How Dating Apps Turn Overthinkers Into Arseholes

BY FAN RAMBLES

Dating apps are supposed to make the task of finding someone you’d concede to sharing your chips with and allow to impregnate you with their seed much, much easier.

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28 APR - 2018

It’s supposed to help you filter out the trash and find yourself the human nugget of gold with which you could spend the rest of your life.

I’ve found the act of filtering out the Yeah Nahs from the Nah Yeahs doesn’t leave you with very many suitors to become the chip-sharing dreamboat you yearn for. Because dating apps make you much more critical of potential partners that you would be down the pub. In fact, they turn me into a bit of an arsehole.

Allow me to explain. Dating apps ask a fair few questions of their godforsaken participants. They want you to pick the best photos of yourself. They want to know how tall you are. They’d like you to be honest about how often you work out.
And the thing is that having the option to plug in all these details about yourself means that everything you put on your profile is on purpose. You want it to be there. You want people to see it.

I’m saying this out of experience. I’ve chosen my photos for specific reasons. I have some that show me out with mates so I look sociable. I’ve got one of me with a broken arm because I love telling the story about how I fell off a horse and would love for that to be brought up in conversation on a date. I have at least one full body shot so a potential match can manage his expectations about my rig. I purposefully skip over a lot of the questions and happily leave the conversation prompters blank – they just feel a little silly to me.

So I know what goes into building a profile. I know that what’s on that profile is pre-meditated.

When you meet someone out, you might accidentally see their work ID shoved in their wallet or overhear his mates pulling the piss out of him because he likes Taylor Swift. But when you’re on a dating app, none of that stuff is accidental. No one is forcing them to put the picture of him with his Mum up there. No one has held a gun to his head demanding he come clean about his height. And the “about me” section doesn’t force him to list his favourite an inspirational quote. Old mate’s done it all off his own bat.

Add to this the impersonal nature of dating apps. As much as you pick apart their backstory, dating apps have this contradictory effect of digitalising the living, breathing people who make these profiles. You’re not actually seeing and rejecting these people to their faces, you’re just opting out of initiating contact. This makes it easy to forget that each profile is a person rather than a bunch of data. It’s almost as if the profiles you come across are the extras on The Sims – computer-generated personalities who you can abruptly ignore and avoid to the point of removing a door to keep them from talking to you.

So you have this dehumanising nature of dating apps, which makes things you almost robotic in your selection process. And then you add to this a predisposition for overthinking, which makes you pick apart every aspect of a potential match’s profile. You begin to formulate theories on why he’s chosen a particular selfie. You have opinions about his opinions based on his use of emoticons. You wonder how religious he must be if he went as far as to list his religion.

What this does is turn you into a Criminal Minds style criminal profiler, except for dating. And it makes you really, really critical. The rejections are cutthroat and based on extremely trivial factors. As an experiment, I decided to go through and list the reasons I swiped right and why I swiped left. What discovered is that my reasoning was ridiculous to the point of going beyond comedic and that perhaps I’m not the right person to be on these kinds of applications.

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Reasons I swiped left on dating apps:

He had the same non-smile smile the in each photo: I just found it offputting. I mean, I don’t want to see you in a black turtleneck demonstrating you whole range of expressions, but at least give me a bit of variety mate.

He said he was keen on finding a partner “with whom I can have a conversation”: I’m sorry, but WHOM? I’m sorry, but who the heck uses whom in this day and age without it being sandwiched between a “to” and a “it may concern” ?! People who know how smart they think they are, that’s who. I mean, sure, there’s a chance this guy might just have grown up with a set of grammar nerds for parents and he’s probably a lovely, eloquent fellow. But there’s also a chance that old mate purposefully used a word that has been very much phased out of the English dialect because he wants to impress you with his big, veiny brain and will either expect all your conversations to be about philosophical intricacies and global politics, or he expects you to listen to him speak, mouth agape as you marvel at his intellect. I’m somewhat of a cynic, so I assumed that this chap would be someone with whom conversing would be painful.

His profile pictures included pictures of him with four dogs, all of them different: I get it, mate, you like dogs. But unless you’re living with unregistered dogs, they probably aren’t your actual pets. I know this, because my neighbours wanted to have four dogs once and tried to get my parents to register one of them in our name because they were only legally allowed three. This situation is unappealing either way you look at it. Firstly, if he is living with unregistered dogs, I don’t want to be with someone who flouts the law like that. And if they’re not his dogs, he’s clearly just using them as models to pose with to boost his profile.
And look, if you have to use dogs to boost your profile, I’m willing to bet you your personality isn’t all that sparkling; your personality is still at best, but possibly tap water.

He did that weird raised-crinkled eyebrow pose thing we all used to do in Myspace selfies as an adult: What am I supposed to tell my grandchildren?!

More than one picture of him with a child: I mean, cool, someone you know produced children. And I guess it’s great that you’ve seen said offspring at least twice to be photographed with them – unless he was super weird and changed outfits during the same visit to make it look like he spends more time as a wholesome uncle. But what are you getting at by purposefully selecting those photos? Are you saying you want to impregnate someone in the near future? Do you need to establish the fact that you’re socially competent enough to interact with children in case you don’t come off that way over text? Do you literally only have like five photos of you and two of them just happened to have children? I don’t know.

He was too good looking and far too damn happy: I heard the phrase “human golden retriever” somewhere the other day, and that perfectly sums up this person. I would never want to dull their sunny, happy shine with my depressing fart cloud of cynicism. Plus, I found his abs a little intimidating.

He was pictured with a dog in what appeared to be a bedroom: Ok, I’m going to have to come clean here. I like dogs, I do. I think they’re super cute and am definitely going to have one when I finally retire to my one-woman hobby farm/writing retreat where I swan about in linens and wooden jewellery, constantly baking scones. But I’m a strict outdoor dog person and have recently developed a bit of an allergy towards them. They make me itchy, rashy and sometimes puffy-eyed. I can’t be with someone who would happily invite one of these creatures into their living space. I like dogs, yes, but I just physically cannot love them that way.
And look, I would never want it to come down to “it’s me or the dog”. It would not end well. On one hand, I would not be able to stomach the humiliation of coming off second best to a dog. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to be with someone who was willing to turf out their best mate over a hot piece of ass.

He listed his height and weight: In feet and pounds, no less. Number one, buddy, the metric system rules. Do not disrespect it. Number two, if the most interesting thing about you is your height, I can’t say I’m overly interested.

His Instagram account was linked – and it had an inspirational quote: Iit wasn’t even that inspiring.

Wearing a printed bandana as a headband with what appeared to be non-ironic frosted tips: Again, what am I supposed to tell my grandchildren!?

A selfie in front of an unmade bed: This man’s life is quite clearly chaos.

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