Oh, dating in the app age. Remember a few short years ago — you know — the good ol’ early 2010s when you’d plunk down cash/card and go through the exhausting getting to know you questions on eHarmony? Or, the mindless browsing of profiles on Match?
Gone are those days.
After a year of swiping, I’ve noticed a few things I’d like to share with the male population: some tips to make me actually want to swipe right. And, once you’re there, how not to blow it. And, I don’t mean the sexual way. I mean the you-have-nothing-to-say-way or the pen-pals-for-life way.
So, let’s start at the start.
Gentlemen, first, you need to establish why you are on the app and what you are looking for. There tend to be three types of men on the dating apps:
- Those looking to get laid
- Those not specifically looking for an actual relationship for any number of reason (i.e. they’re picky, just got out of a relationship, etc) but won’t be opposed to it if they meet a great girl, but will also likely to be looking to get laid initially as well
- Those looking for an honest-to-goodness longterm relationship
Men. If you’re the latter, let’s examine your profile.
(Note: There’s also a fourth kind of man on the apps, those looking for a plus-one in their romantic relationship. But since that is a less mainstream and more specific polyamorous type, we’ll stick with one-on-one dating lessons.)
What Photos Not to Post on Dating Apps
Now, as a 37-year-old woman who has dated my fair share since moving back from the dating wasteland of Thailand, when I look at your profile, I will swipe left 99 percent of the time if you have any of the following photos:
- Shirtless (if you’re not at a beach or pool and, you know, being casual, not flexing your guns for the camera) – personally, I’d rather wait to take off your shirt myself than see in a profile. Also, it makes me wonder why you feel that your shirtless selfie (or shirtless bathroom selfie — even worse.) is necessary when someone is deciding whether or not to drop you a line initially. If you’re proud of your body, awesome. Love it. Confidence is rad. Write about how you like to workout. Or, even better, don’t because it seems every. single. man. writes about how he likes to workout and stay fit.
- Petting a tiger/riding an elephant – first off, I’m super against both of those things, as are many other women. And also, again, every. single. man. posts photos of himself with a drugged tiger or cub or exploiting animals. Let’s leave ethics out of this convo and ask some simple questions: Do you want to be cliché? Do you want to fall in line with every other guy, or stand out? It’s awesome that you like to travel. Write about it. Or, again, don’t because – I’m not exaggerating – all the men like to travel. I’ve never read a blurb from a guy that says “traveling sucks. I never want to leave my backyard.”
- Holding a fish. Or dead animal. Again, you’re looking for a female right? Most girls do not want to see that shit, not now, not if they’re married to you 20 years. As someone who loves all the living things, nope. Swipe. We get that you are outdoorsy, but I don’t want to see some dead fish in your hands or you proudly holding up the a deer you killed by the antlers. Unless the woman likes fishing or hunting, it’s more cliche than anything else.
- Triathlon/marathon/scaling the world’s tallest peak. One of these is fine. Your entire portfolio of images composed of your athletic feats is 1. overkill; 2. intimidating. I love someone who is athletic, and I’m sure other women do, too. But, just pick your best shot. One. Photo. And if you only prefer women on a similar athletic plane, make that known in your bio.
- Selfies in a bathroom mirror. (FYI — 99 percent of my single girlfriends report this gets an immediate left swipe.) Come on. Someone can take a photo of you at some point in your life when you look good. Let them take it. Also, we judge the cleanliness of your bathroom.
- Pics of you with kids. If you have a kid, I’m going to go with the opinion of don’t share it (or at least blur out the little one’s face). There are creepers on the internets and apps. You never know who is looking. Also, I get posting pics of you with your niece/nephew/friend’s kid to show you like kids. But, you can always tell us you like kids versus stealing one for a photo shoot and then adding a disclaimer: child is not mine.
- Filtered pics. If you are going to filter or photoshop your photos, do it so we don’t know. I’ve seen so many photos where the filtering/tweaking is just bananas. Also, snapchat filters for your profile pics? Nope. Ladies – if you’re reading this – same goes for you.
- You partying excessively. One pic with a beer is fine. Six photos where you are downing shots, beer, wine, whatever … it starts to look like the only thing you are serious about is partying. And, if that’s the case, I hope your profile states that versus looking to settle down. I’m 37. I like to go out and drink. On occasion. But, every photo of boozing makes those warning bells go off.
- You with a bunch of hot women (hey, it’s a thing on these Vegas profiles). We are women. If we see you surrounded by a bevy of beauties, it leads us to draw a few unsavory conclusions: 1. You are a player. 2. You expect to date a super model. 3. You’re a player. 4. You want lots of easy sex with lots of “10s” and probably have no soul.
- You in bed. Immediately, I wonder who you sent that photo to before you were on a dating app. Also, it looks creepy and lazy. Two things which shouldn’t go together for a first impression.
- You 10 years ago. Um, catfish anyone?
