Daisy Buchanan | Contributing Writer | Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Tinder's Charging More For It's Premium Service If You're Over 28. When Did 28 Become 'Old'?

The Debrief: Over-28s need to pay more for Tinder's premium service? Slightly unfair we thinks.

I just turned 30. It happened this week. At the time of writing, I am 33 hours into my fourth decade, Before it happened, I was sure that I was ready to go. ‘Nothing but a number!’ I grinned, cheerfully. ‘I might not have a house, and children, but I’m not even sure I want them. I do have a foolproof pancake recipe, brand new sequinned hotpants and the ability to hold my nerve and get stuff sorted when I need to ring up the Council. I just successfully booked a restaurant in Berlin using my GCSE German. I am a strong, confident woman with a skill set! My 30s will not phase me! To the pub!’

So I was a bit surprised and cross with myself when I ended up having a small weep on the day. To be honest, it was probably caused by a massive drop in blood sugar levels which were elevated enormously by the birthday eve Prosecco. Nothing a bit of cake couldn’t fix. But for a while I couldn’t fight the feeling that I’d just been pushed onstage and told to dance about in my knickers, and it was my fault that I didn’t have a proper act because I’d been pissing about for ten years. I’d been nipping out for sneaky cigarettes and laughing at videos of bears when I really should have been putting my trousers on. 

The idea that my youth has truly ended is cemented by the news that, if I wanted to use Tinder Plus, it would cost me a lot more money than many of my chums, purely because I was born before 1987. I’m not even single, but hearing about the changes has made me realise how weird we are when it comes to age and our attitude to dating and relationships. If you’re young, you’re expected to be single - and we’re demonstrably concerned by anyone who manages to meet and marry the love of their life before they’re 25. But if you’re still a single lady at the age of 35, society is all head tilts and murmured concern for your fertility, regardless of how you really feel or what you actually want. 

I think life is less certain than ever before. There was a time when slow, steady progression was a given

However, I was cheered - and I never, ever thought that I could be cheered by anything that David Cameron did - by the news that our Prime Minister’s proposed new housing policy classes anyone under 40 as a young person. Admittedly, it’s largely because of existing Conservative policies that we’re all kept in a state of arrested development, and can’t reach the life goals that were supposed to define our adulthood because most of them cost money that no-one is able to save. But we live in an era in which it’s possible to live like an 18 year old when you’re 38 - in a house share or back on your old room at your Mum’s, single, trawling Tinder and getting through a lot of Blossom Hill. I think life is less certain than ever before. There was a time when slow, steady progression was a given. You’d know that if you worked hard, you’d earn more, once you were in a relationship you’d settle into it, and your contemporaries would be reaching roughly the same point at the same time as you. We’ve never been immune to disasters and upheaval, but now we all life in snakes and ladders land where a redundancy or a break up could derail everything and send you straight back to the beginning. 

A couple of years ago, psychologists published findings demonstrating that adolescence doesn’t end at 18, as we’d always assumed - developmentally we’re all still going until we turn 25. ‘The idea that suddenly at 18 you’re an adult just doesn’t quite ring true. My experience of young people is that they still need a considerable amount of help and support beyond that age,’ child psychologist Laverne Antrobus explained to the BBC. 

 I’m sure plenty of 28+ year olds would be delighted to pay extra for Tinder if it meant that they were guaranteed a satisfying full time job that paid a living wage, and a savings account.

Admittedly Millennials  - those of us born between the early eighties and early 00’s - have been looked after for a lot longer than almost any other generation. Our Mums and Dads drove us to school because they were dealing with safety fears were not on their parents’ radar. The term ‘helicopter parenting’ was invented to describe the way Millennials were cuddled, cosseted and endlessly supervised, so that every spare second of our free time was accounted for because we’d have a better chance of getting into university if we were learning Extra Hard Triple Maths while on the back of a horse. By the time we were ready to prove that we could look after ourselves, it was hard to find the opportunity to do it. I’m sure plenty of 28+ year olds would be delighted to pay extra for Tinder if it meant that they were guaranteed the other assumed perks of adulthood, like a satisfying full time job that paid a living wage, and a savings account.

Age based goals are arbitrary, and trying to work out what people should have achieved based upon the year they were born has never felt more redundant. Basically it behooves us all to remember that it’s damaging to perpetuate the idea that you should be at a certain place by a certain age. We’re all victims of the vagaries of life, and the only real goal of growing up ought to be that you can fail and fall with grace. We can’t future proof ourselves, and we shouldn’t obsess over a hypothetical adulthood that’s about security and freedom from our own mistakes. We can only ever become braver, and more adaptable. Most importantly, we need to know that becoming an adult doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help - whether you need a hand with housing, or if you just need a smartphone app to tell you where to meet the One. 

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Follow Daisy on Twitter @NotRollerGirl

Tags: Longish Reads, Tinder