I’ve never been on Tinder, but I’ve heard all about it.
I never gave much thought to the Tinder world beyond “people seem to be into that”, because it didn’t appear to have any bearing on my own (happily coupled) life.
That is, until last week when my dad announced over dinner that he was “on Tinder” now.
At first, I assumed it was a mistake. Some people cruelly underestimate their parents in terms of technological ability, but not me — because my parents have the lowest level of technological comprehension possible in a human being and it is therefore impossible to underestimate them.
My dad sometimes calls me to ask why the Internet isn’t working (I don’t know, Dad, I’m not at your house, I don’t control the WHOLE INTERNET) so I was pretty confident he hadn’t discovered the App store yet.
“Dad,” I said gently, “do you mean Twitter?”
No, he assured me, he did not mean Twitter.
“You know,” he said. “The sex one!”
Oh, sweet Jesus.
"But how-" I said, hung up on his aforementioned inability to surf the Internet without incident.
"Paul helped me!" he said brightly.
Paul. It turned out my dad's mate Paul (traitor) had heard about Tinder from his son (traitor). Paul thought it sounded great so he jumped on, made a profile, and started recommending it to every single middle-aged man he met.
I have some very choice words saved up for Paul when we next meet.
Watch a daughter explain Tinder to her mum, who isn't on Tinder, and who reacts with appropriate horror.
"I'm trying to work out my bio," my dad went on, while I stared at him with my mouth open and suffered a series of strokes.
"I'm really only interested in sex at the moment, so I thought I'd just say 'Not looking for a commitment'."
"Oh," I said. "That sounds... Huh. Yeah. OK."
"Do you think that's OK? Or not specific enough? Some people put in their bios if they're looking for something a bit kinky, but I thought, you know, leave my options open."
"Oh," I said. "Yes. Open. Yes."
In a far-off part of my brain that was not haemorrhaging, I imagined a parallel dinner, in which my father did not ask my opinion on "leaving his options open" with regards to kinky sex with strangers and I did not have to go home afterwards and scrape out my eyeballs and eardrums with a spoon and rinse them in bleach.
"Apparently it's 'a thing' to do shirtless selfies," he went on, "but I thought I'd just use a normal one."
He paused for a second.
"If you get matches, you can send other pictures anyway."
Other pictures. Oh my God. I somehow woke up this morning as an ordinary person and will now be falling asleep thinking about my dad sending dick pics.
I could never tell my friends. My friends who were on Tinder. My friends who lived in the area. My friends... OH MY GOD, MY FRIENDS.
"Dad," I said tentatively, "you haven't... you haven't, um, matched with any, um, younger, um-"
"Of course not!" He was outraged, like he hadn't just discussed with me, in detail, his plans to lure women into kinky sex. "I set the age filter."
Well, that settles that then.
Watch: Sometimes, Tinder dates don't go to plan,as this anecdote proves. (Post continues after video.)
The thing is, I really love my dad.
But he isn't meant to be casual. He doesn't like going to dinner without a collared shirt, for crying out loud.
And frankly, I'm not sure I love him enough to wish him a lifetime of casual sex with casual Tinder women who are casually kinky. Just casually.
I DON'T THINK I CAN BE CASUAL ABOUT THAT.
Am I overreacting? You tell me.
Featured image: Tinder/iStock