Longtime readers may remember that my first-ever column (published in October 2017 – wow!) was about the dating app Tinder. Well, after two years off, I find myself back on Tinder. Is it ideal? Probably not. Is it the simplest way to “meet” people so you can get to the first date, especially considering my weird and busy schedule? Sure is. Will it lead to finding true love? It worked for my brother and his girlfriend! I cling to that as I swipe. 

Men are not always good at presenting themselves on the app, which involves a few pictures and a little “about me” section. Maybe it’s because they aren’t socialized to constantly think about what they look like and how others perceive them in the way that women are. I know a lot (perhaps even most) of my readers are way past the Tinder age or stage, but if you’ve got a young person in your life using the app, please forward this to them or something. It’s hard out here. 

I’m used to a statistically surprising amount of pictures of men holding up fish they’ve caught. I’m not exactly sure what the point of the “fish pic” is. To show their passion for the outdoors? To prove they can provide sustenance? More recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of pictures of men with a dead deer they’ve clearly just shot. And this might just be me, but even though I do support hunting and understand its importance for the overall welfare of the ecosystem, looking at Bambi with his tongue hanging out of his mouth doesn’t really put me in the mood for romance. If you want to show that you like to hunt, what about a picture of yourself in the woods with your shotgun? Or even just holding the antlers by themselves.   

Opening messages are another tricky subject. And I get it. Not everyone is a professional writer, and trying to make the first move in anything is always nerve-wracking. I see a lot of “hey” as the first message. It’s the basic, most standard-operating-procedure opening line. Utterly neutral. There is nothing to either offend or excite. Try spicing it up with an emoji at least. It does not reassure the woman you are messaging that you’re willing to put in a great deal of thought and effort.   

Opening with a compliment on my (or anyone’s) looks is a bit of a gamble. You have to phrase it just right. I also would not recommend using the looks-first approach in person. A good opening message about my physical appearance that I’ve received on Tinder: “I think you’re absolutely stunning and the fact it comes across so naturally is really impressive.” A bad one: “Never thought big tits could rule out hairy armpits.” Or: “Hey, care for a roll in the hay?” (Yes. That was the first thing someone said to me.)

When in doubt, if there’s a pet in someone’s profile, just ask about it. Everyone loves to talk about their pets.  


For the curious, I do frequently send the first message and make the first move (my dad always said: “If you want the job done right, do it yourself!”). And the most common “opening line” I get is usually about my large sword tattoo, which is on my arm and visible in my pictures.   

I see some bios that say almost nothing but: “I have a car, a house and a job.” Which is very nice, of course, but it doesn’t tell me much about you as a person. I also have a car, a house, and a job. I’m not looking for a provider, I’m looking for a partner. Men complain when women only date them for their money, but if that’s what you’re advertising as your primary feature, that’s what you’ll attract. 

In my time out of the dating pool, apparently huge numbers of men in my age bracket got super into mustaches. I’m seeing so many mustaches on so many men. I don’t know if it was a side effect of the pandemic – I’m sure mustaches are easier to fit under a face mask than a full beard. (If anyone has any intel on this, please let me know. I am so confused.) I don’t want to tell anyone what to do with their body, because I hate when people do that to me, but mustaches just remind me of my Uncle Tim and my high school track coach, also named Tim. While they both rocked the silver soup strainer and were great men, they’re not really who I want to be thinking about over a candlelight dinner, you know what I mean? 

There are also people who seem to see Tinder as a venue to air their grievances to the world. For example, the profile that says: “Is a fun, attractive, intelligent, outgoing woman too much to ask for? Answer: Yes.” It’s an immediate swipe left on anyone who has that attitude about women! (Remember, for Tinder, left swipe is bad and right swipe is good. Think Left = L for loser. Right = Mr/Ms Right.) There’s also: “Guess I’ll just be single forever.” With that attitude, probably!

I’m not usually the type of person who says things like: “The energy you put out into the world is what you receive in return.” Or, really, the person who talks about “energy” in any context other than with regard to climate change and electricity, but jeez. Express yourself all you want, but nobody really wants to go out with a Debbie Downer. Life is hard and sucks sometimes but you won’t find “I cry on my drive home at least once a week because of random despair” on my dating profile.

I realize there are probably lots of women out there who like nihilism and pictures of dead deer. I hope Tinder helps these people find each other.

As for me, wish me luck as I plunge back into the pool. 

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:
Twitter: @mainemillennial

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