If you’re a woman and you’ve had the luxury of online dating over the past few years, then you’ve likely seen your share of profiles and the fascinating words, phrases, and images men use to sell themselves. While scrolling and swiping, I often find myself saying one of three things out loud: douche, no, and are you serious. (On the positive side, I have caught myself saying, hello! and I’m going to marry you.) But often it’s the former, because I simply cannot understand what is motivating these gents to write such idiocy. Granted, I might be more discerning than the average bear, but I think most chicks (is that offensive?) would understand my sentiments. I’ve compiled a list of greatest hits here:
“I enjoy good craft beer and whiskey.” I cannot tell you how many men put this in their profile. At least 75%. Sometimes that is all it will say. It is unbearably infuriating because it is unbearably dumb, as well as mildly pretentious. Who puts their favorite beverages in a dating profile? “I really love decaf Americanos and Diet Cherry Cokes.” Please. Sometimes they’ll say bourbon in an attempt to sound ultra edgy and hip. Well jeez, I’m sold. (I am hopelessly attracted to hopeless alcoholics.) Let me guess, you listen to gritty jazz records while you’re at it. You’re just one affair from being a dashing Don Draper, but, you know, a socialist Don Draper.
“I live life to the fullest.” Cliche of all cliches aside, I don’t find this the wisest selling point, especially if you’re trying to meet a woman you can actually have a relationship with. I hear “life to the fullest” and I picture you in Vegas with a harem of hookers and expensive blow. Explain to me, please, what living life to the fullest looks like. Jumping out of planes on a bi-weekly basis? Taking up trombone lessons? Learning how to make pho? What if one is introverted? In that case, a book and blanket might take the cake. These life to the fullest guys often look like South Bay bros, so I guess what they mean is playing beach volleyball and dissolving a beer gut through low-carb diets and dead lifts.
“I love to travel.” Real original. Me thinks you got wasted on a beach in Thailand and have a plethora of Eiffel Tower pics. I bet you know down to the number how many countries you’ve visited. I bet you put that number on Facebook. And I bet you make it very clear that you are a “traveler,” not a “tourist.” How’s the blog coming? Look, who doesn’t love to travel? (Well, me, actually, unless I have a plan and a non-irritating companion and a comfortable bed to sleep in and chic but practical shoes.) We all like seeing the world. But if you like it that much, if you are still nomadically backpacking across it and you’re over thirty-five, well, then you’re just sad. Or rich. Can I come?
“I work hard and I play hard.” We know what you’re getting at, but under no circumstances should you say this, unless you’re under nineteen and taking a stab at irony. I also worry that you might be suffering from exhaustion and adrenal fatigue. One can only burn the candle at both ends for so long…
“I live an active lifestyle.” As opposed to what? Not moving ever? Just how active are you? Do you run marathons every weekend? Power-walk around the office? Stand at restaurants? Are you a big fan of camping? I need specifics. Because if you’re waking me up at six on a Sunday to hit the hiking trail and brunch with buddies after, bye.
“I’m a writer.” You might as well just come out with it: you’ve written two short stories loosely inspired by John Updike, and you’re broke. (I clearly should insert foot in mouth at this point.)
And finally, the one’s who list eight hundred films, bands, and shows in their profile, as if the fact that we both like Radiohead and The Big Lebowski is enough for us to live together in holy matrimony. (Fine, I was guilty of this in my mid-twenties. After many guys were shocked at my lack of interest in them given the fact that we had so much in common, like watching The Wire, I learned my lesson. Also, people judged me for liking John Green books. I don’t blame them.)
Another problem I have noticed with the online dating world is how these guys proceed in trying to win a date. Most of them give you their number and basically tell you to ask them out or meet them on their side of town. I realize we live in liberated times, but, unless you’re a second phase Millenial whose penis is a social construct and shops for rompers made of local homespun cotton, hone that masculine energy and play the dating game right. At least in the beginning. Now, often you’ll give the guy your number, bright eyed and optimistic – this time it will be different! – and here are the texts you will begin to receive from these charming princes:
(Eight days later and close to 10pm) “Busy tonight?”
Just a slew of emojis. Am I supposed to decipher this mysterious romantic code and report back? Do I report back in more code? Maybe real men emoji, but not on the first date.
A Kindle sized update on the ins and outs of their lives. (At least here, red flags are offered up on a silver platter.)
“I had a great day! Did some day drinking, which may or may not have lead to night time tattoos. I’d love to meet.” (I received this one recently, verbatim, and the guy is thirty-seven. Does he really think that I am going to swoon over that? What am I, fifteen?)
“Where should we go?” I don’t really care – somewhere to eat food, I suppose. Bottom line is, you should come up with it, since you (sort of) asked me on the date. Come on, you drink whiskey! Be a man! I support toxic masculinity!
“Well, if you’re ever in the area, maybe we could grab some coffee sometime.” What a line. What an available, considerate stud. What’s your zip code?
If you actually score a date, and you actually manufacture a plan, and you actually actually actually meet each other and go out, who knows what might happen. My last boyfriend was brought to me courtesy of a swiped right on Hinge (is that one still around?) But more often then not, you meet, you exchange pleasantries, you give the whole where you grew up where you went to school what you do for work spiel, you have a pretty nice time, and then you never see each other again. (Or if you still drink or you’re in your sexual revolution phase, maybe you go home with him.) It’s pretty whacky when you really think about it. Swiping for a one-time companion. But at least we’re keeping bars and bistros in business.
The nuanced madness of it all isn’t solely men’s fault. (I’ve certainly heard from the other side how L.A. girls tend to represent themselves: “I love wine!” a body selfie at the beach, artsy Venice wall photo, yoga pose (done wrong), a spiritual quote. Filters on top of filters on top of filters on top of Facetune.) I think we’ve grown confused. Strange days, indeed. But I won’t get into gender issues and the nature of today’s “feminism” (read: masculine hating) being partly responsible for our plethora of beta-males who have cuter clothes than I do and find everything oppressive. (And those hairstyles!) I don’t want to trigger you or accidentally micro-aggress. Or would it be macro? I don’t know the difference – I’m just a broad.