Dating Is A Drag—Here’s How To Make It Less Torturous

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

Our Dating App Ship Released New Features To Up Your Quarantine Dating Game

As 2020 turns into 2021, not much has changed. We’re still washing our hands, staying inside, and online dating remains the only way to meet someone (unless you’re able to make a connection with a cutie across the grocery store aisle and you are really good at flirting with only your eyes). Since we’re not about to meet someone at a crowded bar anytime soon, our dating app Ship is rolling out a bunch of new features to make online dating with your friends’ help and input even better.

Ship Rewards

With most dating apps, the only way to unlock certain features like sending unlimited likes per day or finding out who likes you in advance is to pay for a premium membership. Ship knows nobody wants to pay for that sh*t, so they launched Ship Rewards. It’s a virtual in-app currency called Ship Sparks, which you can earn by doing things like inviting friends or swiping. You can then redeem Ship Sparks for those perks like unlimited ships and swipes—without having to put in a credit card. It’s a win-win: you get the added bonus features, all for doing the stuff you’d normally be doing on Ship anyway.

Hype Line

Gone are the days when your friend would wingwoman you with the cutie on the other side of the bar. But never fear, because Ship’s new Hype Line feature is basically that, but virtual. Now, when you’re swiping for your friend, use Hype Line to leave your friend’s prospective match a note. Maybe something like “your dogs would make such a cute couple” or “ask her to explain why Parks and Rec is better than The Office”.

 “Likes You”

Being able to see who else liked you is typically a luxury that other apps make you pay for—but not Ship, because they’re offering it for free. Soon, you’ll be able to see which eligible singles have already liked what you’re putting out there, just unlock the feature by picking up some Ship Sparks, and you’ll be on your way to quicker matches.

Just because it’s still a pandemic doesn’t mean all hope is lost for your dating life. With these new features from Ship, you’ll find your quarantine bae in no time.

Dating App Red Flags You Shouldn’t Ignore

Presented by Orbit

It can be tough to tell whether someone you encounter on a dating app is going to be cool or just a pile of red flags dressed in human clothing. While trying to find a good person online can often feel like one big game of Russian roulette (just with slightly lower stakes), there are actually some telltale signs that someone isn’t in it for the right reasons. As a certified expert in identifying red flags (okay, I identify the red flags because I end up unwittingly dating them, and I declared myself an expert), I’m here to break down some dating app red flags that you shouldn’t ignore.

He Only Has Shirtless Pictures

If you got it, flaunt it for sure, but if he’s only flaunting it, that should send up some flags. As a general rule, I don’t trust people with abs, because they think they’re better than me. But all joking aside, someone who’s leading with how “hot” their body is is probably only interested in your body. I know dating apps are by definition a face-first operation, but there’s a line between being upfront about what you look like and communicating that you don’t really care about what’s going on upstairs.

Their Bio Contains Only Emojis

It’s 2020, and anyone can message first on a dating app (well, most dating apps). So that means that we all need to make sure we are bringing our best in our profiles. And you know what’s not bringing your best? Having a blank profile, or a profile that’s just emojis. What information does that communicate about you? Yeah, we all like the “100” emoji; is there anything more to your personality? No? OK then. This is a red flag because if someone wants to genuinely get to know you, they will give you something to work with in their profile.

They Only Show Group Photos

This isn’t Where’s Waldo, and I’m not interested in playing a game of Guess Who? to figure out your identity. Nothing good can come from someone who is basically enlisting you to be your own personal P.I. before you’ve even spoken to them. Whatever they are clearly hiding—a sub-6-foot height, the fact that they do not own a dog—you definitely don’t want to be a part of it.

You Ask Three Questions And They Only Answer One

There are some allowances to be made when having a rapid-fire texting conversation. You can’t answer everything, and you don’t want to have to send an MLA-formatted three-point outline every time you correspond with them. But if you notice they tend to dodge certain questions, or certain types of questions (like how long have you been single? When was your last relationship?), you should take stock of the topics they seem to be side-stepping, and ask yourself why. 

