Sarah Gillett
Should I trust an algorithm over my gut?
In 2018 I entered the world of online dating. Quickly I began to see a pattern emerging across my matches; primarily, there were a lot of men stroking big cats.
I started screen-grabbing profiles of men with exotic animals: hugging dolphins, cuddling pandas, holding alligators’ mouths open, but most were of men touching tigers.
At first the photographs were merely absurd to me but the more I looked into this phenomenon the darker the implications of these photoshoots became. Many of the tigers are drugged; there have been complaints from animal rights organisations about animal exploitation and cruelty. This practice also decreases awareness of just how endangered these animals are in the wild worldwide (there are estimated to be under 3,000 tigers in the wild; but 5,000 – 7,000 owned privately in the USA alone). In 2017 Tinder asked its users to stop posting “tiger selfies” in recognition of these issues.
It didn’t matter what I did. I changed my preferences on age, interests, values, lifestyle but still they appeared. I changed my own profile to remove any mention of wildlife, travel or adventure. No luck. I chatted with the bots on my unhappiness with the matches. ‘Keep trying,’ the bots replied cheerily. ‘Many people have found love on our platform. Try widening your preferences.’
Ultimately these pictures projected at best a careless lack of respect for the lives of these beautiful animals. At worst, I made analogies with predatory human behaviour and date rape. The only way to get pussy without violence? Drug them. Choose any point on the scale and the images were a turn off.
This series of drawings depicts some of my matches (and a few wildcards) alongside categories pulled together from a number of different dating platforms. All names and data has been changed.
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“And this is the sign for asleep,” says Alison, closing her index fingers and thumbs together in front of her eyes. “Go to sleep now my darling.”
She smooths out the duvet cover with her hands, uncreasing the printed astronaut suit, flattening the stars in their cotton void, repositioning the blue Earth from sliding off the side of the bed. She kisses Bill’s hair, feeling his fragile skull millimetres away from her lips. “Night night.”
“Night night Mummy,” he says.