If you are between the ages of 18 and 35, you have probably waded into the swampy, stinky waters of online dating. It’s pretty much a given nowadays. And I’m not talking about Match.com or eHarmony – no, I’m talking about those dating apps. You know, Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, etc. They started as hook-up apps, let’s be honest, but as our generation got more and more desperate, and more and more sick of being single, they actually ended up fostering real, legitimate relationships. I know a decent number of people who met their SO on a dating app. And good for them. Honestly, no sarcasm. Because those apps are a minefield. I have to admit I’ve used them as well, and besides being a fantastic way to kill boredom and harshly judge people, they are actually quite entertaining as well (unsolicited dick pics aside). If you use one, you’ll also notice a…pattern of the types of people you find on them. So follow me into the jungle and I will point out the kinds of intriguing, bizarre, and funny creatures you may encounter on your trip into online dating:
- The guy with the tiger – These fuckers are all over the place. Average-looking white guys, grinning mischievously as they pet an almost-certainly drugged-up baby tiger. Sometimes it’s a lion. If you’re super lucky you might spot one with an elephant. Usually they won’t have a bio because they think this one picture makes them worldly and interesting enough to catch your attention.
- The gym rat – This can apply to both men and women. The specimen is often shown in the gym, taking a mirror selfie while flexing, probably annoying the shit out of the people who are actually in the gym to work out. Occasionally there will be a shot of them in the midst of a workout, usually squatting with weights. It definitely isn’t a posed photo at all. No way. Their bio will also most certainly say something about how they’re looking for someone who’s as into fitness as them. Cool, have fun with your ripped muscles. I’ll be off in the corner eating half a pizza and rewatching The Office for the 89th time.
- The guy who is weirdly specific about dating rules even though he looks like a toe – This is the guy who says he will not date girls taller than him, anyone who has kids, or anyone who doesn’t have dimples. These dudes vary – some are hipsters saying they won’t entertain any “basic bitches”, some are super religious or conservative guys who won’t interact with chicks with tattoos or piercings, some are just regular average joes who have some kind of vendetta against reality TV viewing. But the one thing they have in common is that they’re all clearly single for a reason.
- The girl who only has photos with SnapChat filters – I get it, SnapChat filters are fucking fun. They make you look beautiful. They smooth out your skin and cover your pores and give you a glowy airbrushed look. But. We all know that’s a filter. We all know you don’t actually have little hearts coming out of your head in real life. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOUR REAL FACE LOOKS LIKE! I can’t tell if you have bunny ears, or a dog nose, or a shitload of flowers around your head. In every. Single. Picture.
- The “nice” guy – This guy will make absolutely sure to tell you in his bio that he’s a gentleman, one of the actual nice guys. He will also invariably say that he “doesn’t have time for games”, whatever that means. This will also be the guy who calls you a cunt if you decide you don’t want to go out on a date with him.
- The person whose bio includes fake reviews about them – I see this one everywhere. Usually it’s guys but once or twice I’ll see a girl do it too. It was probably clever the first time someone tried it but now it’s everywhere, and it’s frankly lazy. The formula is a list of “funny” reviews, most of the time from the person’s friends/family, or a famous person. For example: “Is an okay dancer – Mom” or “The worst – ex-girlfriend” or “Sexy and he knows it – Ryan Gosling”. I have never swiped right for anyone who does this. Be original, live a little.
- The girl who is clearly a bot – Yeah, they’re all over the place. She’s stupid-hot, ridiculously fit and pretty, and seems fun and sporty. But if you match, she will give you a virus or steal your money. Beware the hot bot.
- The cute guy who will immediately ghost you – He’s hot, he seems fun, he engaged in witty banter with you. Maybe you meet up, maybe you don’t. Either way, he ghosts the shit out of you after a few weeks, probably because he got back with an ex, or because most of the men on those apps are emotionally unavailable (perfect, my type). His bio will usually just list his sports teams and his job. That’s all the info you get. That’s his whole identity.
- Where’s Waldo? – Both genders do this but I see it more often with men. If your picture is a group shot and I have to play detective to try to figure out who the fuck you are by comparing you to your other photos (which are also all group shots), I’m giving up after 5 seconds. This is a tactic usually employed by those considered less conventionally attractive. Do not try to trick me by only putting up photos of you and your 5 best friends who are also dudes in the hopes that I can’t tell which one you are so I swipe right to find out. This will backfire because I don’t really care that much. Stop doing this. You can find love even if you have a big nose.
- One Picture – And no bio. Who are you? Are you trying to create an air of mystery? Your one photo is blurry and out of focus. I have no idea if you are a real person or a cryptid who lives in the woods. Do you like things? Do you do stuff? I have no idea, because you’ve given me nothing to go off of.
- The chick who is just on there to boost her social media – You’ll know her right away. She’s very beautiful, and has great photos. You get excited, scroll down to her bio and BAM: her Instagram handle, her SC name, and occasionally a Twitter handle. That’s all. No other information. She’s simply there to increase her followers. You swipe left, dejected. You still follow her though, cus she is really hot.
- The guy who uses pictures of him with ridiculously attractive women – I don’t get this. Are you trying to say you’re a hot commodity? Are you trying to spur me into some kind of competition with these other girls to win your favor? Because honestly, I’m just getting distracted by that chick’s awesome crop top, I’m not really looking at you anymore. Either way, I’m not interested in a player, or someone who’s clearly using photos of him and his ex on a dating app. Unresolved issues, much? Next.
- The fisherman – I see this way more in Wisconsin than I did in NYC but they’re everywhere, really. Guys like fish apparently. Like, a lot. And they enjoy posing with large dead ones. Let me be clear: fish are gross. I do not like them. I do not eat them. I am not impressed with your trophy picture of you and a dead smelly sea creature. Pass.
and finally, my personal favorite…
- The Couple – The dreaded couple. The man and woman who are together and who are looking for “a bit of sexy fun!!!” by trolling for girls on gay dating apps. These people vary, but almost always have photos of just the girl, the guy conspicuously absent. Which, like…what? If you’re trying to set-up a threesome, why would you NOT include a photo of all parties? Am I to wear a burlap sack over my head when we meet so I can’t see what your insecure man looks like? The Couple is the bane of every bisexual/pansexual/queer woman’s existence. The good news is the girls who are actually gay get to bond over this and bitch about how annoying it is, so it works out in the end.