As the wise prophet Britney Spears once said, “oops, I did it again”.
Now, I did consider calling this post ‘A Short Stay in Switzerland’ as a nod to the 2009 Julie Walters flick we were made to watch in a GCSE Religious Studies class many, many moons ago (Other working titles included: ‘Tinder Boy 2: Judgement Day’ and ‘How Have I Not Been Trafficked Yet?’). And while my stay in the canton of Geneva was very brief – some might even say ‘short’ – we binned that title idea because not only was it too similar to my Kuala Lumpur post from Tinder Travels numero uno, but because Walters’ character is in Switzerland to end her life at Dignitas and, well, I definitely was not…
I was there to conduct a very scientific study into travelling during a pandemic and the male species on Tinder. OK, arguably more so for the latter, but our Swiss Tinder Boy did not prove exciting nor juicy enough to sustain an entire post so this will have to be a mishmash of both roasting low value males and my poor decisions as well as an account of what it is like to travel during a global pandemic. Spoiler alert: It’s really stressful and I don’t know how Instagram influencers are comfortable jetting off every other month.
For transparency, this trip did take place at the beginning of December. I left London the day restrictions were lifted from the November lockdown, the trip was basically two days, and I arrived weeks before everything went downhill again. I also did get tested (yay for being negative!) and self-isolated when I got back. Plus, Geneva was in full lockdown when I went so practically everything was shut which probably lessened both the risk of COVID and the quality of the trip even further.
I think everyone knows the ol’ Tinder Travels procedure round here by now, but long story short, Sam meets a man on a dating app, finds herself at Heathrow, and messiness ensues! In my defence, I’d been talking to M for roughly three-ish months (including a few weeks where I dipped and ghosted, but the boy was persistent) before I’d hopped on a 9:30am flight to Geneva. I’d vetted him a little bit more than Jack D from the original series, or so I thought…
But there I was, sitting in the Heathrow departures lounge at 7am with only my suitcase and Matt Hancock on the television screen to keep me company. Despite the whole global pandemic and thousands of deaths thing going on, the airport was surprisingly packed. I can only assume all the influencers were there ready for their pilgrimage to the London Borough of Dubai. I, of course, had nauseating travel anxiety and was trying to quietly have a breakdown in the corner while the chorus of texts from frantic friends and colleagues began to pour in. The general vibe of the messages were a mix of berating my bad life decisions such as “Surely not again!” and “Please don’t die!” along with “Are you going to write about this one in the newspaper too?”.
Flying in general is terrifying, but flying when you could catch a life-threatening virus at any minute is even worse. That being said, Heathrow staff were absolute gems and the whole deathly pandemic thing did actually make the ordeal of flying less stressful in the sense that flights were generally a lot quieter and now you don’t have to worry about sitting next to some pervy weirdo because of social distancing!
One brief stop in Frankfurt later and I had arrived in Geneva. Thankfully, this trip was pre-Brexit Doomsday so I got to make use of my regular data plan without extra charge and took the supposedly ten-minute Uber ride to the Mandarin Oriental.
MANDARIN ORIENTAL GENEVA, APPROX. CHF 436.00 PER NIGHT
The company on my trip may have been lacklustre and rather quite non-existent, but at least the hotel exceeded expectations.
Situated in central Geneva, the Mandarin Oriental has easy access to all parts of the city. For keen travellers, I really recommend getting a Fans of M.O. membership if you’re planning to stay at a Mandarin Oriental Group hotel. It’s free to join and it means you get to choose two exclusive perks for your reservation such as complimentary WiFi and spa treatments.
As I was celebrating a new job at the time, the hotel were kind enough to gift me with some champagne (pictured above) and the cutest little cake that I left for M to enjoy because, believe it or not, I actually am capable of being a nice person…. sometimes.
I stayed in a Superior River View Room because I wasn’t about to go all out on such a brief trip, but the room was incredibly comfortable and had all the amenities a girl could wish for. It also had the most breathtaking view of the River Rhône for me to gaze at by my lonesome!
My first meeting with M was just, well, odd. Now, I’ve had my fair share of disastrous dates, but this was just bizarre. Maybe it was because he was slightly late so by the time he arrived, I opened the door expecting him to be my UberEats driver and was a tad confused to see some strange bloke sans my McNuggets. Or maybe it’s because talking to someone for a long-ish time and hyping it up in your head will only ever lead to disappointment. Who knows? It was just oddly formal with a lot of politics talk because nothing gets me in the mood more than discussing Michael Gove. Not.
Being late is a pet peeve of mine which I’m sure my exes can attest to, so that was strike one. Strike two was his lack of interest in anything outside of Westminster and Brexit and his failure to remember the most basic details about me that we’d talked about prior. Then came the final nail in the coffin: impotence. Three strikes, you’re out!
Well, not really. I’m not that cold-hearted. Besides, I was promised a tour of Geneva so I was at least going to cash in on that before I dipped, bad sex be damned!
His inability to keep it up became a recurring theme in our encounters and this was less of a red flag and more of a red marquee. It culminated in me getting harassed by girl(s) from his Instagram harem once I got home and, I’ll be honest, I’m both sickened and impressed by his ability to juggle upwards of fifty women while being impotent in the sack. The cheek, the nerve, the gall, the audacity and the GUMPTION. Also, apologies to any of my Asian family who are reading this and are active members of the Church. Please, pray for my sins!
