Whoever said dating was fun was either seriously disturbed or already in a relationship. Because honestly, it’s rough out there. Dating in today’s world is like trying to carry a balloon through a cactus field—impossible, because it’s filled with pricks. I’ve done the DM date (spoiler, it didn’t work out). I’ve swiped more than a windshield wiper (hello, hand cramps). I’ve even gone to a singles party, and well, it was an experience, to say the least. No matter the avenue, the common takeaway is that dating is a total drag, and not in a fun, bottomless brunch type of way. And yet, we all keep trying, because there has to be hope somewhere, right?
This one goes out to all the cynical daters; you know who you are. The ones who are out there in the trenches, braving the arduous journey of dating through apps, DMs, and yes, even singles parties, all in the pursuit of not dying alone—or at least not going to the movies alone. Consider this your guide to surviving dating when you despise dating.
Ditch The DMs
You know how the saying goes: float like a butterfly, sting like an unanswered DM. A lot can go down in the DMs, but dating isn’t one of them. While celebs like Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas may have started their romance in the depths of Instagram, let’s remember, they are the exception and not the rule. I think we can all admit by now that sliding into DMs is overdone. Anyone going into the DMs for a date is most likely looking for a hot hookup that validates their vanity rather than a relationship. Plus, any prospective suitor who asks for your Instagram handle in lieu of your phone number is probably a fuckboy disguised as an eligible bachelor.
DM might as well stand for Don’t Mate, because it’s almost always a mistake. I hate to break it to you, but nobody who is randomly sending a fire emoji on your story is in it for a rom-com worthy romance. Accept the flattery and ego boost and move on. Prince Charming didn’t send out a mass memo looking for the hot chick with the chic glass shoes, he put in actual effort. If Cinderella can get a royal search party, you can get an actual phone call and a dinner reservation.
Tap That App
Meet cutes seem to be a thing of the past. Your odds of reaching for a cappuccino with extra foam at the same time as someone with unbelievably good looks, a solid job, and the perfect opening line is sadly unrealistic *sigh*. Dating has gone digital. If you haven’t downloaded or interacted on a dating app, you’re lying. There’s no shame in the swiping game, but it can be hit or miss to get a match that makes you want to send a flirty message, let alone awkwardly meet in real life. Dating through the apps is basically a casting call where you’ve already landed the lead role, so swipe with the same confidence as a 5’10’’ guy who says he’s 6’0’’ and find someone that’s fit for your supporting role.
So, what’s the secret to landing a successful match on the apps? Just keep swiping. It may be bleak, and at times comical, but odds are if you keep swiping you may just land on someone who doesn’t make you physically ill. Go have the coffee, the cocktail, or the cringey hiking date—the worst that can happen is you have a story to tell on the next one—or in my case, write an article on it.
Party In Person
I was looking for love in a hopeless place (aka LA), which led me to a spot where I never thought I would be: at a singles party. To be clear, at a Chaotic Singles Party thrown by influencer Cassidy Davis. The concept here being that everyone is single and ready to not be single anymore. It’s like going to a bar on a typical night, except everyone there has the same goal, and you can’t use the excuse “Sorry, I have a boyfriend” when you’re not interested.
I entered the evening with no expectations. This could be the night where I potentially meet my future ex… or pull an Ariana and say “thank you, next” to all who passed by. Well? I made small talk with the best of them, but that was where it began and ended. While I may not have found someone to accept my rose at the end of the night, I did leave with a few fresh thoughts. 1) Singles parties are a great idea and chaos makes them even better. 2) There should be a free drink ticket provided at entry to make “buying” someone a drink an easier and more cost-effective opener. 3) If you don’t find anyone to date, you can still find other single people to be friends with and party together in the future.
So yes, dating is a drag. But inflation is too high and married people get tax breaks, so it’s time to get out there and lock it down. Choose your poison. Get down and digital, or pick an in-person party and go for it. And most importantly, if you cross paths with any 6’1’’ Australian male models, send them my way!
Image Credit: DimaBerlin / Shutterstock
I know famous exes JLo and Ben Affleck just got married, but I’m about to make the argument that, no matter what the media tells you, you don’t want to get back with your ex.
You’ve either already seen Netflix’s Persuasion, and have processed your feelings about how it’s not like the book, or you’re not going to see it because you don’t care or love the book too much. Either way, SPOILER, it’s about getting back with your ex. Lots of movies and sitcoms are. Don’t fall for it.
