A grown-up's guide: Natasha Exelby joins Tinder so you don't have to.

Natasha Exelby was NOT husband hunting when she tenatively signed up for Tinder. Which was just as well…

If you’d asked me a year ago if I would even consider a dating website, I would have laughed at you. It’s for the dateless and desperate. I’m not desperate… But, alas, I’m definitely dateless.

Being single and fabulous has suited me for a long time. However, when it was bravely presented to me by friends that my intimate moments are less frequent than leap years, I saw cause for action. As social media seeps into our everyday lives, maybe, just maybe… this Tinder thing could be a goer.

Facebook is a glorious invention, and I have been known to Tweet… Is Tinder merely an honest and necessary extension of this? A communication portal the children of tomorrow will be flabbergasted we ever went without?

Natasha Exelby with her former Wake Up on Ten co-hosts Natarsha Belling and James Mathieson. Image via Twitter.

Ok. Fine, I thought. I’ll do it. But here are the conditions. This is not a ‘husband hunt’. I will be on Tinder for four weeks. I will go on one date a week.

I will get my skills up, then swiftly depart the false anonymity of the world-wide-web, flanked with resilience and wisdom to navigate my way through intimate affairs.

Here is what I learnt.

1. Tinder is like being at a pub in your pyjamas.

And, just like the talent pool at your local watering hole, there’s the usual quota of muppets. For example, ignore any guy who is shirtless or doing a selfie.

2. The longer the bio, the more the baggage.

A common pre-curser to nut jobs is a bio that looks more like a book review. If a guy has more than three sentences, there’s a good chance he’s got a bit going on. Essentially, it’s a mission statement to every girl he’s ever dated. I particularly enjoy gentlemen who say ‘I’m looking for honesty, I don’t play games.’ What he really means to say is ‘I liked a girl once. She didn’t like me back. But I pursued her anyway and eventually she filed an AVO. I’m still bitter about that.’


3. Beware the body nazis.

A guy who states he enjoys ‘keeping fit and healthy’ is code for, ‘I don’t date chicks south of 5’5 or north of 60 kilos’. If he states he’s into yoga and/or spirituality, it means his mind is more messed up than the metaphorical equivalent of a nuclear warhead. If he throws out any self-help quotes, chances are he’s merely projecting insecurities onto potential partners as a coping mechanism for his own emotional short comings.

I only cracked these codes AFTER my first date. His name was Chris. Before a single sip of my coffee, I determined Chris to be a raging tosser. Among a string of ridiculous lines of questioning, Chris was eager to find out if I was aware my biological clock was ticking and what my position would be on giving up work to pro-create and raise three children.

Can I just say – any guy who thinks chicks are crazy… well… I’m not saying they’re not… but I would suggest they meet Chris? Chris and I parted ways with me informing him I think he is an elitist who is nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is and I detect multiple ‘F’ wit tendencies.

It’s likely this is the face Tash pulls on her bad dates.

Okay. One down, three to go. Have you ever had a ‘Sliding Doors’ moment? That’s what I had with ‘Chip’. When ‘Chip’ first presented himself on my screen I thought he was too good looking to also have a brain and I was one whisker away from brushing him entirely. Still, I swiped right.


That’s Tinder lingo for ‘matching’ with someone. I did not see ‘Chip’ coming. The guy had extraordinary banter skills… AND we liked the same stuff. He said House Of Cards and I heard wedding bells! A date was organised and I rocked up half hoping he was a loser because I had a lot going on in my life and I wasn’t wild about the idea of developing (real) feelings for someone. Things went from bad to worse. ‘Chip’ was even more handsome when words started coming out of his mouth. He was smart. He was funny. This was not the plan!

Ahh, Tinder. Definitely worth it.

Okay Tash, calm down, just roll with it. A week went by and I knew I was neglecting my Tinder duties to date a new guy each week. ‘It can wait’ I thought. ‘Let’s just see where this ‘Chip’ thing goes.’ Bad idea! Four dates in… Chip drops the ‘F’ bomb… FRIENDS. ‘Chip’ didn’t like me as I did him… would I consider being ‘friends?’ No Chip. This is Tinder, not Facebook. NEXT.

I DID finish what I started. I went on two more dates. They were great guys… and not for me. But I do think they are for somebody. Here’s the conclusion I’ve drawn. If you’re looking for your life partner on Tinder, temper your expectations. Just as you should in a wine bar or other single hotspot. But, apart from having the occasional awkward encounter with the wankers of the world like Chris, Tinder is a really cool way to embark on something potentially fun. By and large, I’m glad I swiped right.

Any advice for Tinder newcomers? 

Natasha Exelby is a TV Presenter who has worked around the world as a political and foreign correspondent. Likes include people, politics, patience, humour, exercise, and ice cream. Dislikes include elitism, sexism, extremists,  brussel sprouts and uncomfortable shoes. 

Look, there are some weirdos on Tinder, but there are also a lot of really great people (we think). We present to you (with only a slight amount of judgement) our favourite Tinder Nightmares.

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