When you’re single, one of the best things about a night on the lash is the delicious, tingling anticipation of meeting someone. As you shimmy into a silky top or scarlet lip, you wonder if later on a cheeky hand will sneak under a hem or a pair of tipsy lips undo your perfect pout.
I’m going out for my mate and his husband’s birthday to an Italian restaurant followed by a gay bar complete with a singing, swinging drag queen – silky pappardelle and pants. Over cosmopolitans my friends ask how the dating’s going and I savagely spear an olive whilst declaring London a single lesbian-free zone.
“What kind of women do you swipe right to?” a friend asks.
“Erm, well this isn’t going to make me sound great but…fit ones?” I say sheepishly.
“But attractiveness isn’t just about looks it’s about personality too. Sometimes the most attractive people aren’t necessarily the ones you’d normally go for.”
“I think you should try swiping right on everyone for a week, as an experiment” another friend pipes up.
“And if they message you have to reply. And if they ask you out you have to meet them.”
“But…there are loads of threesomes. And men! Surely I don’t have to swipe right on those?”
“No” she agrees laughing, “you don’t have to swipe right on them.”
We head to the bar – a twinkly little jewel of a place throbbing with men – and have one of those brilliantly cheesy nights where it’s completely normal to toddle up to strangers and belt out S Club 7 in their face. The drag queen takes to the stage, clad boob to crotch in sequins, and the room goes wild.
Halfway through murdering an Amy Winehouse song my mate wobbles over to me:
“I love you so much” he says, plopping a cidery kiss on my cheek.
“I love you too.”
The next day I get to thinking; would I have swiped right on my friends? On first impressions maybe not. But now these are the people I’m going to grow old with; the people who can make me laugh so hard my belly hurts and whose happiness is so muddled up with mine that I feel their every triumph and heartache as if it were my own.
If I want to meet a partner like that then maybe it’s time to look beyond the surface; to find a woman who’s as dazzlingly beautiful on the inside as my mates. It’s a tough ask – but at least if it doesn’t happen, I know I’ve got one hell of a back up.