It’s a match! So what now?

So what happens when you match? I find that I either get no response at all or we have a great chat for a day or two and then I never hear from them ever again.

“What happened to that guy you were talking to?”

Sometimes I like to make up elaborate reasons for their disappearance…

“It appears he’s gone off to war, and if he doesn’t die on the frontline I can expect a response from him in three to five years.”

“I think I saw him on 48 Hours last night.”

“He’s walked headfirst into a Netflix marathon that will last the rest of his natural life.”

In the past, I just assumed when the conversation died that a guy had met someone else. But then I thought, if I’m thinking that, they might be thinking that too. So now instead of giving up right away, I send a cute, quirky, non-threatening follow-up text anywhere between four days and a week later. I usually send something like, Jonathan, it was brief but beautiful or RIP James, gone too soon. What might have been… If a guy has a sense of humour, he’ll respond. If he doesn’t, we probably weren’t a good match to begin with. The same goes for if he’s intimidated by my humour, or feels the need to tell me what I should and should not be saying and doing under his “FEMALE” stereotype. Eep! Run for your life!

Sometimes they have indeed met someone else (I’ve had that happen in a record seven minutes once. Seven minutes, man). But sometimes they’ve just been busy. So with the follow up text, what I am essentially doing is making contact in a non-threatening way. I am not reprimanding them for not following up with me, I am not putting them down or judging their lack of interest or investment, I am simply saying, “Hey! I’m still here, I’m still single and I’m still interested.” You can’t expect someone to invest everything in you before you have even met. And giving someone a break doesn’t make you a push over. I just think a lot of people get caught up in life, let the conversation die and don’t know how to start it back up again. Somebody has to take the first step. Sometimes I get a bite, “Oh man, hello, I’m sorry, I’m so bad at this, I just didn’t know how to respond to your message.”, Sometimes I don’t… *crickets chirping* Sometimes I only end up going on a few dates with them in the end, but the point is, had I not sent that follow up text, I never would have gone on a date with them at all.

I think women are often worried that if they chase men they may come off as desperate. But there’s a difference between coming off as desperate and showing someone that you are assertive and know what you want.

And besides, at the end of the day, you don’t know how many other people your match has matched with. You are in competition and you’re in it all the time. There are no rules about how many people you can talk to at once in the dating game. You could go on a date with a different man every night of the week if you wanted. I know people that have had several dates in one night.

When I meet someone that I really like, I immediately abandon my dating apps. But that’s because I am only looking for one. My goal is to meet one person that I can hang out with over and over again. But not everyone has that same end in sight and that’s where it gets tricky.

One guy I was seeing actually brought up a dating app on his phone while we were on an actual date and showed me another girl he’d been chatting to. I remember chuckling outwardly but inwardly I was wondering what the fuck was going on. Several things went through my head – why is he showing me this? Is this supposed to be cute? Is he trying to be funny? Is he showing me my competition? What is he trying to achieve here? Should I get my app out and show him his competition too? How am I supposed to respond to this? And finally, wow, I actually liked this dickhead.

In the end I had to assume this was just his way of indicating that our “situationship” was only ever going to be casual. That he just wasn’t that into me. It was disappointing. But it got me thinking…not everyone is like me. Not everyone dates one person at a time. And now, more than ever, people are keeping their options open. Everyone wants someone smarter, hotter, more successful. We live in an age of upgrading and upsizing, of getting in over our heads, of living beyond our means, wanting more, more, more. We live in a disposable culture and we are more than comfortable with disposing of each other.

Look at The Bachelor. This program normalises this behaviour. One guy dating twenty-five women at once. It made me start to wonder how many other women the guys I was matching with were seeing. What was my competition like? Was I on real life Bachelor and didn’t even know it? What could I do about it?

The answer is, basically nothing. There’s no use obsessing about all the other people your match is matching with, meeting up with, hooking up with. All you can do is keep looking, stay positive and hold fast to your own standards and boundaries.

