Let’s be real: Tinder is more or less in charge of your love life now. Yes, you could technically meet someone at work. You could technically chat someone up in the pub or get off with them at a party, the tentative beginnings of a genuine long-term connection.
But realistically, is that going to happen? No. Because you’re too busy staring at your phone and swiping left on perfectly attractive people because they’ve said something very slightly annoying in their profile to acknowledge the fact that there are other human beings in the room.
What this means in practice? We have even fewer opportunities to impress the people we fancy, and we’re even harsher when it comes to judging other people. Want to convince a living, breathing human being to actually have sex with you, rather than aimlessly messaging back and forth every two days for the rest of eternity without ever actually meeting up? BETTER SEEM LIKE A WELL-ROUNDED, IMPRESSIVE AND EMOTIONALLY LITERATE PERSON IN THE INCREDIBLY LIMITED SPACE THAT AN ONLINE PROFILE PROVIDES YOU AND THE SIMILARLY LIMITED ATTENTION SPAN THAT A POTENTIAL PARTNER WILL ALSO AFFORD YOU.
So what have you got to work with? You have your height, which you have obligatorily placed in your Tinder bio already if you’re over 5 foot 10. You have your job, which may be impressive but may also be… not. And you have your interests: the nerdy patchwork of passions and joys that offer a tiny insight into who you are as a person. I am here to destroy them, because this is what women really think your favourite book says about you.
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The pinnacle of your life was when a teacher described you as “gifted” aged 13.
Any Harry Potter book
You have had little to no intellectual development since you were 11 years old.
Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
You’ll treat us like shit, but in, like, a really smart way.
Mr Nice - Howard Marks
You have taken drugs twice and you feel it is very important everybody knows about it.
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
You have had sincere internet arguments about atheism as recently as 2014.
American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
You’ll treat us like shit, but in, like, a really ironic, post-modern way.
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
You still follow Ricky Gervais on Twitter and think Derek was “underrated”.
The Godfather - Mario Puzo
You have watched the film The Godfather.
High Fidelity - Nick Hornby
You have cast yourself as the tragic, misunderstood antihero of a film soundtracked by lo-fi bands last popular in about 1998, and you will ghost us after four dates because you’re “sad” and you “just can’t get into anything right now”.
Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
You once pitched an article “in defence of Morrissey” to the Guardian but for some reason they never got back to you.
Freakonomics - Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Your parents still pay your rent and you genuinely believe that feminism has gone too far.
1984 - George Orwell
You once bought a Che Guevara T-shirt from RedBubble and voted for the Lib Dems in the same calendar year.
Ham on Rye - Charles Bukowski
You still watch Woody Allen films on opening weekend because you think it’s “really hard to separate art from artist, you know?”.
Life of Pi - Yann Martell
You have actively travelled to Clapham Common for a barbeque.
How to be a Woman - Caitlin Moran
You’ll treat us like shit, but in, like, a really feminist way.
Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami
You have seen Los Campesinos! upwards of fifteen times.
Freedom - Jonathan Franzen
You don’t hate women as such, you just question the cultural orthodoxy that says they’re as funny as men. At one point in your life you sincerely believed that Frank Turner was the voice of a generation.
Trainspotting - Irvine Welsh
You once bought coke during Edinburgh Fringe.
The Game - Neil Strauss
You have very obviously never had sex with a human woman.