It goes like this: Meet cute. Chemistry. Will they? Won’t they? They do! They break up, usually because of something the guy did. In the end, they get back together, usually because of a big speech or at least show of love from the male lead.
The big climactic scene often (but not always) takes place at a wedding, when the female romantic lead is engaged to a clean-shaven asshole. Our hero crashes said wedding and either loudly (“Elaaaaaaaine”, The Graduate) or vulnerably (Owen Wilson, Wedding Crashers) professes his love for the bride-to-be, who ditches her swiss army knife groom and runs off with our hero. Roll credits.
Most well done, of course, is in When Harry Met Sally. Some time after they sleep together, he slinks away, they have a big fight at a wedding that does not end in reconciliation (maybe because Nora Ephron is a good writer), and then on New Year’s Eve, he says all the right things, she cries, they get married.
Heck, Shakespeare started it, with his will-they-won’t-they comedies—most notably Much Ado About Nothing, which has a stubborn man finally telling the woman he loves that he does, in fact, love her to bits, at a wedding, despite his ego. And while The Taming of the Shrew maybe doesn’t fall into the category, 10 Things I Hate About You, the arguably superior adaptation, has a bad-boy-gone-good plot to swoon over.
TV shows do it constantly, too, usually at airports. I don’t need to list them here, but you know how they go: he’s gone or she’s gone for good, but NOPE, he’s back or she’s back and they’re sorry and they love each other again and it’s all fine. “I got off the plane,” she says, and the studio audience goes wild. Series wrap. Fans are happy.
This is not my life.
First of all, as amusing as the new George Clooney/Julia Roberts “exes at their daughter’s wedding” movie (Ticket to Paradise) looks, I’m going to be lucky if both of us are even invited to our daughter’s wedding or, when our daughter comes of age, she even wants to attempt marriage after witnessing the train wreck her parents demonstrated.
And, after my last breakup, for weeks after I rounded the corner to my house and saw a white sedan, my stomach would drop a little because I was worried it might be my most recent ex, who was less likely to come to my house and apologize for breaking up with me in a five-minute phone call and more likely to come over and yell at me for the essay I wrote about it.
Face Your Reality
If you’re not like me and Scott Pilgrim with vengeful exes to battle, it’s still unlikely you’re going to have a Persuasion-like reconciliation with your ex, no matter how much time has passed.
First of all, your ex is far too stubborn in real life to even attempt an apology of cinematic proportions. They’re not sorry. They don’t want you back. They have convinced themselves that you are at fault for anything that went wrong in the relationship, and their mothers agree.
Secondly, your ex doesn’t have a female writer telling them what to say to you to make you forgive them for the horrible things they said when they broke your heart. Shonda Rhimes’ staff is not there Cyrano de Bergerac-style feeding them lines. They will not magically say the thing to make you believe that they won’t hurt you again.
Thirdly, and most importantly, why should you forgive them? Even if your ex delivered the perfect speech in the rain, at your wedding, which is at an airport, you still are exes for a reason, and that reason might be very, very valid.
Don’t Go Backwards
The feeling I get when I round the corner and see the white sedan—which, by the way, is always one of the three my next door neighbor owns—isn’t hope, it’s nausea. Dread. I don’t want him to come back and make me hear his little unprofessionally written speech.
He loved me because I’m lovable, damnit. I gave my love to someone who took it and threw it on the ground like a toddler discards unwanted food. It shattered and, should he want to pick it up and put it back together, it is not one of those Japanese pieces of pottery that can be forged back together with gold, more beautiful than before. No. It exploded into dust and was gone in the wind, thrown in the trash and unable to be picked back out again.
In Persuasion, the couple broke up because her family convinced her to dump him, which is a flimsy reason befitting the times. It does not apply to you and, if your ex didn’t think you were “good enough” to date at the time, you probably shouldn’t forgive them if they think you’re worthy now.
Sally shouldn’t marry Harry: they do not communicate their needs well. Rachel and Ross are a very bad couple and pretty irresponsible coparents. We know those crashed wedding couples have regrets. The Much Ado couple probably died young or of the plague, and, while I admit I do rather like the 10 Things couple, they likely broke up once she went to college—and that’s okay.
We can feel hurt that we never got a proper goodbye, never got the big speech, the true, epic love Hollywood promised. Did you really want to wake up every day next to Ross Geller when you could have been in Paris, though? Do you want to be legally shackled to the worst Batman?
So, even if your ex calls you on New Year’s Eve and tells you they love the little crinkle you get when you’re looking at them like they’re nuts, remember that they were nuts for leaving you, they made you nuts while you were getting over them, and nuts is an ableist term. Your therapist and future self will thank you.
Image: Nick Wall / Netflix
Dating is a massive part of the college experience, but all cards come off the table and excuses start flying when long distance is mentioned. The key to long-distance dating is as simple as this: if they wanted to, they would, and when you want something to work, you’ll make it work. Mary Mary said, “nobody told them the road WOULD be easy”. I’ve been in a relationship for nearly four years, and two of those years have been long-distance. I’m here to tell you the road won’t be easy. However, the road can be enjoyable and spontaneous—if you do long-distance right. When you think about it, being in a distant relationship is just like being in any regular relationship but with the perks of having space. And if I’m being honest, your partner can cheat whether they are three or 300 miles away, so that excuse is dead.
Most long-distance relationships, in general, suffer from communication issues. We’re going to skip the “communication is essential” lecture; everyone knows that much, and we’ve heard it all before. You and your partner should discuss your boundaries and your likes and dislikes. In my first semester of college, my partner and I suffered from establishing our boundaries with friends of the opposite sex, which caused a lot of unnecessary disagreements. When we finally established our comfort level and boundaries with opposite-sex friends, the issue never arose again. It really is that simple. Whatever your boundary may be, it needs to be communicated with your partner. After all, ladies, men are not mind readers. And not to burst any bubbles, men, you all are horrible communicators through the phone and in real life.
Along with communication comes syncing schedules. Communicating is not only about expressing feelings and solving problems; communication is also simply speaking. If you want your relationship to work, you have to make time for your partner, especially when you aren’t granted the luxury of physically being with them. I mapped out my whole schedule for my partner. He knew exactly where I would be and at what times, and it helped get our schedules in sync. Whenever we both had free time, we would FaceTime, catch up, have dates, etc. Sharing your schedule with your partner also gives them peace of mind because they know what you are doing.
I mentioned that my boyfriend and I would go on dates; creativity adds spice to your relationship. There’s a computer app called Teleparty that we use to have movie dates. It allows you to watch Netflix movies with your partner and use the chat box to chat. When one person pauses the show, the other’s gets paused as well. We pop popcorn and have a grand ole time. Order the same food, get dressed up, and have a dinner date via FaceTime to take things even further. Doing these things is absolutely obnoxious, but that’s what keeps your relationship fun and spontaneous.
Although you may not see your partner every day, make use of your holiday breaks. If possible, take turns traveling to see one another over these breaks. When you visit, be sure to spend a significant amount of quality time with one another to make up for the time lost. As someone whose love language is physical touch, I appreciate and enjoy every second I get to spend spooning, cuddling, and… read between the lines. Distance increases anticipation and appreciation; every moment spent with your partner feels like falling in love all over again.
I know, I dropped some gems, but ask yourself, doesn’t everything I just mentioned apply to regular relationships as well? There you go, there’s your answer. The same rules that apply to a long-distance relationship apply to a regular one; therefore, long-distance being hard is a myth.
Images: Natasha Hall / Unsplash; Giphy (2)
Now that it’s March, cuffing season is about to come to a screeching halt, which means it’s time to hop back on that Tinder horse and get to swiping. But it’s important to remember to date responsibly. Get your vaccine, meet up in public, and, most of all, avoid these 12 potential suitors like the omicron variant.
The Basic Bathroom Bro
We all know this guy. His profile picture is a bathroom selfie. He’s probably shirtless—or at the very least, if you keep scrolling, you’ll see a shirtless photo somewhere in his profile. His name is something douchey, like Chad or Brad or Aston, and he’s an “entrepreneur,” though it’s unclear what he’s actually entrepreneuring.
He’s super into working out and wants a woman who “cares about fitness,” but really, her gym membership matters far less to him than what she looks like. In his bio, he also mentions that he’s looking for a girl who “isn’t crazy” Because there’s nothing hotter than some good old-fashioned bathroom-mirror misogyny.
And why is he taking a selfie in the bathroom, anyway? Doesn’t he know that’s where people go to shit?
The Guitar Guy
This guy isn’t holding a fish (thank God), but before you get too excited, don’t because he’s holding a guitar, instead. And he is wearing a fitted tee and a broody expression. Maybe he’s broody in real life, or perhaps he wants to pretend. Either way, he’s definitely going to want to play a song for you—probably something acoustic—even if he sucks. Best case scenario, he doesn’t suck, but you’ll still have to sit there politely for at least two or three minutes while he performs a solo concert for you. (And, yes, he’s going to do it shirtless, too.)
The “Just Ask” Jackass
In his bio, this guy wrote something along the lines of, “If you want to know, just ask.”
Which, OK. Fine. No one likes to fill out their dating profile. But this lack of effort does not bode well for any potential sex life down the road. If he can’t spare enough time to write out more than seven words, do you really think he’s going to take the time to find your G-spot?
The “Right Reasons” Romeo
Let’s see—he’s wearing a shirt. He’s in a socially acceptable place (i.e., anywhere but the bathroom). He’s smiling. He even wrote a whole paragraph. Oh, this guy is good. And he wants you to know it.
You keep reading. His profile says he’s “looking for his soulmate,” that he’s “not here to play games or hook up,” and that he’s “here for the…” oh God. Did he say “right reasons?” Is he looking for a date or a spot on The Bachelor?
I’m not buying it. Just like with every Bachelor contestant ever, there’s a fuckboy lurking beneath that good guy act.
He wants you to know that he’s not shallow—even though he’s using a dating app designed for superficial swiping. He thinks that using big words like this will make him seem smart rather than just pretentious. Oh, but he is. He’s the type of guy that pronounces it “encyclopaedia,” Ted-Mosby style, and corrects you when you say it like a normal person.
He finds a way to mansplain something in every conversation or flex his faux-intellect or both simultaneously. He thinks he’s smarter than everyone around him, especially you. And when you decide, just for fun, to take an online IQ test together and end up with a higher score, he’ll tell you that IQ tests aren’t an accurate reflection of intelligence because, God forbid, he admits to being wrong about anything, ever.
The Tinder Denier
His profile says, “We can just say we met at the library,” or something equally cringeworthy. So, either he’s A) super willing to lie about trivial issues—like, I don’t know, how the two of you met—or B) really into the whole librarian thing. Also, does he think that hitting on someone at the library is a better look than being on a dating app? Is he aware that it’s 2022?
The Bro with a Baby
This guy has a photo of himself with a baby or young child. But, don’t worry! It’s not his! If you read his bio, he’ll be sure to mention that they’re his niece/nephew/friends’ kid. He has a picture of them on his dating profile because it proves he’s good with kids. See, they’re both smiling! So, even though he’s not tied down to any parental responsibilities at the moment, he really wants you to know that he’ll make a great father eventually.
He’s clearly taking a page from Friends and trying to use this cute, innocent kiddo as a pick-up artist prop. Not cool, man. Not. Cool.
His entire profile talks about God, religion, or how he’s a “man of faith.” His faith is important to him; he wants to make that VERY clear. This, my friend, is a trap. He’s probably a serial killer. Or, at the very least, he’s a recovering sex addict who found Jesus and changed his ways. And, in the spirit of honesty, he tells you that he cheated on his ex-wife with multiple sex workers. The resulting divorce prompted him to seek help, and now, well, now he’s a man of God. Technically, his SAA sponsor says he shouldn’t date at all during the first year of recovery, but it’s been nine months, and he’s pretty sure it’s fine. After all, he’s a good Christian now.
The Bill Shakespeare
Everything on his profile makes him seem like a catch, so you swipe right. You’re hopeful about this one. But, then, you match, and everything changes. He messages you a lot. Like, a LOT.
His messages aren’t sentences, either—they’re paragraphs. He asks multiple questions in one message. He wants to know your whole life story before the first date. What’s more, he wants you to know his, too. How does he have so much free time? I’m sure he’ll tell you in excruciating detail if you ask.
The Guy Who Likes His Women Like His Coffee
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. “I like my women like I like my coffee… without another man’s dick in it.”
Um—Who came up with this line? Is it supposed to be funny? Am I supposed to feel bad for you?
To be honest, it seems like you’re using Tinder to air an odd grievance against your ex. To be even more real, I’m starting to think your ex had a point.
The Don Juan
If he talks about how good he is in bed or how well-endowed he is, I can save you some time and tell you he definitely isn’t. But if you give him your number, he is going to send you a dick pic.
