Can you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I´m russian born, but lived in London for over 14 years, so London has become my hometown. I´m freelance photographer who also works in film, so I´m living a pretty hectic creative life as you can imagine: During my free time (when I am lucky enough to have some) I prefer going to galleries or exhibition openings; ideally on Sundays, I would go digging for records. I have been single for over a year with a few flings in between, but I still haven’t met anyone special who I would want to dedicate my time to.
You have been hired as an intern to go on dates by new dating app CLiK’D. Why did you apply for the position?
Well I’m not the type of person to back down from a challenge and I always ask myself ‘why not?’ When I saw the job ad I thought it would be a great idea, and chance, to combine my creative writing, put myself out there and share it with people. When I looked into the app more, I was drawn to how its personality-focused and I thought maybe this could be the app to finally change my views on modern dating. I expected it to just be a fun, unexpected way to meet new people and experience new things but it exceeded my expectations when I met such a great guy!
You’re keeping a blog of your dating journey. Any embarrassing stories to share?
I think my first date on CLiK’D could count as an embarrassing one, don’t you think? I mean, it still hurts my stomach remembering that crazy experience, have a read if you still haven’t.
What’s the worst date you have ever been on?
My first date with CLiKD was… something else. Definitely in the top spot for worst date of my life! I can finally say I understand the expression; ‘be careful what you wish for’. I asked for a creative and, technically speaking, that’s what I got. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so what about you just go to the blog and have a read yourself.
What are your thoughts on the current UK dating scene? Do you think it’s safe for women?
I think the current UK dating scene offers a lot of choice. Whether it’s a choice of who your date is or where you go on said date, as there is always something to do in London. However, with such a huge choice of dates, there’s also more risk in picking someone who, as well as being nice, good looking, funny and all the other usual things, is also respectful of your boundaries and someone who you can feel safe with.
I think for women, most things in life that men may take for granted will always have more risk involved. When I see friends, we always agree to message each other when we get home, just to be on the safe side. On a date, I think it’s quite common for women to tell at least one or two of their friends where they’re meeting the date, what time etc. In a lot of bars and clubs, you can even find information in the women’s toilet on how to subtly signal to the bartender that you need an escape route from a date that is giving you trouble of any kind. A lot of women can feel unsafe with just being honest with men. If they’re not enjoying their time with a guy, there is definitely a fear that if you just say that, there are any number of ways the guy can react, so the fear is definitely real.
What are your thoughts on dating ‘trends’ such as stealthing? How dangerous are they and should they be taken more seriously?
I think trends like that are disgusting and unacceptable. They should absolutely be taken seriously. When someone gives you their consent, they are essentially giving you their trust, which is not something to take lightly. Once that trust of consent has been broken, then it crosses the line and becomes sexual assault. Consent is already a huge issue, with schools now feeling that they need specific classes that teach about consent and trying to decide what the best age is for children to be taught, as well as does it need to be taught to men and women. There have been many conversations on how this can be achieved. With ‘trends’ like this becoming more common, it just shows that people are finding more ways of getting what they want whether their partner consents to it or not. ‘Trends’ like this don’t just disregard the person’s consent and trust, but sexual assault is damaging not just physically but also emotionally.
CLiK’D is a brand new app matching people via personality questions. It’s described as an app for the Instagram generation. What do you think your generation is looking for when it comes to dating?
I think they just want someone who they have a lot in common with and who they connect with. It would be nice if you shared passions but if they don’t, it’s not the worst thing as long as there is a connection. Personality, I would say, is the main thing that people are looking for so it’s great that CLiK’D focuses on that aspect. With the Instagram generation, I think we all want things instantly but also tailored to us. We want something that allows us to reflect part of ourselves in order to engage with people. Apps like Instagram allow us to use pictures to quickly share parts our story and CLiK’D takes note of that. There are apps out there that allow you to make connections quickly, like Tinder, but they also pose the risk of becoming too shallow and not being a space where a lot of personality is shown, CLiK’D is the opposite of that.
Do you think dating apps and internet dating are empowering as a woman? Being able to pick and choose? Or do you think it creates superficial situations?
I think the intent of a lot of dating apps is to empower women by allowing them to make the first move, like Bumble, and control situations. I don’t feel that it always works, as once they do, the ball is always back in the man’s court, so to speak, but the intention to make women feel empowered is there. With CLiKD, however, it allows users even more control by having the questions portion that users have to pass before they can even nudge you. It helps to narrow down the search of the type of person you are looking for. It also creates a space that is less superficial. Of course, looks play a role in attraction but so does personality and interests. CLiK’D plays up that angle which makes using the app feel more real, in terms of chances of making lasting connections.
Excitedly, you’ve found your current boyfriend on the dating app after two dates, can you tell us how it’s going?
It’s going really well so far. He’s such a gentleman and we never run out of things to talk about. We have a lot in common. I’ve now lost count of how many dates we’ve been on, time flies when you’re in a good company. We recently spent the weekend together where he cooked and we went on a little day trip to Brighton. When I told him I work for CLiK’D he reacted really cool about it and found it quite funny.
What would you change about the UK dating scene?
I would almost say there is too much choice at the moment. There is a risk of people not taking the time to get to know someone better because if they see one little thing they don’t like, there is an almost unlimited amount of people that can go back and choose from. Also, London, as wonderful as it is, cannot be described as cheap. There’s always the chance that you’ll go on a date and you’ll end up not only wasting your time but also money that could have been spent on something else that you would have actually enjoyed.
Is there anything else that you would like to mention that we haven’t spoken about?
There’s this idea that being single is one of the worst things a person can be and that’s just not true. Sure, being single can be lonely at times but it can also be a lot of fun. You get to discover new things about yourself or your environment. Of course, every journey has its up and downs, my journey has certainly not been all smooth sailing, but by thinking outside the box a little you can meet all sorts of new people. CLiK’D allowed me to do that, and so far it’s going very, very well.
With this internship, there was always the worry of being judged for doing an internship that’s just about going on dates. Some people may judge and say that I’m exploiting myself but the truth is I’m an independent woman who goes on dates anyway. I may as well use my creative skills and my experiences to be a voice for others whilst taking control of my own destiny. If people can’t handle that, then that says more about them than me and that’s their issue.