I Don’t Belong Here

When I was dating in my youth, we didn’t have texting and online dating. We were rejected the old-fashioned way–in person. (And honestly, to call my social activity pre-marriage as dating is a stretch. Stalking may be more appropriate, but that’s not relevant here.) So, as my dear friend Christine pointed out, I’m not only diving back into the dating scene, I’ve had to adjust to a whole new pool.

On paper, online dating seems like a good idea. You can take your time crafting your profile and enhancing your pictures before releasing your bio to the world. And the beauty of the internet is the anonymity. Yes you are putting your picture and various details about yourself out there, but no one has to see your face in real time. No one has to hear your awkward laugh. You can seek companionship in your jammies or on your lunch break with no cover charge or loud music. (Old. Yes, I’m old.)

However, in moving online dating from idea to reality, we forgot about the DudeBros and the Good Ol boys. We did not account for the Thousand-dollar Millionaires or as they are known for the over 35 set, the Self-Employed. And we never even imagined there would exist the Delusionists who are 45 year-olds claiming to want to get married and have kids some day.

*Disclaimer* Obviously #notallmen ruin online dating.

So, if you’re a woman who feels like joining one of the many online sites or apps that promise to make dating easy and safe, let me save you some trouble deciphering the profiles of the men you may want to avoid. That way you can just focus on the ones who are genuine and kind. The men who are just as terrified as you to put their heart out there hoping for the best.

And if you’re a man working the Tinder scene, you’re welcome for this warning of what not to do.

Red Flags:

  • Hugging juggy women in their photos: Um, why are you chatting with me? Looks like you’re all set in the dating department.
  • Having a form of ‘Sexy’ in their profile name: Self-explanatory.
  • Gym Selfies: One or two is okay, especially if they look super uncomfortable in them as if they regret it. However, if there are 5 or more you’ve probably got yourself a DudeBro. If they are all of his stomach, and he’s making a tough-guy face while clearly wearing too much product in his fauxhawk, you’ve got their king.
  • Vote for Donald Trump filter on their picture: Maybe try to meet up with them to figure out if they are a bigot or a misogynist or both.
  • Over 40 and claiming to want to get married and have kids some day: It’s possible he just wants to ease the minds of single moms. He’s saying, “It’s cool, I’m totes not afraid of commitment. I just haven’t had one before now.” Maybe he just doesn’t understand the realities of fertility over the age of 35. But it’s also possible he’s only looking for a 25 year-old.
  • Occupation is listed as Entrepreneur: Again, this could be honest. It could also mean he hops from job to job as various friends claim to have these great money-making ideas. He may also live in his car.
  • Opening chat is, “Hey, you want to meet?”: I, for one, am much more likable in person. (Shut up. I am.) Maybe he’s feeling this way too? Maybe he needs an excuse to just get out of the house and give it a try. It’s also possible he wants something else that will be over in three minutes.

In addition, there are some standard profile descriptions you need to learn how to decode:

  • “No baggage” = “Once I date a girl and get what I want, I never see her again, so you’ll never have to worry about my exes. I don’t even remember their names.”
  • “Not looking for drama”=”I really can’t handle ’emotions’ or ‘needs’ or ‘women’.”
    • When women say this it means they don’t ever want to see a picture or name of another woman anywhere on your phone or that bitch will get cut.
  • “Love to travel”=”Everyone says this, so I’ll post these pics of that awesome Spring Break in Cabo and hope no one notices I was 19 at the time.”
  • “People say I’m kind and funny”=”People is a general term for my parents and the girls at work who I trap in the break room to ask for help with my social life.”
  • “I just want to have fun and see what happens.”=”I’m just here for sex.”

Don’t forget to tailor your profile to meet the most common desired stats of women being sought: adventurous (What does this mean? Are you asking me to compete on The Amazing Race? Because I’m in.), into fitness, and drama free. I’m pretty sure declaring yourself rich and available for bankrolling travel would help too.

For a while I thought this was my life path.

For a while I thought this was my life path.

Some other advice I can give you is to know yourself. If you think the NRA should be labeled a hate group, go ahead and skip the profiles of guys in camo holding a dead animal. It’s cool; he’s not for you. He’ll find his match. And so will you if you stick to what you know you need in your life. A wise friend advised, “Know what you expect out of this before you start.” It makes it much easier to decide if you’ll swipe right or swipe left. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. If you’re just answering an email to be polite, don’t. Take care of your heart through the whole process and be brutally honest.

It’s going to be okay; there are nice people you connect with out there. They just may be in a different pool.