It’s unfortunate, but there are a lot of dirty characters on dating apps. 53% of people lie on their profile, and 52% have received nudes (ew!), according to a survey conducted by Orbit. That’s why Orbit is cleaning up your dating life and partnering with Chris Parnell (from SNL, ever heard of him?) to give dirty daters the come-to-Jesus talk they desperately need. To find out more about how to “Keep It Clean”, check out @OrbitGum on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Images: Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

7 Signs You’re Doing Online Dating Wrong

Let’s face it, as much as we all wish we could be cast on Matt James’ season of The Bachelor, the majority of us will have to find our post-quarantine dates the less-glamorous way: on dating apps.

Trust me. I get how frustrating online dating can be. Matching with people who can’t carry a conversation, who ghost after one date, who are outright boring, and leave you thinking “WTF?!”—it sucks. I’ve been there, and I’ve lived to tell the stories at Sunday brunch with the girls. 

If you’re nodding your head at what I’m saying, here’s the revelation: maybe it’s you that’s doing online dating wrong. 

So while your Bachelor submission is being reviewed, take the time to think about how you can get that profile snatched and make sure you’re attracting quality matches. Let’s talk about some of the red flags you’ve got on your profile without even realizing, and how we can get them cleaned up. 

1. Your Photos Don’t Reflect What You Want


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Let’s make that clear // by @fatcarriebradshaw, cohost of @thebetchelor

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If 75% of your dating profile photos are of you on spring break in a bikini, don’t be surprised if you’re only attracting people who are sending you fire emojis and asking if you’re DTF. 

If that’s what you’re looking for, more power to you. If it’s not, it may be time to swap out some of those photos for more everyday looks and outfits—for example, you in a cute look at a coffee shop, or you and some friends at a beer garden. Think about it this way: the guy who only has shirtless mirror pics on his profile doesn’t exactly scream “let’s share some time over a glass of wine and charcuterie, and end the night just watching Friends”… right? As much as it sucks, people definitely make snap judgments based on the photos they see. 

2. Your Profile Is Basic, Not Basic+

Basic+ means you’ve elevated basic without straying too far from it. Meaning, you’re still incorporating culturally cliche dislikes/interests/references—for example, hiking and avocado toast—but without being too unoriginal about it. So if your bio simply says “Loves The Office, brunch, and spending time with my dogs”, just know that your profile is basic AF and looks exactly like 90% of the other profiles out there. 

So how do you get from basic to basic+? Incorporate some wit and humor. 

For example, “The only thing I can guarantee is that I have better fashion sense than Dwight” or “Love language? Mine’s brunch”. Both allude to universally basic interests and references, but take them one level deeper by making them a little more interesting. By showing this little bit of personality, you’re so much more likely to stand out amongst a sea of basic, hopefully attracting someone who appreciates humor and wit. 

3. You’re Not Diversifying Your Portfolio

Remember that lesson you learned in freshman finance class about diversifying your portfolio? Finally, something from college you can use in the real world besides your beer pong skills. 

To be clear, when I say “diversify your portfolio”, I mean that you should get on different apps so that you’re exposed to more prospective matches. Casting a wider net gives you a better chance at meeting the type of person for whom you’re willing to put on real pants and leave the house.

4. You Keep Responding To “Hey”


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I could not be more obvious // credit/permission: @logpenn

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If someone messages you saying “hi ”, don’t waste your time replying. 

The “hey” person puts in minimal effort. It means they didn’t bother to look at your bio or photos long enough to write something witty, and they probably don’t care all that much about chatting with you. They’re likely playing dating like a numbers game, rapid-fire replying to all matches with a basic “what’s up”. 

More times than not, the “hey” person will either (a) not have the ability to carry out a conversation, or (b) eventually ghost you based on their lack of interest. Nip it in the bud, and don’t even waste your time replying. 

5. You Ignore Your Friends’ Warnings

Have you ever ordered from a restaurant after noticing they’ve averaged two stars on Yelp? No? Okay, then WTF are you doing chatting with people on dating apps that your friends have told you they’ve had bad experiences with? 

Even in big cities, it’s not unlikely that you and your friends are going to come across the same people while using the apps. I’m not saying it’s impossible for you to fall in love with or seriously date the person who left your friend waiting alone for an Uber at 1:30am…but common sense says avoid those people.

