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
It’s 2021, and you’d think as a society we would be over all the texting games (waiting a certain amount of time before texting back, not double texting, etc.), but these so-called strategies still pervade dating culture. As the author of a book literally called Just Send The Text, I’m a big proponent of… you guessed it… sending the text. In the book, “text” is used more as a metaphor for whatever you feel like doing. But there are seven literal texts you absolutely should be sending no matter what:
1. The Shot Shoot
In other words, the initial text you send to shoot your shot with the person you’re into. It can be anything from a bold “hey I like you” to a more subtle “hey what are you up to this weekend?” Even just a “hey” will do, depending on where you’re at with this person. The point of this text is to stop wasting your time living in the what-if. Shoot your shot. See what happens. You owe it to yourself.
2. The How Dare You
You really, really, really pissed with them about something? Maybe they stood you up. Maybe they took 72 hours to respond to your last text. Maybe you saw on Venmo that they paid their ex for “this weekend.” Whatever the case, if you feel like telling them off, tell them off. Just remember as you do so that this text is more for you than it is for them. It’s a little reminder to yourself of what you’re absolutely not willing to put up with. If they’re into you, they’ll figure out a way to work things out. If not, you can move on knowing they showed their true colors.
3. The Check-In
Not sure if you guys are still on for tonight? Spare yourself the internal “do I even bother getting ready and looking like a dressed-up idiot alone in my apartment if they bail” debate and… just ask them if you’re still on for tonight. You deserve to know what your plans are. Period.
4. The Invite
I don’t care what this invite is. Maybe you really want them to come to your best friend’s ~socially distant~ birthday at the park next weekend. Maybe you want them to come over to binge Bling Empire on the couch with you. Maybe you want them to come with you to come to try that new restaurant down the block. Whatever the case, if you want them to be doing something with you, ask them. If they can come, great. You got your wish. If they can’t, you get to go on with your plans free from wondering how much better they could have been if only you had asked them to tag along.
5. The Inside Joke
See something that reminds you of that hilarious thing you guys were talking about on your date? First of all, thank whatever God you believe in because a natural conversation segue has just fallen into your lap. Don’t let the gift go to waste in the name of playing it cool. (Besides, was it even really that cool of you to have seen something that reminded you of them, but kept it to yourself because you think that will somehow make them like you more??)
6. The Pulse Check
Kind of feeling like things have been off between you guys recently? Instead of sending screenshots of every interaction you’ve had over the past however many weeks/months/years to your best friends for forensics, why don’t you try asking them what’s going on? This does not need to be a big, dramatic thing. A simple “hey everything good with you?” will do. Maybe they’ve been busy with work! Maybe their mom is sick! Maybe their ex just got back into town and is wreaking havoc on their life! Maybe they’re… just not that into you (sorry). Whatever the case, they are the only ones who can tell you what’s going through their head.
7. The Feeling Bomb
Let me start by saying this is not just your casual, run-of-the-mill text. This is one you send because you quite literally feel like you might burst if you don’t say something. Maybe you miss your ex and it’s consuming all of your thoughts. Maybe you think you’re starting to fall in love (or strong like) with the person you’re casually seeing. Maybe you’re starting to get super over the person you’re seeing. Whatever the case, your feelings have become so big that they no longer can exist solely inside of you. They need air. You will know when you’ve hit this point. Trust me. And when you’ve hit it, SAY SOMETHING. Bursting is never the right option.
Images: Tim Mossholder / Unsplash; Giphy (3)
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.
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.
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”.
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.
The Bachelorette is back! After months of waiting, about a million spoilers, and one very heinous stand-in called Listen to your Heart that could only be punishment for something I did in a past life, our heroine Clare Crawley has finally embarked on her journey. And it was a bit familiar, no? I was hopeful that this season was going to be different.
