As Tinder turns 10, Soho House staffers share their juiciest date stories
The OG dating app is celebrating its first decade. We raise a glass to swiping right with the best, worst – and weirdest – anecdotes of our own
Saturday 3 September 2022 by Tilly Pearman
We can safely assume that many Tinder dates have taken place in each and every one of our Houses. The sexy set-up is a dater’s dream. Firstly, there’s that lighting: a flattering dimness, which perks up even the most world-weary faces. Then there’s the seating: clusters of cosy sofas that invite room for a flirtatious late-night fumble. And, of course, there are the showstoppers: rooftop terraces and pools that nonchalantly impress under a romantic night sky. Pick your House right and you can even avoid the taxi fare home with a stay in one of the on-site bedrooms.
In just a decade, Tinder has been downloaded over 500-million times, facilitated 70-billion matches and instigated 1.5 million dates. As the OG dating app hits double digits, we’re celebrating by asking Soho Houses members of staff for their very own Tinder dating stories from around the Houses.
Strap in and swipe down.
1 | The White City all-nighter
'Having been on the cusp of getting married (flowers arranged, invites sent out), my 10-year relationship came to an end. So, I hit the apps. I heard Tinder was a lot more sex-orientated than say, Hinge, but I found men were so much more engaging on there, perhaps for this exact reason. Friends were bewildered by my obsession, they thought Tinder was old school and full of weirdos, and of course it is, but they were my weirdos and now I was one too. After matching with a handsome 30-something, I quickly secured a date at my local House – White City. I was nervous, so I ordered my usual – an Old Fashioned – and waited patiently at the bar. When my date arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. They looked exactly like their pictures – better in fact – and I could tell there was going to be some chemistry between us. We proceeded to chat over two bottles of wine, a late dinner and a few more cocktails. But who were we kidding? By 3am there was only one thing on our minds, so I booked a room and we had intense sex until check out.'
2 | The Shoreditch revenge seeker
By Charlie, Junior Producer
‘Having spent a good hour trying to decide where to meet, I gave up and suggested my usual: Shoreditch House. We were two drinks in and all was going well. Then, about an hour into the date my date pulls out his phone and posts a cheeky selfie of us to his Instagram account. Thankfully, the sneaky snap appeared to go unnoticed by the roaming Membership Manager, so at this point I contained my distaste for that first-date faux-pas. Five minutes later, my close friend Santo texted me. It read: Are you on a date with Karim?, to which I responded: Yes, why? How do you know him? My friend proceeds to tell me they had been seeing each other until Karim got a bit intense and Santo called things off. Heartbroken, Karim had sought a revenge mission, making his way around Santo’s close friendship group, and yup, I fell for it. I made sure I wasn’t the only one getting the short end of the ‘stick’ (so-to-speak), by promptly ending the date and blocking him at the first available opportunity.’
3 | The ‘When in Rome’ threesome
By Tilly Pearman, Wellness Editor
I was on a work trip to Rome and staying at Soho House. As usual, I’d updated my Tinder location and began to swipe. It wasn’t long until I found an eligible match who ticked my usual criteria: over 5ft 11in, dark, athletic, bearded. I swiped to the right, et voila, a match. The next day we agreed to meet at a small bar, not far from the House. The wine flowed for the entire evening and I was smitten. Then, as we got up to leave, my Italian date casually dropped the news that he was in a non-monogynous relationship and that his partner was waiting outside. Slightly bemused, I asked him what exactly he was expecting to happen. “We’d like to have a threesome with you,” he said. I’m not sure if it was the three bottles of wine, the fact that he was an absolute dreamboat or that I was newly single, but I simply smiled and said, “When in Rome, right?”’
4 | Just a pretty face in WeHo
By Teo van den Broeke, Editorial Director
‘My first job on a magazine involved me working with a certain freelance make-up artist on a series of small still-life shoots. Over time, I became very attracted to him but I had no idea how to approach it, let alone ask him out. When Tinder arrived on the scene, I’m pretty sure I was one of the earliest adopters, as there seemed to be only 15 chaps who would pop up when I set the settings to “men who like men”, no matter how many times I swiped left. Eventually, after days of rejecting the same group of potential love matches, I alighted on a face I recognised. There was the make-up artist, in all his handsome glory, starry eyes glistening with the misdirected hope of an internet dating nascent. I slipped my index finger starboard across the screen, and waited for him to do the same. When we eventually matched (he kept me guessing for a few weeks) we went on a couple of conversationally awkward yet fabulously fumbly dates. He was sexy, but also daft, and I finally realised it wasn’t meant to be on our third date, at Soho House West Hollywood, when he asked me whether domestic dogs were, in fact, part of the feline species. We continued working together after that as if nothing had happened. So, thanks Tinder, I guess.’