If you don’t take your friend’s advice, don’t be surprised when the person treats you in an equally sh*tty way or if your friend says “I told you so”. 

6. You Take It To Snapchat Right Away


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answer the question | credit/permission Twitter: akirangei

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If Snapchat was created specifically for a person, that person would be pre-Amal George Clooney. Yeah, I’m talking about the most eligible bachelor you could possibly think of at that time. 

If the person you’ve matched with asks you to transition to Snapchat (or Instagram DM, for my millennials) before you’ve even met once, they’re likely wanting to be super casual and love the fact that Snapchat means zero receipts and zero accountability. Ugh, right?

So as much as you should live your life with Amal confidence, sometimes steering clear of this type of guy or girl is just easier. The alternative, of course, is swerving their suggestion and using the “I don’t really use Snap much” excuse. Either stay on the app, or transition to a more 2020-esque George Clooney medium, like texting. 

7. You’re Playing And Tolerating The Waiting Game


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Well do you??? — credit/permission: @mvhir

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News flash: the waiting game (you know, waiting X amount of days to reply to a message) is as out of style as layered tanks and low-rise jeans. If you’re playing it, stop. If the person who’s messaging you is playing it, drop them. 

Even though the waiting game was instilled in us during the Blackberry days as the number one texting-your-crush tactic, it’s frankly just rude. If you notice someone playing it, use it as a signal that they’re either more interested in mind games than you or straight-up don’t know how to communicate. Either way, it’s a waste of your time and an easy red flag to spot.  

Image: Sincerely Media / Unsplash; uuppod (3) / Instagram

The Quarantine Dating App Lines Everybody Is Sick Of

Even before coronavirus was the only thing we had to talk about, everyone’s dating app profiles were already pretty much the exact same. On any given profile, you’d be guaranteed to see a line about The Office, loving margaritas, or asking your opinion about pineapple on pizza. But the lack of originality is even worse than usual. We may all be living the exact same lives right now, but that doesn’t mean we need to be making the same jokes about toilet paper, how we don’t know what day it is, or if we’ll ever leave our homes again. We all get enough of that coronavirus small talk on our Zoom meetings with our bosses. Here are all the quarantine dating app opening lines, bios, and prompt answers that no one ever wants to hear again.

“This year, I really want to…leave my apartment”

All this does is remind me that I had to cancel all of my summer trips and will instead be getting drunk on White Claws all by myself and inflating a mini pool in my living room just to feel something.

“Need some toilet paper?”

Not sure about everyone else, but I don’t know a single person who has had trouble finding toilet paper in the last two months. The toilet paper jokes should have ended in March, just like any hope we had of having a real summer.

“Can’t wait to hang out after quarantine”

The optimism here is nice, but given all the people playing the game of “how many drunk people can we cram into this public pool” in states outside of New York and California, it’s looking like quarantine is literally never going to end. You’re better off acknowledging that we’re all probably going to be FaceTime dating until it’s time for our Zoom weddings in 2023. 

“On day __ of quarantine…”

Just like every major event planned for 2020, jokes about wearing sweatpants every day, having conversations with your cat, and not remembering what day it is have been canceled. Once my Boomer parents start making jokes about it, that means it’s officially time for the joke to retire (to Facebook, where your relatives share memes from six months ago).

“Ideal night out…going outside”

“F*ck, am I ever going to go to a crowded bar and pay for overpriced drinks and forget my purse in the bathroom because ‘Mr. Brightside’ came on and I needed to go scream-sing it with my friends ever again?” That’s what this response makes me think of. Not exactly “swipe right” material.

“First round is on me if…Rona ever ends”

Then odds are, there won’t ever be a “first round.” Maybe you wrote this back in March when you thought the world would go into lockdown for a few weeks and then everything would go back to normal. In that case, maybe it’s time for an update.

“I’d break quarantine for you.”

Hmmm…. Pretty sure if you’re breaking quarantine for me, you’re also probably breaking it for every other girl you talk to. It may feel like it’s been 84 years since I’ve felt a human’s touch, but I’d still rather ride out the rest of the hellscape that is 2020 alone than get coronavirus from a guy whose entire profile consists of mirror selfies.

