Have you heard the one about 'girlfriend simulation'? Apart from Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science and that worrying dolls documentary on Channel 4, I hadn't either, until the other day when I was privy to a conversation between my twentysomething friends.
It's a dating epidemic spreading across the capital like ink on water, and fuelled mainly by the personality disorders brought on by the frenetic dating app Tinder. Currently mainly affecting (infecting?) the '20s dating bracket.
"Men aren't satisfied with a simple one night stand any more", bemoaned the 25-year-old. "They want the dating, the cuddles, the 1pm hungover breakfast... but it only lasts a few weeks and then it all goes quiet." I mean, my friend and this guy hosted a barbecue together – it was like an Ikea advert.
Apparently, it's a Tinder thing, symptomatic of the Swipe Right Generation that has a constant thumb itch. "Do they go to some kind of Tinder dating school?" was another friend's take on it. "It's always the same pattern: pursue pursue pursue, like a lovesick puppy for the first few weeks then make like a dead person and disappear."
The hot-then-cold treatment is, obviously, not a new dating phenomenon but what does strike me as interesting is this fast-tracked meta-relationship and proclamations of intensified feelings from the get-go. Like the guy who told my friend he'd like to get her face tattooed on the sleeve on his arm (erm…), and that he was desperate to go away with her on holiday. Before, literally, going away. I understand leaving at 11am on the Sunday morning after if you are commitment-free and footloose", she reflected. "But I don't get staying past the EastEnders omnibus just to sack it off two weeks later. It's bonkers."
Bonkers? Or simply the way we're evolving as a species? After all, our social media-addled attention spans are in ruins. Just the other day, for example, I moisturised one leg and couldn't bring myself to do the other, such was my boredom level and hankering to check my Twitter feed. Why should relationships be any different? Everything is fast-tracked. So, the way to do it is: meet person via smartphone, exchange intense messages hinting at love connection preferably in a creepy way, do borderline-boring domestic things together (trip to B&Q?) to simulate at least a two-year a relationship... and repeat. Yeah?