The Guy Who’s “Getting a Divorce”
Spoiler alert: he’s married. And not patient enough to wait until he’s not married to look for a date.
Image: Shingi Rice / Unsplash
The scene is this: I’m 26 years old, he’s 35. He begs me to come over and spend the night, even though I already saw him two other nights this week. It’s late, but I cave and take the multiple subways it takes me to get there (surely he doesn’t offer an Uber, even though he completely demanded this nighttime hangout). I arrive, and he’s shoving a Sweetgreen salad into his mouth when he casually mentions, “By the way, I have a call with the London office at 3am, so I’ll just go into the living room”. So you basically just want someone to hang out in your bed all night while you’re on a work call? What am I, a labradoodle?
Before we head to bed, he says, “So what’re you gonna do at 3am?” Oh, silly me! He wants me to leave in the middle of the night. “I’ll see,” my people-pleasing self says (the side of myself that only comes out around guys like this). Cut to 3am, and his alarm wakes me up. I go to the bathroom and come back half-naked, glasses on, hair a mess. He says again, “So what’re you gonna do now?” Guess I’m leaving! I put on my clothes, walk to the subway and head home. It’s raining. Since you asked, no, he didn’t offer an Uber this time either.
Clearly, the above guy is the ultimate worst, no matter his age. However, I think we can all agree that this sending-a-girl-home-in-the-middle-of-the-night-type behavior is especially unacceptable for a 35-year-old man. Through the years, I’ve unfortunately come to terms with the fact that a giant age gap is just not it. So, what is it about these boys…I mean, men… that are still single at an older age and going for younger women? Here’s what I think, based on my personal experiences:
Option A: He’s Insecure
Now that I’m far older and far wiser (okay, three-ish years older but with a hell of a lot more dating experiences), I can clearly see that the guy who sent me home via the subway in the middle of the night was debilitatingly insecure. He wasn’t confident enough to date someone who would hold him to any kind of standard (or doesn’t want to be held to any standard), even if that standard was just basic human decency. He is smart, though! He went for the younger, new-to-New York gal who was easily love bombed into falling for him and later into accepting his disrespectful behavior.
There’s a specific type of insecure bro who craves a certain power. He wants someone who will automatically be impressed by him, and an age gap allows for that. As someone who was once the Vulnerable Younger Girl, I can understand why we’re a pretty easy target. The Vulnerable Younger Girl wants to feel “cool” at that age—and how cool is it that you’re the lucky chosen one that the older finance bro with the sweet apartment is texting? It feels almost impossible to give up—so we don’t.
Option B: He’s Not Looking For Anything Serious
New scene: I’m 25 and at the club (you know, normal things 25-year-olds do). A guy comes up to me asks me my name and how old I am. I say I’m 25, and he says he’s 35 (less normal). We start grinding and making out. I hadn’t even done the ol’ fashion dance floor grind/makeout combo since college, and I was the young one. I gave him my number. He texted me the very next morning asking when we could go on a date, and I immediately felt ~soooo~ stressed out and guilty that this 35-year-old was probably looking for something super serious, like a wife! (This was my first time meeting an older bro, can you tell?) I accepted his invitation for a date. Once I got to know him better over a few more dates, I grew to really like and respect him. But, of course, it was then that he admitted he was not looking for anything serious. Ah, the classic Peter Pan.
This Peter Pan simply does not want anything from you other than a fun hang and casual sex. Your young age makes him feel less guilty about his revulsion for monogamy and communication. You don’t have marriage on your mind, and you haven’t started thinking about your biological clock just yet. You’re a breath of fresh air—until he realizes Vulnerable Younger Girls eventually want relationships and commitment, too. Once he realizes this, his good time is done, and he ghosts you.
Option C: He Hasn’t Worked On Himself
If you’re 39, keep interrupting me when I speak, and get into conflicts with wait staff wherever we go—you might be single because you don’t have any awareness of who you are and what it is that’s preventing you from being a strong partner in a relationship. (Totally not referencing anyone specific…)
I’m not a man, but I’m guessing that men have the privilege of time because of biological reasons. A woman who is 29 might be more eager to make relationships and settling down a priority in her life, and thus realize the work she has to do to get there (therapy, self-help literature, introspection) earlier on. On the other hand, a man might not have the desire (or the pressure) to begin the same self-work until many years later. Yet, what many don’t realize is that you can’t automatically be in a relationship just because you’ve decided you finally want one. Take the totally fabricated 39-year-old I was referencing: he didn’t start taking dating seriously until he was 37. He has a lot to learn before anyone dares to commit to him. You know, if he were real and all.
