Investigating the life of things across space and time

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.

I think you might like...

Query: Raised pale embroidery like old scars on a pale linen, with fragments of tapestry and collage strewn across the whole canvas

Query (2016)

In Paolo Uccello’s preparation of his wood panels for Hunt in the Forest (1470), he glued canvas over knots and scored lines into a black underlayer of paint to mark tree branches and vanishing points.

Read more »
Stink: A white gloved right hand viewed side on against a black background beckons to an unseen presence

Stink

He is a red man all over, everyone can smell it. Even through the jasmine oil I apply so liberally before each shave he reeks of rusty iron and musk like the heavy gate to the bull’s field that was left open last year. I prattle on about the weather and tug my comb through his beard with my fingers crossed. Every time I snag on a knot I wince, afraid by the size of his huge hairy fists and the bulk of him sprawled across my biggest chair.

Read more »
Nin: Pencil drawing of a bird woman with a long neck, her wings flapping as though she has just landed

Nin (2008-2012)

For Nin, poor Nin. For Nin neither.

So much for you to hear and fear, that owl hoot and dog bark is not for you. Come out from under your wing soft down. You are needed.

Read more »