After Peter’s season of The Bachelor, it was obvious the franchise had to change. The women were immature, Peter let his conscience penis be his guide, and the whole thing felt like an audition for an Instagram sponsored ad. And so naturally it led to a broken engagement and then a 30-hour relationship with the runner-up. Penises make bad choices! So I was heartened when production did not choose a 22-year-old influencer with more filler than a Real Housewife as our Bachelorette, but instead chose Clare, a 39-year-old who seemed to be serious about finding a husband. And look, guys, I know this show is mostly fake. Like Clare, I was not born yesterday. But I do appreciate the show at least attempting to put on a better charade. But unfortunately, as last night showed, the charade was the same. We’ve all been through a lot leading up to this premiere. And it seems that not even a global pandemic and the oldest Bachelorette in history can make The Bachelorette into something a little less absurd. Let me elaborate.
Of course we began with Chris Harrison giving the obligatory “unprecedented times” speech. I mean, the last thing I need during these unprecedented times is a rich dude that probably spent these unprecedented times on the golf course sipping scotch reminding me about it, but okay. And we see our contestants gallantly suffering through COVID tests just so that they can swallow Clare’s face whole in a hot tub somewhere.
Me when the guys are shrieking through their COVID tests:
And then after that, the show was off and up to its old tricks.
First, we had the drama between Yosef and the dude from West Virginia. It is too early in this season for me to remember everyone’s name so you get what you get, okay? Mr. West Virginia knew that Yosef was DM’ing girls before coming on this show. My god, my generation is embarrassing. Like 90% of our TV drama is based on DM’ing; history will look back on us with disgust. This virus would be cured if only we would stop wasting time DM’ing! Imagine what our brains could do!
The drama was brought immediately to Clare, and at first I was impressed that she shut them down to go talk to the other men. But of course, at the rose ceremony, she ended up picking Yosef anyway. What are you doing, Clare? He looks like a Batman villain! This is going to end badly! If I know how this storyline plays out on a Bachelor franchise show (I do) there will be more drama to come with Yosef.
Me too. It’s that you get kicked off after starting drama.
Then we also, of course, have the men who complain they didn’t get time to talk to the Bachelorette. There were a few that complained throughout the night, but Tattooed Chef really takes the whining to the next level. He says that she “could have met her husband tonight” and he wanted to show her his heart but not literally, and then points to the tattoo of a heart on his chest. That’s still not literally showing her your heart, pal. Just a little free grammar lesson for ya right there. I just can’t believe it’s 2020 and men are still complaining about not getting time to talk to the lead. C’mon guys! Take that confidence you all have to apply for jobs you’re not remotely qualified for, and bring it to this show! If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that time may be stagnant but we’re all still getting older, so if you have the opportunity to actually meet someone, just f*cking talk to them. I have no sympathy.
The men also have the same old ridiculous entrances. I’m sorry, but when I get out of quarantine after not seeing a man for the last seven months, the one that opens a ring box that farts at me will be immediately executed. I’m bringing King Henry VIII energy to post-pandemic dating, and I really wish Clare had channeled more homicidal maniacs herself. We also have the guy that wore a straitjacket the entire night, which fine, respect, and the guys that drove up in different cars. This parade of men could have been any other year. Even the guy in the bubble could have happened in the before times, because people seem to think those things are fun, and not vomit-inducing. Where are the guys that are going to impress me instead of make me want to watch the rest of the show through my hands while shrieking? Clare has waited this long, can’t we at least give her some men that didn’t first appear on America’s Funniest Home Videos?
I know that this season is going to be the “most dramatic ever” yada yada yada Chris Harrison’s bullsh*t, but even in the previews it felt familiar. Clare’s season is short and unconventional, but they’ve still managed to cram in some of their favorite overplayed things. Like Colton’s virginity and Peter’s pilot status before her, Clare’s age seems to be the subject destined to be harped on all season. If I had taken a shot every time I heard “oldest Bachelorette in history” in the five-minute season preview, I would actually be dead right now. Or at least so incapacitated my dog would have to write this article and then the whole thing would be about how I never brought her to a resort filled with men who would pet her and do I have to be such an anti-social troll? In that preview I also saw men who are not there for the right reasons and dramatic yelling. So nothing new to see here.
