The 2016 version of Jane Eyre? It'd definitely include a few more dick pics.
Last week, after another no-show Tinder date, I poured my heart out in a Facebook status (diaries are for chumps): despite my enduring optimism about meeting someone, I couldn't shake the feeling that something had shifted, generationally, and those of us who have the misfortune to be single in 2016 are doomed.
Over the course of 100 or so comments, my friends and family members - female and male, straight and queer - shared their experiences, which ranged from the hopeful (introduced to long-term partners at friends' dinner parties; the daggy dating profiles that turned out to be the work of incredible people) to the nightmarish (stalkers from hook-up apps; flaky dates; secret families).
We all came out the other side feeling a little less alone in our dating nightmares and, crucially, ready to laugh at both ourselves and our litany of Tinder/OkCupid/PlentyOfFish/speed-dating/etc nightmares. And after all, if we're unable to laugh about these things, 1. We're not going to be very good lovers when we do manage to get together with somebody, but more importantly 2. It's either that or cry forever until we die a desiccated husk clutching a smartphone still searching for Tinder matches.
"So, fun 24-hour date! But I'm not sure we clicked."
So, with that in mind, here's what I immediately dreamed up with the spare time I suddenly had on my hands when last week's Tinder match cancelled on me four hours after the planned date.
You've Got Mail
A perky bookstore owner strikes up an online correspondence with a mysterious and handsome literary fan after they connect in an over-35s chatroom. When they eventually meet "offline", it turns out his photos were all 12 years old and he's actually 5'3". Also, he owns a bookstore chain in 2016, so is probably teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, let's be real.
Mr Rochester reveals to Jane that he is actually in a polyamorous relationship with Mr Mason's sister, Bertha. Mr Rochester then asks Jane if she'd like to accompany him, along with Bertha, to the Renaissance Faire.
50 First Dates
A woman goes on 50 very pleasant and even romantic dates with a man before she makes the rookie error of assuming that his attentiveness means things are "going somewhere" and discusses this with him over coffee, after which he completely flips out and insists that he's not ready for a relationship.
A man and a woman meet at a train station and spend a night walking around the city of Vienna, sharing a kiss, staging fake phone conversations with each other, and discussing their most intimate secrets and philosophies. As the sun rises, they go their separate ways, buoyed by the time they have spent together. Forty-five minutes later, the man receives a text from the woman saying that while she enjoyed their date, she just didn't feel that all-important chemistry.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
But anyway here's a dick pic taken in front of a full-length mirror,
In which you can also see my date.
When Harry Met Sally Then Texted Her Constantly For A Week Before Ceasing All Contact When She Suggested They Get Coffee
Starring Kevin James and Emily Ratajkowski.
Pride & Prejudice
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must upload, to his Tinder profile, no fewer than five photos of himself and three other identical besuited men at the Melbourne Cup."
A woman employs the help of a spirit guide after a bloke she had a few fun and promising dates with suddenly disappears off the face of the earth and won't return her texts or emails.
10 Things I Hate About You
A man spends two weeks constructing a Tinder profile bio that is comprised of nothing but things he dislikes seeing on women's profiles, including "duckface", selfies, emojis and the phrase "I love to laugh". He then uploads two photos to his own profile: one of him holding a large trout and wearing wraparound sunglasses, and the other a dimly lit selfie that appears to be taken inside a jail cell. The film is a durational work in the style of Andy Warhol's Empire.
Sleepless In Seattle
Disheartened by the state of her romantic life, a woman becomes romantically invested in a man she's never met.