I’m sure there are some kind, consistent older bros out there. I just personally haven’t met them. If you’re going to date an older bro, the one piece of advice that I’ve had to learn the hard way is to watch out for red flags more so than you usually might. Ask him why he’s single (without any judgment in your voice—keep it classy), and let him take the lead. He knows how to pursue a woman at this point, so if he isn’t being consistent, he’s not going to actually date you. And remember, just because he’s had a lot more time to build a life for himself than you’ve had does not make him cool! It makes him old.
Images: Studio Firma /Stocksy.com
I’ve been on Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and OkCupid—as well as the epic dating app I like to call “All of Them”—for a significant amount of time. (How long? you ask, rudely. Long enough to know what I’m talking about!) So you have to trust me when I say: lately, something seems off.
Yes, dating apps can perpetually feel like an inauspicious hellhole—that’s not news. And yes, swiping is a subjective experience, contingent on geography, orientation, app of choice, etc. But since the start of the New Year, the buffet of straight men has been particularly bleak, lacking more potential than ever—less effort put into conversations, excessive unmatching, fewer on-your-level options overall, more guys putting up a picture of a dog with a “just ask” bio and calling it a profile. Even throughout the pandemic, I’ve had a fairly fruitful swipe life, with my phone routinely presenting me with someone to get a little excited about (for at least 2-3 days). So, I pose a very simple question: where did all the quality matches… go?
You might be reading this and thinking, “maybe it’s just you?”. First of all, ouch. Second of all, I’ve heard it firsthand from many others who are all saying the same thing: something is up! And it’s not our match count. Here are a few theories about why that might be.
The Valentine’s Day Theory
Is there a Hallmark greeting card for men who believe dating near Valentine’s Day is an indication of being “too serious, too fast”? Because I would absolutely buy one if it said: IT’S NOT. If men are scared of the perception around the holiday, or just trying to avoid buying someone they went on two dates with an $11 bouquet of flowers from Trader Joe’s, then we don’t need those jokers on the apps anyway. But this theory, as it applies to The Drought, doesn’t hold up because, as evident in previous years, January is when more people than ever join dating sites—new year, new romantic interests. I rate the validity of this theory 2/14.
The Dating Fatigue Theory
The pandemic has definitely intensified our general exhaustion and courtship tolerance, but if “dating fatigue” is at play, then why is it mostly women saying how bleak it seems right now? And men are saying, “Everything’s fine on my end”? We know why—and we’re the ones who should be tired, buddy. So “fatigue,” while fair and relevant, cannot be the sole reason the apps are bone dry. I rate this theory 3/10.
The Supply Chain Theory
Listen, we all know the entire globe is struggling to keep up with consumer demand right now. Inconsistent delivery, delayed packages, unreliable transportation options—perhaps the same applies to dating apps. The goods are simply not being delivered fast enough. 9/10 theory.
The Cuffing Season Theory
Cuffing Season is always a good excuse as to why it feels like there are fewer singles eagerly looking for love (or something like it) in the winter. Mutual hibernation is at its peak. And with everyone vaguely traumatized by the idea of another looming lockdown, it makes sense that this past fall even more people rallied for seasonal monogamy and (temporarily) deleted their apps. Personally, I’m looking forward to Uncuffing Season, when everyone comes out of hibernation to kiss me. This theory is 8/10.
The “You’ve Reached the End” Theory
You’ve officially moved your dating-distance criteria from 2 miles to 82 miles and the apps still say, “Game over! You’ve successfully eliminated all the men in your town and every town nearby.” This is less of a theory and more of an evergreen fact. It means you’ve kept your standards high, and it means you may have to move soon. 2/10.
The Blackhole Theory
All the decent men have been zapped into a mysterious black hole (marriage? death? alien abduction? a Grey’s Anatomy binge?) and they may never return. This is the only reasonable explanation—10/10.
Image: Eliza Alves /Stocksy.com
The holidays elicit all types of feelings: joy, gratefulness, a burning desire to get cuffed. And if the latter is something you’ve penned in your daily manifestation journal, there’s a strong chance you’re a resident member of a dating app or two.
