Gretel Killeen

About Gretel Killeen

Gretel Killeen is the author of more than twenty books. At various times she hosts radio and television programs across the country, works as a journalist, stand-up comic and voice artist, and writes and directs feature films and documentaries.

I spied on a Tinder date

Recently, I was asked to spy on a close friend’s close Tinder date. I agreed, but now hope I don’t have a case of Tinder Transmitted Disease.



A dear girlfriend, Avril, recently asked me to spy on her first Tinder date with a guy called Joe. My mission was to completely assess the guy’s emotional stability, financial prospects, libido, ability to commit, sense of humour, intelligence, respect for women and home-handyman skills…whilst walking past the two of them in a bar.

My friend was correct in asking me to do this for her because, despite being an accomplished businesswoman and intellectual, she’s become a complete moron regarding men ever since she joined Tinder. The app has zapped her mind. Once capable of discussing the role of men in war, men in literature, men in politics and men in relation to the synchronic elaboration of semiotic nuclei…my friend is now reduced to asking me “do you think his name sounds like he’s tall?”

Oh yes, this previously focused disciple of mindfulness has become completely mindless. But Avril’s malaise is not unique to her. Like many who sign up for Tinder she’s suffering from a TMD ( Tinder Transmitted Disease). The primary symptom of this is a level of self esteem that is suddenly entirely dependent on being liked by complete strangers who find you so “irresistible” they’re quite possibly “right swiping” you in a Tinder-swiping-flurry of a hundred other “right swipes” while their current Tinder date goes to the loo.

Furthermore this app has expunged any romantic notions Avril once held of magically and spontaneously meeting her intellectual and soulful equal, and instead rendered her thrilled to bits to receive a message from a guy who’s observed the correct use of you are, your and you’re.

Recently however, Avril’s benchmarks sunk even lower, when she accepted a date from a bloke named Joe who messaged “Your hot wanna plonke.”  Together Avril and I wondered if the word “plonke” referred to the mediaeval name for a glass of wine or his penis. Shortly after this Avril asked me, for security reasons, to come along on the date and spy. Aware that the results of my espionage could affect the trajectory of the rest of my friend’s life I took this mission very seriously. (And not in a “seriously?” kind of way.)

I began my research immediately by asking to see the photos in Joe’s Tinder profile. They covered the cliché gamut. There was a picture of him shirtless at the gym (no seriously, he is seeking intellectual companionship), there was a shot of him out in the wilderness (or was he just standing in the gardening section of Bunnings), there was a photo of him hugging a dog (well half a dog, because the rest was cropped out, presumably because his ex-girlfriend was holding the other half of the dog). And there was a selfie of him laughing with abandon in a bathroom mirror (what was he laughing at? His plonke?).

I waited in that bar for three hours, chatting to the only man who was close to my age. I told him I was a spy. He replied by texting someone else which I found so rude that I prepared to fake my own death.

Avril didn’t care. I told her that she’d lost all objectivity and should dump Tinder. She said she couldn’t because after her husband dumped her several months ago she needed a distraction from her devastating grief. So I told her she was being pathetic, and she reminded me that I’d had a similar relationship with hot chips after my husband and I split, and so I agreed to spy.

Luckily I’m a genius at knowing what’s best for my friends. Oh yes, though my own life is led with all the wisdom of an arse I’m brilliant at telling others what to do. In fact I’m pretty sure I’m getting wiser with age, because we all know that true wisdom only really comes when your breasts are the past tense of pert.

My age also means that I look too old to be Avril’s friend. So no-one would ever suspect I was in a bar spying on her behalf because, compared to all the “young things” there, I looked like a frayed chair with a head-sized poo sitting on it.

So I turned up at the bar to spy, arriving before both Avril or anyone who bore even a vague resemblance to Joe’s photos. After ten minutes Avril rang to say she was so distracted with excitement while driving to the date that she got stuck on a round about and couldn’t get off. And then she rang again to say that Joe had texted and he was running late too…because he’d “forgotten he didn’t have a car”.

I waited in that bar for three hours because I wanted to be a good friend and also because I wanted Avril to feel beholden next time I asked her for a favour. I whiled away the time chatting to the only man in the bar who was close to my age. He was dressed like a plain-clothes policeman looking to make one final arrest before retiring. I found him so dull he made me feel a bit car sick so to spice things up, a little drunk, I tried to be sexy by making a face like a fish. And then I told him I was a spy. He replied by texting someone else which I found to be so rude and boring that I prepared to fake my own death.

And that’s when his text was replied to! Oh yes, it was at this point the man said “it’s for you” and handed me his phone! I saw an emoji of a poo, a chair and a policeman in sunglasses with the message “Hello Avril’s spy. This fake plain-clothes policeman is my spy. He says you’re a looser ( sic) so Avril must be tooo. Tell her she’s dumped.” (Then there was another poo emoji.)

OMG. How did I feel, you ask? I felt terrible. How dare that fake policeman reject me! I mean is there seriously any worse rejection than that of someone you’ve already rejected! Suddenly I really did feel like a looser ( sic). So now I’m so seriously in need of a distraction from my devastating grief that…I’m considering going on Tinder.


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