I was a female Tinderer


Yesterday, a story caught my eye, which proved that people nowadays are so lazy, they will outsource just about anything to others – including their Tinder experience:

Holly Bartter has probably received more unsolicited penis pictures on dating apps than anyone else in Australia.

That’s because at any one time she has up to eight different profiles on each popular service, from Tinder to Bumble, poring over hundreds of matches and countless messages.

Last year, the 28-year-old launched her business Matchsmith, allowing hopeful singles to outsource their digital dating efforts.

“I take the account details of my clients and manage their apps,” Ms Bartter explained.

“From there, I match and message on their behalf. It’s not quite impersonating them — I get the match to the stage where numbers are exchanged and then report back to the client.”

Her unique business idea started out as a bit of fun. She would hijack friends’ phones and tweak their bios and trawl through dodgy matches to find the diamonds in the rough.

Word of mouth saw her approached by people willing to pay for her help and after two years, she launched Matchsmith last year.

“At the moment, my clients are a mix of people between the ages of 29 and 52, with about 60 to 70 per cent being female,” Ms Bartter said.

Of course, such outsourcing is not new; the whole profession of matchmaking has existed for millennia in many cultures around the world, from the Pacific Islands to “The Fiddler on the Roof”, in order to bring people together (love not included). In more recent times, we’ve had the good old-fashioned introduction agencies. Even in the era of internet dating, part of the job – for better or worse – is often outsourced to algorithms. But in apps like Tinder or Bumble, where you get to see everyone within your chosen gender, distance and age parametres, the choice is 100 per cent yours. Unless, like above, the initial small talk annoys you so much that you’re willing to let a complete stranger guess who you might be attracted to in the first place.

Congratulations to Holly for making money off “her unique business idea”. No doubt more people will in the future opt for these sorts of services. I wouldn’t. I barely trust myself to pick my matches, so I have little faith in somebody else’s capacity. Or luck.


A few months ago, a friend of mine (let’s call her Tracey-Ann) bet me that she can do a better job than me at finding a woman on Tinder – and, truth be told, going by my notorious track record, perhaps the odds were actually in her favour. Never the one for one-sided arrangements, I likewise committed myself to bettering her previous male matches. And so, an experiment was born: Tracey-Ann would write “my” profile and choose what she thought were my best photos, and then get swiping. She would chat initially with the matches and if there was some potential she would exchange phone numbers, at which stage I would become myself again and take it from there. In turn I would do the same for her.

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that while we genuinely tried, we both failed to achieve our ultimate objective. I actually ended up meeting my most likely prospect who was an interesting woman, but who proceeded to get a full forearm tattoo after our second date, confirming my initial feeling that perhaps she was a bit too alternative for me – or perhaps I too square for her. Tracey-Ann in the end did not get to meet the Frenchman I chose for her, who had perhaps the most entertaining and imaginative profile I have ever seen online. So we will never know. But somewhere in an alternative universe…

Apart from finding out that it’s not that easy trying to pick a good date for someone else (with a proviso that our experiment was quite brief and of course not very scientific), what did Tracey-Ann and I learned about being the other gender on Tinder? Surprisingly, our experiences were pretty similar – it wasn’t easier being the other; the matches were not overwhelming, most would not initiate conversation, and many would not respond to messages. It was hard work. I was lucky not to get instantly propositioned or asked for “my” number for the purposes of an satellite transmission of a photographic image of tumescent genitalia. I do understand from hundreds of conversations that my experience in that regard was quite unique. I take this opportunity to apologise for my fellow men.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the experiment was our respective experience judging our potential competition and the differences in perception between us. Having swiped through hundreds of male profiles, I confirmed to my satisfaction that most indeed don’t bother to write anything about themselves, being either too lazy or expecting their pictures to tell their 1000 words instead. The problem was exactly what 1000 words were being said. All too often men seemed to choose photos that I thought would appeal to their male mates a lot more than to women (dead fish, their motorcycle/car/jet ski/tinnie, groups of inebriated males having too good a time). In that, my assessment matched what is the female consensus about the self-marketing efforts of men on Tinder. Yet for all that I still thought thoughts to the effect of “shit, so many good looking and seemingly interesting men on here; it’s a miracle I’m getting the number of matches that I get considering the smorgasbord in front of an average female user.” And yet, Tracey-Ann’s opinion about the general standard of manhood online (not the same sample I had access to admittedly, but all the multiple snapshots over the years she looked at) was “meh”. Like me, however, Tracey-Ann was somewhat dispirited about her female competition for what she thought was the few decent males’ attention (“Do I really need to get my tits out more?”); the difference was I didn’t think she had much to be concerned about.

It was interesting and it was fun, but I don’t think I would do it again, but that’s just me – for all the enthusiastic taking on the bet I never thought that I would somehow prove to be better at picking potential partners for others than for myself. In the interest of transparency and fair play, let me assure everyone that the experiment is well and truly over, so for any female readers who chance on my profile online, sadly it is really me, and for all my male readers, you don’t have to worry that you might accidentally end up flirting with me and sending me your dick pics. All the women out there at the moment might not necessarily be genuine, but at least they’re not me. So get going, everyone; the love of your life might be just one swipe away.