Look, I could write a whole article about how problematic mainstream porn culture is and how every girl I’ve talked to who has been with a guy that is addicted to collecting women on the ol’ gram/social media has had negative experiences with him in the bedroom, but it’s imperative to never trust a boy who uses Instagram solely as an app to cultivate a timeline of girls to wank to. You’re not meat and it’s not cute, especially if it’s an account followed by his family who can 100% see his nasty likes because that’s just not only stupid, but gross behaviour once you’re past your teens. Girls, you deserve better!
The tour around Geneva was brief. Half because he had to work later that day and half because I was just too exhausted from flying and generally too disappointed by the night before to really muster any enthusiasm. However, please don’t let my jet lag and awful Tinder experience detract from just how beautiful the city is!
We basically just strolled around as nothing was really open in Geneva due to the lockdown. It was pleasant. I suppose there isn’t that much to see or do in an entirely shut-down city, but I did get to tick a walk through the old town off my tourist list. I probably wasn’t the happiest of companions due to my lack of sleep, resentment for the bad sex and my commitment to fashion (Yes, I did trek up a hill in heels again, but I refuse to change), but I’ll give him credit for his attempt at a grand tour.
His general disinterest in getting to know women beyond a sexuality capacity aside, M was generally tolerable for conversational chit-chat even if it largely revolves around politics. Do I think he’s a wholly rotten apple like Jack D? Absolutely not. Is he a bit of a spoilt narcissist who lacks any respect for women outside of how they can serve him sexually? Yes.
While he may not have a career as a successful Casanova, he could always look into being a professional photographer if all else fails. Unlike the first Tinder Travels, I actually managed to get some pretty decent snaps this time round! Yay me!
Although, given how glued M is to Instagram, I really shouldn’t have expected anything less than stellar and you know I would’ve been invoicing him for this whole trip had the photos come out as messy as they did on the Barcelona-Thailand-Malaysia-Bali extravaganza. I’m sure M learnt from many hours spent staring at shots of the local Swiss girls while getting busy with himself, but I did manage to cop some gram content of my own in the form of the classic Jet d’Eau tourist pic so I guess I’m the real winner here.
As M and I’s afternoon trek came to an end, I decided to go for a wander by myself to explore the area around the hotel before retiring to my room for a few hours and binge-watching YouTube while avoiding the inevitable build up of work emails and concerned texts from pals making sure I hadn’t been trafficked. Miraculously, guys, I’m still here!
It’s not lost on me that some poor, innocent lost soul may have clicked on this expecting an actual Geneva travel guide and all I’m delivering is a ‘men are trash’ rhetoric sprinkled in with aesthetically pleasing photos. I apologise that I am neither half as informative or as funny as Richard Ayoade and, in my defence, most of the restaurants and shops were closed due to the pandemic. Sadly, I didn’t have much to do other than evaluate the quality of Swiss Tinder and realise that I apparently recall nothing from GCSE French.
The Guardian actually has a pretty decent round-up of what 48 Hours in Geneva would really be like if there wasn’t a global pandemic and you weren’t spending it with low quality men from Tinder. But where’s the fun in that?
Since I’ve waxed lyrical about how trashy M is, I think it’s time for some positivity. I can wholeheartedly say everyone else I encountered on my travels in Geneva were absolutely lovely. From the welcoming and extremely accommodating hotel staff at the Mandarin Oriental to the most adorable cab driver who was thrilled to practice his English for once and told me all about his love for Katie Melua. I hope he’s doing well!
Speaking of the Mandarin Oriental Geneva, I really cannot recommend it enough. All the restaurants in the hotel were shut due to COVID restrictions, however, the room service was absolutely stellar!
Before I knew it, it was time to leave and head back to good ol’ Blighty! In celebration of my departure, Geneva ditched the sunshine it had been sporting while I was there and adopted a more rainier mood just to prepare me for the dismal weather back in London.
Would I go again? I truly don’t know. Maybe with the right company. Although, I have friends in Lausanne and Zurich so I’d maybe be more tempted to return there instead. That being said, it was fun little festive get away after the stress of 2020.
Also, I just want to make it abundantly clear that my dating life really isn’t as sad as these posts make it out to be and I haven’t actually been on Tinder for several months now. Even though M and I had matched on the app back in August, I deleted it about two months before this trip simply because it’s exhausting and I’m far too busy with my work right now. Plus, I have far too many stalker stories about guys on Tinder who insist that even though we didn’t match, I absolutely must meet them (No, thank you). I could compose a whole post by itself just recounting general tales about guys from dating apps being gross and following me onto other social media platforms uninvited. It’s led to me permanently shutting off my Insta DMs for people who I don’t follow which has been one of the best decisions of my life. Not getting bombarded with an unsolicited dick pic every day? Yes, please!
The first Tinder Travels series was a success and it had such widespread attention across various media and TV outlets. From turning it into a documentary to being discussed on a talk show, so much happened! The Tinder Travels series basically kick-started my journalism career and one last go couldn’t hurt!
This was a fun experiment not only to push myself out of my comfort zone and travel solo during the worst time in recent history, but kind of as a joke to see what results it yields and how it measures up to the previous adventure. My conclusion is as follows: Same trash men, slightly better photos.
Will there be more Tinder Travels? If it were up to me, I probably would continue the experiment as long as people continue to pay me to write about my dating disasters abroad.
However, it probably won’t for the sake of my mother’s sanity as I don’t think me jetting off with men from the internet is great for her stress levels even if it pays the bills. I do just want to make it clear that, at least this time round, I did conduct a full investigation into who this person was and made sure everyone I knew was informed about them before I disappeared off on a flight.
It’s not risk free and I definitely do not want to promote running off with some random boy from Tinder. In fact, I’d advise you definitely don’t follow in my footsteps, but if you must, please do your due diligence and stay safe!