Coming from London, I am not averse to the world of internet dating or, to be even more specific, Tinder dating. As it becomes more prevalent in our day to day lives, it becomes ever more common to hear actual success stories of those who have met their match online. I have friends who have found their boyfriends and even husbands through these mediums, so I have hope. However, when I moved to the small island that is Mahe, Seychelles, I got to wondering – would it be easier or harder to Tinder date on a rock in comparison to what I experienced in London?
Seychelles is a honeymoon destination and for good reason. Every which way you turn, you find the backdrop for the perfect date: watching the sunset on a white sand beach, paddle-boarding under the stars, being the only set of footprints on a long swatch of sand with no other humans in sight… there are seemingly endless options for romance here. But finding the guy to take me on such dates has not proven so easy.
The idea of Tinder, for those who may have been living under (rather than on) a rock for the last few years, is this: you swipe left if you’re not interested, or you swipe right if you like the look of the person. To make this decision, you are presented with a series of photos to judge and sometimes a small bio. Yes, it is a bit shallow, but kicking things off on a slightly superficial note is not unusual in the world of modern dating.
Once I was on my rock, I decided to give it a shot. Setting Tinder to its maximum distance with no age restrictions, these are the results I received on the island: Of the 90 million Tinder users, there were 120 men available for me to swipe on Tinder in the Seychelles – and that is it! Of these 120 men: 16 of them I knew, 2 of them I’d taught (I’m a teacher here), 2 of them I quite liked the look of, and the rest of them… not my cup of tea. Unlike London, where the number of men to swipe through is pretty much unlimited, not much changes here in the stock from day to day either. Here, a new man will only pop up every few days or even weeks: someone on holiday, someone new to the island, or someone newly single. Or, of course, when the Navy is in town.
This is the general struggle of living on Mahe. Moving to the Seychelles, I knew no one. I initially met a few people through work and, during my first year on the island, I had enough of a social life that I was pretty content. Then Year Two came along, and I found myself rather short on friends at the school I work at, particularly ones who were also single and wanting to mingle. Most of my potential friends opted out of the social scene, choosing to stay at home and save their money for trips off the island instead. This is where Tinder has been a surprising lifesaver on a rock: friendships.
Tinder in the Seychelles has opened doors to meeting people I may never have met otherwise. One guy, whom I unsuccessfully dated, introduced me to a handful of his friends, which turned into a whole new social circle for me. So although those dates with him didn’t lead to anything in the romance department, I did meet some lovely girls to giggle with, share a bottle of wine with, and not talk school with.
The other guys I met… gosh! There was the guy who turned out to be the cousin of a student I teach; the guy in a faction of the European Navy, of whom I saw a bit too much, without even meeting him; and my personal favorite: the guy who stood me up to go on a nature walk to look for endangered frogs.
With limited men available and island fever most definitely sinking in, it almost pains me to admit that while being in the Seychelles has definitely put me out of my comfort zone, I have no doubt been on more dates here than I ever have in London. Finding the perfect man hasn’t happened yet, but swiping right has given me a better social life, and plenty of entertaining stories to regale my newfound friends with.
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What’s the dating scene like on your rock?