This will be the first in a series of posts about my experiences with dating apps. In this one, I want to focus on the reasons why I, personally, am not interested in a person based on the information provided in a profile. Now, based on the app, that information may vary. Tinder provides minimal info, Hinge not much more, Bumble about the same, and OkCupid allows possibly the most. However, between the four of those, I have a decent idea of why I—for the most part—tend to swipe left. There are always exceptions to the rule, but, as I’ve learned, having standards is never a bad thing.
Plus, let’s be honest, a good portion of dudes are swiping right on everyone, sometimes I do meet their standards, or I am not their cup of tea—and that’s okay too.
These aren’t ranked or listed in any particular order, but they are the ones that tend to matter more than other smaller things that I might give a pass or that are, like, super general to the population. (Everyone and their mother knows by now we are bugged by fish pics. For years, I dated someone who worked with fish; I’ve seen more than enough of those already).
- They only have one picture (or none at all). I say no to this for a few reasons. I assume either they’re a catfish and it’s not actually them (especially if it’s a generic good-looking person on vacation vibes), or they couldn’t be bothered to put up more than one photo—which tells me they’re not that invested in the profile and might just be looking for a hookup. Extra no’s if the picture is just a meme or doesn’t show their face.
- I don’t find them attractive. Now, attraction is a deeply personal thing for each individual. And we can pretend to be above looks and all that, but it doesn’t quite work. I’m a mixed bag here because if someone is too attractive I usually talk myself out of swiping on them (because I feel unworthy/bridge troll-ish), but if it’s an automatic “nah” it’s to the left, the left. I definitely have a type of person I’m generally attracted to, but small details can bend and break their profile’s favor. For example, I have a huge weakness for tattoos, but I don’t like facial tattoos. And so on. A large part of this ‘pickiness’ is thanks to my friends who said that I need to know my value and who also boost my confidence on the daily.
- They don’t have a bio. This is one I’m trying to be less picky about, but I’m a word person! It doesn’t even have to be a good bio, but anything helps a little. The only kind of bio I don’t like at all is when they only list their height or their Snapchat—that’s like minimal effort. They even have templates on the internet to help! Just. Write. Something.
- If their bio didn’t work for me. Yes, I actually read bios. My least favorites are clichés; if the bio says “here for a good time, not a long time”, some variation on “work hard, play hard”, or has no personal information but tells me swipe right so I can “ask if interested” then it’s a pass. If they’re newly single (looking for a rebound), mention their ex (why?), or if they seem really bitter, jaded, or mean then it’s a pass.
- They’re too outdoorsy. Everyone is so goddamn active on their dating profiles. Rock climbing, kayaking, snowboarding, jumping off cliffs, going to the gym, and hiking all over America. It’s exhausting just to look at. You know what I like? The indoors. You know where pretty much all my hobbies take place? Indoors. Like, I seriously had to add “I like going for drives” to make it seem like I leave my house. There’s nothing wrong with having more sedate hobbies, but dating apps will sure make you feel this way. Likewise, I have nothing against people who like being active and I do like outdoorsy things (when the mood strikes), but I also don’t want to hike ten miles every weekend when I’d rather watch a horror movie.
- They have children. I know there are a lot of great single fathers and co-parents on these apps who have their lives together and, with the age range I swipe through, a good portion of the dudes in my area have at least one kid. However, at this point in my life and attempts at dating, I’m not ready to be with someone with kids—whether that leads to a serious relationship or not. Maybe in a few years or eventually this choice will change but for now I’m sticking with it.
- They’re just in town for a limited time. Welcome to the downside of living in a tourist destination! A good portion of the profiles do have the decency to mention they’re only nearby for the weekend or the week because they’re visiting Tahoe or what have you, but a hookup or quick date with someone I’ll never see again is not for me. I know people aren’t into the whole get-to-know-you portion before the date nowadays, but I need that and it just doesn’t jibe with the out-of-towners.
- I don’t meet the standards they’ve mentioned. Some people might say this is quitting the race before it begins, but hear me out. Some profiles state the person’s preferences in a variety of ways. For example, some men blatantly say they’re not interested in “overweight/fat/curvy/etc.” women and I definitely fall into that category. Plus, let’s be honest, that’s not a dude I’d want to be with anyway. Others might be looking for hookups, and I’m not. Or they state political preferences for partners, and so on. Additionally, this works in the opposite way where they might state a preference a little too enthusiastically and I’m not interested in being fetishized by anyone or in dating someone who clearly groups the world in us/them ways.
- We don’t seem to have much in common. Ugh, this one bothers me, because it’s a mix of my personal anxiety, stereotypes about other people, and public personas. Like, imagine I’m attracted to the person, they have a bio and it’s decent, but I don’t think we would get along in person because nothing immediately clicks as a shared interest based on this limited info. I know that I get stereotyped as the weird, artsy girl, but does that mean I don’t have anything in common with dudes who fit the muscular jock category? Are they putting on a persona? Am I? Although I probably would have more in common with other weird, artsy people, it seems limiting to only date based on stereotypes about a profile. This is a swipe left I want to work on turning to a swipe right (in some cases).
- They’re too 420-friendly. Something I’ve had to get used to with dating apps and the world of today is that a lot of people are 420-friendly. Like, I was (and still a bit am) one of those kids who took the DARE training very seriously. Limiting my options this way in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, however, seems constricting. So I have a spectrum I pay attention to when I’m on dating apps. Do they say they’re 420-friendly? Okay, maybe they do or don’t smoke weed. Do they have the symbols in their bio or say they’re specifically looking for a smoking buddy? Probably more than a casual user. However, if one of their pictures is a weed meme or shows them next to a plant, I’m out. Same, usually, if they actually work in the business. Again, there are sometimes exceptions to my personal swipe-left guidelines, but this is one I have a hard time changing.
- They’re looking for an adventure/travel buddy. Are they a serial killer? Is this an elaborate plot to bury my body in the desert? What confuses me the most about this is why they’re picking up a random person to go on this adventure/road trip with instead of, you know, someone they’re friends with? Does that mean they don’t have a friend? Like, they would rather go on an extended trip with a stranger (who could also be a serial killer) than someone they actually like and know. A day trip—sure I guess, but I still need to do the whole getting-to-know-you thing. This also loosely falls under the outdoorsy category.
Those are just eleven reasons why I swipe left. I have a whole slew of smaller, nitpicky things—like if a person has huge gauges in their ears (because it triggers my trypophobia a bit) or, yes, if they speak in Office quotes (I haven’t really seen the show). What’s important in the daily struggle of swiping left or right on profile after profile is finding what could or does work for me in various ways. I’m not a match for everyone, and they’re not always a match for me, and that’s okay. We’re all allowed our preferences, and our ways of bizarrely narrowing down the cut. In the end, of course, it all comes to down to the same hope. That somewhere, out there in the great beyond, is a person who might actually be compatible.