Of course, this is if you even make it to the dating stage. I have matched with plenty of men I’ve never ended up meeting. For every guy I have met who is looking for something more than a hookup, I have met ten just looking for sex, I have met twenty that have a girlfriend and are just looking for a distraction, thirty that have just been dumped and are looking for an ego boost and about a hundred creeps that just like to send offensive messages to women so they can get off or prove that they are in control. A lot of guys use it because they are bored or just want attention.

It’s Emma’s Instagram

At least when guys are just looking for sex, you can generally tell straight away because they are very low investment from the start. They skip straight from the “Hi, how are you?” to “So do you like anal?” or “Send nudes” or “Wanna see my dick?” The concept of a natural progression is usually foreign to them. They think, “Hey beautiful, want your pussy pounded?” is an appropriate opening line. I can’t understand how the answer would be anything other than “No, thank you.” I guess guys think that women like sexually assertive men, so they think comments like this make them sound like lords, but it’s actually the opposite. It exposes them as inexperienced and completely out of touch with what women actually want. Nobody wants their lady parts “pounded”. Even the rise of the term “smash” has a negative connotation. “Wanna smash?” My phone? Yes. Into a million pieces. Like, thanks, Hulk, but I’m pretty busy these days. Every day. For the rest of the life. I do not want to smash. *Buys fifteen chastity belts for protection*

The good news is, whatever a guy is looking for, you’ll usually find out pretty quickly, unless they are a master catfish. But if a guy is showing signs that he ain’t worth shit, then chances are he ain’t worth shit. Moreover, he is unlikely to change. And as compatible as you think you might be, if a guy ain’t ready, you can’t waste your time waiting. I’ve missed opportunities while busy chasing the wrong ones. So now, if a guy is showing signs of low investment, if he is offensive or entitled, or just plain rude, I delete and move on. It doesn’t matter how cute he is, how complimentary he is or how great his ‘eggplant emoji’ is, if a man is not invested, neither am I. And the beauty of the dating app, is that you can just delete him and never have to speak to him or think of him again.

PSA: for this reason, I would not suggest linking your Instagram account to your dating app, nor indicating where you work, or giving your number out too soon, as it gives strangers access to you and your world outside of the app and to be fair, this person is stranger. Put yourself and your safety first, frens.

Dating app bios. Who needs ’em?

Writing an About Me on your dating profile or answering those pick your own adventure questions isn’t something anybody looks forward to. And chances are, unless you’re a massive narcissist, you probably don’t like doing this. It’s like writing a CV but worse because with this particular job application, you’re not trying to get someone to pay you to provide a service, you’re trying to get someone to hang out with you, for free, hopefully more than once…and enjoy it. Your work colleagues don’t have to like you, but your significant other does. 

The thing is, calling it out as dumb or stupid doesn’t help you. It actually just makes you seem as if you take yourself way too seriously and can cause you to come off as arrogant and negative. Better to just assume that everybody thinks it’s stupid and dumb but nobody like to talk about it.

When I first started online dating, I had no idea what to put in the About Me section. What was I supposed to say? Should I be writing about my life? Things that I like? Things that I don’t like? What I’m looking for? Did I even know what I was looking for? I didn’t want to sound negative or boring. I didn’t want to sound too positive and intense either. I can’t even remember what I wrote.

I almost gave up before I began. Almost. But I managed to come up with a few awkward lines, selected that I was interested in men, entered my age and selected a distance that I was happy to date within. To be honest with you, I had no idea what to choose for the distance option at first. I think I chose 100km and then slowly whittled it down, much like my will to go on.

My bios have ranged from looking for someone to raise a dog with, to looking for someone who will give me their last chicken nugget. I really like chicken nuggets. But unfortunately for me, everyone on Bumble is a fucking vegan.

Disclaimer: Vegans are really great. I really do admire you and your life choice. It is a very noble and kind way to live.

Everyone also appears to be in the gym for five or six hours a day and when they’re not, they’re out in the Grand Canyon doing some form of extreme sports, camping in Alaska, or brewing their own cider in a virgin rainforest somewhere. I think I know why you’re single, mate.

