Recently, a good friend asked me for my advice on dating apps. This is that advice.
I’ve used Tinder off and on for a few years now and have had zero luck. It is unfortunate that apps like Tinder are the only way to meet people these days. Yes, you could try going to the bar to meet people, but for me, that has a similar rate of success. I don’t have countless hours to chill at the bar looking for someone who wants to take me for pizza and beer.
I recently came to the conclusion that without using dating apps, I probably won’t ever meet anyone. If I were going to meet someone offline, it would have happened by now. I feel like you meet people in school, through work, through mutual friends, or you don’t meet them at all. Tinder is possibly my only hope. So depressing.
Here are some things I use to gauge if I want to spend IRL time with someone. I do not go out with anyone who does any of these things. These are personal preferences obviously, and honestly, they haven’t really worked out. I remain painfully alone. Someone told me once that boundaries were important, and I fully committed to that idea. I’ve gone on very few Tinder dates, but the ones I have been on were minimally painful because of this screening process. Onward.
1. People who have lots of pictures of them doing an extreme sport:
Individuals who enjoy jumping out of planes or launching themselves off mountains with nothing but a wooden board strapped to their feet have no respect for their life, so why should I expect them to care about mine?
Yes, some will say they do it for the rush. But I say, if the Creator wanted me to jump out of a plane he would have given me wings. Life with two feet on the ground can be just as thrilling and give you just as much of an adrenaline rush. Ever had to survive seeing someone wave in your direction and then you waved back just to realize they weren’t waving at you? When life if full of near death moments like that, riding a little bicycle down a mountain just seems like overkill.
2. People who are outdoors in every picture:
People who love the outdoors are not always automatically swiped left, but if every single picture of them is taken outdoors, it is cause for concern. These are the people who will say, “let’s go hiking!” for a first date.
Listen, I’m a savvy enough person to know better than to let a perfect stranger take me to a secluded wooded wilderness area for a first date. Go somewhere that nobody will be able to find my body after you murder me? No thank you. People who are always outside are constantly sweaty and probably own those shoes that look like toe- socks. Our lifestyles are not compatible.
3. People with dirty mirror selfies:
If the picture that someone chooses to put out for the world to see is one they took in front of a dirty bathroom mirror, just take a minute to think about the potential mess in the rest of their house.
This is the picture they decided was the most flattering and the most likely to attract a potential mate? One of them in a mirror so flecked with stains that you can’t tell what is a nipple and what is a spec of toothpaste? Listen, all of us live in filth from time to time. My house can get disgusting. But we have made a silent pact as a society to at least make an effort to hide how disgusting we are from each other. The dirty mirror selfie person is openly breaking that agreement. My days of hooking up with people next to a nightstand full of unwashed dishes ended in college. My bar is (slightly) higher now.
4. People who only have group photos:
I am not a detective. How am I supposed to tell which person you are?
I think it’s fine to have the odd group photo included because it proves that other people like you and you are not a hermit (my profile has no group photos …interpret that information as you want). When every photo is a group photo, I can only assume that you will bring all of those people on a date with you since you always travel in a pack. And while I’m not opposed to having multiple partners, I would like for things to be clearly labeled so I can make an informed decision.
5. People who have a dog:
This is an unpopular opinion. Don’t @ me. Dog people tend to outnumber cat people in my life, but I think it is just because dog people tend to be louder and more obnoxious about their animal preferences. I have begrudgingly cohabitated with a cat for many years because we can’t seem to get rid of each other. So I guess if I had to choose, I’m firmly a cat person. Dogs are so high maintenance, and they tend to consume the thoughts, time, and lives of their owners.
Over a year ago, I was out with a girl, and it was fun, and we started making out, and it seemed affirmative that sexual activity was in our future. Then she told me she had to go, even though she wanted to stay because she had to let her dog out of the house. My friends with dogs worry about them constantly and are always leaving fun times early to deal with them.
Dog people also insist on bringing their dogs everywhere because they are essentially like children to them. A lot of local breweries allow dogs and without fail my conversation will be interrupted by barking at least once throughout the evening. Why. If my crying baby would piss you off at the bar, how is your barking dog different? Also, rarely have I met a well-trained dog owned by someone my age. Usually, the dogs jump and lick and slobber and bark. These are dogs bought by someone in their early 20s who at the time also couldn’t control their urge to jump and bark and slobber and lick, so there was no real effort to change dog’s behavior.
A dog person will always put their dog first in a relationship, and you are going to have to pretend that their dog is cute when it shreds your shoes apart. It’s a no from me.
6. People who wear hats:
I’m talking specific kinds of hats here (see image below).
These hats are hard to pull off and tell me that this person likes certain things: engaging in sexist conversations on Reddit, playing video games online with 10 year olds, thinking that the wage gap isn’t real and that discounted ladies nights at the bar are offensive to men, quoting late 90s and early 2000’s movies starring Will Ferrell, and thinking that I will be their girlfriend after one date because they believe that women are property. Yes, some dudes wear these hats who don’t think those things, but they are rare. I don’t risk it.
7. People who are obsessed with the gym:
Physical activity is essential to maintaining a healthy body. Obsessing over having the perfect body is not healthy. People who say they are obsessed with the gym tell me two things:
1. they will judge my worth on how hard I work to meet societal standards of beauty and
2. they will never have good food in their house.
I cannot get down with meals where the base ingredient is a leaf. It’s like eating a plate of whispers. People who spend every waking hour in the gym are the people who make rude comments about people’s weight or talk all the time about how fat they are when they are nothing even close. I’ve worked hard to love my body the way it is, and I only want to be around people who are cool with that and who also like their body. Working out is fine but working out obsessively because you think your body is an enemy who must be defeated isn’t healthy. Negative body image can rub off on others, and I don’t want to risk it. Plus, I’m not a size two, so those people think I’m trash anyway.
8. People who say they are looking for a relationship/tired of games:
What? Are you boycotting Hasbro?
We’ve all seen this thirst, “Done with playing games. Looking for someone to be in a grown-up relationship with me.”
This raises several flags for me. The first: this person thinks that they are going to date someone for the immediate purpose of building a relationship. In my experience, dating like that rarely works. It is better to date someone to get to know them, to see if you have similar interests and values. Then after that, you think about building a relationship. Dating to build a relationship is putting the cart before the horse.
Saying they don’t like games tells me that this person has clear definitions of how people should act in a relationship and if the other party doesn’t do those things, they are “playing games.” These are the people who get pissed if you don’t text them all day or don’t run your plans past them first. These are the people who treat you like a partner of five years only two hours into the first date. These people are also usually emotionally abusive in my experience, so I stay far, far away.
9. People who pose with fish/ exotic animals:
What is this? Why are there so many people on Tinder holding fish or sitting next to tigers? I feel like my hesitations for this are related to numbers one and two of this list. I don’t know how I am supposed to interpret someone riding an elephant.
What does this convey about your personality? I’m so confused about this. I feel like fish holding indicates that you might be a republican which is, definitely and totally, not something I want in my life.
10. Someone who is an open Trump supporter: