Tinder in Middle Age Is Not the Merry Bagatelle It Is at 23, Y’All
Using Tinder while middle-aged has its pros and cons. Perhaps the most, ahem, solid positive is, as a lady of my acquaintance observed, “The cock pictures. At least it shows they can actually get it up.”
That age, of course, being a moveable feast. For nowhere does the heterosexual man’s enviable capacity for self-deception display itself more boldly than on Tinder. Here “Brian, 42” sits portly in his blazer in a deckchair, while “Victor, 31” stares haggard, balding and greying into a mirror that’s clearly reflecting a very different self from the selfie that results.
To be fair, neither men nor women of middle age possess the selfie skills of millennials. And that’s not just because, when a millennial lady sends a boob shot to a millennial gentleman – a habit I’m told is quite prevalent, at least in Oz – she has less to worry about than we golf-balls-in-a-sock types.
The millennial is mainly thinking lighting. By contrast, the best the typical pre-surgery lady of middle age can hope for is that, should Tinder progress to the “on our backs” stage, our boobs will remain roughly positioned on our chest, rather than collapsing below our armpits and sagging into the sheets like a pair of deflating windsocks the second we let go of the headboard onto which we are clinging as if our lives depend.
Apparently, for the record, “boobs staying on chest” is the middle-aged gentleman’s equivalent of the middle-aged lady’s “getting it up”. Frankly, I dread to think of the requirements when Tindering in one’s 60s, which is probably why Brian, 62, has set up a new, or maybe even his very first, Facebook account to become Brian, 42. That’s assuming he’s not married, of course.
For another peril of Tindering while middle-aged is the prevalence of PEOPLE WHO JUST SHOULDN’T BE ON THERE. They’re usually quite easy to spot. On Bali, they cunningly camouflage their marital status by subtle devices such as posing in a motorcycle helmet, with their back to the camera, not using a photo at all, or replacing all images with shots of their dog, or perhaps even their child.
And, yes, I did say their child. It appears there are middle-aged ladies who find shots of someone’s small, ginger toddler unaccompanied by dad(?) an appropriate prelude to sexting. Or maybe that’s for the youngsters?…..
Unfortunately, Tinder is also technology, and therefore replete with all the dangers that lurk in anything binary for those past the bloom of youth. And those dangers extend beyond middle-aged men who haven’t the technical nous to disable potential matches within their – and therefore their wives’ – Facebook social circle.
For example, a lady might inadvertently, while cackling over Brian, 42, with a friend, perform some weird finger movement that results in an inadvertent “super-like”, leading to a stupendously awkward conversation that closes rapidly with the lie that a lady is deleting her account as she’s new here and Tinder is “not for her”.
Or a lady might confuse her current location with her past settings, leading her to send a retrospectively toecurling and highly sexually aggressive message to some poor 20-something who’s advertised himself as liking cougars and looking for a sugar mummy and isn’t even in the same town, only to scare him so absolutely shitless that he deletes all text from his profile in a fit of millennial angst.
Said lady might then learn from a friend that said friend has 17 Facebook friends in common with hot surfer who probably wasn’t looking for a cougar after all, and that therefore a real life encounter in a bar is actually highly likely and probably imminent and all one can hope for is a large, stiff gin and mutual lack of recognition.
Strangely, Tinder is replete with 20-somethings who are happy to engage in congress with ladies verging on the age at which they-could-be-your-bloody-mother-are-you-mad?! Should a more sophisticated explanation of this phenomenon be required than “most 20-something men will shag anything with a pulse”, one theory suggests that many straight teen boys have a mother with a hot friend, and that said hot friend becomes the stuff of formative fantasy. Congress with a woman in her 40s while in his 20s is the closest the former teen will come to living out those early shower self-romances that left his actual mother wondering why the conditioner went down so goddamn fast.
Naturally, the teen boy’s fantasy of shagging Mama’s hot friend did not include a realistic depiction of the morning after.
Oh god, the morning after! It’s a depressing fact of middle age that a woman who can plausibly pass for 30ish, when supported by dim light, alcohol, cosmetics, Botox and a full night’s sleep can age literally two decades after a night of passionate congress, lost sleep and sliding makeup. It is also a fact that the panda-eyed morning-after look which, like tube tops and crop tops, looks so damn sexy on those under, say, 30, transforms into crazed, bin-ravaging bag lady once past the doomy threshold of 40 and the “witching hour” of 6am.
Of course, certain problems of Tindering while middle-aged are specific to Bali. Here many middle-aged gentlemen stave off the ravages of time and alcohol by surfing like demons, leading to a remarkable depth of torso talent compared to, say, Singapore or, heaven forfend, London. Most middle-aged ladies will lack tight-tummy shots of themselves navigating epic barrels, not to mention tight-tummy shots of any kind, not to mention tight tummies.
Sadly, Tinder takes all its pictures from your Facebook feed. And until you learn that it’s possible to post pictures for Facebook that will only be visible to yourself – and hook up with the gays to learn how to do sexily revealing shots that magically camouflage sundry porcine parts – the typical middle-aged woman’s Facebook feed will be comprised of a) unflattering shots in the grip of children and b) unflattering shots in the grip of alcohol. For, unlike the selfie generation, we do not spend hours of our “busy” days waving long sticks and practising looking good on camera.
On balance, I feel, especially for those of us whose thumbs seem so much less opposable than millennial thumbs – and particularly for those middle-aged lady writers who can’t send so much as a text message without accurate punctuation, even if that’s at the cost of the easy flow of banter and frankly plain unnerving to anyone who doesn’t write for a living – that the old-fashioned way of meeting people at a bar has much to recommend it.
And so, dear Brian, 42, this time I really am deleting my account. Just after I’ve met up with Delroy, 28.
Thanks to Mark Goebel for his Fire Danger shot on Flickr’s Creative Commons.