Dating apps - the modern way to date. Media portrayal of "when dates go wrong" has taken isolated incidents and made them the norm, so the likelihood of meeting somebody in a bar and starting something new is now very small. People just don't trust each other.
Dating apps make dating safe and easy. Scrolling through profiles and choosing whether you like them or not has never been easier. It's like shopping for your soulmate and you get an entire aisle to pick one from. All of them are different in their own way, but a lot are the same in many ways too.
I have been using dating apps for over a year, have had my own degree of success, but am now just using them to people watch and for entertainment - yes that's right, entertainment! I use Plenty of Fish, Tinder and Bumble. Let's explain a little about each one first:
• Plenty of Fish (or PoF) - this is the most complex of the three. You input a lot of information about yourself, likes and dislikes, what you are looking for and personality, there is even a "Chemistry Test" to complete for compatibility (although I am yet to see a profile with this completed). You then add photos of yourself, in the hope of attracting that one person, and write a detailed "About me" description. You are shown photos of potential matches in your area and when you click on them you are taken to their profile. There is then lots of information allowing you to decide whether or not to make contact. PoF also has a "Meet Me" section, which is a quick swipe where you decide based on one photo whether or not you would like to meet somebody - this is however a paid section and as such nobody uses it!
• Tinder - this is the famous dating app, where users swipe left or right depending on whether they like the look of the person in the photograph. Right for yes and left for no. Tinder allows you to view all of their profile photos, which can range from 1 to 8 images. If you like the look of the person and want to learn more, then you can tap on the bottom of the photo for their description - some people use it and others don't. When a match occurs, the onus is generally on the male to make initial contact
• Bumble - this dating app is similar to Tinder, but laid out differently. On Bumble, the user scrolls up page by page to view details of the person that they are looking at and their additional images, but like Tinder it's a left or right swipe depending on whether you are attracted to that person. Unlike Tinder, when a match occurs, the onus is on the female to make the first move, in fact the male cannot send the first message and the lady has just 24 hours to send that first message. If you particularly like your match then you can use a function to extend that 24 hours to 48 hours.
All sounds very complicated, but it really isn't. I have found that the best "quality" ladies use Bumble, then Tinder and bottom of the pile are users of PoF. Bumble users tend to be professionals who enjoy "the finer things in life and world travel", Pof users are less likely to be professionals and mostly enjoy "watching tv, going to the pub and family time".
I have decided to write this, with a view to pointing out, from a man's perspective, why the women on these apps become unattractive, despite how they may look. I also want to point out where women have their information wrong, when it comes to the male users of these apps. I know some men do not read the description that is painstakingly laboured over and go purely on looks, but there are many female users who do exactly the same thing.
Let's look at how the profile is viewed when read.
There are many ways that profiles are written and the majority are very negatively composed, others are amusing and others are very sensitively and intelligently put together.
By "negatively composed", I mean that they are an endless diatribe of why the user is hacked off with dating apps and men in general and what a potential match shouldn't do, shouldn't say in the first message and a very tight description of how they should look! They use phrases such as "just jog on" if a user is looking for something particular such as "one night stands", "a skinny supermodel" or even "doesn't like children". These are all things that put a potential match off when they read your profile - it comes across as aggressive and being written by somebody with "attitude" and a dislike of men in general... I mean if you dislike men so intensely then why are you looking for one?
Sizeism is rife - I once read one lady's profile and it simply read:
"What do you call a man under 6 feet tall? A friend"
How is this conducive to finding a match? OK it made me smile, but also made me realise what I was facing - I am 5 feet 8 inches and in the dating game, considered a "short a**e" and therefore not worthy of a date. Why limit your options to finding a good man, who can satisfy your every requirement, because he is an inch or two shorter than you when you have your heals on? It all seems to be about appearance, which immediately is a left swipe for me, because it shows how shallow these "beauties" are. "I want to wear heals when I go out and therefore this adds 4 inches to my actual height of 5 feet 3 inches" - oh so you are actually a "short a**e" too then?
Here is a quote from another profile. This one belonged to an attractive woman of 52 who was 5 feet 2 inches and looking for somebody of a similar age:
"Must be over 5 foot 10 (as I like to wear heals) and have a full head of dark hair".
I thought, honey if he's reached 50 plus and he still has a full head of hair he's done well, but if it's still dark then he's using Grecian! If I wrote a similarly specific profile description and said, for example, "Must be a size 8 to 10, 34 BB and have red curly hair" I'd be shot on sight and get ignored by every woman who came into contact with my profile for being a misogynist! And it would probably be screen shot and shared around social media.
Clichés are another overused medium in Profile Descriptions - two of my absolute no-no's are "looking for my partner in crime" and "love to travel abroad and in the UK".