What Photos to Post on a Dating App
And now for what photos will get women to swipe right:
- Smiling photos that aren’t selfies in a car while you’re driving
- Smiling photos that aren’t selfies of you doing something you love (that isn’t showing off your deadliest catch or latest kill or exploiting an animal)
- Photos of you with cats or dogs. Because cats, dogs and men together are so cute.
- Photos of you with friends (but not every photo. We want to see you on your own, too. And know who you are in the group.)
- A full-length photo
- If you like to travel, a photo of you traveling
- Photos that are recent. Like, really recent. If you have to write that you no longer have a beard, etc. how about just uploading a photo with you sans beard?
- Photos that really show your personality. You’ve got 100 or so words and a handful of pics. Choose wisely.
What Not to Put on Your Profile
The worst thing you can do is leave you profile blank. To
me all women, it shows that you’re not serious in meeting someone. It also shows that you’re maybe a little bit lazy. Swipe. Left.
Typical profiles I see go like this:
I like adventure, work out and stay fit, love to travel, work hard, play harder, whisky, dogs, 6’2. We can tell everyone we met at a Whole Foods. (Note: what women request height? I’m sure some do, but I don’t know any who claim height is a deal breaker. I’ve never asked. In fact, some of the greatest men I have dated have been shorter than I expected, but it didn’t matter because they were so rad, it was all good.)
Stand out and skip mentioning things in your bio that everyone loves. These include: “having fun, traveling, hanging out with friends, my pet, good food, good drinks, good conversation, loving life,” etc., etc. So you like fun and traveling and friends? Groundbreaking? Nope. Does it make you blend in with 1,000 other swipes? Yep.
Simply writing where you are from gives us ladies nothing to go on. I automatically assume if you write that, then you’re looking for a little fling and that’s it.
“Best guy ever.” — New York Times
“Hot and funny.” — LA Times
“A keeper.” My mom.
The quotes? The first time I saw it, I thought it was cute and original. The. First. Time.
What to Put on Your Dating App Profile
First off — what do you want out to get out of the dating app? A relationship? A hookup? A new friend?
Save us time and spell it out. There’s nothing worse than getting into a convo with someone who seems awesome and then having them bust out with peaches and eggplants.
The guys who are honest and disclose they only want hook-ups — thank you. Really. Thank you. Because I know you’re not for me. You’re for someone. Just not me.
I know there are only 100 or so words on Bumble and you can do a bit more on Tinder, so break it down to this:
- Where do you live? In Vegas, we get so many tourists, I never know who is here full-time or just breezing through
- What do you want?
- What makes you cool?
- What do you like to do?
An example of a dope profile I’d swipe right on:
Las Vegas local who gives a shit about animals, seeing new places and hitting lesser known locales. Digs whisky, foreign cities with character, and good vibes. Loves veggies, wine and looking for a long-term partner-in-crime. Not allergic to cats.
I mean, that’s the guy I’m looking for (so, if it’s you, holler).
Communicating in App
Now, for the communicating. With Bumble, it’s ladies who take the lead. So, depending on how creative we get, it’s up to you to continue the convo. Responding and not leading to another question likely results in the end of the chat. I assume that if we match on one of these apps, you actually want to talk to me. Therefore, let’s talk.
On Tinder or other swiping apps, if you message first, please please please don’t start with any of the following:
Engage. It’s the best way to get a woman interested. If someone messages me that without anything else, I don’t respond. Because, why? Dating is a dance. And that first impression via messaging is important.
Take a minute and read her profile. Determine a question that shows you read her profile and ask. Then, start the convo. The best convos span a little, dig a little and then lead to asking for a number and, ultimately, asking the woman out.
Also, if it’s clear from a profile that you aren’t what the woman is looking for, stop right there. For reals.
Pen pals are fun. If we are actually getting letters in the mail that are handwritten. Pen pals on dating apps are a waste of time. If you have no interest in asking a woman out, then there’s no point in continuing a conversation. Let it go.
Not interested? Get back together with your ex? Meet someone else? Please don’t ghost. It’s so damn rude if you are mid-convo. Instead, a simple: “Hey, you’re rad and all, but I think right now isn’t the best time for us to continue getting to know each other.”
End. Of. Story.
If you reach out to a woman and she doesn’t respond immediately, don’t follow-up to check on her. Give it a day or two or three. And, if she still doesn’t respond, definitely don’t message her and be all “hey, are you not interested or what?” Starting to send numerous unanswered messages is your kiss of death. Promise. Chill out. Let it be. If she’s into you, or interested, she will respond.
Sometimes, we get a little swipe happy and may swipe on someone we didn’t think was a match. It’s not a rule to respond to every person who messages, just like you don’t have to respond to every message you get. I get the hint. You get the hint. Hopefully, others get the hint, too.
Go forth, into the wild west of dating apps where no rules apply, but really, they should. And men, please let us know what you like/don’t like on dating apps, too!
Title photo via Flickr Creative Commons: NASA GSFC