Ceinwen Langley

Scriptwriter, Game Writer, Author


Published in BIRDEE MAG, March 2015

Left, left, left, right, left.

She felt like a drill sergeant from one of those American army films, flicking through photo after photo of young man and judging them in less than a second.  

I don’t know but I’ve been told, swipe left on guys who look like assholes.

She was new to Tinder, talked into it by a group of very concerned (and very not-single) girlfriends who thought she ought to be putting herself out there more.

They were well meaning, despite being half the reason it was impossible for her to meet men. A group made up almost entirely of people in blissful, long-term couples meant a lot of backyard gatherings and dinner parties. When they did go out, it was a quiet corner in the pub, two drinks and home by ten-thirty. It wasn’t a bad set up, by any means, but not super conducive to meeting men. Which, when all you had to come home to after a night of being with happy people was a permanently pissed off cat, was becoming more and more appealing.

So she was trying to swallow all her scepticism about online dating and giving Tinder a proper go. But the prospects so far, she thought grimly, were not great.

Left, left, right, left, left, left.

Steve, 26, looked like Jesse Pinkman without any of the lovability and more of the actual meth. Travis, 28, in his own words, had a giant cock, wasn’t husband material, and refused to take shit from anyone. He also had a policy against ‘shallow bitches.’ Luke, 23, had a girlfriend, so wasn’t looking for anything too serious. Martin, 31, was inoffensive, but a professional mime. Daniel, 23, Ethan, 27, and Mike, 22, were all photos of their abs and biceps. Jordan, 29, was a passionate snowboarder without any sign of a face.

Left, left, left, left, left.

She had no matches yet. Which made sense, given that about five men so far had met her towering standards of ‘mustn’t sound like a prick, and must be in some way attractive to her.’

But she was, she conceded, probably being a little harsh on some of the inoffensive guys. Some people just looked better in the flesh, whether it was the way their eyes crinkled when they smiled, or the sound of their laugh, or the way they smelled or that whole personality thing. How could she judge an entire guy by six photos and an optional bio?

She couldn’t. She’d have to talk to them, like she would in a bar. And some of them would probably be freaks, but that was okay. Well, it was easier to deal with on her phone, anyway.

She poured herself a wine – a big one – and set to swiping.

Right, right, right, right, right.

All of them, except the most obvious dickheads and creepers, earned themselves a right swipe. The matches came in so quickly it almost made her blush. Did all these dudes think she looked alright, or were they just employing the same strategy she was? Either way, it was nice to be swiped right.

An orange bubble appeared in the corner of the screen. Her first message! From Louis, 27.

Nice pussy ;)

She almost choked on her wine. She looked at his picture. He didn’t look like a deviant, so she decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Her profile picture was, after all, a picture of her holding her unimpressed cat.

Haha, because of my pic, right?

Yeh that too ;) ;)

Could she swipe left retrospectively? Yes, turns out she could. Bye Louis, 27.

She poured herself another wine as the messages trickled in.

Matt, 25, spoke exclusively in what Google informed her were Friedrich Nietzsche quotes. Nathan, 22, Bailey, 21 and Andrew, 26 sent dick pics. Sean, 31, apologised and told her he’d swiped right by accident and promptly blocked her. Tim, 30, wanted to meet her immediately. She had nothing in common with Adrian, 31, Jerry, 28, Dylan, 25 or Reece, 29. Chris, 27, seemed promising until she went to get a glass of water and use the loo and came back to find him calling her a stuck up bitch.

Left, left, left, left, left, left, left.

But by her third glass of wine, she was bored and flinging Nicki Minaj lyrics at Brendan, 26, who was furiously telling her to listen to better music.

As if, Brendan, she signed off, and swiped left.

She flung her phone aside, yawning. She was as tired as if she’d spent the night in the actual pub, chatting up strangers. At least her success rate was consistent. Maybe she was just destined to be that woman who never had sex and compensated by adopting all the cats.

Actually, the cat thing was non-negotiable, whether she was having sex or not.

An alert lit up her phone: a new match and message. She groaned. Was it even worth looking at tonight? She’d already left the digital pub, she didn’t need someone chasing her down the street with some disappointment to go.

She got ready for bed, glugging down another glass of water and sliding between her sheets. The phone stayed dark. Whoever had messaged her had only sent the one.

Curiosity got the better of her. She opened the app and checked the match. Elliott, 28. One of the guys she’d swiped right on before the mass swiping. He’d had a great smile. And there it was again, beaming back at her above a simple:

Hi :)

She smiled and turned the phone off. She’d reply to him in the morning, when the wine had left her system. Maybe bite the bullet and ask him to coffee.

She was officially back in the game. Grabbing life by the balls. Or rather, thanks to three dick pics, seeing it.