It’s important to sound interesting, but I don’t think anyone wants to sound exhausting. Most adults are VERY tired. So naturally we want a solid return on very little investment. It pays to come across as interesting, but I guess it depends on what you consider to be ‘interesting’ too. Some of the most interesting dates I have been on don’t include rock climbing in New Zealand or sailing to Santorini. They’ve been pretty low-key. They’ve usually been at dingy dive bars drinking five-dollar tins on a Tuesday night.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t sail to Santorini and if rock climbing is your thing, then you do you. Namaste, friend. I just feel like everybody is out here eating leaves and trying to find Ghandi and all I want is a New York Pizza and a beer.

Despite this, I have noticed that people have started being exceptionally picky about what they are after in terms of a potential partner too. But not me, I’d probably marry someone if they gave me a cheeseburger at this point.   

It’s Emma’s Instagram

So do bios really matter? I think they do. I usually swipe left on a guy if he doesn’t have anything written in his bio because I have to assume he is low investment and probably just trying to get laid, which is fine, it’s just not what I am looking for.

Bios create greater opportunity for more interesting and varied discussion. If I match with a guy I like to use something from his bio to start a conversation, this helps avoid the standard, Hi, How’s it going? How’s your week been? How was your weekend? type of conversations that so many people clearly abhor and want to avoid.

But when he doesn’t have anything written in his profile, tailoring opening lines becomes a little more difficult, unless I can pull something quirky from his pictures.

The profile is an opportunity to give potential partners an insight into what you’re really like and what you’re looking for. So it makes sense to be transparent, honest. However there is such a thing as being too honest or too prescriptive in your bio. If you’re too frank, or too demanding, you can actually come off as selfish, reductive and arrogant and you’ll wind up turning people off before they have even given you a chance.

These are some examples of bios I have read that have immediately prompted me to swipe left:

“Please don’t ask me about my weekend. That goes for what I’m doing on the coming (sic) or what I did on the one just gone. Just assume I spent it on the couch and loved it”

Wow, this guys sounds like a party, right? I get it. People want something special. They don’t want a run of the mill conversation opener. But the problem with the dude above is that he has started with a demand, a very specific demand, when he hasn’t in fact put anything on the table yet. He hasn’t proven himself to be anything other than ordinary, he has in fact just proven himself to be ultra-ordinary in that he has just admitted his weekend consisted of things that a lot of ordinary people pretty much do; chill on the couch. He is already being far too prescriptive, and all of this before anyone has even invested in him. It took me all of ten seconds to read his bio, swipe left and dodge that bullet.

This sort of feels like going to an improv class with actors who won’t buy into the scene: a lot of hard work! It would have been more prudent for this gent to put a positive spin on his bio by suggesting things he might like to talk about rather than what he doesn’t want to talk about.

“Likes: surfing, yoga, meditation. Dislikes: fat, ignorant or selfish”

I feel like he probably could have just swiped left on any fat chicks, right? Like, was it absolutely necessary to include this in his bio? Is he worried he might accidentally swipe right on a whale and not be able to escape? Is his name Jonah? I did swipe right on this guy in the hope of getting a match and indeed we did match. Naturally, I asked what his problem with fat chicks was and naturally, I was immediately deleted. I really like nachos, so I was probably too fat for him anyway.

“Would much rather see how you’re making the world a better place than photos of your lunch”

To this day, I have never seen anyone put a photo of their lunch on their dating profile. But part of me feels like this element would actually make online dating a hell of a lot better. I’d swipe right on a large serving of fries, no questions asked. Photos of all those sweet cheeseburgers you’ve eaten? Bring it on. An exotic cheeseboard, maybe some cured meats and a glass of dark red? Sign me up, this love is meant to be.

“Not looking for anything serious”

In the immortal words of Ariana Grande: Thank U, Next! Also, note to self: don’t wear that wedding gown you’ve been sitting on all these years to the first date.

