The dating game has changed. Now, you can download Tinder and get laid in three easy steps: swipe right, send a romantic message inviting someone to your place – ‘Wanna fuck?’ – and do the deed. Job done.
There’s no need to pretend to care about what your potential date’s dog is called, or what they do, or their favourite book, or that they practice an ancient martial art and could kill you with two fingers. No awkwardly staring at that one person who’s your type across the bar, following them, and pretending to accidentally bump into them outside the toilets.
Didn’t you get the memo? Romance is dead, dickhead. Just grab your phone and arrange your latest in a long line of one night conquests, you LAD.
Dating has devolved from a romantic experience filled with chocolates, flowers, and arguing over whose paying the bill, to dancing with no pants for twenty minutes and wondering who the fuck is in your bed at three o’clock in the morning.
As we’ve become more interested in quick shags with anyone less than a mile away from our current location, dating shows have become more interested in showcasing those desperate to get their dicks or vajayjays wet and that’s about it.
E4’s new interactive dating show, Young, Free and Single: Live, is confirmation of the sad self-parody the idea of a date has become. Six “average joes” – all models and dancers – share a flat together and go on dates. One night a week, they visit the TV studio to receive feedback from an audience and viewers at home. You get to play Cupid, and could even put yourself forward to date one of the sexy young things. Yay!
Sounds great, right? Right? You either get to be a glorified voyeur, telling the housemates to either #Ditch or #Date a potential match, or sit through a date with one of the fame-hungry Big Brother rejects and time how long it takes for your brain to melt.
Worse still, you could sit in the studio audience, dutifully oohing and aahing when appropriate, or hahaha-ing at one of presenter Steve Jones’ awful innuendos about shafts, and watching the housemates cockily divulge the details of their superficial love lives – as they secretly consider which former flames they wouldn’t want to see again when they sign up for Ex on the Beach.
Oh, Ex on the Beach, set on an island populated only by scantily clad, tanned, perfectly sculpted, famous-for-getting-pissed-on-the-telly types, living under the rule of a malevolent iPad which invites their exes to the party just to piss them off.
Z-list wannabes, has-beens, and never-weres live in a villa and spend their days bitching about their exes, trying to get back with them, making them jealous, spying on them, or hiding away in the bedroom secretly masturbating over them. Acting like decent human beings is avoided at all costs.
The guys are muscled morons whose only personality trait is the need to ‘crack on’ with getting a ‘rocket’ to ‘put out’ because they ‘wanna rump it’. The girls, or ‘rockets’, may as well be sex dolls, with their characters defined by their relationship with some egotistical twat, and the only way they’d be of use to humankind is if they embarked on a career as shark bait.
What a strange twist it would be if the exotic island featured in Ex on the Beach just happened to be Fernando’s, the go-to dating destination for contestants from Take Me Out. The exes would have to face fledgling couples riding around the island on camels, laughing and smiling, happily trying to remember one another’s names. Tragic.
The dating game genre, and dating itself, has seemingly become so devalued that TV advertises the benefits of having a forgettable fuck with a Ken or Barbie doppelganger, with the personality of a used condom, rather than striving for something more.
On a recent Blind Date revival, Rebecca from Doncaster only cared about the answer to one question: “Number Two, I like to keep fit and work out regularly. It’s something I’d want us to do together. So, do you have a six-pack and a big dick?”