Corona/Quarantine puns

Puns are never effective even when the world isn’t living out an episode of Black Mirror. And maybe we’re lowering our standards a little bit right now (I’d swipe right on a Goldfish cracker if it meant I could talk to it), but not enough for me to change my mind about immediately unmatching with anyone who uses puns.

“If coronavirus doesn’t take you out, can I?”

IDK if you’ve read the news lately, but 100,000 people have died. And if that isn’t enough to convince you that this is a super f*cking insensitive thing to say, consider that eventually you will probably end up sending it to someone who has lost someone to Covid. 

“I love The Office!”

Because apparently, even in a global pandemic where we’ve all got nothing but time to stream new content, people still think being obsessed with a seven-year-old TV show is a personality trait.

Not only are none of these even that funny, they’re also just a really f*cking boring way to start a conversation. Like, do you really want to talk about your quarantine routine with every person you match with? It seems like maybe we should all make a resolution to fix our dating app game before this is all over.

Images: Samantha Gades / Unsplash; Maddie Dean (9)

UPDATED: Amazon Has A Dating Site & We Have A Lot Of Questions

UPDATE: Though this Amazon Dating site looks pretty much identical to and Amazon Prime, we’ve learned that it is in no way actually affiliated with Amazon. The freelancers behind it created it only as a way to make fun of the current dating mess that is our unfortunate reality. TBH, I now find this whole thing way funnier and also way more impressive—like, damn, you really had us convinced. And I think it’s a creative idea knowing now that the freelancers behind it have no involvement with Amazon on a day-to-day basis. I’m glad the tech nerds at Amazon are sticking to what they know best (coding?) and that Amazon Dating is the brain-child of people who are original and actually have something to say. Now don’t go getting any crazy ideas, Jeff!

Do you ever wish that the monopolies that control our day-to-day lives could also play matchmaker? Like, Netflix would have a section like, “here’s a list of singles near you who also binged The Office 6,700 times last year? Or Uber could give you a list of eligible bachelor(ette)s within your Uber Pool route? Or that Facebook would—never mind, you know Facebook Dating exists, right? Well, now the latest corporation to try to control your love life is Amazon, with Amazon Dating—well, sort of.  

Upon my regular Prime perusal, I discovered that Amazon created a fake dating site called “Amazon Dating.” It’s organized just like Amazon Prime, where you can buy products—or in this case, buy time with people—for a certain price. You can select people based on their “Love Language” and height. It even says “FREE One-Hour Delivery” under each person. Here’s what it looks like:

Amazon Dating Site

Omg Amazon, so witty! …except not at all. Firstly, I’m just confused since it’s not even April Fools’ or anything. I kept clicking around looking for answers as to why Amazon all of a sudden decided that dating jokes were in their wheelhouse. But with each click, I felt more confused, creeped out, and embarrassed for Amazon…and for our generation for making this wretched company that owns literally everything feel empowered to make bad jokes. Dating is bleak enough as it is without Jeff Bezos getting involved.


Now, before you go trying to order your next boyfriend off Amazon Prime with two-day delivery, the “About” section of Amazon Dating states, “This is a joke. Amazon Dating was spearheaded by creative duo Ani Acopian and Suzy Shinn and built by Thinko, with help from Morgan Gruer.” Lol, how groundbreaking to literally just take Amazon Prime, sub out those handy paper towels and toilet paper options, and instead place real-life HUMANS in there! Real out-of-the-box thinkers! I wonder how many meetings it took to bring this to life. And how many pitch meetings, which could really have only went like this:

“So I have this idea. We’re going to play a JOKE on our audience that we’ve come out with a dating site. It will have inappropriate undertones and completely objectify the people on it. It’s not really interactive—people will be so confused. And that’s it. That’s the joke.”

So basically, Amazon Dating exists because a couple people who probably get paid more in a year than you’ll make in five got too bored at work. Meanwhile, their warehouse workers are forced to pee in water bottles because they don’t have enough time to take bathroom breaks. But sure, let’s spend company time and resources on a fake dating site.