Look, I’m not saying that because we’ve had a global pandemic and Clare is 39, The Bachelorette had to do a 180 and no longer be fun. But this is a reality show. And reality has changed. I know mine has changed! In February I had a job, an apartment, and a daily workout class. I no longer have those things, so the way I approach things is different, and the things I talk about are totally different. But if ABC hadn’t given us Chris Harrison’s dramatic intro, it would honestly have been like nothing happened. Like all things, The Bachelor/ette must adapt or die. My tolerance now for petty bullsh*t is a little bit lower, and my desire to hear about the banana bread someone baked is a little bit higher. Were there chocolate chips in it? Did they add pumpkin? Just give me a little something!
In all seriousness, I hope that as we move on in the season that we do see a little perspective from the contestants and a little more authenticity throughout the whole process. This year is already bonkers! No need to manufacture all the same old drama as before. I’m giving you another episode (okay fine, the whole season), so show me what you got, Bachelorette.
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Images: Giphy (2), bacheloretteabc/Instagram; ABC/Maarten de Boer
Quarantine has been hard AF. As a single twentysomething who’s been watching an endless Instagram reel of friends and acquaintances getting engaged, it’s been especially hard. (Can I get an “AMEN?”)
A month into quarantine, I met a guy at the dog park where I take my dog. Our dogs got along well with each other, and he seemed nice enough. He wasn’t exactly my physical type, but he was one of the very, very, very few guys with whom I’d gotten the chance to interact in any way since the pandemic started. So after some friendly flirting and playing parents to our dogs, I gave him my number and texted him just a few days later, asking if he wanted to go hiking with me.
We started to hang out once a week, and once a week quickly turned into almost every day. It was easy to fall into this routine because, well, quarantine, and there wasn’t much else to do.
There was a point, though, when our relationship began to feel less like “He’s ~The One!~” and more like “he’s just the one for now.” Three months into dating, right after we’d made it official, we took a little getaway to an Airbnb in a Texas country town for a couple of nights.
A romantic getaway with just us two gave me space to ask myself some valuable questions that made me realize my quarantine boyfriend wasn’t my forever guy. Here are those questions:
Do you text him when you’re bored, or are there personality traits of his that you genuinely like?
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If you have any of the following thoughts before you text him (or anything like these), you’re probably just dating him because you’re bored in quarantine:
I’m bored. What’s he up to?
UGH, I need attention. Lemme hit him up.
I feel lonely, so I’ll hit him up.
If there are things about him that you like, take note of those, either mentally or create a list. I know lists aren’t the most romantic things, but they’re super helpful!
After I dumped my quarantine boyfriend, I made a list of qualities that are important to me in a boyfriend. I keep it handy and I know it’ll help me attract me a guy that’s a better fit for me next time.
What kind of thoughts do you have about him when you’re not together?
While I was dating my dude, I would sometimes tell myself: “I’m just dating him until I can find someone better.” I actually caught myself having this exact thought while doing yoga on the porch of the Airbnb. It was a wake-up call. I know I’m not the only person in the world who’s ever had this thought, either.
The problem is that if you’re having these thoughts about the person you’re dating, it isn’t fair to them—but it isn’t fair to you, either. You’re wasting their time, and you’re wasting your time by spending time with them when you could be opening your heart up to someone else, or just feeding your own soul.
It takes a certain type of self-awareness to be able to figure out whether you’re dating someone out of like, love, or loneliness. So pay close attention to your thoughts. And if you’re feeling anxious, if your mind is racing at 100 miles a minute in quarantine—which is normal—then listen to your gut.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Can you see a future with this person? When the head can’t sort things out, it’s time to listen to the heart. Everyone has an intuition—and while some have stronger intuition than others, there are things you can practice to feel closer to yours, like meditating on it.