5 | A sticky ex at Dean Street
‘I’d been on a few dates with a German girl I met on Tinder and was feeling optimistic. Sure, we’d had a couple of “awkward” moments, but who doesn’t. The fact that she could construct grammatically correct full sentences and wanted to see me again was enough to give me slight butterflies that this may actually lead to something more serious. We decided to go for dinner at 76 Dean Street but as we arrived, she bumped into her ex of seven years on the stairs. Her mood changed instantly and I spent the rest of the evening counselling her still-broken heart and feeding her spoonfuls of Sticky Toffee Pudding. Needless to say, this wasn’t one I was going to stick around for.’
6 | New York’s impatient non believer
By Anna Robbins, Digital Communications Manager
‘After nearly three years of being single, I had all but given up on Tinder. I was losing hope to a string of disappointing small talk, ghosting and split-bill dates. I was a non-believer. Nevertheless, I kept the app, but chose to limit my time on it to a minimum. I even changed my bio to a stroppy: “I don’t believe you can even have a decent chat on here”. Then, one lonely Sunday afternoon, I swiped right on someone who confidently told me they “would change my opinion”. To my surprise, they really did. He cut the small talk he knew I hated and took me for dinner at Dumbo House just three days after matching. Three years later, we’re still going strong and, most importantly, he’s still supportive of my impatience.’
7 | Greek Street Surprise
By Camilla Weston, Group Head of Creative Operations
‘I still walk past men I recognise from Tinder in my neighbourhood, I give them the nod in my head, because I know it's a war out there; I feel like we are a community of persistent people, deleting it and reinstalling it every so often when our energy calls. After begrudgingly reinstalling it one summer, I couldn’t believe my luck. I matched with a guy I remember clocking in the Circle bar at Greek Street. We began chatting and decided it was only fitting to have our first date back at the very place we first exchanged a flirty glance. Six months in and we’re still together. As for Tinder, I will always think of it fondly, having now met someone who gives me that feeling of complete safety and comfort – like when you get home and throw your keys on the side. Who knows what will happen, but I guess I’ll always have Tinder.’
8 | High Road House Hideaway
‘Tinder was one of my first experiences of queer dating. Very much in line with the existing stereotype, I matched with a woman only to later find out that she was a half of a couple looking for the third “to tick a threesome off their bucket list”. I met them in their flat in Wimbledon. which was an hour on the District line and probably the longest I’ve ever travelled for a hook up. It was a fairly pleasant experience – but then they wouldn’t stop messaging me so I had to block them. I drowned my sorrows with friends at Highroad House afterwards.’
9 | Drinks at Dumbo House
By Sagal Mohammed, Content Editor
‘As someone who has always found the idea of dating apps awkward and unnatural, Tinder was the last place I thought would bring me my most serious relationship to date. In December 2021, I moved to New York in search of a new, exciting life – one that included adhering to the city’s famous dating culture and putting myself “out there” like never before. Or at least that’s what I thought. It’s no secret that the easiest way to start dating in a new city is with the help of dating apps, so with a bit of encouragement from friends, I caved and downloaded Tinder. The first two days were just as I expected: swiping through a bunch of men, none of whom appealed to me in the slightest. I told a friend I’d give it one more day before deleting my account and proving that dating apps simply weren’t for me – I craved a meet-cute like the ones I’d spent my childhood watching in movies.
'But then things changed. I came across a profile that caught my attention. We matched and instantly bonded over having a mutual friend in London – a coincidence that felt crazy, considering I was so far from home and everyone I knew. He told me he was from Ghana – like said friend – and had roots in London. Although our conversation was brief, he instantly felt familiar so I agreed to go on my first ever Tinder date. We went for drinks at Dumbo House and spent hours talking, laughing, drinking – the chemistry was unlike anything I’d experienced on a first date. Over the next few weeks, we got to know each other over dinners, bike rides and parties. After four months, we went on a spontaneous trip to Mexico and the rest is history.'