28 Years Later...
Shall I compare thee to my other DMs? Scissors and Seduction in the Instagram Age.
From thirst traps and stealth-ing Instagram is now ‘thee’ place for romance... apparently.
About 140 naps ago, or late 2019 as people with more important daily commitments refer to it, something incredibly strange happened at the hairdressers.
Being devoutly British I had of course been upholding the expected etiquette in this situation, awkwardly smiling with increasing panic as Suzie, or Samantha, or whatever her name was proceeded to give me a haircut that I detested, but of course would go on to lie about, say I loved, and pay for. Repeat every six weeks.
This was all quite unremarkable as I haven’t actually had a haircut I’ve honestly liked since about 2008 (Oh Franco… why did you have to get deported), but what caught my attention more than my now hedge-like haircut was the customer next to me. Apart from the fact that they were a mixed-gender customer/ hairdresser couple which I assumed was illegal, or at least frowned upon, at the end of his haircut he asked for her Instagram and flirtishly suggested he might …. slide into her DMs.
This phrase was not, as I had initially imagined, a request to try on her Doc Martin boots, but was CONVERSEly (get it?) the start of their very own digital fairy tale. Well, I say fairy tale, the reality was more likely an increasingly desperate stream of one-sided messages from him such as ‘WHY DON’T YOU LIKE ME?’ and ‘I ACTUALLY HATED THAT HAIRCUT’.
Yet, after some alcohol inspired googling courtesy of a delightful bottle of ‘Chateau Du Something Under Five Pounds’, I learned that for some bizarre and incomprehensible reason Instagram dating is an increasingly popular way to ‘close the deal’ on a potential love interest.
These are not my words, but the words of a lovely dating expert named Ed Hudson, writing for the romantic dating website Dating Metrics as it seems that now metrics are dead sexy. Trouser dropping sexy. Ed suggests immediately jumping on this Instagram ‘gravy train’ as people are turning to the app over traditional dating apps to still get rejected by women as it feels more ‘real’. This is due, in part, I think to Instagram’s new ‘reality filter’ that requires all users to ONLY post un-edited genuine photos of themselves. If you think you are talking to sexy twenty-something Sarah from the hairdressers, this will never in fact turn out to be a 60-year-old man from Yemen. Honest.
So, after three glasses of wine, one pack of mini-cheddars, and 30 minutes of research I decided that I was now an expert on the subject and bring you this handy guide:
Step One: Be Pretty/ Attractive… or have a computer with internet access.
Instagram is all about pictures… it’s like flicking through Aunt Margery’s photo album if that album was full of attractive young people and not terrifyingly sad cats. This unfortunate reality leaves you with three key options for Instagram dating: 1. Be born attractive. 2. Pay thousands of pounds for plastic surgery. 3. Google ‘attractive people’ and post pictures of these people instead. Sorry guys.
Step Two: Be Popular/ Have Thousands of Follows/ Be an Influencer
If being attractive wasn’t enough you must also be incredibly popular now. Luckily, unlike in real life where being popular takes time to talk to people, build relationships, and generally be a nice person, Instagram has removed all this frankly unnecessary hassle. Instead, you merely need to post increasingly revealing pictures of yourselves with completely unrelated captions such as ‘another day of work guys’ and ‘feeling blessed’.
You could even take this a step further and become an INFLUENCER, which to my mind seems to be the same, but often includes additional unrelated products.. such as ‘feeling blessed… with my new Dyson hoover’
Step Three: Post Thirst Traps.
These are not disconnected water fountains but are especially alluring selfie-style photos posted on your profile to entice potential suitors into your DMs. If you have decided to go down the influencer route you may not wish to include your above hoover in these sorts of pictures as it may suggest you are willing to undertake a lifetime of domestic servitude.
Step Four: Stealth them.
This idea is actually stolen from a much better guide than this one entitled ‘How to date the Instagram girl you’ve never met’. It is less creepy than it sounds. They suggest that a girl with 50,000 or more followers is probably going to get A LOT of ‘likes’. To stand out from the crowd you are going to need to like the photos others don’t. Okay, maybe it is as creepy as it sounds.
Avoid that sexy side-boob and pec popping selfies and instead aim for their less popular pictures... food... chairs... less attractive friends etc. You get the idea. I suggest you take this further and like the photos in a sequence, maybe the Fibonacci sequence or Morse code for ‘Be My husband/Wife’. This will show how smart and dedicated you are.
Step Five: Better yet…Simply Avoid Instagram Dating Altogether
If you are like me and happen to fall outside the 0.01% of the world’s population who won the genetic lottery, have never-ending self-discipline to regularly visit a gym and eat disgustingly healthy food, and are then vain enough to constantly post about it… perhaps avoid Instagram for dating.
Instead, pour a glass of wine.. sit back and revel in the joy of the little things… the taste of chocolate… the morning lie-in as your direct debit for the gym leaves your account.. and the knowledge that 50% of marriages end in divorce anyway. Good luck with those DMs Suzie… and please give me a better haircut next time.