For those of us who are on dating apps, it’s around this time of year when you may have an urge to throw in a Christmas pun or festive pickup line here or there. Or, for those of you with restraint, you may be on the receiving end of such a one-liner.
And sure, holiday themed things can be an absolute delight. Starbucks holiday cups, Michael Bublé’s Christmas album, what’s not to love? Well, there’s a fine line between what’s festively tasteful and what’s just plain icky, cringy, or overdone.
As my holiday gift to you this year, I’m here to help you dodge a bullet. Below are holiday themed dating app lines that come off as red flags (or even deal breakers), whether you include them in your dating app bio or someone uses it in conversation with you. I’ve made the list, be sure to check it twice before making any adjustments to your apps this winter.
“What’s The Naughtiest Thing You Did This Year?”
There’s a three-way tie for the honest answer to this: 1) eating spaghetti with marinara sauce on my white bed sheets; 2) maxing out my credit card by ordering Uber Eats everyday for a full month straight; 3) pirating the Paris Hilton documentary. AKA, I have nothing to share that’s even remotely “naughty” in the way you want it to be when you ask that question. I’m just a girl living her best mid-to-late 20’s life, with a 17-step skin care routine and Google alerts set up for Ben Affleck. If you want dirty and flirty, this section of Santa’s workshop is closed.
“‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ Is My Fav Christmas Song”
When you make this statement, what you’re really saying is that you haven’t logged onto Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or even looked at your Apple News in the past five years. I mean, what other explanation is there for you being clueless that this song has been canceled by society? NGL, I’m looking for someone who’ll have an intelligent debate about whether Lindsay Lohan’s career can make a comeback or whether Kim and Pete are actually dating, not someone who’s stuck in 2012 and thinks J.Lo is still dating her backup dancer.
Using a Family Christmas Photo As One of Your App Photos
This isn’t a pickup line, but it’s worth a mention. Don’t use your family’s annual holiday photo as one of your profile pics, because nothing screams your net worth like five adults dressed in $$$$ white and red outfits. If you don’t take this warning and your fam looks Onassis-level status, don’t be surprised when your match on the app is expecting a pre-pandemic Bachelor-level date. I’m talking about private plane rides, lavish shopping trips, and solo adventures to Instagram-worthy waterfalls. Going dutch is not an option.
“I Listen To Christmas Music All Year Long”
Personally, by January 1 I feel so overdosed on Justin Bieber’s prepubescent voice singing Mistletoe that I feel like writing “never listen to Xmas music again” on my New Year’s resolution list. I mean, c’mon. From December 1 onward, a version of “Christmas Pop Songs!” is all you hear blaring through the mall speakers, is apparently the only playlist your gym is able to find on Spotify, and is clearly the only music underlay option available for IG stories. If you feel differently, we’re diametrically different people… so get out, and take your eternal cheer elsewhere.
“I Wear My Ugly Christmas Sweater At Non-Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties”
The only person pulling off “bad” fashion is Adam Sandler. End of story. If the invite says “semi-formal”, “casual”, or doesn’t specify that you’ll be banned from the open bar unless you wear an ugly sweater, there’s absolutely no reason you should be wearing a holiday themed eye-sore out of the house. And please don’t follow up this comment by saying you throw an annual ugly sweater party… unless you instantly want me to report you for inappropriate behavior on the app.
“‘Home Alone 3’ Is the Best Home Alone”
As much as everyone loves a hot take, having an opinion that bears absolutely zero truth screams that you just want attention. And let’s get real: if someone in our potential future relationship is going to have the spotlight on them, it’s going to be me… at all times. But back to Home Alone… not only is U.S. national treasure Macaulay Culkin not in Home Alone 3, I’m pretty sure I saw a petition floating around Twitter asking for this film to be banned from certain countries (for good reason). So all in all, just keep in mind that the only acceptable response to ““Home Alone 3 Is the Best Home Alone” is an unmatch.
“‘Elf’ Is Will Ferrell’s Worst Movie”
There’s a reason that when you Google “Christmas images”, the first photo that pops up is the meme of Buddy saying “So, good news… I saw a dog today”. And not to mention, haven’t you noticed that when the clock strikes 12:01am on December 1, Elf doesn’t stop streaming on loop on the USA network? So buddy (pun intended), get on board and start contemplating getting quotes from Elf tattooed on your body like the rest of us… or, refrain from using the apps all Christmas long because you’re a walking red flag.
