How well can you really get to know someone from a dating app? I’ve been on the apps for a while now (obligatory breakup post here) and have tried a few dating “methods” (more here and here). Today, I would like to write about what I have learned about people (read: straight/ bisexual-young-adult-[mostly American]-single males) through dating apps.
The outdoors type. I have come across many a young professional (mostly, but not exclusively, Caucasian) male’s profile that extolls the virtues of life away from the bustling city. Apparently, many of these men want to be treated like dogs (“I like head scratches and exploring outside”), as well as own dogs (go figure). These men (who are diverse in other ways — some look like the rugged outdoorsmen that they claim to be while others work in tech and look like Mike Zuckerberg) have hobbies including hiking, climbing, and camping.
Some dudes just want a wife… like today. I do not know how sincere these messages are (or whether they are human trafficking schemes or simple U.S. Green Card acquisition tactics) but they are… cringe. The messages go something like this “hello [insert your name here] my name is [insert his name here] I don’t want to waste your time, but I found your profile and I think you are a beautiful person. I am making a sincere offer for you to come join me in France and live with me as my wife. You would not have many obligations, and I would want you to have a good life here. I do hope to hear back…” Yikes! These “proposals” (a generous designation) in my experience have come from non-American men (from the Middle East and South Asia more specifically). Again, I do not know what the motivation is behind these messages (maybe, they are sincere and it’s just a matter of cultural difference?), but even if they are totally disingenuous, I often find these messages to be hard to read all the same.
“No one reads the bios, so just ask.” Or “find out.” Or “ask.” Or, most maddeningly — [blank]. If guys leave their profiles completely blank, I will assume that they literally have no personality to speak of. I mean if you are looking just to hook up, maybe, say so (crazy idea, right?). Or we can be all 2013 about it and simply type out “DTF” — isn’t that better than no words at all? Similarly, if guys only attach one photo to their profile, I will assume that either 1. they are a catfish, or 2. they are actually one-dimensional creatures (no other angles to photograph, unfortunately).
Some guys had lying, and cheating exes and it shows. “Looking for someone who is kind, funny, and honest lol.” Or “someone who will like me for who I am and is loyal… lol.” Yes, it’s clear that they have been hurt before and it can be sad to see that the tender pieces of their last relationship are still hurting them to this day.
How do you stack up? I have (cringe) seen guys list in painfully exact terms what they want in a woman and, oh man, have I never swiped left so quickly. For example, I have seen messages that look something like the following, “searching for a beautiful and kindhearted lady. Please have curves and be in good physical health. I prefer blondes, but darker haired ladies can be nice too, so please do not be discouraged. I hope you love Jesus, will want to make a nice home for our future family, and don’t have credit card debt.” Whoa… I’m starting to feel a little woozy, please excuse me as I projectile vomit.
A diamond in the rough. Every once in five blue moons, you may come across a profile that is the jackpot — someone who is your brand of attractive, well educated, kind, does not carry a lot of (visible) baggage, and is engaged in a breadth of activities that would land them on the cover of GQ. Additionally, unlike the profiles with sparsely populated bios and clearly catfished photos, these people actually seem like interesting and bona fide homo sapiens. What is his deal? Why is he single? What sorts of skeletons and other nonsense is he hiding in the back of his closet? I don’t know, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Imma swipe right and attempt to investigate. Excuse me as I swoon.
I want to spoil you. Is this a sweet thing to say? I don’t know, but any version of this message makes me want to head for the hills. I am unsure whether this is code for “be my sugar baby” (though, I have seen such messages come from men my junior) or whether men actually find this to be an effective opening line. Whatever the reason, the message reads more transactional than romantic.
Now that I have been on the apps for… a bit, I have gone through a cycle of dating preferences. Sometimes, I try to be open minded… however, in my experience more often (but not always) people are as I expect them to be (I’m not trying to sound “judgy” but profiles and photos, while they do not tell the whole story, can provide good insights into a person). However, occasionally, I will match with someone who is a total surprise (this more often happens when someone provides sparing details on their profile, but posts photos filled with intrigue).
I don’t dislike online dating, honestly. There are so many benefits — so many potential matches, ease of communication, and the ability to put your best virtual foot forward. However, I know many lament online dating (it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows). But at the end of the day, online dating exists and if you choose to engage. — be kind. There are real people with emotions (but maybe also cold, heartless bots, idk) out there.