What do your friends think of him?
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When my friends met my ex-boyfriend, they threw some challenging questions my way. They made good points: that I didn’t seem super excited when I was around him, and that I looked more interested in the hot guys walking past us at the dinner table than the guy I was with.
At first, I resented my friends for giving me such, er, unfiltered advice. (But if they don’t give you the realest advice, are they even your friends?)
After sleeping on their advice, though, I realized I resented it because it was true. And that maybe, just maybe, I had been in denial for months, lying to myself that this guy was, in fact, ~The One~, when my heart had been telling me all along that I was just using him to pass the toughest months of quarantine.
TL;DR: If you have to ask yourself if you should dump your quarantine boyfriend, the answer is probably a resounding yes. And when you do, you’ll feel happier, freer, and able to give yourself the time and space to reflect on the following question: What kind of partner do I really need?
Image: Jonathan Borba / Unsplash; uuppod / Instagram (2)
Going on a first date always sucks. Correction: Going on a first date usually sucks. OK fine, there’s the hope of a connection and the off chance that you get to learn something new. But, in my experience, a first date typically disappoints. You usually know within the first 15 minutes whether you’re interested in a second date, and if not, you have to spend the rest of the time being polite, when all you want to do is bail. For me, add the complexity of being divorced, Indian, and 38, and I usually spend most of the date hearing questionable comments and trying not to react negatively to them.
Even though first dates are miserable, when I got recruited to be on Dating Around, I assumed that since I would be committed to at least five first dates, perhaps the odds of a connection were in my favor. With a Netflix team of casting directors that knew what I was looking for, I was also hopeful that they had the resources to find me better dates than I had had luck with in the past.
I don’t discriminate on race or religion when I date and have gone out with all sorts of men. This was also the case on the show. My Dating Around dates on Netflix were a smorgasbord of bros from Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Israel, The Bronx, and Wisconsin (plus someone from the Caribbean and another Indian-American, but both were cut from final edits). We filmed Dating Around over 7-8 days and had 12-15 hour days. All that filming was then boiled down to the 26 minutes of glory you saw on Netflix.
There were many interactions that weren’t shown in the final edit, and I was surprised at the similarities between the comments I heard from my Netflix dates and what I’d heard from other dates in the past. These comments have always been off-putting, but I’ve heard them so often that I assumed they were just par for the course of dating. After getting thousands of supportive messages due to the visibility on the show, I realized that most of these interactions warranted calling out in the past.
One guy on Dating Around decided to tell me that he was spiritual and respected all religions, but that if your religion included multiple gods, he wasn’t into it. Huh?! Mind you, he had supposedly dated Indian women before and knew the odds of me being Hindu were high. The Hindu religion is based on multiple deities, and I could not figure out if he meant to take a dig, or was just so self-involved he really thought he was woke despite that comment. Did he not realize he was contradicting himself saying he was respectful of all religions except if you believed in multiple gods?
Very early on in the date, he proclaimed his motto: family, faith, and football. I knew the minute he said that it was going to be downhill from there, but I didn’t want to write him off so early on in the date, so we kept talking. When I asked him what he was looking for in a relationship, he told me that he wanted a girl that could dress up for his real estate parties but that could also sit with him in a T-shirt and jeans and watch Sunday football. I can respect someone that wants to spend time with their significant other, so I asked if he’d go to yoga with me if I wanted him to. He responded that “Stretching in a room full of chicks and gay men” wasn’t his thing.
“I see… so you want your partner to watch football if she isn’t into it, but you won’t go to yoga if she wants you to? Isn’t that a double standard?” I questioned. I don’t even remember his response as I buried myself in another rosé to make it through this date. I didn’t realize I’d end up in tears and berated for my culture, but live and learn.
