Date: 26 June 2015
Location: Number 91 bus, from Holborn towards Crouch End.
You know what a really great dating app would do? It would scan your Google search history for all your weird musings and secret questions then match you with someone who’s been equally curious about the same things. Or, if not possible, at least match you with someone who is at essentially the same level of weirdness as you.
Recently I made the rookie Gen-XY error of opening up my iPad Safari in front of someone else. We were in the midst of a relatively heated-but-disguised-as-civil debate (I’m sure you’re right, but I just have this niggling feeling that…’ ‘Not that it matters at all but I’m pretty certain that…’). It was about the capitals of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan so if you know me, you’ll know who won. At the time my hubris would not allow me to simply drop it. I picked up the iPad lying by my bed. We hovered expectantly over the bright screen, casual but nervous. I clicked on the Safari icon. Right at the moment I’d clicked my brain went ‘noooo’ in slow motion.
Thankfully, the result was relatively benign: the accusatory Google search results read ‘Downtown [sic] Abbey and Mean Girls crossover funny gif’. (Recommend.)
I’d gotten off extremely lightly.
Just now, when I reopened that same Safari browser to re-Google that exact same thing (it was pretty funny, and I wasn’t quite done selecting gifs to send to friends), it was less guest-safe:
‘Really deep ingrown hair’. Gross, Alex.
Recent other examples of guilty manifestations include: ‘How do I know if my cat loves me’ (yeah, yeah) and ‘what sort of person should Libyans date’ followed very closely by ‘what sort of person should librans date’. Let me clarify, that first was a moment of insecurity on my part for I’m almost certain my cat does love me — and I don’t for a moment take star signs seriously.
But Google has a way of seductively drawing out your innermost concerns, sultrily whispering, ‘you can trust me — honestly, there’s no such thing as a stupid question’. Then bang! He’s like a duplicitous best friend whom you tell in confidence about that one time your white bikini turned out to be see-thru at Harold Holt pool and who then tells that story freely when introducing you to new acquaintances.
It’s funny. I distinctly remember Bunky and I taking my dictionary up to my bedroom one day in Grade 5 and looking up the F-word. We were sick and tired of hearing the strangely violent, cryptic new word bandied about the playground and it was time to sort it. Alas, this highly adaptable, expressive term was not in my children’s illustrated dictionary and, thus, would not enter into my vocabulary as the useful adjective, noun and verb it is for at least a decade to come.
No longer do children have to worry about such things.
Because I’m a curious person — as you’re about to see — I’ve now been through my iPad search history over the last few months. Once you filter out the ‘Sainsburys delivery’, ‘skyscanner’ and ‘tfl’ what you’re left with tells a bit of a story…
‘Why does London water hate my hair?’
‘Good first date places Holborn’, then ‘how to pronounce Rioja’.
‘Is zucchini a vegetable’ closely followed by ‘are peas bad for you’ then ‘how many bananas does it take to cause death’ – because we’d discussed it at work that day.
‘Brunch Australian Clerkenwell’ then ‘Caravan locations’.
‘Tea or milk first’.
‘Do they still sell Cabbage Patch Dolls’
‘Can transgender people be gay’.
‘Is Caitlin Moran a lesbian’.
‘Buy cat toys online’ then ‘cat webcam’.
‘How to pronounce Dalgliesh’, ‘PD James’, ‘British police ranks’.
‘Why is my face bloated’, leading to ‘how many days a week can you drink’.
‘Ascot hairstyle’ and ‘how low hemline makes dress dress modest’.
‘Is Elaine from New Girl Taylor Swift’.
‘Calculate an IRR’. ‘Investment basics’.
‘Design love fest pretty iPad wallpaper’.
‘Tickets to Feild Day’ then ‘last minute tickets to Feild Day’.
‘Rent villa Ibiza’.
‘Order takeaway Levantine Turkish Lebanese Islington’.
‘Time in Alberta’, ‘time in melbourne’.
‘Pictures of London from above’.
‘Why does the mother Wildling in game of thrones s5e8 look familiar’. (She’s the scary/hot German aca-bitch in Pitch Perfect 2).
‘How prevent hormonal breakouts’.
‘What is pegging’. Ick, sorry, but The Vulture talked about it so casually!
‘What is Pluto now’.
‘How do you regram instagram’.
‘Do I have a cold sore’. ‘Why do I have cold sore’. ‘How to get rid of cold sore’.
‘Unusual Regency era names’.
‘Is it moving beast or moving feast’.
‘Best 90s cartoon movies’. ‘Dinosaur names Land Before Time.’
‘Calories vodka v gin’. A day later, ‘hangover food best’.
Have fun with that, hypothetical dating app.