The Kat Slater Syndrome

March 12, 2014
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Above: Logo for long-running BBC soap opera Eastenders

Everywhere I go my friends are on Tinder. The format has proven so popular that fast food outlets have decided to follow suit by titillating potential customers with gaudy screen shots of melting pizzas. In the future we’ll elect our government officials this way; entire manifestos whittled down into a series of cropped photos.

For those of you not in the know, Tinder is an online dating app where users are shown pictures of other nearby users who match their criteria. If both users opt for ‘yes’ instead of ‘nope’ they can start interacting on a message board.

Tinder allows the user to upload three photographs from their Facebook accounts in an attempt to sell themselves as fun and/or sensitive.

Kat Slater
Jessie Wallace, who plays Kat Slater in BBC show Eastenders, arriving for the 2012 British Soap Awards in London. Picture by: Simon Burchell / Featureflash at

Fun photos generally depict the user at a festival/gig/party/pub, whereas the sensitive photos could depict them doing anything from contemplating unseen distances upon the Machu Pichu trail, to that bit of volunteering they did at that orphanage before they threw a beer can at a leopard for ‘bant’.

Although I find it disconcerting that the romantic sphere is being increasingly informed by social discovery apps, I do consider the Tinder user to be extremely considerate, not only of themselves but also of those who daily share their environment.

Back when everything was in black and white, people only really had two options for romance, and both where equally fraught with danger.

One, perhaps more common at uni or college, was to delve into one’s friend circle, which was all well and good until the two of them broke up and forced their friends to take sides. The second was to start sleeping with one of your work colleagues until you did something so callous and unforgivable that even the photocopier spat ink at you every time you walked past it, but it wasn’t our fault.

Since the beginning of time, men have suffered from something leading sociologists have coined Kat Slater Syndrome. At a research center in Barnsley, experts locked male participants in a room with nothing but hour upon hour of Eastenders footage. After a few days the researchers were astonished to find they had all become infatuated with Kat Slater through sheer lack of a legitimate alternative

In Tinder you have something that eradicates the pit falls of Kat Slater Syndrome because users are selecting potential suitors from outside the normal spheres, and unlike with Kat Slater Syndrome, if it doesn’t work out you can both seamlessly slip back into your lives like passengers on a delayed flight.

Below: A few of the best moments of Kat Slater, for those of you who don’t know who she is… and for those who just can’t get enough!

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