Images: Oleksii Syrotkin /Stocksy.com
“If I’m a lot, go find less.”
Have you noticed this phrase showing up a lot lately? On memes and in hashtags and even on the back of cute, pink crop hoodies? Me too. I want to love it. I love a crop hoodie. And I do love the sentiment. But if SATC 2 taught us anything, it’s that sometimes things we love can turn very bad, very quick.
The notion here is so important, and while I can’t seem to find the origin source of the quote, it’s clearly meant as an empowering reminder to people, especially women, who have been made to feel like they are too much, too loud, too complicated, too emotional, too thick, too thin, too smart, too funny, just too much of whatever “norm” is supposed to make them right and good. For Salwa Kyobe, a Neural Manifestation Coach who posted the quote on social media, the phrase has more to do with authenticity and the fear that if we show up as our true selves we might be rejected. She asserts that those fears often push women into being who they think others expect them to be in order to fit in and belong. Ugh, why do we always have to work so hard?
The reality is, women endure a lifetime of being told to make our bodies smaller through diet and exercise, to cross our legs on the subway to take up minimal physical space, to lower our voices in heated debates. Women who assert strong opinions or give clear directives or wear bold colors or have big hair are constantly told to be less. It’s a patriarchal tool of oppression to keep women small and voiceless, and it is especially used to silence BIPOC women. This reminder to stay in your power and keep being “a lot” is so important. But maybe. Maybe? Sometimes it’s okay to hear people when they ask us to be less. Let me just slip on my Counseling Psychologist/Feminist Analyst hat here for a minute (Trust me, it’s cute! It’s plaid!).
I have a friend who keeps posting the “If I’m A Lot, Go Find Less” meme and using the hashtag #gofindless in what is very clearly a direct response to a breakup that wasn’t really a breakup because the relationship couldn’t have been more than two months from start to finish. Within a few weeks of meeting and a handful of casual dates, she was talking to him about going away for the weekend together and sending him playlists filled with love songs and expecting an amount of his time and energy that was wildly disproportionate to how invested they actually were. He’d ask her to slow down. He’d remind her to chill, that they were just getting to know each other. Sometimes she brushed it off, sometimes she took it as rejection. What she did not do, however, was chill. He ended things and his reason was clear—she was stressing him out! She was kind of a lot. Then it began—in her stories and posts, enough times to notice, a message to him (and any other future dating prospects) that she was and would continue to be “a lot” and they should “go find less.”
This “friend” wasn’t me, okay? But honestly, it could have been at some point in my life. I’m an intensely emotional person who didn’t understand intimacy for a long time and often relied on big emotional responses and high-stakes expectations in order to feel connection. A couple of months into our relationship, my S.O. and I were out for drinks one night when he very gently stopped me in the middle of a story I was telling about some childhood trauma and said, “Hey. Do you think this is something you should maybe talk to a therapist about? It’s heavy stuff and I’m not quite ready to take it on.” He wasn’t mean or unsupportive. He was honest. And he was right. My first reaction was defensiveness. I wanted so badly to snap back at him something along the lines of, “That’s too much for you? Well maybe you can’t handle me then!” Instead, I felt myself open up to the possibility that he might be onto something. He so clearly knew his boundary and what I was offering in that moment was…a lot. It was too much. It was unfair and unhealthy for me to expect him to take it on. If I’d hitched myself to the idea that in my relationships I was just “a lot” to handle and that anyone who couldn’t deal with it needed to go “find less” I would have missed the opportunity to really reflect on my behavior and change some toxic patterns of relationship. I would have pushed him away and given myself no chance at accountability. It doesn’t mean I need to dim the fiery parts of me. It means I need to find the appropriate places to let them burn.
So, here’s what I think: We keep the quote. We keep reminding each other not to get small. We vow not to change our important parts and never to be anything less than ourselves. Then we also hold space for self-awareness. We maybe even acknowledge that sometimes we’re confused about how much to give and how much to be, and it’s okay to listen to the people around us when they tell us we’re being a lot. Maybe we take that as a cue for self-reflection and allow ourselves to reach out for other kinds of support rather than shutting down to the idea that sometimes people need a little less of us. I’ll keep trying if you do. (See? Belonging! We’re making so much progress.)
Now go spread out on the subway and take up the space you deserve!
Image: Alexey Kuzma / Stocksy.com