My favorite question in the “FAQ” section is, “How does it work?”, with the answer being, “It doesn’t.” Cool, we get it, this isn’t a real dating site, but again, what is the purpose? Is it a warning sign? A cultural commentary on the commodification of dating culture? 

What would really be funny is if we put Jeff Bezos on there, allowing us to each contribute an imaginary racy text we think he’d send his girlfriend, instead of a boring ol’ review. Now THAT’S a million-dollar idea! You’re welcome, Amazon. 

The People

Probably the best and creepiest part is the actual people listed on the site. 

Let’s take “Phil.” Phil is 32 years old and definitely is a regular contributor on the r/niceguys subreddit. His reviews are stellar, just take this one!

Amazon Dating Site Phil

“By no means am I a sex toy connoisseur but my wife and I have no complaints thus far. We have used it twice and she was very pleased.”

Amazon Dating Site

Lmfao, yikes. Also, “Like sitting on several hard lumps”? Did we just body-shame Phil? Phil, you don’t deserve this!

And that’s not where it ends. Here are some other good ones:

For 78-year-old Cora:

Amazon Dating Site Cora

“I bought this as a birthday present to my single self in November. Had a good life, really enjoyed, easy to hold. But it died just last month! it was working at like half strength. it was extremely weak and then it died completely. I expected a reliable product but it’s not worth the buy if it dies only a few months later. Very disappointing!”

Okay, first of all, I’ve got to question the motives of anyone “buying” an elderly person to date/have sex with. Also, did she DIE?? This is so f*cking dark, Amazon.

For 27-year-old Suzy:

“I finally found a woman that listens and can be controlled. (Just kidding) Excellent product.”

Have I said YIKES enough times yet? Need I remind Amazon, there are men out there who actually think like this. Horrifying.

It’s also worth noting that when you click “Your Last Relationship” on the menu bar, it brings you to YouTube to watch “Toxic” by Britney Spears; and when you click “Don’t See What You’re Looking For?”, it brings you to Netflix. Okay, so that might be the one useful part of Amazon Dating, except I could have just typed Netflix into my address bar myself.

The funniest part is that if you are really desperate into this idea, you can apply to be on the Amazon Dating site, according to their FAQ section.

Amazon Dating FAQs

I think I’ll just stick to my mom setting me up with all her coworkers’ tragic-looking sons who happen to be around my age, thanks.

I think the bottom line is that while I can sort of appreciate what Amazon tried to do here, the reality is, dating as a millennial is enough of a joke as it is, and if I need a good laugh, I’ll just open up my Hinge recommendations. Amazon, just stick to what you’re good at: delivering my cleaning supplies in two days or less.

Images: Amazon

How Far Is Too Far When It Comes To Online Stalking?

It has become standard practice to run a thorough “background investigation” after matching with someone online. Thanks to the wonders of technology, online footprints have become largely visible for the world to see. Ranging from high school sports highlights to Twitter handles and the occasional mugshot, it’s not hard to gather a sense of someone’s online presence before you meet with them in person. 

However, a simple Google search can reveal much more than what’s written in a dating app bio—for better, and sometimes for worse. Whether as due diligence, or when embarking down the background searching rabbit hole, daters can come up with a little too much information. (As it turns out, first impressions aren’t all that organic when you’ve already identified someone’s family ancestry dating back to the 1700s.)

I went on a date without stalking him before meeting him. I think that’s an accomplishment in life.

— Carissa🦇 (@carissaxx3) November 4, 2018

What goes online often stays online forever, including some of the not-so-favorable information. And the extent to which that information should be taken into account is debatable. It might be helpful to know if, for instance, the guy you’re about to go on a date with is married. But ten years after someone’s college DUI, should they still be viewed unfavorably by someone they’ve never met? Should you hold someone’s cringey high school blog posts against them? In other words, how far is too far when it comes to social media stalking?

I have admittedly stalked and re-stalked guys I matched with on the internet. As a journalist, I feel I reserve the right to learn everything I can about a particular subject, even when my subjects are online randos. Once, this led me to running a trusty Google search on a guy I went to college with. He found me online, we messaged, and I quickly found his mugshot for an assault charge. Immediately, I thought the worst, like a domestic violence incident, a bar fight, something like that.

