In WTF news… Should you wear a badge to show strangers you’re single?

The 'SinglePin' makes dating people you meet IRL more likely. Apparently.

In recent years, single Brits have had a love/hate relationship with dating apps. When Tinder (AKA the online dating app everyone’s STILL talking about) came on to the scene back in 2013, we all embraced it. But three years on, it’s clear we’re starting to get a bit jaded with (at least some) of these dating apps. Whether it’s because of the unsolicited cock shots, the people using it who aren’t single, or just the increasing number of users on the app only there to hook up, dating apps have begun to lose their mystique. In fact last month, one woman even went so far as to swear off dating apps altogether for ‘App-less April’.

So what are our alternatives to dating apps? The answer might seem simple – meeting people in actual real life! But in this day and age, that’s easier said than done. The stigma which once surrounded online dating seems to have moved to speed dating, making singles events an unlikely place to meet a viable match. And as for meeting the man or woman of your dreams on the Tube, or in the cereal aisle at the supermarket, the reality is that we no longer look at the people around us any more. Most of us walk down the street with at least one eye on our phone, and if you live in a big city, you do everything to avoid other people’s gaze on public transport!

And yet romcoms are still full of romantic real life interactions. And when you ask people, most singletons still say they would prefer to meet someone in real life than on a dating site or a dating app.

Cue SinglePin, as dreamt up by artist Dianne Harris.

Two years ago, when Dianne was single herself, she became frustrated by online dating – struggling to go from offline meetings to online connections. Realising that it’s only when you’re face to face with someone that you can truly establish whether there’s a spark or not, she came up with the idea of SinglePin, as a silent nod to the fact that you’re a member of an unspoken club.

The premise is simple. Pin one to your chest, go about your normal life, and look out for others wearing the badge. If you spot someone wearing one, use it as an ice-breaker to start a conversation.

‘In reality, you know immediately if you like someone.’ Dianne explains. ‘SinglePin allows natural chemistry to flow. It’s a conversation starter, a beacon for connection and a prop to get things going on. SinglePin appeals to people because of its simplicity and originality. It’s offering an alternative to online dating, and there’s literally nothing else like it out there. I think more and more people want to get offline and meet in the real world, and SinglePin can help them do that.’

The key to the badge’s success is obviously in people buying them, wearing them, and recognizing what they mean. At £15, they’re a cheaper investment than most dating sites, but there are no guarantees that you’ll come across anyone wearing the badge. That said, it could be quite cool to be an early adopter. Rather than walking around, worrying that everyone will know what the badge is and why you’re wearing it, in reality the only other people likely to recognise the pin and know what it means, are other singles. Which is exactly the reason to wear it in the first place.

One thing’s for sure, once you’re aware of the badge and start looking out for them, you start looking up a lot more too. That in turn increases your chances of catching someone’s eye, regardless of whether they’re wearing a badge.

So maybe there’s hope for a Sliding Doors moment after all! Whether you’re sick of dating apps yet or not, why not take five minutes every morning to put your phone or your book down, and actually look around you on your commute. You never know who you might meet IRL.

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