Looking for your "partner in crime"? Well I have no desire to help you bump off your ex, dismember him and scatter him around the county! I work in prisons, but have no desire to actually reside in one, thank you very much! LEFT SWIPE!
So you like travelling and holidays abroad and in the UK? I think that goes without saying, we ALL do! The fact that you mention it in your profile, for me, means one of two things. Either you could not think of anything interesting to write in your profile and thought "travelling" made you sound interesting or mysterious, OR you are looking for a partner who will whisk you away somewhere warm and sandy 3 or 4 times a year! LEFT SWIPE! I once called somebody out on this, we matched and I asked her "I see you like travel, what's the nicest place you've ever been to?" She replied "Scotland." I asked "No outside the UK". Her response "Oh, I've never been abroad, but really would like to; maybe we could go somewhere together." So you want me to take you abroad, because you can't or won't take yourself? Yet her profile stated that she liked to travel abroad.
Ladies complain that they feel their profiles go unread, but given the amount of profiles that I have read which are written in this way, there is no wonder that men don't bother reading them. I can now quite accurately predict, just from a photograph, whether a profile is written in this way.
The other thing that puts me off potential matches is "attitude" in a profile - when a profile is worded in a way that is aggressive towards potential matches. Many profiles are worded in a way that aggressively states what the person is looking for, what a match should and should not have in their profile photos, what a match should and should not behave like, how they should word their contact message etc., these profiles usually end with the words "if this is you then 'jog on'." I hate this expression.
If you are writing a profile, ladies, and you want to attract a potential mate, then tell us about yourself, put some effort into it. Make us smile, grab our attention. Don't, don't, DON'T use clichés, or drone on at inordinate lengths about how bad men are, or Tinder in general is; listing your assumptions about how men are all after one thing, hung up on their ex, or married. These things just make you sound like Eeyore talking politics and nobody dates a donkey!
The profile picture is the first impression - it's the thing that makes us decide if we wish to delve deeper into this person's profile. In which case why put your profile image as a meme, a black screen, a photo of your kids, a photo of a landscape or a really close up photo of your eye? Really? Am I going to look at the rest of your pictures? Erm... no! As for my last example: is your profile a jigsaw, do I have to print off each photo in order to build a composite of your face?
There are a few things not to do when deciding which photos to include in a profile:
• Don't use filters, ESPECIALLY Snapchat filters - if I want to see you with bunny ears, then I will buy you some, and if I want to see you with stars around you I will bang my head on something solid! These filters do not give an accurate representation of you and most of the time make you look scarily gruesome! When I meet you, I won't recognise you and when I finally do see through all of the wrinkles, I may feel the need to iron your face and make you wear the rabbit ears and shiny red nose that I bought along with me to make you actually look like your profile picture!
• Pouting - NO! Some of you look like a puffer fish trying not to kiss a shark's backside! Just smile and be natural - show me the sparkle in your eyes and the smile that makes the sun jealous.
• Skiing Photos - women complain that men's photos always show them holding a fish (you would be surprised how many women have photos like this - you CANNOT describe yourself as an animal lover and stand there holding a suffocating fish) or standing by their car or motorbike. Well in my experience 75% of the female profiles I have visited show a photograph of them on the slopes leaning on their skis or something similar. We do not wish to see you in skiing goggles, hat, scarf, gloves, skiing overalls, big boots etc. All we can see is your red nose and all we can imagine is the copious amounts of snot you were trying to snivel up it, in order to have the photo taken without it running down and over your top lip onto your cashmere scarf!
• Tongue - Please do not upload a photo of you sticking out your tongue, especially if you are over 50. It just isn't attractive in the slightest. I guess ladies think that it makes them look playful and fun, maybe even mischievous. It really doesn't, it just makes me think that you ran out of photograph ideas
• Blurry Images - Given modern technology and the age of the selfie being upon us, there is zero excuse for the photos on your profile to be photos of old photographs or blurry in any way shape or form. They do not allow us to see what you look like
• Face Only - Please do not give me 8 photos of your head, from pretty much the same angle! I get what you look like after the first 2 or 3. I want to see more - show your personality in them, your style, show me what you like to do in your spare time (except skiing for obvious reasons) - it's amazing what can be hidden when all that you are seeing is a face. Show me you in different clothes and at different times of the day - do not show me photos of yourself in different outfits in front of the same mirror, with the outfit that you were in in the previous image lying on the bed behind you or in a heap around your feet!
• Cheesy Puffs - Specific example here of what not to do. This particular (large - I think BBW is what they refer to themselves as) lady thought that it was attractive to place a photograph of her sitting in a plastic chair on her patio, legs out in front of her, slippers on, fag in one hand and an oversized packet of cheesy puffs in the same hand, her other hand shoving a handful of said cheesy puffs into her mouth! Hmmmm, NOT attractive in the slightest!
The things people do! And then they wonder why they are having little or no success. Many will even combine all of these things into one profile.
