image 1The love child of disposable consumer culture and front-facing phone cameras, Tinder has become one of the most popular dating apps across the world. With more than 10 million active daily users, creators have even introduced a threesome version, for those who felt that the ‘hot or not’ casual sex application wasn’t romantic enough.

Although dating websites are strictly prohibited in the conservative city of Dubai, Tinder has slipped through the net and there’s not many single folk who haven’t sampled its delights. I’ve put together a list of house rules to help you navigate the (often) tortuous process of online dating.

Swipe right indiscriminately

If the thought of touching their naked dangly bits makes you want to scrub off a layer of your flesh with semi-diluted bleach, then swipe left. But don’t reserve your likes exclusively for a Brad Pitt body double or Victoria’s Secret model lookalike. You never know, Mr/Mrs Average might have a personality so sparkling that you’ll be cruising off into the warm Gulf ocean sunsets on the back a wild dolphin. If true love isn’t on your agenda, you’ll still need to cast your net far and wide, because you’re probably using the chat up line: ‘Hey we’re neighbours, shall I come round for some meaningless sex?’ I’m going to level with you, it’s kind of a niche market.

Emojis aren’t the same as punctuation

Emoticons are great aren’t they? Not only are they a good flirting tool for the functionally illiterate, the winky smile can ensure that even the most benign phrase sounds sexual, making it the ideal tool for post-Tinder Whatsapp chat. Just don’t get carried away and start using them in place of actual punctuation. A girl still needs her commas. And please stay away from the heart button. You’re not 13.

Lose the clichés

Tinder has done what we all thought was impossible. It’s eclipsed Instagram with meaningless inspirational quotes that make people want to vomit and rub it in someone’s eyes. ‘Life is for living’ is a particular favourite of mine, as though I need a helpful reminder about the basic concept of human existence. Unless you want people to think you’re a clinical moron, don’t accompany your bikini and bog brush selfie with the phrase ‘living the dream’ or any similar variations. Especially if your entire feed comprises brunches and pouting in your latest pair of stripper heels. I’ll be forced to presume your lifelong ambitions are cemented in your ability to take regular photographs of yourself in the toilet mirror at an all-inclusive buffet served by Filipino expatriates on neo-slave wages.

No horoscopes

Do you remember the last time you heard a guy say ‘my girlfriend is great and we’re totally compatible because she’s an Aquarius”. Nope, me either. Sorry ladies, nobody gives a shit about your star sign. (Or your gym routine.)

Meet up

Beware the man who ‘just wants to chat’. He’s married and he doesn’t want his wife to find out he’s hunting for tail on Tinder. Given the number of whackadoodles that frequent this city, I feel it’s best to cut your losses and meet with your love interest as soon as possible. The worst that’ll happen is an awkward first date where everyone says ‘errrhm’ a lot so you end up drinking cocktails instead. It’s OK. At least you’ll get cocktails.

Don’t put pictures up of your family. Especially your wedding day.

I think you’re weird. The other people on Tinder think you’re weird. And your wife is going to cut off your balls.