Net­flix & Quill

Joel Golby on Swiped

The Guardian - The Guide - - Inside -

Tin­der is an app you are sup­posed to use for ca­sual sex that ev­ery cou­ple at the cen­tre of ev­ery wed­ding you’ve been to re­cently has fun­da­men­tally mis­in­ter­preted. It is also – along­side Grindr, Hinge and Bum­ble – re­spon­si­ble for a rock­fall-like shift in the cliff face of dat­ing that has been chang­ing the way peo­ple meet for the past five years. Is this dig­i­tal con­nec­tion-mak­ing – and the ca­sual hook-up cul­ture it nec­es­sar­ily catal­y­ses – some­thing that needs to make so­ci­ety clutch its pearls close in fear? That’s the ques­tion Swiped:

Hook­ing Up in the Dig­i­tal Age (Sun, 10pm, Sky At­lantic) sort of asks, and barely an­swers.

Swiped … is split into two parts, one be­ing sway­ing, hand­held-cam in­ter­views with beau­ti­ful Amer­i­can young peo­ple who use and en­joy hook-up apps (broadly: ev­ery sin­gle straight Amer­i­can male wears a cap and thinks they’re “great”; ev­ery straight woman def­i­nitely sees the ben­e­fits of them but is hes­i­tant to give them a full thumbs-up; marginalised folk have a much harder time with apps and don’t want to ad­mit whether they are good or bad). The sec­ond is formed of slick, in-a-lush-front-room chats with ex­perts who use pop an­thro­pol­ogy to say that ev­ery­thing is aw­ful. Young peo­ple get horny and old guys in glasses get mad about it. It’s a tale as old as time.

But Swiped … does go some way into the soul-deep malaise that a gen­er­a­tion burned­out from app dat­ing is start­ing to feel. In be­tween in­ter­views with Cheyenne, an Emma Stone-voiced brunette who wor­ries about her ap­pear­ance as it is crys­tallised down to five swi­peable im­ages, and shots of groups of adults en­joy­ing a party but look­ing at their phones for no­ti­fi­ca­tions, we meet Kyle, who – as a lin­ger­ing shot of him ab­so­lutely Bust­ing Out a Gui­tar Solo tells us – is a cool guy. We meet Kyle first as a sin­gle man, swip­ing his way through New York. Later, we meet his new girl­friend, Alex, whom he met through Tin­der and is cool with hav­ing three­somes; Kyle wears a be­mused ec­stasy on his face, sur­prised he can feel this much love. A few weeks on, we re­visit them for the in­evitable post-breakup exit in­ter­view. It started out great, they both say, then some­thing stopped work­ing; Kyle was full-on, then he wasn’t. He ad­mits that he’s back on the apps, and she does, too. “You are too?” Kyle says (Kyle is no longer happy). “Bull­shit!” Alex ad­mits she was on a date the night be­fore, but walked out half­way through. Why go on the date, some­one asks. “I just wanted some­one to talk to … for an hour?”

At times, Swiped feels as if it is try­ing to paint too broad a pic­ture of dat­ing in 2018: some of the “ex­pert voices” ex­plain­ing nor­mal be­hav­iour sound like a doc­u­men­tary from 1998 where an awk­ward man in a jumper slowly ex­plains that you have to “log on” to “surf the world wide web”. It is doomed to age fairly rapidly as a re­sult. But as a snap­shot of dat­ing right this very sec­ond, it is a ca­pa­ble one. Watch it now, though. By the time 2019 rolls round, we will have found whole new ways to make our­selves jaded with dat­ing.

‘Young peo­ple get horny. Old guys in glasses get mad about it. It’s a tale as old as time’

Screen-agekicks: are apps killing dat­ing?

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