Now that Lucy’s returned from her adventures in Kenya, she’s taking a momentary breather before diving back into the dating game. In the meantime, here are a few (OK lots!) of thoughts about the Sexification of Dating.
Dating apps have made it easier than ever to get sex. You can go on Tinder, and in a matter of moments, have a hookup arranged for that evening. Profiles are full of topless mirror selfies, crotch close-ups and requests for a Dom or a Sub. Guys send dick picks and suggestive comments within seconds of matching. It seems as though, these days, talking about sex right from the off is completely the norm.
Now don’t be deceived: Lucy likes sex. She likes it a lot, actually. Getting naked and sweaty with a hot guy, having someone with an expert tongue tease her and drive her wild, being pinned to the bed and banged enthusiastically: these are some of Lucy’s favourite activities, right up there with watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy and squeezing out ingrowing hairs. But liking sex definitely doesn’t mean she wants to be jizzed upon by every random walking erection from here to Basildon. No thank you, fuck off, don’t let the door hit you on your hairy arse on the way out. Lucy’s extremely selective about who she gets naked with, and for that reason she wants to appraise them from every angle and thoroughly vet them (including – gasp! – IRL) before even discussing the possibility of letting them bump uglies with her. After all, she needs to check the guy is not a twat, a smoker, a murderer or a Brexiteer, AND make sure he’s genuinely interested in her, rather than seeing her as just a hole to stick his cock in.
For this reason, Lucy’s profile is deliberately, unapologetically wholesome – a selection of photos of her, fully-clothed, smiling prettily at the camera or hiking up mountains, and a short, witty paragraph. No innuendo, no suggestion, just good, clean, fun, aimed squarely at putting off the fuckboys and making sure men know she’s a nice girl who needs to be treated with decency and respect. As a precaution against unwelcome pervy comments or penis photos she swipes left on topless shots, gym selfies, blank bios, and anyone named Terry or Darren, and if by some chance a creepy bottom-dweller does make it through the filters and sends a pervy comment, she gives him an acid bollocking that’ll burn his face off, waits a few hours to make sure he’s read it, and then coolly unmatches.
And this technique is working. In three years of using apps, Lucy only rarely gets sexual messages, and has never been sent a dick pic.
But recently she’s been finding it harder to get dates. Maybe it’s her age, maybe it’s that everyone’s more fucked off and making less effort with dating, but Lucy’s getting fewer matches than she used to, and even when she does manage to find someone who looks suitable and seems, at least superficially, to be interested in her, the whole thing usually fizzles out faster than you can say ‘Fuck, I’m bored, ask me a bastarding question you tedious cuntnugget!’. Yep, these days, getting someone to actually ask her out is hard work.
When Lucy complained about this on Twitter, one follower informed her that her profile is probably too nice. All men are, he said, motivated primarily by sexual attraction. Sure, later on, they will want to settle down with a woman they get along with, but that is not the first driver. As he put it, ‘If you think a man will approach you just for your amazing personality or intellect then sorry, no, not happening.’ In other words, if Lucy wants to compete with all the hot younger women, she needs appeal to a man’s penis first, and then his brain second (though with some of the guys on dating apps there’s not much of a distinction).
In other words, she needs to up her sexiness game.
Before dating apps, people had to make an effort to get laid. A man would have to ‘woo’ a woman, which gave her the chance to decide if she wanted to get frisky with him. Women were supposed to be demure, modest, innocent. Charm and flirting, not naked photos and sexting, was the way to get into someone’s pants. If you were lucky.
But now that all seems to have been turned on its head. It’s not just that everyone’s talking about banging, it’s almost as though it’s expected. You have to have a sexy profile, you have to be up for talking about your bedroom preferences with total strangers online, or you’ll get passed over.
But what about those of us who aren’t comfortable with this? Whose profiles are friendly, not filthy? By leaving sex out of the picture, are we giving the impression that we’re not into it at all? Is Lucy’s refusal to talk dirty with strangers giving the impression that she’s a prude, and therefore ruining her chances of getting a date, and eventually finding love?
Think of it in marketing terms. If you were selling a sports car, you wouldn’t just advertise its comfy seats and excellent braking system, lovely though those things are. Buyers want to know how fast it goes and how it handles. And although practical and reliable Lucy may be more Ford Focus than Ferrari, she definitely has some power under her hood too. By leaving such a desirable detail out of the advert, is she underselling herself?
It’s a thought that makes her uncomfortable. Women shouldn’t have to pander to men’s baser desires to find love, and to do so does feel pretty anti-feminist, and a tad #metoo. In 2018, are we really still supposed to be ‘a lady in the parlour and a whore in the bedroom’? Surely the good guys, the ones we actually want to date, are better than this?
Is ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’, really such a good idea here? Surely if Lucy does sex up her profile, won’t that be a green light to all the arseholes and incels to launch themselves at her like dodgy taxi drivers at an Indian airport? For the sake of opening the door a little wider to the normal, yet admittedly red-blooded males out there, will Lucy risk also inviting in all the one-track-minded weasels whose veins run thick with battery acid, Stella Artois, and Viagra?
It’s definitely a possibility, and she needs to be cautious. But when all’s said and done, dating is a war zone, and Lucy’s no longer at the top of her game (in fact she never has been – Lucy doesn’t really even understand what the game is, or how to play it). So to be in with even the slightest chance of surviving on this hellish battleground she really needs to use every weapon in her arsenal.
And so with advice from a friend she takes a sexier photo: all eyes, (smallish) boobs and (big) hair, a hint of skin… still classy, not slutty, but definitely not wholesome either. It’s a tentative step forward – a subtle message rather than an open invitation – but she rather likes it. Definitely fuckable, she thinks, and uploads it.
It’s only been a few days, but she’s already noticed a difference. She’s got more likes and messages on OKCupid, more matches on Tinder and Bumble, and has a date lined up with an attractive man who told her she looks ‘like a model that’s out of [his] league’. Whether any of these guys are decent relationship material remains to be seen, but so far it’s been an improvement, and it’s given Lucy more confidence. In fact she rather likes the sexy new her, so she’s decided to keep her. If there’s even the slightest chance she can help Lucy find love, then why not?
What do you think? Ladies – do you have any ‘sexy’ photos or suggestive comments on your profile? Does it make a difference to the type of approaches you get? And Guys – does the type of photos a girl has attract you or put you off? Do you prefer to see friendly pictures or sexy ones? Super interested to hear your thoughts and experiences!