I do think there is merit in being honest about what you want on online dating sites. But the above reads to me how it reads to every woman in the world – Hi! I would like to use you. I am utilising this statement as a disclaimer so I don’t have to take any responsibility for my behaviour.

There are women out there who are also in fact not looking for anything serious. But is anyone looking for something serious when they first meet someone? Usually I like to get to know someone before I even consider that question. But by saying you’re not looking for anything serious you are immediately revealing your level of investment in this game and instead of setting our expectations low, which is what this comment is surely intended to do, you make us question why we would waste our time with you at all.

Women aren’t just sitting around with nothing to do except wait for an offer of minimal investment, we are just as time poor as men are. Plus, half of the excitement around dating is the potential to meet someone who can actually enrich our lives, give us something to look forward to, give us a reason to wash our hair and maybe throw on a nice outfit. Someone who isn’t looking for anything too serious is not going to offer any level of enrichment. If you can’t be bothered, why should I bother? I immediately swipe left on these people.

Courting, dating, flirting, doesn’t work when people say things like, just so you know, all you can expect from me is a minimal amount of investment and probably some subpar sex. I’m not going to bother leaving the house for that. In many ways, this is a game, yes, but it isn’t Monopoly and there are no Get out of Jail Free cards.  

“No time wasters”

Are you trying to get a date or sell a car, mate?

“Tinder is pretty low on my priority list, so expect delayed responses”

I immediately swiped left so there was no need for any response, delayed or otherwise. I’d really like to know if old mate has gotten any matches with this winner of a disclaimer. I was tempted to try and match with him so I could ask why he was even on the site at all but then again, I couldn’t really wait six weeks for a response.

Again, here’s another guy indicating his level of investment before he has even had a conversation with a woman. “Tinder is pretty low on my priority list” – a.k.a. you are pretty low on my priority list so don’t expect too much. The reason Romeo and Juliet was such a hit isn’t because they died tragically at the end. It was because Romeo was a lover, his investment was high, he WANTED to woo Juliet. I’m not saying this is Shakespeare we are dealing with here but I think we can do better than expect delayed responses. You gotta want to woo, brodeos.

“Wild seeker. Man of spirit and poetry. Following a path with heart, where it leads, out there and down through the centre. Fire and wine, alive in nature, in vast open spaces. Wild surf, midnight swim, roof of canvas under skies that burn with stars. Drunk on silence and myth.”

Okay, maybe we are dealing with Shakespeare here…

“If you lack manners, swing on poles or have a drinking problem jog on (sic) the F@#k on”

Or run…whatever you prefer.

If you drink bourbon out of a can in any of your snaps, it ain’t gunna (sic) work out

Should I drink it out of the bottle or…?

I often think men don’t realise just how much they are revealing about their own character when they write their bios. Confidence is attractive, intolerance is not. Making sweeping judgements in your bio is not a great way to find a match. It just reveals you as judgemental and close-minded. Besides, your bio is YOUR bio. It’s an opportunity to talk about yourself, to sell yourself. You shouldn’t be using it to judge or shame others. Again, if this bloke doesn’t like what he sees, he can very easily swipe left. What does this comment achieve?

There are no disclaimers to avoid disasters or bad matches.

All these examples make online dating and the prospect of finding a worthy match seem pretty dire. But there is a small hope. The following are some of my favourite online dating bios so far:

“Just want to get a dog with someone then keep getting more dogs”

Um, hi, husband. This is cute. He is being funny and non-threatening while indicating a love of dogs. Every woman loves a guy who loves animals because it usually indicates that this man is gentle and kind. In one sentence, this guy had indicated that he is boyfriend material. And even if he isn’t looking for anything serious, he’s gonna get laid. In less than twenty words, he has cast his hook and he is going to get bites and he did it all with one sentence.

