Hey Tinder, Where’s Mr Darcy? The Internet is Killing Romance


I’m one of those people (hipsters? Dickheads? David Starkey?) who has one foot firmly in the past. I yearn for the days of yore; when dinner was 5 birds stuffed inside each other and people wiped their arses with nettles. I’ve got approximately 50 books that revolve around historical shagging. I’ve even got one about the history of shagging, including a section on ‘the buggery of wenches’. Yet I’m living in a world that’s headed for being a sexy, miserable, post-apocalyptic wasteland, ruled by a tyrannical Steve Jobs hologram. Smoke will pour from gutted buildings as filthy men with Tesco carrier bags for shoes rub desperately up against their iPhones, jizzing all over the headphone socket. Tinder is going to replace Facebook; we’ll all have sprained wrists from swiping thousands of mingers into the virtual bin.


The main thing that’s pissing me off about the internet, and technology in general, is how it affects relationships. I’ve had this conversation with three other people recently; it’s not just me. I aim to appear bitter and indifferent, and if anyone asks me I’ll say my main interests are Footy, Babes and Motors, but deep down I’m a revolting romantic. The Crank films may have Jason Statham roided off his tits hammering round purposefully electrocuting himself with car batteries, but they lack the deathbed romance of The Notebook. Alright so Noah and Allie never have to have frantic sex in the middle of Chinatown lest his heart slows down and he dies, but they kiss on a BOAT. IN THE RAIN. Fuck me, it’s so beautiful. I’m sick of flaccid-dicked wind up merchants trying to annoy me into a pity blow job via twitter. I’m sick of people playing silly buggers over text message. I do not want to be have an entire relationship played out over Facebook chat.

Here is what I do want.

frida letter

  • Letters. I want someone to write me a goddamn letter, preferably with tear-stains making the biro run and some crap drawings in the margin. For the best effect, the letter should be written with a fountain pen and ink made from the writer’s own blood. Blood intimates true romance, because what is love if not something incredibly draining and painful, that culminates in you feeling like you’re dying? I’ve had less painful kidney stones.

  • John Cusack with a boombox. I’m not entirely sure if it has to be John Cusack or if it would work with anyone. He must be playing Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes’, and I must be in full make up, with recently GHD’d hair, and in sexy but not intimidating sleepwear. If anyone ever tries to do this when I’ve gone to sleep with an afro and hairy legs I simply won’t come to the window, and then you’ll just look like a twat in a trench coat.

water nymphs

  • Secret meetings. Stolen embraces. I’m talking Jo and that creepy old professor at the end of Little Women, Jonathan Rhys Meyers dragging his Anne Boleyn behind a tree for a fumble. They should preferably take place in some sort of fairy glen, with a stream and moss creeping over wet stones. Unfortunately the nearest thing we have to this in York is the optimistically named ‘York Beach’; aka the little strip of needles and broken bottles just down from the Bonding Warehouse. Having a hand down your top isn’t so romantic when you run the risk of being pissed on by a stag do from Sunderland and everything smells like kebab.

instagram me

  • Less insecurity. Sometimes I get into bed at the end of a long day, shattered, and spend valuable sleeping time stalking fit lasses on Instagram. Then I’ll check Twitter, then Facebook, then my emails and texts, then start all over again. Sometimes I will go to sleep at 3am, having spent 2 hours glassy eyed and slack jawed over pictures of tall women with nice hair who live in California and who eat Kale and air instead of biscuits. Or 17 year old models, living in London (obviously) who get free Chanel handbags just for being fit. You lads who like all those pictures: we can see it on our feed. We know what you’re doing. You’re 26 and have a receding hairline and a beer paunch. If you actually want to ever get your end away you’d do better to like pictures of real lasses who might actually go anywhere near you after a few sambucas and a bout of extreme insecurity.


  • A mixtape. I blame Urban Outfitters for the current mixtape tweeness overload (along with making lasses look like they’re Whigfield and lads thinking they’re class at taking photos). But actually they’re dead romantic; someone has to sit there for hours making something for you. It’s better than a Spotify playlist. When you eventually get dumped, it’s always nice to play them for a few days on end, getting snot on your walkman and cutting your fringe off with kitchen scissors. If anyone’s interested my love/heartbreak playlist goes a little like this:
  1. The Cure: Just Like Heaven
  2. Warpaint: Baby
  3. Billie Holiday: I’ll Be Seeing You
  4. Damien Rice: I Remember it Well
  5. Manchester Orchestra: I Can Feel a Hot One
  6. Lana Del Rey: Young and Beautiful
  7. And, if you’re desperate, Nick Cave: Weeping Song. Caution: don’t top yourself.


  • A clean slate. I want to go out, and bump into someone who I’ve never met and who I know nothing about; no mutual friends, no arse-out photos from Napa ’11, no baggage. I want that hot excitement of sitting on a bench till the papers start getting delivered, talking about parents and music and who you hated at school. No googling exes, no trawling each others twitter to analyse every single tweet with your mates; ‘he said something about how Lauren Laverne is fit. She’s blonde. He must think I’m a fucking swarthy little troll. He hates me. I’M SO FAT’ etc. This also goes for closure; when something is over, it should really be over. 20 years ago when you split up with someone, you never had to see them again. You could attempt some sort of High Fidelity style screaming ‘YOU BITCH’ at someone’s window (John Cusack again, be mine) but overall you got to walk away without having it rubbed in your broken face every day.

Basically I want to go back in time to when people sent postcards and men wore breeches and maybe even a monocle. I love the internet for meaning I can find a recipe for paella whilst simultaneously ordering a bucket and a pair of eyelash curlers off Amazon. But it’s killing the Romance. Write me a note on some parchment, send me a vinyl of The River, kiss me in a field, but don’t poke me on Facebook.

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