“Oh my god,” Sefa says, halfway through their coffee-and-a-catchup, “another dick pic.”
Gwen doesn't look up from her own phone to say, “Send back that picture of a meat grinder I showed you.” Sefa laughs, and Gwen does look up to smile at her. “How did the date with George go, by the way?”
Sefa shrugs. “Could've been worse,” she says, and Gwen says, “Which means it could've been better,” and Sefa looks away, chewing her lip.
“He's the only half-decent guy who's messaged me so far,” she says. “I can't afford to be picky.”
“You can absolutely afford to be picky,” Gwen tells her. Sefa's still looking kind of sad, though, so Gwen pushes her slice of cake towards her, doesn't take back her plate until Sefa's had a bite. “Responded to your latest unwanted dick pic yet?”
“I just blocked the guy instead,” Sefa says, and Gwen shakes her head at her. “You're way better at this than me. I just feel so awkward.”
Gwen reaches out a hand, and Sefa leans her head down so Gwen can pat it, a habit they both picked up when they were still dating and has managed to persist even now they're not.
“The offer to troll any arsehole who messages you is still open, by the way,” Gwen says, and Sefa smiles.
“I don't know why you don't just make a profile yourself,” she says. “Just to troll people, I mean. You get enough of a kick out of it.”
Gwen considers. She's been single for a while, longer than Sefa, and she's pretty okay with it. She goes out and tries to pick people up, sometimes, and nothing really comes of it, but it's not like she's lonely or anything. She never saw the appeal of online dating. This, though. This she could do.
“You know what,” she says, and in the next minute, has the app installed on her phone and has started filling in her profile. “What's the first thing people notice about me?”
Gwen gets a message before she's even got home. She picks it up as she's going through the door to her flat, and glances at her phone as she shuts it behind her.
“Jesus,” she says.
“I prefer Gwaine, actually,” Gwaine says from the sofa, and Gwen waves distractedly with the hand not holding her phone. “What is it?”
“Why are bi girls always beautiful?” Gwen reads. When she looks up, he's just looking very bemused at her, so she explains, “I made a profile on OKCupid earlier. It's purely for trolling purposes, don't worry.”
“Ah,” Gwaine says, not looking any less bemused. She drops her bag on the ground and winds her way over to squeeze in next to him, leaning her head against his shoulder. “Maybe we're born with it, maybe it's Maybelline?”
“Beautiful,” Gwen says, starting to type it out. She pauses halfway through born. “Not sure it has the appropriate level of fuck you, though.” She considers a moment longer. “Maybe we're born with it, maybe it's years of internalised biphobia?”
Gwaine holds up a solemn hand, and Gwen hi-fives him.
It becomes a thing. Well – not a thing, exactly, because that implies it becomes some big part of Gwen's life, and an uncomfortably large proportion of the messages she gets are more exhausting than ridiculous. Some guy demands Gwen reply to him because she'd viewed his profile and he thought that meant she owed him something, and Gwen doesn't open the app for a full week, unable to swallow past the sour taste in her throat.
(She just blocks the seemingly endless stream of racists; there aren't enough hours in the day for that shit.)
So it's not a thing, but it's something she does when she has a spare minute, on the bus, at work, when Gwaine's making them both dinner and she can perform dramatic readings of her messages for him. It's just- it's fun. It's mostly harmless. It's fine.
Three weeks in, Gwen's watching TV on the sofa with Gwaine sitting on the floor at her feet. She's half-checking OKCupid on her phone when someone catches her attention. They're a 91% match, according to the app. Gwen's answered all the questions honestly, so she can try and root out the truly terrible people; she's never seen anyone with a rating higher than 70%.
Ambitious, driven, successful, the description section reads. I value honour above all else. Not here for anything casual, or trivial: I'm here to find my queen.
“You have to see this,” Gwen says, delighted, leaning forward to show Gwaine her phone.
“Hot,” he says, “you should message him for real,” and Gwen rolls her eyes.
“And get taken in by a catfish? No thanks.” Gwaine raises his eyebrows. “Here to find my queen, really? It's like he's not even trying. He could've at least used a more realistic profile picture.”
“He has more pictures,” Gwaine says, flicking at her phone screen. “Oh, look, he's shirtless in this one.”
“That proves nothing,” Gwen tells him, but she still leans down to look over his shoulder. It's a shame, really, that the guy is such an obvious catfish, but because he is, she's not even going to think about the smooth lines of his muscles, the softness of his belly.
She sends him a message – Arthur, the profile says, and if it's supposed to be a reference to the legend, Gwen isn't impressed. what would you say if i demanded half of your feudal lands in a divorce, she sends, then tosses her phone aside and settles in to watch TV.