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Dating Rules from a Tinder Veteran 

Some would say I have a bit of a rep. I would say I am just having fun – I enjoy the excitement of meeting new people, the stories and experiences they bring, some interesting, others not so much (Living in Surrey and going to a festival is not a substitute for a personality). I say this writing as a straight talking – and straight – woman who is described as confident and decisive. I began navigating the dating scene when I started university, which was now, scarily, several years ago. I have done it all: meeting guys in clubs, blind dates, friend recommendations, sliding into DMs, all of the dating apps (fun fact: I have been temporarily banned of tinder multiple times for swiping right too many times) and have, at a high point, had dates with four different guys in the space of a week. In my defence, it was the first week of semester and there wasn’t much going on. Hopefully that sets the scene and you have an image of who I am – maybe a loose woman, but I’d prefer Dora the Explorer.

I often frown upon people who provide their rules for other people’s situations, but I would like to share some observations with you of what I have learnt whilst dating in Bath. Feel free to use them if you find them helpful.

The Table Test (TTT)  

So you have agreed a time and place to meet up with your new snack; you’re all dressed-up, excited and ready to go. When you meet the individual, you get talking, maybe from your chat online, or the friend who made the connection. This carries on as you move to your place of choice for the evening, whether for drinks, or for dinner (for the more courageous amongst us). As you arrive, you are asked where would you like to sit, and you respond, “I don’t mind.” But the guy, instead of making a decision, nervously goes back and forth, debating where would be the best place to sit – the window for the view? Or the corner for privacy? Literally, I’ve said I don’t mind, pick a table, I would like to get on with the date. When someone says they don’t mind, they quite literally mean they do not mind. Can you tell I prefer decisive men?

Menu Test

We have found a table, we sit down and menus are handed to us. A huge sign of the date going well is if you just carry on the conversation from your walk to when seated. You don’t really pause to look at the menu. A couple of minutes later, the waiter comes over to ask if you’re ready to order, you still haven’t looked down yet. Now, I don’t mean in a ‘talking at you’ kind of way, but shared general discussion where you feed off one another, and feel like you need to share the next thing. In short, you have chemistry. That’s a sure sign that the night is off to a great start. In my experience, it’s been a sure-fire way of forecasting success of the evening.


I believe that people’s characters are determined by how they treat those who can do nothing for them. Watch how your date treats the staff; is it with respect and concern? I’ve left a date before because a guy treating the waiter poorly, but his excuse was that he didn’t treat me poorly so what was my problem? A slightly skewed logic to say the least. I don’t have a lot of time for disrespect, not towards me nor to others.

Emergency Call

I have a friend who calls an hour and a half into the date (a reliable one!); by then I can usually judge if this is going anywhere or if “my house is burning down and I need to get back ASAP”. If the date is going well, I just let it ring through and my friends know I am enjoying myself. Maybe it is the fact that I am a woman and I am acutely aware of my during dates, but I think it is important to have that check-in place to make sure that you are safe, especially if you are meeting someone online for the first time in person.

First Kiss

I’m not one for avoiding kissing on the first date. However, if you feel it, go for it. Chemistry is chemistry, kiss the damn guy, if he isn’t getting the hint (ask for it yourself, channel your inner Homecoming Beyoncé, it’s surprisingly empowering).  We all know that if you’re waiting till the third date, you are going to be thinking about it the whole time. It also sends a signal to him about where you stand. So many of us have lost people because we were playing games, so if a kiss is what you want, read the room and attempt a peck that’s what you want. Being described as disparate is frustrating, confusing and frankly not something to be worried about. Treat yourself, as you would with that extra cookie or additional spoon of ice cream.

My type on paper?

Having a list narrows your options (more so in a small place like Bath) you’ll surprise yourself on who you end up with, the list steadily dwindles and it becomes more about traits than prescriptive looks. Some people offer things that you didn’t even realise you were looking for – though in my opinion, not much compares to a strong set of thighs and well moisturised elbows.

Chat politics.

If politics mean a lot to you and is a deal breaker, I’d say plunge in. A great opening line on tinder is what they think about the hot topics, like leave or remain or abortion rights. Get politically freaky. They should know what they are getting themselves into, as should you. Saves you time if you find out earlier. Can you imagine if three months in you find that they are pro-life? That shit is cancelled.  It’s 2019 and no one has time to be wasting on people who fundamentally disagree with your most deeply-held political beliefs. However, I would highly recommend finding places where you disagree, because, if it’s not something you’re sensitive to, it can add some spice to discussion.

Booty calls* vs late night call

*booty calls, for those who don’t know, are late night visits to an ex or a person you are seeing for sex or cuddles. Can also be known as Netflix and chilling.

We often make fun of our friends who go on booty calls and insist it is just a visit and the debate goes back and forth. Let me lay it to rest. The cut off time is 10pm. If it is agreed online beforehand and they show up after 10pm, it’s fine. If they realise/agree after 10pm, it is a booty call. This is also irrespective of what actually happens when you are over there. The fact that you are going there after 10pm and it is not for pre drinks, it is a booty call. Own it.

Please don’t take this as bible– it is a just some observations that I have learnt. Don’t play games. We aren’t on Love Island (applications are open if you would like to still apply). If you want something, ask for it, communicate. If you aren’t into them, don’t waste their time and cut it short. Don’t ghost them, cause karma isn’t kind. We are all adults here, speak to them, or, failing that, send them a text. Enjoy yourself, date widely, try new things.

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