“Just a guy looking for a girl to have beer and pizza with”

Simple, non-threatening, indicates he actually wants to spend time with someone. Unfortunately that person wasn’t me, but simply put, he is willing to invest his time, which is more than old mate “Tinder is a low priority” can say. This guy is not trying to skip any of the stages of dating, and he’s not looking for any shortcuts. At the end of the day, he might just be looking to get laid but this bio is going to get more right swipes than the guy who doesn’t want anything too serious. Again, with one sentence this guy has achieved what many men on dating sites cannot; Humility, honesty, interest, and all with a simple, non-threatening statement.

And that’s about it so far, just two gems in the vast sea of single men that I have discovered. I’m sure there are more out there. I may never come across them but I have hope that they exist.

Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay. But the dating app bio is a great way to give someone a glimpse into your personality.

These have given people a glimpse into mine:

Professional French Kisser

Looking for someone to raise a dog with

Single gal looking for a pickle jar opener

I understand if you’re into extreme sports and extreme lifestyles and extreme dating but I just want to sit on the couch and eat some extreme nachos, man

Looking for beer, pizza and nice guys

I like Jessica Chastain, chicken nuggets and horror films. Indiana Jones is pretty good. Being open minded and kind is better. Looking for my density, like one George Douglas McFly

I don’t want something too serious either and I am very time poor but I am certainly looking for a little bit of effort on both mine and a potential match’s part.

I do have a certain type of look I go for in a guy but that’s for me to know and to use my own discretion with, not to spell out in my bio. Plus, half the guys I’ve dated with success have had a look that I typically wouldn’t go for. I always find that quirky, funny, non-threatening bios work better than a laundry list of what I don’t want or am not interested in. And funnily enough, being honest, humble and kind isn’t that hard if you are an honest, humble and kind person.

The bottom line is, when someone shows you who they are. Believe them.

Choosing Profile Pics

I have had to learn which profile pictures work and which ones don’t through trial end error. I learned almost immediately that group photos were a no-no, as were pictures from too far away, photos with anything covering my face, including hats, sunglasses, shade. I discovered pretty quickly that anything covering the face suggests I may have some kind of gross disfigurement that I am trying to hide, perhaps I have a skin condition, maybe I’m cross-eyed. I’m not – but Tom, 36, from Redfern has no way of knowing that and might swipe left just to be safe. So, I abandoned anything too arty for good old, standard headshots that showed my full face, including my teeth.   

But there is a danger in this approach too. I have had men enquire as to why I only have shots of my face and requested full-length shots of me before willing to chat further. Just to “be sure”. Chill out, dude, I promise I have legs. Probably too fat for you though, which is what many men assume when you don’t have full body photographs. Sending them full-length pics does sort of take the enjoyment out of meeting up and seeing the look on their face when they realise I’m actually a Centaur though.

Actual photo of me
(Credit: Ginger Opal)

I understand that people have physical requirements in their minds for what their partner should look like, and that’s fair enough. But with the rise of social media there is more pressure than ever on our appearances. It seems everyone on Instagram is either a personal trainer, supermodel or influencer of some sort, so everyone looks fit, tanned, primped, preened, and perfect one hundred percent of the time and those who aren’t must be in constant state of anxiety. Social media is pushing some pretty hectic ideals for us mere mortals to live up to and dating apps allow us to be pretty picky.

I have a type I tend to be attracted to. But some of the best dates I have have been on are with people who aren’t that type, who don’t train six days per week or even at all, who may in fact be the complete opposite of what I would normally go for. It’s about chemistry rather than centimetres.

It’s hard to tell if you’re going to have chemistry with someone from a photo. There’s no vibe, you can’t tell what sort of presence a person has until you meet them in person. You can’t hear the sound of their voice. You can’t watch the way that they move. You don’t know how they interact with people around them. It’s difficult to see their character. Sometimes they show it to you via their words and sentiments when you start messaging each other but with online dating apps you’re basically making choices based on the quality of people’s photos and that is how they are making choices about you. So:

  • Ditch the sunglasses, hats, shades, ski mask
  • Smile (showing your teeth)
  • Make sure you’re close enough to the camera (that fleck in the distance that might be you is no good)
  • Avoid group photos (which one are you?)
  • Make sure the pics are of a good quality (not grainy)
  • Choose pics that are relatively recent (less than 5 years old)
  • Be sure to get your hooves and tail in the shot

Which dating app do I choose for good dates?

