It’s only early January and I already feel like I’m stuck in the dating equivalent of the movie Groundhog Day.
Over the holidays I made the decision (mistake?) to reinstall dating apps on my phone. A few quick swipes of my finger, and I was immediately transported back to 2017.
Sure, there are a few things that are different since the last time I used dating apps. Tinder now allows users choose up to three sexual orientations (which means you can list yourself as bisexual, straight and queer, if you wish) and Bumble gives the option of calling or voice-messaging their matches. But the more things change, the more they stay the same.
New features aside, many of the things I found comically terrible about online dating — the crusty bathroom selfies, nonsensical profiles, tired tropes (“New here. Just checking things out!”) and spelling issues (“marry Christmas!”) — are unfortunately alive and well.
If we’re going to excel at dating in 2020, here are a few bad habits we need to break:
- “I can’t believe it’s come to this!”
But here we are, my friend. It both baffles and annoys me whenever I see profiles that say things like the above (“well, I can’t believe it’s come to this. Single AGAIN and trying to meet people online. Here goes nothing!”) Online dating isn’t the exception to the norm, it is the norm. It’s been this way for years. Drawing attention to the fact that “omg, online dating is like, so embarrassing,” just makes you seem out of touch (and frankly, is kind of insulting to your fellow daters). We all have dating relating angst to a certain degree. You’re not special. It’s 2020. It’s OK to OK with being online.
- “I can’t post a photo because my co-workers are on here.”
Said the third profile I swiped across the other night. The guy in question had chosen a photo with his facial features blurred out — you know, like they do on Cops when a perp doesn’t want to sign the release form. Once again for the folks in the back: there is nothing nefarious about having an online dating profile. Being “concerned about your co-workers” is a moot point — unless of course, you’re doing something that you’re not supposed to be doing (i.e. looking for hookups without your partner’s consent). If that’s the case, you might want to reconsider your actions.
- Including photos of things that aren’t your face without any context.
An illustration of Peppa Pig. A bottle of super-strength digestive enzymes. A bowl of pasta. A photo of rapper Ice Cube drinking a bottle of malt liquor while seated next to Kermit the Frog on a rainbow (okay, I admit it — I was intrigued by this one). These are all profile photos I stumbled across, presented without any context or additional photos. While I’m all about making your profile as memorable as possible, there’s a fine line between cultivating an air of mystery and outright confusion.
I’m sharing these discoveries because I believe in us. Nothing against Kermit or Peppa, but it’s time to stop hiding behind cartoon characters, unflattering selfies and played out preambles. We’re better than this. Let’s use 2020 as an opportunity to level up, one pasta photo at a time.