There’s never been a weirder time to date. We’re all holed up in our homes to protect ourselves from a highly contagious virus that’s mainly spread by close human contact, aka what people engage in when they’re dating. Like everyone else, singles have adapted to the “new normal” by keeping everything virtual — or at least trying to. At first. That means guys have had a lot of time to adjust their dating personas to fit the pandemic milieu.
If you’re a hetero lady who’s been on dating apps for a while, you’ve probably noticed some recurring personality traits in the guys you’ve interacted with on them. Maybe you’ve gotten so good at identifying them that you can drop each dude into one of several categories just by seeing a photo of him making a frittata shirtless. (Spoiler alert: He’s a narcissist.) Well, just when you thought you had your categories down, a pandemic happens, and they all change. Okay, not entirely. But you may have noticed some new trends in the profiles popping up on your feed that might be confounding your guy-dar.
Don’t freak out. I’m here to help you see past the protective masks and sourdough starter pets down to the core of these dudes, so you can assess whether they’re worth a reply. This is hardly an exhaustive list of all the types of dudes out there on apps right now, just a collection of some of the easiest to identify.
This guy is so hot for hygiene. And you. But mostly hygiene. His profile says he’s “looking for a lady who loves to laugh, watch documentaries, and scrub their hands for at least 20 seconds 30 times a day.” He’s become fitness-obsessed while in quarantine because it’s the only thing he can do to quell his relentless germ anxiety, so he’s jacked, but like, scary jacked. Like his calf muscles could poke an eye out if you got too close, which of course he won’t let you touch because of the deadly virus. He probably sent you an article on how to properly clean your cloth face mask after each use within five minutes of his introduction.
Advice: The upside is that you know he’s clean and taking things seriously — but will you ever be clean enough for him? Unclear. But hey, if he’s hot, otherwise fun to talk to, and you don’t have qualms about dating a modern-day Howard Hughes, I say go for it.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have the guy who disregards most, if not all, practical safety measures during a pandemic. He has a sardonic sense of humor, throwing around lines like, “Let me take you out before coronavirus does,” which you initially find cute until you realize just how cavalier he really is with his, and your, and everyone’s well-being. He claims he’s totally had the virus already, even though he wasn’t able to get tested (eye roll) and says it wasn’t anything to write home about, so why don’t you get off your high horse and come over already?
Advice: Tell him, “Why don’t you stop being a complete tool and stay the hell home? Oh, and never contact me again.”
Quarantine has really made this gentleman appreciate the slower-paced lifestyle. He’s likely reading Pablo Neruda in a sun-dappled corner of his apartment in his profile pic. He was either a poetry major or an out-of-work actor who’s always thought of himself as a modern-day Shakespeare, so he’s written a little sonnet in honor of your smile from your profile photo. Things will start off hot and heavy, word-wise, between you two (think daily epic love texts) until they abruptly stop once he matches with another woman who saw him in his off-off-Broadway one-man King Lear.
Advice: Could be fun for a bit. Maybe turn his poor prose into a parody ska song and perform it for your friends. But eventually expelling all that emotional energy will become tiresome, so just know your limit.
The name pretty much says it all. He makes it clear up top in his profile that he’s not into anything long-term (aka past quarantine), but he’s down to “get to know you” online. There’s probably not much to this guy beyond what he offers in texts, but hey, sometimes that’s all you need, right? He has a knack for jumping from “hey” to “I’m unzipping your pants” in under 60 seconds. He’s probably laying down and sporting killer bedroom eyes in his profile pic — again showing his cards from the get-go. Once lockdowns lift though, he’ll vanish into the Tinder ether.
Advice: If you’re here for what he’s throwing down, by all means. Just don’t expect a “sweet dreams” and kiss emoji at the end of the night.
When the pandemic hit, this guy was out of the city like a shot and now resides up at his cabin in the woods full time. He’s a man of few words, but many photos of gorgeous sunsets and sunrises over the towering evergreens and steam rising off his morning coffee as he works on his wraparound porch. “Life is just so perfectly simple up here,” he coos over text. “I have everything I need. Running water, Wi-Fi… everything, except you.” He can’t wait to show you his cabin when this is all over. In fact, if you come up now, you could enjoy it sooner, while socially distancing, of course. It’s only an hour and a half drive — hold on a minute! You see what’s going on here. This guy’s using cabin porn to reel you into a potentially unhealthy situation, and you almost fell for it.
Advice: Stay safe, and do not go to this man’s cabin in the woods. It may not be as bad of an experience as what the characters in Cabin in the Woods went through, but it’s still not a healthy decision.
This guy looks normal enough in his profile pic, and he probably was before the crushing loneliness of being single while in quarantine hit him. Now he’s on the hunt for someone, anyone, vaguely good for him who he can bring inside and wait out the rest of quarantine with. “You like movies? So do I! Omg! You probably also think puppies are cute, too! This is just too amazing to ignore.” Soon, he’ll be convincing you that, despite only messaging a few days, you are clearly meant for each other and that meeting like this will be a great story at your wedding. Be prepared for this text: “I haven’t left my apartment in over six weeks, so I’m totally healthy. You should just bring all your stuff and move in with me because we don’t know how much longer this is going to be, and dear god, I need to exist with another warm body nearby, PLEAAAAASE!”
Advice: Send him the names of a few good animal rescue organizations, and tell him you got Covid-19.
His pic is of him smiling smugly while standing in front of a pallet’s worth of toilet paper and Purell in his backyard. He’s one of the essential supplies hoarders.
Advice: Send the middle finger emoji and report him to the police.
He’s not the quickest texter, but that’s because he’s been picking up mountains of food from local restaurants and dropping it at various hospitals around the city. When he’s not doing that, he’s taking his three foster dogs for a walk around the neighborhood and FaceTiming you so you can enjoy some of the outdoors together. He’s always got an important-looking fundraiser going on Facebook, which he tells you about but finishes with “no pressure at all to donate, though!” His profile pic is a bunch of nurses holding up a “thank you!” sign with just his eyes and nose in the foreground, elevated selfie-style.
Advice: Seems like a winner as long as he survives all those hospital drop-offs and doesn’t have any political aspirations.
His profile largely consists of famous movie quotes, especially from the mid-1990s, which he refers to as “The Golden Age.” He’s either in marketing or works for a media company and was “super bummed” SXSW was canceled this year because his indie short didn’t get to make its debut. He probably lost his job within the first few waves of pandemic layoffs and now spends every waking hour rewatching classic TV shows and movies and picking them apart for fun. Although it would be much more fun if he could do it with you (aka at you) while you half-listen and drink until you pass out.
Advice: Who doesn’t love to have Annie Hall mansplained to them! Anyone?!