The bad news is, there isn’t one. There is currently no app that is able to weed out cheaters, losers, weirdos, fuckboys, and married dudes. Unfortunately, you have to do that yourself. It’s hard at first but thankfully it gets easier over time.

When I first started online dating apps didn’t exist yet. So I chose Plenty of Fish. It was in a word; overwhelming. I was flooded with messages from everyone and anyone. By the end of the first day I had received messages from five hundred men. FIVE HUNDRED MEN. Some of which were married, some of which were thrice my age, some of which just wanted a woman, they didn’t care who. I freaked out and deleted it a day later. It was too much and I was not prepared. Was I supposed to reply to everyone? I didn’t want to spend hours sending rejection emails but I felt like a jerk not responding at all. What was the etiquette? Were there rules I was supposed to follow? I found myself wishing two things; the first was that my matches were more compatible with me, the second was that there was a way I could only be matched with people I was interested in.

Not long after I made these two wishes, Tinder appeared, like a glorious beacon of light from the date-o-sphere. It was exactly what I had been looking for. An opportunity to see what was out there without having to reject dudes I wasn’t interested in. Plus, it took the awkwardness out of approaching guys who conversely might not be interested in me.

Tinder was pretty wholesome back then though. That is, I never received any dick pics. I spent weeks talking to some guys before meeting them. Sometimes it felt like having a random pen pal. Guys took a long time to work up to even asking me on a date. Now, it’s pretty much “Hi, do you wanna suck on my ding dong?” Or “Do you like anal?” And God forbid the answer is ‘no’, or I choose not to respond at all. Both of those options tend to earn me a one-way ticket to Vitriol Town.

After a while, I met someone IRL, so I gave up on online dating. When that ended and I decided to go back to online dating, a new platform; Bumble, existed. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have the power, or that I get to make the first move or if it’s just that the quality of men and what they are looking for is higher on this platform but it’s the only one I have gotten any good dates out of so far (however marginal this may be). This could also be nothing to do with the app. It may have everything to do with me and the the fact that I am just getting better at noticing red flags.

For every app I have tried, I have a horror story to go with it. Men who actually call women “females”, in order to dehumanise and exclude them, men who don’t understand the concept of a natural progression when it comes to conversation, men who have a ridiculous idea of how a women should speak and “behave” as if it’s up to them and not in fact the woman herself, men who say they are gentlemen gut are actually the opposite, men who hate women, men who have threatened to rape me. Yes, RAPE ME. Hashtag WTF?

Find more posts like this on my Instagram

The bottom line is, garbage men exist on all platforms. There is no one app or site that is immune to their trashery and thus far there are no apps that contain a rating system. However, I hear that one is on its way. You can read more about Plum here.

Basically, if you aren’t discerning, if you ignore red flags, or if the man is very good at lying, you could definitely end up on a date with a douche regardless of where you met them or how high value you are.            

The bottom line is, you just have to try each app out and choose which one works best for you. Choose more than one. You never know where your next partner is going to pop up. And don’t just stick to online dating. Try speed dating, talk to guys in Kmart, drop your handkerchief in the street (hey, you never know), order a cute guy at the bar a drink and have the bartender deliver it (this has worked for me several times – guys are always flattered when a woman buys them a drink and usually they make an effort to say hello), go to Bunnings and ask some random hottie for help. Guys love to help, especially with hardware.

Side note: if you’re in Australia, Bunnings is an untapped resource for single, beardy, attractive men who are good with their hands. Plus, Sausage Sizzle. Win/win.

But most importantly, don’t be disheartened by those dumb guys who speak to you inappropriately. Just delete and move on. You don’t owe them anything. The only person you owe is yourself.