In hindsight, I probably should have called off the date as soon as I saw red flags. But gaslighting at its finest had me second-guessing my own opinions of him. He was so sure about his stance. Was I the one too demanding about equality in relationships and openness to my culture? How could someone that’s lived in multicultural New York for over 10 years be so confidently close-minded? Maybe it was me that had the wrong opinions of how a relationship should work? The producers had also told me prior to the date that they really thought we would have a connection. It wasn’t until we stopped filming and the entire crew came up to me for hugs that I realized he was in the complete wrong and that a connection was never going to happen. (Next time someone orders a Miller High Life on my date, I’m paying for my check and walking out with zero explanation.)
Aside from fellow divorcee Manny, the most benign comment I got on the show about being divorced was that it was “different”. Different? More than half of marriages end up in divorce, so was it actually that different? I think it would be different if you were on a date with a person who was still married. Another guy on the show told me that he had never gone on a date with anyone divorced because he felt it showed they had different family values than his and he wanted someone family-oriented. How is being divorced an indicator that you don’t care about your family? Anyone that knows me will tell you how much I cherish my family and commit to my partnerships when in a relationship, why was the fact that I was divorced negating that?
Most dates, on- or off-camera, are disappointed when I tell them I’m divorced. “I’m sorry” is the first thing I usually hear, and then there is an awkward silence and you can see the guys’ wheels turning in their heads as they decide whether they want to salvage the date or not. I don’t judge men for all of their breakups and still being single, so why am I getting this treatment for a divorce?
Dating someone that’s divorced but still wants a long-term partnership means they actually understand the value in that commitment, I would argue more so than someone who’s never been married. They’ve experienced the negative aspects of marriage, which means they’re aware of the challenges. Plus, they’ve gone through the hoopla of a big fancy wedding, so you know their motivation to be in a relationship isn’t driven by an engagement ring, fancy dress, or Instagram photos.
Being divorced makes you that much more appreciative of a relationship where both parties want to make it work. It also makes you more understanding of how important compromise is. I’m not here to play games or win an argument, I’m here to find a partner to grow with and support. Having a piece of paper from the state provides a false sense of security, and I understand how little that piece of paper actually means without real commitment. Any man would be lucky to be my second husband.
The best (yes, this is more sarcasm) is when a guy finds out I’m of Indian descent. If they have dated other Indian women before, they will usually claim that fact proudly and say they, therefore, understand where I’m coming from. When I probe further it usually turns out that their past girlfriends were from another part of India far remote from where my family is from. There are 100+ languages spoken in India and if you looked at the diversity of cultures, that country could be its own continent. Where my family comes from (I am Jatt Sikh Punjabi; that’s right, three different superlatives to dig into) makes it so that most of the time, the only thing I have in common with the other Indian women these men have dated is skin color and a childhood diet full of turmeric and mangos.
The other guys that haven’t dated Indian women will usually be proud of the fact that they love Indian food despite the spiciness or that they know all about Indian cultures because they have been to an Indian wedding. It’s not that I don’t appreciate these men’s eagerness to connect to my Indian heritage, and I understand that our weddings are amazingly memorable, but it often just makes me feel like a token. I don’t group all white, brown, or black men in the same buckets, so it’s a mystery to me why these modern, supposedly woke, men bucket women this way.
All women regardless of culture, marital status, or age have these types of challenges while dating and it’s downright exhausting trying to manage these interactions. Looking back, I should have listened to my gut more and educated these men on the proper way to interact with a multi-dimensional woman instead of second-guessing myself. Had these men known their comments were regressive, perhaps the ones that showed potential would have taken the steps to grow.
I am by no means perfect and have done so many things in my life that others would call mistakes. But, I always appreciate it when I am made aware of my own ignorance because it gives me the opportunity to evolve. If I’ve learned anything from years of dating, it’s that the more front we can be with one another, the more opportunities we can provide for growth. In moments of frustration after dates, I’ve been totally guilty of saying that there are no good men left (I mean seriously, where are they?). But instead of complaining or settling, I think it’s due time to woman up and speak up. There’s plenty of fish in the sea, they just might need a little guidance.
