Big loves don't come every day. Instead of "boyfriend hunting", searching for an exact copy of my ex, why not get out there, enjoy dating, have a good laugh — and, if I felt a connection, some good sex too? I could be married in five years and I'd never experimented before. This was my chance to see what all the fuss was about. There's a hierarchy of seriousness on the dating sites. At the top is something like Guardian Soulmates or Match — the ones you pay for. You put in your pictures and add some information if you can be bothered.
I started with one line "Single Canadian girl in London". It's superficial, based purely on physical attraction, but that's what I was looking for. You go through what's there, if you see someone you like, you swipe right. If he swipes you too, it lights up like a game, then asks if you want to keep playing. My first Tinder date was with someone I'd seen before on OKCupid — the same faces crop up on all these sites.
He knew all the cool restaurants, the best places and, as he was only in London occasionally, things moved faster than they should have. After just a few dates, he booked us a night in a fancy Kensington hotel. I met him at a pub first — liquid courage — and knew the second I saw him that my heart wasn't in it. The connection wasn't there for me. Not a great start. But Tinder is addictive. You find yourself browsing and swiping and playing on. The possibilities pile up.
I'm ashamed to say it but I sometimes went on three or four dates a week. It could be to a bar around the corner, or somewhere fabulous — Berner's Tavern, the Chiltern Firehouse. Most of the guys I met were looking for sex, rarely were they after a relationship. With Tinder, I discovered what it could be to have sex then walk away without a backward glance. Sex didn't have to be wrapped up with commitment, and "will he?
It could just be fun. Sometimes I had nothing in common with the guy but there was a sexual spark. In "real life", he was the ultimate knob. He didn't fit with my politics, my views, I'd never have introduced him to my friends.
In bed, though, he was passionate, eager, energetic. For a while, we'd hook up every six weeks. But there were a lot of negatives. It could feel … seedy. Where do you go for sex?
I didn't feel comfortable taking someone back to my place, as he'd then know where I lived, and I live alone. If we went back to his, I'd have no idea what to expect.
With "Aldgate East", we had to walk through a pub to get to the bedroom and I swear there was a train going through the lounge. You're trusting people you barely know. After a few dates with "Manchester", I agreed to visit his hotel room next time he was in London. I'd always been diligent about practising safe sex, but he had trouble getting in the mood with the condoms and went against my wishes at the last moment.
The next morning I wrote him an angry text. I've never felt so violated. Most often, though, I didn't have sex at all. I generally left home open to the possibility but found, when my date showed up, that I didn't want to see him again, let alone see him naked.
There was no spark, or he was dull or gross or just too pushy. One date chased me to the tube trying to shove his tongue down my throat. Another — who started promisingly — changed after his second drink, spilling a glass of wine on me without apologising, and cutting me off each time I spoke. It can be harder to walk away when you've met through Tinder.
When you're matched, you can spend days — in some cases, weeks, months — exchanging messages, texting and working yourselves up, filling in the gaps with your imagination. Although the company has initiated a doubling down on mobile, the experience of users like Riccardo might suggest another path to profitability. I simply do not know of an easier way for a guy to get laid with exotic women in exotic countries. Never mind iCupid and Tindr.
The almost decade-old Couchsurfing, which is available in , cities across the globe, is becoming the go-to hookup app for a certain class of young world travellers.
Months later Riccardo got a phone call from the same girl, asking if she could stay at his place in New York City. This time, they made it official. Couchsurfing was born after a budget-conscious traveller named Casey Fenton sent out a mass request for accommodations in Iceland and received 50 invitations from students with a free spare futon.
Fenton soon realised people all over the world might not mind sharing their extra space gratis while making new friends in the process. Members can request a couch, host a traveller, or find new friends to meet up with locally. Riccardo agrees to host only female travellers and stipulates that they be younger than himself.
I want to have three days with somebody I can talk with. Not somebody just empty. Should I invite her? He got a little closer on his second try, a girl from Slovakia with blonde hair his weakness and small, dark, squinty eyes.
She was in the process of moving to New York and needed a place to stay for four days while she looked for a permanent home.
I tried to kiss her. Experienced couchsurfing casanovas know to hold off on making a move until later. Your guest is already committed to coming home with you, so why risk the old fashioned approach? His friend later advised him on a more direct strategy. At first, Riccardo could not believe it was that simple.
Riccardo is asked if he feels sleazy. Most of his readers are clearly appreciative of his advice: A Couchsurfer since , Jessie has traveled the globe using the service.
But with anything social, there is sometimes a spark. For instance, this guy in Wales. Then there was Ireland, where despite being a little fuzzy on the specifics, Jessie also recalls making the first move with her male host. It was funny because the next morning his roommate, who had seen me sleeping on the couch the night before, barged in his room and was very surprised to find me naked in his bed!
Of course, that sort of spontaneity is part of the appeal. An active participant in her local Couchsurfing community, Ana B.... Then there was Ireland, where despite being a little fuzzy on the specifics, Jessie also recalls making the first move with her male host. After a while, he wanted to get more. Titillating conversation, extended foreplay, oral sexfrench kissing, deep french kissing and cuddling, pearl necklace as well as a full sexual experience. One date chased me to the tube trying to shove his tongue down my throat. An active participant in her local Couchsurfing community, Ana B.