MELISSA SMITH*, 29,

RESTAU­RANT OWNER

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - REAL LIVES -

My Tin­der ad­ven­ture started with down­load­ing the app af­ter a heartrend­ing break-up and far too many glasses of wine with my girl­friends. Tin­der is huge in places like the US and Europe, but it seems to have taken on a dif­fer­ent mean­ing in South Africa. Many people seemed shocked to hear that I was on this ‘hook-up’ app. I was logged on dur­ing peak tourism sea­son in Cape Town and I very soon re­alised that most of the el­i­gi­ble guys I had right-swiped were not lo­cals. One day they would be within four kilo­me­tres from where I was, chat­ting up a storm, and the next they were 15 000km away. I don’t have much time even to get my car washed, let alone go out some­where and hope to meet some­one who has any char­ac­ter­is­tics I find at­trac­tive. So af­ter break­ing up with my boyfriend I thought it would be a way just to meet people, a dis­trac­tion of sorts, and soon enough the joys of right-swip­ing and left-swip­ing fol­lowed by the thrill of a match had grabbed me. Be­sides the gen­eral in­trigue of dis­cov­er­ing new people, the small talk helps you de­cide whether or not you want to meet up with the guy. I al­ways made sure I chose the spot – usu­ally a ca­sual bar and al­ways with a plan to be some­where af­ter­wards. That way the mes­sage is clear be­fore meet­ing up: I was not there for a hook-up. Bars like The Power & The Glory, Cabrito’s and Lefty’s were per­fect – trendy, busy and loud, sav­ing us from any awk­ward si­lences. The twist for me was that af­ter a few dates and great con­ver­sa­tions with dif­fer­ent guys, I ac­tu­ally missed my boyfriend. I ap­pre­ci­ated him more and re­alised that what I was look­ing for in a right-swipe match was what I had all along. Even­tu­ally, we got back to­gether. And while that isn’t com­pletely Tin­der’s do­ing, the app cer­tainly fast-tracked the an­swer to the ‘What’s out there?’ ques­tion that many people my age face – with­out the te­dium of hav­ing to go out and find new people. Luck­ily, some­times it leads you back to where you’re meant to be.

‘I re­alised I shouldn’t have bro­ken up with my boyfriend’

MELISSA WEARS DRESS, R1 399, MARI AND ME; SHOES, R700, ZARA.

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