This is what Tinder is like for lesbians. Honest. Photo: Getty
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Like so many things in life, Tinder is just different for lesbians

I feel like Tinder is a place where lesbians play badminton and drink iced tea, while straight women trawl through skips while dodging rotten turnips that are being lobbed at their heads.

“My dick has died, can I bury it in your arse?”

It’s almost art. My inner literature student wants to call it something like “verbal brutalism”. Anyway – it’s Shakespeare; it’s Byron; it’s Virginia bloody Woolf. Presenting: a message a man sent to a woman I know, on Tinder.

Over a pint, some of my straight female friends are comparing gross things that men have said to them on Tinder. For those who aren’t in their twenties and single, Tinder is a dating app with around ten million users worldwide. You know how, in Fifties America, young people supposedly met in malt shops? That’s exactly what Tinder is – a gargantuan, spermy, digital malt shop. And it recently emerged that everyone’s hook-up generator of choice is run by at least one heinous person. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, one of the brains behind an app that men are regularly using to vent their disgustingness has been accused of sexual harassment. Former Tinder executive, Whitney Wolfe, claims that the app’s head of marketing, Justin Mateen, called her a whore and was generally quite medieval about the whole her being a woman thing.

But back to the pub. After listening to stories about dick pics, Poundland-quality banter and the least appealing anal sex offer I’ve ever heard, it’s my turn to reveal my Tinder burns. I’m struggling. In all honesty, the most traumatic message I’ve had on the app was one in which there was a “your” where there should’ve been a “you’re”. Like so many things in life, Tinder is just different for lesbians.

I’ve been using it since last year, and Tinder has generally treated me kindly. When I message a match, we usually chat about twatty London things, like how great Brixton Market is, or where does the best flat white. Not once have genitals (let alone deceased ones) entered the picture. One of the few downsides for me is that, in spite of having my preferences set to “women only”, men regularly crop up. I have no idea why this is, but it means I have to look at a lot of pictures of the Tinder stalwart that is “man stands next to sedated tiger and pretends he’s some kind of fucking beast master”.

But apart from having to left-swipe male intruders, my experience with the app has been everything from “fine” to “quite good”. I’ve been on a couple of Tinder dates (not including the one where I was stood up, but let’s not go into that) and even know people, both gay and straight, in bona fide Tinder relationships. Broadly speaking though, I feel like Tinder is a place where lesbians play badminton and drink iced tea, while straight women trawl through skips while dodging rotten turnips that are being lobbed at their heads.

The recent sexual harassment scandal probably came as little surprise to the turnip dodgers. Before speaking to them, I didn’t know the full extent of the app’s generalised horribleness. Maybe I should have been less naïve about a dating model where you look at someone’s face for a couple of seconds before deciding whether or not you’d like to sleep with them. But could Tinder actually be one of the near-mythological areas in life where lesbians get a better deal? For the ones who are after primitive gruntings about sex parts, no. But those of us who get off on gentle discussions about beverages, Tinder is queen.

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist, whose "Lez Miserable" column appears weekly on the New Statesman website.

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Indie band The 1975 want to “sue the government” over the Electoral Commission’s latest advert

Frontman Matt Healy perhaps isn’t aware that the Electoral Commission is not, in fact, the government (or believes that this is part of a wider conspiracy).

How do you make registering to vote in the EU Referendum cool? It sounds like something  from The Thick of It, but judging by the Electoral Commission’s latest TV ad for their new voting guide, this was a genuine question posed in their meetings this month. The finished product seems inspired by teen Tumblrs with its killer combination of secluded woodlands, vintage laundrettes and bright pink neon lighting.

But indie-pop band The 1975 saw a different inspiration for the advert: the campaign for their latest album, I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It (Yes, a title perhaps even more cumbersome than “The EU Referendum - You Can’t Miss It (Phase One)”).

Lead singer Matt Healy posted a picture of the guide with the caption “LOOK OUT KIDZ THE GOVERNMENT ARE STEALING OUR THOUGHTS!!” back on 17 May. The release of the TV spot only furthered Healy’s suspicions:

Healy perhaps isn’t aware that the Electoral Commission is not, in fact, the government (or believes that this is part of a wider conspiracy).

The 1975’s manager, Jamie Oborne, was similarly outraged.

Oborne added that he was particularly “disappointed” that the director for the band’s video for their song “Settle Down”, Nadia Marquard Otzen, also directed the Electoral Commission’s ad. But Otzen also directed the Electoral Commission’s visually similar Scottish Referendum campaign video, released back in September 2014: almost a year before The 1975 released the first promotional image for their album on Instagram on 2 June 2015.

Many were quick to point out that the band “didn’t invent neon lights”. The band know this. Their visual identity draws on an array of artists working with neon: Dan Flavin’s florescent lights, James Turrell’s “Raemar pink white”, Nathan Coley’s esoteric, and oddly-placed, Turner-shortlisted work, Bruce Nauman’s aphoristic signs, Chris Bracey’s neon pink colour palette, to just name a few – never mind the thousands of Tumblrs that undoubtedly inspired Healy’s aesthetics (their neon signs were exhibited at a show called Tumblr IRL). I see no reason why Otzen might not be similarly influenced by this artistic tradition.

Of course, The 1975 may be right: they have helped to popularise this particular vibe, moving it out of aesthetic corners of the internet and onto leaflets dropped through every letterbox in the country. But if mainstream organisations weren’t making vaguely cringeworthy attempts to jump on board a particular moment, how would we know it was cool at all?

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.