My phone vibrates in my pocket. It’s a notification from Bumble, the Tinder-style dating app where women message first, “you have a new connection”. The dopamine hit lasts a mere millisecond. I am not the first to talk about Tamagotchi dating. Internet dating is like trying to keep a Tamagotchi alive.
I open up the match to find that Andrew* has three photos (of which two are clearly selfies) and has stated that he is 6’2” in his bio. Nothing else.
I have a policy of always messaging my matches. Our backwards and forwards push-button exercise commences.
For those of you who don’t know, a Tamagotchi is a handheld digital pet created in Japan. It is essentially a small egg-shaped computer with three buttons. These pets have a hunger meter, a happy meter and a health meter. The Tamagotchi owner has to feed the pet, clean up after it, play games with it, discipline it, and even train it to use the toilet to help it to grow into a happy and healthy Tamagotchi adult. All of this attention is given to the Tamagotchi by pushing buttons, constantly, incessantly, repetitively, over … and over … and over. Without attention, the Tamagotchi will eventually die.
Tamagotchis were all the rage in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Every school-child had one.
Similar to a Tamagotchi, my relationship with Andrew is now one of beeps and constant maintenance. This is Tamagotchi dating and like a Tamagotchi he is constantly demanding my attention through my smartphone.
Me (because on Bumble women always message first): Hi Andrew, top prize for most atmospheric photos.
Andrew: Thanks, Happy Monday.
Me (thinking to myself) : Happy Monday? Who says that? Answer: when you are Tamagotchi dating, quite a few people!
Andrew: What are you doing tonight?
Me: Well, I am just sitting down with a glass of wine and an episode of Doctor Foster. You?
Andrew: I’ve just been to the gym.
I am already really bored and I put my phone down. Doctor Foster is much more engaging.
15 minutes later, my phone vibrates.
Bumble notification “Andrew sent you a message”.
I decide to ignore it.
2 minutes later my phone vibrates again.
Bumble notification: “You have a new connection”.
David, 34, Film and Television Camera operator.
Me: You look like you’ve had your photos taken professionally. Have you? I definitely haven’t.
David: I work with cameras so I guess but not (sic). Most of my friends are pros.
David sounds more interesting.
David: Ever heard of Killing Kittens?!
I have no idea what Killing Kittens might be. I turn to Google. Google tells me that “Killing Kittens gathers the world’s sexual elite in a safe yet sexually-charged environment to explore their innermost fantasies and deepest sexual desires.”
I return to watching Doctor Foster.
My phone vibrates.
Bumble notification: “David sent you a new message”
David: Not chatting any more? I guess not all girls on here are open minded about sex!
I un-match David. I am 37. I am definitely not a girl. I will not be bullied or pressured either in real life or virtually by a random stranger via a dating app. David, I recommend you read my blog post “To the men of Tinder, this is why I didn’t reply”.
In my Bumble inbox, I have numerous old and empty conversation strings piling up like dead Tamagotchis because I have got bored or have just found something better to do. (Thank goodness for this blog!)
I never understood the point of keeping a Tamagotchi alive. It was a chore. I don’t really understand why I keep my Tamagotchi relationships alive either. I should ditch the dating apps again. I should just do the human thing and let my online push-button Tamagotchi dating die off too.
Let’s be honest, this game is mildly addictive, I probably won’t give up this Tamagotchi dating any time soon.
*It could have been Andrew or David or James or Grant or Josh or Si or Daniel or Stephan or Pierre or Francesco or Jace or Martin or or or or …