As New York Magazine recently informed us, Tinder celebrates its 10th anniversary in September—a stat that makes me feel old and vaguely depressed. I hoped dating apps would help me better sift through the available men in New York, where I’ve lived since 2011. Instead, they just helped me tweet more.
Ironically enough, the people who seem most interested in using dating apps are my partnered and married friends who want to swipe for me and feel the rush of getting a match. Personally, I find the whole thing feels like a chore. I have downloaded, deleted, and re-downloaded Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble more times than I care to add up.
Unfortunately (at least for me), I also suffer from posting disease, so I have a wealth of tweets on the subject, mostly about strange ways men seeking women present themselves to women seeking men. Revisiting them has been dismal, but also very eye-opening. (I forgot all about the credit score bros.) So please join me on this journey into the past decade of online dating in NYC, as told through my personal Twitter. This counts as a historical document. God save us all.
In case you don’t remember, or if the apps worked for you and you’ve yet to return, in the early days, men thought it looked cool to pose with drugged tigers. But that’s since been replaced with photos of their backpacking trips to South America or holding a giant fish they caught. (Men love to assert their dominance by standing atop a mountain or with dead or doped-up animals.)
The nation’s singles are now well-versed in “catfishing,” as well as “hatfishing,” but, at least in my head, “dogfishing” is the most despicable trick you can use in your quest to lure in a potential date. This is when someone posts a cute pet photo, only for their match to learn the pet isn’t theirs. Sometimes there will be a caption explaining “not my dog,” but those seem to be as rare as a profile without a fish-holding photo.
This tweet, posted in December 2018, is where I expertly summed up the heartbreaking phenomenon. This kitten sees through your duplicity.
Now, I may hate their motives but I do appreciate the honesty of men who say they require full-length photos and are only looking for a woman who “takes care of herself,” or other euphemisms about fitness and body size. Sifting through profiles can feel like shopping on Amazon, where the sheer volume of options is so overwhelming, but I keep filtering because I believe there must be something good hiding in there. The “takes care of herself” honesty really helps the filtering process.
Here is a man shrouding his desire for a thin woman in faux concern for her life expectancy. (I would have told him women live longer than men but I didn’t want to waste any of my extra time on him.)
I dislike the shopping aspect of apps, but here are two filter ideas: It would really help a lot if I could not see men who like misogynistic trash or worship creepy idiots. If you’re a venture capitalist who can make this happen, my e-mail is in my Twitter bio.
I find men talking about money or their credit scores(?) in their profiles to be hilarious. I’ve also realized that men are bad conversationalists if they resort to asking “any trips coming up?” before even clarifying who owns the dog in their second photo. This was extremely common in my twenties when I spent what little disposable income I had on bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and weddings while these higher-paid men jet off to oh, say, I don’t know, Machu Picchu for their second vacation of the year. Lots of traveling-is-my-entire-personality-men on the apps. Which, if I’m being honest, is less of a problem than it is a personal grudge I have against anyone who didn’t have to spend their tiny bit of disposable income on people celebrating the fact that they no longer have to date.
Surfing the apps definitely got interesting during the Trump era. I could very easily swipe left on anyone who identified as conservative or even MAGA (yes, they do exist in New York). But I was far more perplexed by men who listed themselves as “apolitical”—they couldn’t even be bothered to care? If you don’t care about politics, why even care to list it.
Finally, sometimes I see things where I’m not sure if it’s a joke or just intended to get women to ask them about it. I do not engage. Instead, I screenshot and tweet. But you’ll have to follow me for that.
In closing, please send word if you have any eligible friends, relatives, or coworkers. Especially if they don’t go fishing and dislike Elon Musk. And wish me luck on my Bumble date tonight.