Eventually I decided I had to address this matter before the conversation led to the “we should meet up” line. Casually (but not really) I begged the question, “So why exactly were you arrested on an assault charge?” As it turns out, he had been really drunk at a college football game, fell over the sideline of the bleachers and landed on a cheerleader. Apparently this warrants an assault charge.

stalking my moms dates online to see if they’re worthy

— kay (@kaysdam) August 24, 2019

Although I ended up feeling much better for my own safety, I also felt kind of bad for bringing up the (probably) dark time in this guy’s life. After all, I’m sure his little slip came with a slew of legal and social consequences. Plus, bringing up someone’s criminal past didn’t exactly prompt him to want to meet up—if anything, it solidified the end of our online conversations. I thought that initially, my online stalking had helped me dodge a bullet, but in reality, the only thing I dodged was a date with a potential match. Although I felt guilty for jumping to conclusions, did this reality check stop me from online “researching” subsequent internet matches? Nope.

Another time I witnessed online stalking backfire came from an experience of my friend. She met a guy online and the experience went from zero to “it turns out his dad’s an actual mob boss” real quick. While most people would probably have the common sense to go running for the hills, as a fellow journalist, the prospect of meeting a mob boss’s son in real life was an opportunity that absolutely could not be missed. After they met up and she inquired about his father’s “business proceedings,” her date expressed extreme displeasure in the first date topic. What was especially disappointing was that, dating credentials-wise, he was the total package: smart, cute, well-traveled, and employed. Yet, after copping to researching his family’s illegal activity, it’s safe to say they didn’t meet up again.

On the other hand, my friend Amy recently announced that she has completely stopped looking up the guys she meets online. She says since doing this, she feels like the quality of her in-person interactions have actually improved. Amy didn’t even know the last name of the guy she last met up with, and said it was refreshingly awesome. Going into the date with zero expectations, she was able to focus on the guy’s character and the quality of the date, rather than worrying about his past relationships and how they are going to influence his current interests. He was nice and funny, and at the time that was all that really mattered. To date, they’re still seeing each other.

My mom finding my dates’ profiles online and stalking them even when she only knows the third letter of their first name and which school they went to when they were

— Cool Beans (@jo_maybe) October 14, 2019

To find out which method of online dating “preparation” is better from a professional standpoint, I asked clinical psychologist and author of How to be Single and Happy, Jennifer L. Taitz, PsyD, ABPP, to weigh in. As an author and an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, Taitz specializes in psychological advancements that help people sidestep habits that limit their joy.

“Let’s admit it, most of us research all the time! If you’re the type of person to check out a restaurant menu and reviews before trying a new spot, of course it makes sense to get details about someone you’re investing time in,” Taitz said. “Getting a bit of information can make you feel everything from safe to excited.”

However, Taitz explained that online stalking can present challenges, as information solely found online can be very misleading. As an alternative to become a research pro, she recommends you accept uncertainty and learn to see assumptions with perspective. This means understanding that online information can easily be misinterpreted through individual points of view. She added that online obsessing can lead daters to either idealizing their matches, or writing them off prematurely. 

“We forget when we’re browsing and hunting for details, we’re not necessarily dealing with actual facts and we can get our hopes up or miss out,” Taitz stressed. “Sure, to some degree doing your own background check can increase safety, though there are other ways to feel secure—meet somewhere that feels comfortable, ask questions, etc.”

For this reason, in Taitz’s opinion, a middle path between online research and organic first impressions is best. She explained that meeting someone in-person can yield a lot of information right away, whereas meeting someone on an app can expand a dater’s circle and allow them to potentially learn what their match may be looking for.

Accidently liking someones photo u are creeping on damnnnnnn smh

— Lamar Edmonds (@MrBestOf2Worlds) August 17, 2013

“Your time and mental space is precious, so it’s helpful to think about costs and benefits,” Taitz said. “If you spend a little time and feel better knowing more, go for it. If you’re looking at Instagram photos going way back and creating stories, you deserve to do something more relaxing!”