My profile has a variety of photographs, all taken recently, in different places, doing different things and in different forms of attire. One photo in particular got me a great deal of abuse from a few women. It is a photograph of me and a horse, I'm sure that I have no need to explain the quantity of female profiles that I have come across where they are pictured with a horse! Apparently the fact that I am shown with a horse who had buried his head in my chest upon our first meeting, shows me to be weak and feeble and not a man at all; I was told that it was not manly, was unattractive and "wimpish". One woman really went to town on me about it, in a very abusive way, and it was really quite upsetting, but in essence shows the sort of person that she is and many others are on these sites.
Lots of ladies are looking for a gentleman, who is attentive, compassionate, caring etc., but when they get one, you discover they are actually attracted to bad boys and find that they think you have some kind of ulterior motive because you are "too nice!" No, I am just being who I am - a genuinely nice guy and a gentleman who wants to treat you right.
Another reason for the above, of course, is that these women have been treated so badly by other men, that they do not believe they deserve the right to have somebody actually be nice to them. This really saddens me, that many men treat women in this way, which gives women the impression that this is normal and being treated properly is not. I had one match who took advantage of me being nice, to the point where I found myself paying her household bills as I felt sorry for her. I had another who was convinced I was a really nasty narcissist, using incredibly complex psychological games to entrap her, when all I was doing was being genuinely kind and caring towards her because that is who I am and who I was brought up to be. She could not find a box to put me in, based on her past experiences, and consequently I was told it was over.
My experience and the matches that I have dated have, unfortunately, led me to conclude that the majority of us who use dating apps are, in some way or other, "damaged", usually psychologically, by some incident in our life or experience with past partners. This therefore hinders our ability to "relationship" normally and consequently leads to us repeating cycles that ensure we remain in. To think that at some point in the future, every person in the modern world will have been on a dating app at some point in their lives!
Statistics actually show this to be true - they show that twice as many single people (compared to married people) suffer from mental illness, with single women being twice as likely as single men to suffer from severe psychological disorders. Showing that the majority of women on dating apps (at least two thirds of them) are completely bonkers! You have at best a 1 in 3 chance of dating a decent woman (women your chance is 2 out of 3 for dating a decent guy) - therefore for every 3 women I am matched with, only one is not suffering because of her past, if I am lucky.
All of that said, women are definitely the controllers where on line dating is concerned. They have the upper hand in what is acceptable for them to put in their profiles and photos. A guy doing the same sort of thing would end up having his profile reported a number of times and considered insulting or offensive for his wording. Women can state exactly what they are looking for even down to height, hair colour, facial hair etc. - a man doing that would be considered as an "AVOID". Apparently women can write whatever they like, regardless of how offensive it is - again, a man would not get away with this. It seems people forget that they are trying to attract somebody who will like them and want to go out with them and at some point, presumably, enter into a relationship with them.
My own view on the whole profile thing is: honest images, that show not just my face but my whole clothed body, in clothes I like to wear and regularly do, in places that I like to visit. In terms of description, I describe myself and my personality honestly and succinctly and am honest about what I enjoy doing. I've been told that all of this makes me stand out from the crowd, but because it is so different to most male profiles it makes it look suspicious to potential matches! How ridiculous, that an honest profile can create suspicion amongst a myriad of fake ones, or rather people being insincere about who they are.
Due to everything I've detailed here, I have decided to limit my use of dating apps to "fun" only - by which I do not mean one night stands or any such shenanigans - that is people watching and entertaining myself, trying to guess from the initial image what the person will say about themselves and how their profile will read. I have also come to the conclusion that the majority of profiles are just people looking the way they think will attract the opposite sex, in terms of both images and description. I think many of the images are staged specifically for the dating app and that the description of self is worded using "commonalities" that are identifiers when searching for a compatible match.
During my research for this piece, I did speak to people who had matched on dating sites and found the love of their life. I spoke to more, however, who had trusted in dating apps for years (7 years is the longest anybody I spoke to had continuously been using these apps) and had no success at all. So it can be successful, but only for a very small minority of people.
I have decided to match the organic way, i.e. the meeting of minds and physicality that comes from a natural meeting somewhere, by chance, be it at a park or a bar or some such. Using dating apps just causes you to force the issue, when in reality it should happen naturally and in its own time. If it doesn't happen, then at least I have known true love, which unfortunately ended due to terminal illness. I am just going to get out and actually talk to people and if anything is meant to happen then it will. If not, then I will just enjoy my own company and continue to take myself on dates! Or I guess I could register as an escort and have the ladies pay me to take them on dates or better still on holidays abroad... certainly worth considering if all else fails!
I will leave you with one final thought, rather 'helpfully' provided by a friend who has been happily married for many, many years. He said "You should avoid the Supermarket Dating App. I've heard that you just end up with a 'bag for life'!"