Gurki Basra is an Indian-American fashion industry executive whose experience on Netflix’ Dating Around went viral when one of her dates aggressively judged her for her divorce and parent’s arranged marriage. She has an MBA and has successfully managed the businesses of over 50+ brands. She is most well known for her time at Barneys New York as Senior Buyer of Jewelry and Watches. She recently launched TeamGurki.com to empower women to break paradigms and set new standards. Additional information and Gurki’s portfolio of work can be found on her website or Instagram.
Image: Courtesy of Netflix
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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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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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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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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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
Over the past few months, the most consistent topic of conversation has been how we will adjust to the ~new normal~ that we’re living in thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Obviously, we’ve all had to make a lot of changes, but what does that actually mean? Coronavirus hasn’t gone anywhere, a lot of stuff is still closed, and pretty much nothing feels normal. That being said, I know I’m not the only one desperate to have a personal life again, and we’re all trying to figure out how to get back into the dating game while not risking our lives.
As we move through the phases of reopening, everyone is assessing how to move forward in dating and everything else. This spring, we conducted a survey with our dating app Ship about dating during the pandemic, and we uncovered some interesting trends. Some of these things seem like common sense, while others are more surprising, but hey, you never know what to expect in 2020.
Dating Apps Are More Popular Than Ever Before
Most of us haven’t been able to do much in-person dating in 2020, but with so much free time on our hands, dating apps have been lit. The majority of people who took Ship’s survey said they’ve used ~the apps~ more during quarantine, and messages on Ship doubled after shelter-in-place orders went into effect.
We’ve all been busy building our virtual rosters, but what happens now? 62% of people said they plan to meet their quarantine matches IRL, and with all that time to build a virtual bond, I have a feeling we could be seeing a lot of new relationships between now and Labor Day. Everyone that missed the memo on a quarantine bae the first time around will be eager not to make the same mistake again.
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The Bar Is Higher
Now that we’re all being forced to pick and choose who we want to see, it makes sense that we’re getting more selective in our dating lives. Before, meeting someone for a drink was pretty low stakes, and going on first dates was an easy way to weed out who actually had potential. But now, 50% of people say they’ll be pickier than before about who they meet IRL, and 31% of people say their standards are higher in general. We may be desperate in quarantine, but I guess some of us aren’t that desperate.
F*ckboys Are Struggling
With casual hookups pretty much off the table for the near future, it’s easier than ever to tell who’s open to something more serious. In the past, f*ckboys could string you along with the idea that they might want a relationship, when they really just wanted someone to text late night. Survey respondents said this is one of the perks of virtual dating, because it “cancels out the people that just want something casual” and offers “an excuse not to have to meet up right away.”
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Video Dating Is The New Normal
And of course, as we navigate the ongoing pandemic, it’s still a great time to use virtual dating resources. Zoom happy hours are played out at this point, which is why we launched Ship Party—it’s like Houseparty, but for dating. A simple phone call, FaceTime, or virtual Ship date are also still great ways to determine if someone is actually worth meeting IRL. It might be a little awkward, but at least you won’t waste one of your precious social interactions. 54% of Ship users said they’ve gone on virtual dates, and if you want to spice up your virtual date, check out these Zoom backgrounds we made for any occasion.
I hope this goes without saying, but sadly, your dating life shouldn’t be going back to 100% normal just yet. With cases once again on the rise in most states, it’s important to follow social distancing guidelines if you’re meeting someone new, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. If they’ve traveled recently, or have been in a high-risk situation, maybe keep things virtual for another week or two. Once you’ve been hanging out for a bit, then you can make an educated decision about hooking up. Don’t take your mask off around someone you don’t trust, no matter how tempting it is. First date kisses just aren’t going to be a thing for a minute.