Welcome to my new 3-part series titled ‘Dating in 2019’, which came about due to my recent exposure to online dating after being out of the game for the last 9 years. I really wanted to call it ‘Dating in 2019 is a Fuck Show’, but thought that might be a bit too aggressive and scare some of the conservatives away. Nevertheless, you know my true feelings on the subject matter now.
A warning to anyone who hasn’t done this in a long time: Things have changed radically, it’s a total minefield and not an area for the faint of heart or those of us looking for old-school romance. Apparently people don’t meet in bars, clubs or at braais anymore and your friends won’t set you up (successfully) with their friends, either.
As the actual topic of how people date in 2019 is incredibly vast, I’ve decided to break this series up into bite-sized digestible chunks and start at the beginning.
First Things First
When signing up to any number of the dating apps available these days, the first thing you do is create a profile. These profiles tend to include a cover photo (the first thing people see when scrolling through the huge array of available people online), additional photos (which are perfect for proving you have friends, family and healthy social life), as well as a bio where you’re able to list your age, profession, location and a number of other fascinating things about yourself which might spark interest in a potential SO.
Tinder tends to keep it light and tight, only offering you the option to list your age, profession and a short bio (not being the best Tinder user myself, I had to double-check this and in the process accidentally Super Liked someone I definitely don’t Super Like. Winning).
Bumble, on the other hand, allows you to list an array of information like height, how active you are, your religious beliefs, what kind of relationship you’re looking for, if you smoke, if you drink, your education level, if you want/have/don’t want more kids, star sign, pets — just the kind of info grownups generally want to know. This can also be used to filter your searches, which is ideal if you’re looking for an educated and active 6ft, liberal social drinker who isn’t looking for casual hook-ups and possibly wants kids one day.
As Bumble is designed by women for women, you can see why they’ve chosen to go this route. You also have the option of including a bio and adding up to 3 fun questions you can answer that allow someone the opportunity to potentially get to know more about you and some of your quirks a bit better. These also work as fantastic tools when making conversation for the first time — hence being referred to as “Move Makers”.
So now that I hope you have a fairly good idea of what information could be made available when it comes to dating profiles, and what they really should include, I’m going to focus on what they shouldn’t include. This is my heterosexual female perspective of the quintessentially anti-profile:
Good Vibes Only
I can’t explain how many times I’ve seen this written in a bio and just how much it annoys me. Why? Why do you need to say “good vibes only”? Is this code for casual sex? Are you terrible at communicating when there’s conflict? I don’t understand. If you have this poster hanging somewhere in your home then I hope we don’t match. Maybe you’re actually a teenage girl?
Before the pet owners slate me for this, let me make it perfectly clear that if the pets in your profile are yours, we’re good. If you’ve borrowed someone else’s pet in the hope that women looking at your profile will instantly be more attracted to you because you’re pretending to like animals, you’re a douchebag. If there’s someone out there advising men to do this, please stop.
Kids Aren’t Mine
Oh, okay, then why would you include photos of them in your profile? I want kids, but you aren’t seeing me including photos of myself with all the little humans in my life, are you? Why? Well, probably because I don’t need photos of children that aren’t mine to validate my maternal instincts.
Why am I even needing to include this point? You look like a complete tonsil. Please stop. You can klap gym without photographic evidence, boet. Steroids and HGH’s are also bad for you.
Tight Towel Crotch Selfies
Again, why? Also, I screenshot this stuff and send to my girlfriends for a laugh. We get it, you’re a man, but leave some things to the imagination. Also, please buy better towels and use fabric softener.
I’m looking for someone decent to date, not a life coach.
sapiosexual (plural sapiosexuals)
- A person who is sexually attracted to intelligence or the human mind before appearance.
Okay, so while I’m actually a bit of sapiosexual myself (although I definitely still need to find you physically attractive), I don’t understand why you’d list this. Are there people out there who purposefully go looking for unintelligent partners? Wait, please don’t answer that.
Please contact me if you need help curating a visually appealing dating profile. This is actually a fantastic business idea.
What are you hiding? This particular hang-up of mine was exacerbated by a story from a close friend of my mom’s who went on a Tinder date with a man who sat down at the table, opened his mouth and literally had no teeth. This could’ve been avoided, just saying.
One Vague Photo + No Bio
Oooh, how mysterious. NEXT. *Swipes Left*
Great suit! Oh, wait… While I have absolutely no issue with you being married before, do you see me including photos of myself in my wedding dress on my wedding day? No. You don’t need to validate that you’re marriage material by including literal photos of you getting married. Ugh. I’d also really like to know how your ex feels about this?
Well, this is awkward. I’m sure you don’t really look like that gorgeous model earnestly running across the street in his blue suit with a briefcase. Also, watermarks. Come on man!
Unless you’re Paul Rudd or getting botox on a regular basis, you may not use photos older than 4 years, max. If you break this rule and meet up with someone who isn’t either a complete idiot or blind, they will know.
No, I’m really not interested in seeing photos of your fresh Gemsbok kill. You’d prove to be a much better provider if you just made sure you had food in your fridge.
No, I’m not referring to Jaqen H’ghar from Game of Thrones, I’m talking about men who don’t show their faces at all in their profiles. Not suspect at all. At least be like the other cheating dirtbags who actually admit that they’re looking for someone to have an affair with. Yes, this is actually a thing.
Look, my online background check game is strong AF, but I’m not that good. Who the hell are you in the one or multiple group shots that you’ve decided to confuse us all with? Photos with friends/family are good, excellent in fact because it shows me that you (hopefully) have social skills, but please make sure there’s at least one photo that’s obviously you.
With the bad, there is always good, and as I’m on a quest to not be a total cynic when it comes to dating in 2019, I will share two key things that definitely do work on profiles:
Spending a few minutes putting together a thoughtful summary about yourself goes a long way. I get how hard this is, I absolutely hate writing my own bios, but the effort you put into this will show. I’m not expecting you to summarise your entire life story in a limited amount of characters, but give me something that’s going to make me want to get to know you more if we do match. And if you manage to make me laugh before we’ve even engaged, you’re already a few steps ahead.
Content is Key
Including photos of yourself isn’t just about showing the world what you look like, it’s about giving people better insights into who you actually are. Anyone taking this swiping business seriously needs to see more of you. I’m not talking about endless vacuous selfies, stick to one of those if you must, but include a few pics of yourself doing stuff that interests you — socialising, travelling, eating, drinking, spending time outdoors. These are key elements that will help tell a story, more specifically your story.