This is the second in a series of posts about my experiences with dating apps. Before I focused on the “11 Reasons Why I Swipe Left” and this time I’ll be explaining why I, personally, am interested in a person based on the information they present in a dating 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 right. There are always exceptions to the rule, but, as I’ve learned, having standards is never a bad thing.
While some people swipe right on everyone to increase their chances of making a match, I prefer to be more selective in who earns the position of Possible Suitor™. That doesn’t mean I’m without my many weaknesses, some of which many contradict my ‘swipe left here’ list.
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 could be unique to the person or that are, like, super general to the population (like a preference for hair color).
- I find them attractive. Attraction is a very personal preference, but we can’t pretend that looks don’t matter on dating apps where you should post a recent picture or risk being called a catfish. I’m getting better at matching with ‘conventionally’ attractive people who, in real life, I would feel inadequate compared to because I have wonderful friends who help build up my confidence. You’ll see in other sections of this list that there is some crossover between things I find attractive and physical traits, but, for the most part, I don’t have particular preferences for things like hair color, eye color, etc. Whereas a teenage me would have loved a guy with longer hair, the current me is a bit more particular about grooming. However, I also acknowledge a lot of pictures aren’t always the best representation of what a person may actually look like so I have other categories.
- They make me laugh. Whether it’s in their bio, a funny picture or meme, or some other way, if they make me laugh in their profile the chances of me matching increase by a good percentage. I can’t even predict what type of humor works best. Puns are fantastic. Sometimes crude humor does the job. Dark humor jibes well. Sometimes I’m in the mood for sarcasm. All I know is a person who makes me smile is one I wouldn’t mind being around. And, yes, I’ve matched with joke accounts for the hell of it.
- They have certain kinds of jobs. Okay, these aren’t guarantees—and not everyone lists their jobs—but my interest is always perked for certain professions. Some of them have totally understandable backstories (like, hey, I can relate to you because x, y, z) and others I have no idea why. It’s not even like a gold digger thing because everyone and their mother is an entrepreneur on Tinder these days. But you can bet I love to match with teachers and other academics, chefs, writers, musicians, wildlife ecologists and other scientists, accountants, and bartenders.
- They have a decent bio. Now, there are a lot of ways to write a ‘decent’ bio so I can’t quite say what is and isn’t successful. Some are funny. Some are personal. Some are the right amount of sarcasm or dark humor. Generally, they give me a taste of what the person is like and don’t fixate too much on any of my don’ts. Occasionally I screenshot some of the best and worst bios I come across to share with my friends or for posterity’s sake, but, like attraction, this one depends a bit more on chemistry than others. Some people are cool with a bunch of symbolic emojis and others prefer words. Some prefer to be up front with their baggage and others like a bit of mystery. Everyone’s different, but at least having a bio with a modicum of effort put in shows that that person cares enough.
- We have common interests. I can guarantee that if they mention they like going to museums, get competitive over Jeopardy and trivia, and enjoy reading then they definitely have my attention. If they mention a TV show I enjoy, horror movies, or anime I notice. If they have a picture taken at a Disney park I’m mentally imagining what a trip with that person would be like. And if, amazingly enough, we have a ton of things in common, I swipe right immediately.
- They’re of a certain nationality. Generally, I don’t have a weakness for Americans or a certain region of Americana, despite my knowledge of our different accents. So a person being from Texas or California or Maine doesn’t really hold advantages over another. However, certain countries and nationalities do have preference. Obviously, I have a weakness for Kiwis, because I’m sure my Mum would love it if I moved to New Zealand. Additional countries with this weird advantage are Italy, Greece, Australia, Ireland, and Sweden. This doesn’t mean other countries are at a disadvantage, but I’m culturally drawn to these ones already.
- They have tattoos. Remember how I said certain physical traits could be an advantage? Yeah, here we have tattoos. I’m instantly drawn to people with them, especially when they’re noticeable and often when they’re tastefully done and gorgeous. Like I said on my “Left” list, I don’t really like face tattoos, but everything else pretty much goes. Often, analyzing a person’s tattoos can tell me more about them than a bio could. Here’s something they got a whim; here’s something they really care about; this is their aesthetic. It’s also a common interest, and something I really care about.
- They have a nice smile. Again, here’s a physical trait that can be an advantage. I’d also like to specify that I don’t mean perfect teeth; sometimes dental imperfections can be charming. A nice smile automatically makes a person at least 15% more attractive. It shows a bit of personality too. Do they open their mouth wide with their head thrown back, laughing? Is it more subdued as if they’re telling an inside joke? Do they have a dimple that only shows when they smile? I’m looking for someone who I can imaging smiling with and at for all the years to come—all the better if it’s a cute one.
- They’re a foodie. And I don’t mean this in the general ‘let’s go for sushi’, ‘tacos are life,’ or ‘pineapple on pizza is a sin.’ I’m passionate about food, regional and cultural cuisines, and eating in general. I have a cooking Instagram. It’s great to see everyone so hopped up on IPAs and other drinks, but a genuine enthusiasm for food is always welcome. Someone who not only will appreciate my cooking, but meals out, trying new things, and maybe cook for me as well. An adventurous palate!
- They have decent taste in music. Since Tinder can be linked with a person’s Spotify account, there’s a lot to be said about people’s taste in music. Occasionally, on other sites, people will list their favorite artists, which is always helpful. The “Anthem” feature is interesting since it’s hard to say whether that is their favorite song, one they’re currently enjoying, or a vibe they’re trying to pass on. Seeing their top music can tell you just enough to let you know if you could stand a road trip with this person. Bonus points if they have any of my favorite music in their rotation already.
- They’re interested in me. Okay, this might seem vain but I often pay for my dating apps so I can see who ‘likes’ me. This makes it a bit easier to match and respond to people and guarantees that I’m interacting, for the most part, with people who are already intrigued by my profile and what I have to offer. While this doesn’t always end perfectly (no message, un-matching, ghosting, etc.) it does make sure that I am swiping right on someone who has already shown interest—kind of like giving my number to a person at the bar who has already bought me a drink; they make a first move and I return the favor if I feel interested. Plus, let’s face it, it’s always nice to feel wanted.
In general, I’m way pickier about who I swipe right on than who I swipe left on. There’s nothing wrong with having boundaries and standards that you hold yourself to on dating apps, even if it means you’re not dating as much or are constantly stuck in the talking phase. I’d say for every 20 likes I receive, maybe 1-3 of those become matches, depending on so many of these factors. And while it does seem arbitrary to miss out on a possible good match because of so many reasons, it seems just as likely that I can find a better one for these reasons and more.
At the end of the day, all we can do is hope that compatibility counts for something, and that that something will be worth wading through countless options and waiting for.