With this in mind, Taitz recommends moving off dating apps and meeting up in person as soon as possible. She says there’s little downside if you plan to meet somewhere convenient and in public, where either an in-person connection or quick escape can happen. To set your life up for happiness, Taitz recommends living in the moment and doing what you love, and I’m guessing that’s not drowning in social media or getting stuck in a long back-and-forth.

My personal advice? There’s no shame in a simple Google search, but learn to realize when you’ve passed “simple” and crossed over into “extensive.” Then, stop. Also, don’t accidently “like” any of their photos—that’s creepy.

Images: Mikayla Mallek / Unsplash; carissaxx3, kaysdam, jo_maybe, mrbestof2worlds / Twitter

This Is The Best Season To Get On Dating Apps, According To Science

Winter is coming, and I’m not just saying that because the temperature finally dipped below 78 degrees and I was forced to switch my iced Dunkin’ pumpkin latte order to a hot pumpkin latte order. With the end of 90+ degree days, rooftop season, and my general will to live, comes the beginning of the end cuffing season. For those of you who weren’t aware: cuffing season is the time of year when you must balance the desire to not shave your legs for the next 6-9 months with the desire to not die alone in your apartment with no one but your beloved dog to find your body. It’s tricky. But is winter like, actually a good time to meet people? Or am I shaving my legs for nothing? Well, as it turns out, if you want to digitally exchange small talk with a guy who thought showing his personality meant saying he likes The Office, then you’d be right! Winter is the best time to meet people… while online dating.

A recent survey conducted by found that not only is there a rise in online dating use during the winter months, but that the chances of meeting an actual human being IRL drops by more than half during that same time period. This tracks, as the only person I like to converse with when the temperature drops below 50 degrees is the guy at Trader Joe’s checkout counter where I buy wine in bulk. And even then, I would really appreciate it if Marcus kept his opinions on bulk alcohol orders to himself, mmkay?

The survey also found that 67% of people were less likely to attend a social gathering during the winter versus the summer, and that there’s a noticeable 30% uptick overall in dating platform activity between November and February. Again, this tracks. But just because people are using online apps during the winter doesn’t actually mean they’re going on any dates or making any genuine connections, right? I mean, I once spent two months talking to a guy who thought seeking human connection meant asking for your Snapchat handle. Are you trying to tell me,, that these are the types of people who will be swiping on me this winter? Just because more people are on apps during specific months doesn’t necessarily mean that your chances in finding a long-term partner will increase (if that’s what you’re looking for). 

So, who are these people flooding dating apps during the winter, you ask? Well apparently they are me the loneliest of sad sacks! According to the data collected, 60% of surveyors said they turn to online dating as an effective and quick fix to their anxiety and/or sadness. I feel like exchanging endless small talk with strangers online can only do more harm to a person’s anxiety and depression, but then again I’m just a girl who considers watching eight hours of television in a single sitting “self-care”, so what do I really know? 

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I’m actually having a decent time minus being sick right before my bday 😞

A post shared by Sara Levine (@sarafcarter) on

But back to the sad sacks! It feels like the data from this survey is trying to tell me that, yes, more people are on dating apps, but this newfound dating pool is coming from a real place of laziness and desperation. Like, when the Seamless guy shows up before you’ve had a chance to put on pants so you just settle for wrapping yourself in a couch blanket and hoping he doesn’t notice, you know? And is anyone shocked by this information? Because I’m not. So, people are sad and lazy when it’s cold out? What other earth-shattering truths is this survey going to tell us next? That the sky is blue?

However, what did surprise me is that over 90% of those surveyed said they found someone online that they had a strong connection with. NINETY PERCENT. That’s like, almost everyone! Even the guy who said that Marvel movies and liking his dog are the way to his heart! I’m actually floored by this number. Not only are people on the apps but they’re—dare I say—connecting? Going on dates? Requesting to follow the other person on Instagram?! This feels like a real breakthrough. Tbh, I have not felt the odds were this much in my favor since Selena Gomez announced she was releasing new music. The stars are aligning, people. 

So there you have it! According to science, winter is the best time of year to meet someone on a dating app, especially if that someone was driven to the app by pure loneliness and desperation. I guess we better start shaving our legs now, ladies!

 Images:; Giphy (1); @sarafcarter /Instagram (1)