In the 4th of July edition of THE TIMES, South African Author Paige Nick and I discussed our views on Online Dating, reading too much into messages, dating apps and disastrous blind dates which end in marriage.




I think I’ve finally figured out where it all went wrong with dating.

In the beginning I thought online dating was a great idea. I could meet tons of guys (or people who claimed they were guys) without ever leaving my pajamas.

We no longer had to shower or dress, and face the world. We didn’t even have to wash our hair. It worked hugely in my favour. After all, I’m an overweight advertising copywriter; I’m guaranteed to make a better first impression in writing and with filters and Photoshop on my side, than under the harsh light of day, Cubana or Mugg and Bean.

But as with all good things, like cheese or Flings, what draws us to it, has become its downfall. By taking most of the dating transaction online, we’ve removed our voice. And the problem with that is that it’s almost impossible to determine tone in a text.

Even just the word ‘goodbye’, can be read in a dozen different contexts, depending on your mood. It could be sarcastic, passive-aggressive or loaded. Who would blame you for not even considering that ‘goodbye’ might just mean, I have to go now because my train has arrived, so I’m saying goodbye because that’s the polite thing to do. Until later.

Out with a bunch of girls the other night, a friend, let’s call her ‘Lips’, held out her phone and asked, ‘What does this mean?’

It was a text that read, ‘It’s all fine’.

‘I think it means that everything is all fine’, friends, Robyn and Chryssa said.

‘But what else does it mean?’ Lips asked.

‘It’s all fine!’ we all chorused.

‘But sometimes we have to read into things.’ Lips said.

‘No we don’t!’ we all shouted, lying through our teeth, because at some point we’ve certainly all read something into a message. And ended up thinking a guy was ditching you subtly, when he was really just telling you his battery had died, because his battery had actually die–




There’s been an alarming increase in the number of things I know nothing about. Online dating apps like Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, etc rank right up there with getting out of bed on the list of things I’m pathetic at. Listening to teenagers talk these days is like having an out-of-experience body as opposed to an out-of-body experience.

Real dating seems to have gone out the window in favour of this whole online thing, and I’ve been avoiding it all as much as I can.  Online, the odds are pretty good, but the goods are pretty odd. It doesn’t make sense to me. They match you up with somebody who shares all your interests. Why would I want to go out with a total weirdo?

Showing your love used to be buying flowers and writing a poem – Nowadays it’s just looking at somebody for five minutes without checking your phone. I miss the way things used to be, when people used to mixtape love each other – and I still prefer meeting people the old fashioned way – through alcohol and bad judgement and the prison penpal system.

Back then, friends with horrifically poor taste were the only dating app’s you needed. They would come up to you and say;

“Hey, I know this great girl. You two would be perfect for one another,”

And then you call her up and ask her out to a movie and a fancy restaurant and then you spend a few hours hiding all your crazy and acting like you didn’t thoroughly stalk each other on the internet. If you’re lucky, if all goes well, in a few months you’ll be in a committed, endless discussion on where to have dinner. Next thing you know, your dating has gone too far and you’re married.

Sounds pretty grim.

But, still it all seems a lot better than these online prospects, with their shoddy grammar and misleading profile pictures and creepy 2am messages.  I’m swiping left on online dating. I don’t need to know how works. I can already wink in, like, twelve different languages.


Paige Nick is a regular SUNDAY TIMES columnist and the author of “Pens Behaving Badly” and the acclaimed “Death By Carbs” 

Her new novel, Dutch Courage, is out now!

You can catch her blogging at A MILLION MILES FROM NORMAL


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