Juliette Bains: Sparks fly as Tinder ignites the world of digital dating

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For those feeling a little disappointed that they didn’t make a move at their Christmas parties or bag a snog on New Year’s Eve, there seems to be an answer.

Online dating.

This time of year is the peak season, according to popular website Plenty of Fish.

In fact, the ‘peak’ starts just after Christmas and finishes until the Wednesday after Valentine’s Day.

By which point, it’s easy to assume the last-minute panic to find a partner has either ended in victory, or people just give up hope.

So desperate are some not to end up sat at home alone sobbing into a Pot Noodle on February 14 that dating websites are bombarded with thousands of new users this time of year.

It seems the stigma of online dating is well and truly over, and every single mate of mine has been, or is currently, signed up to one.

But how successful are these wesbites?

A recent study this week revealed that certain profiles get much more interest than others.

The most popular profile is apparently that of a 25-year-old Catholic woman who owns a dog, describes herself as thin, and drinks alcohol three times a week.

Well, most of us will at least be able to check off the last criteria on the list.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study showed women put more emphasis on qualifications and salary when looking for love online.

A Christian, athletic man with brown hair, a masters, law or doctorate degree, who wants children, drinks socially and makes between £60,000-£90,000 a year will receive the most interest.

Think we could have all guessed that.

But if you don’t fall into either of those stereo-typed categories, don’t fear.

Apps such as Tinder have opened up a whole new demographic to the online dating game.
The ultra modern way of browsing potential dates has proved a huge hit, with a reported 100million matches and 50 marriage proposals.

For those not familiar with Tinder, users choose a few profile photos, and others can swipe right to ‘like’, or left to ignore the person.

Only if both users like each other, will they be invited to start up a conversation.

It’s basically a more instant – and slightly more shallow and superficial – way to digitally date and avoids all the sign-up, form-filling stuff.

It’s no wonder then, that it’s attracted students and young professionals as well.

Luckily, it’s a minefield that I don’t need to navigate right now. But I can’t help listening eagerly to my friends’ horror stories.

The part where most users slip up, is the ‘tagline’, where you get a few sentences to describe yourself.

One friend recalled how a Tinder user chose two simple words, ‘RIP Granddad’.

Another showed me the profile of a man who decided to describe how he’d recently been homeless.

It’s not a quality you normally look for in a potential date. But must be worth some brownie points for honesty.

The same friend has been on a few dates with her Tinder matches – some more successful than others.

Being recited song lyrics across the table by an impressively hairy man before being asked her opinion on killer whales was one of the less successful ones.

A housemate also went on a date with a stunning girl he’d met online, only to be faced with a much...larger lady, shall we say, who tried to hide her figure all night under a poncho.

If these stories are anything to go by, digital dating hasn’t made meeting someone any less scary than it’s always been.

All eyes on Celebrity Big Brother as I fall for trash TV

It’s shameful, tacky and I’m scared to admit it.

But I just can’t get enough of Celebrity Big Brother.

It’s trash TV at its very worst, yet I can’t help but be glued to the television screen every night.

You’d think the tired formula would have had its day by now.

However, the damaged celebrities, cringeworthy conversations and unbelievably embarrassing antics appeal to a part of me that I desperately try to keep subdued with cheap gossip magazines and scripted ‘reality’ shows like Made in Chelsea.

The Channel 5 programme is by far the worst thing I’ve seen in a long time... but it’s so bad that it’s almost good.

The young ones are most definitely showing themselves up but there’s one that stands out for me – Ollie Locke.

The kind, caring gent from (you guessed it)Made in Chelsea is the only character in the CBB house at the moment who seems to have even a shred of dignity left, and his friendship with Lionel Blair is so sweet.

He’s the one I’ll be cheering on this year.

End of an era as city bids ‘adieu’ to a dining institution

It’s a sad time as Leeds says ‘au revoir’ to another top-class restaurant.

La Grillade on Wellington Street was one of the longest-running French restaurants in the city.

If you didn’t manage to make it there for a meal before it closed, you might not be that upset, as it didn’t really look like much from the outside.

But in this case, the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ phrase springs to mind, as once you’d ventured down the steep, slightly uneven stairs from the ground floor level, it opened up into a cute, cosy and much-loved restaurant.

Sadly, I only made it there once, but as far as I can remember, the food and the whole experience was excellent - faultless, even.

To have such an institution shut its doors is a little heart-wrenching.

That area of the city seems to be dwindling, with nearby Create on King Street closing back in February last year, Prohibition’s owners going into administration in November and OK Karaoke shutting its doors at the end of last year.

No doubt new businesses will move in and take over (the former Create venue is already back up and running as a pub), and it’ll be a fresh start for some.

Nonetheless, to lose such a top-notch eatery is still a massive shame.

Let’s hope it’s the last in a long list of businesses that have had to shut up shop following the economic downturn.

Hopefully we’ll be saying ‘bonjour’ to some new arrivals soon too.

Andrew Cooper: Leeds - a city on an upward trajectory