I gave it a month. A whole month. And now I can safely say I will never, ever be online dating ever again. It’s awful. Soul destroying. A complete and utter mind fuck. It’s full of people who are basically lying. From fake profiles, the catfishers, the married or unavailable and the extremely nice guys who are the polar opposite of their profiles or messages. Finding a nice, normal, suitable bloke on any of the dating apps has become worse than finding a needle in a haystack. And it’s caused absolute havoc for my anxiety levels to the extent I had a full-on panic attack the other day brought on by a date’s behaviour.
Let’s put it this way – if my fanny ever flutters again, I’m getting it sectioned! I would rather be single!
This blog isn’t the long-anticipated Tinder Tales Two, because we are on about part ten at this stage. I’ll probably depress myself even writing it but once I’ve got my head around the latest disastrous date I’ll write it. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have the integrity I do and just named and shamed the lot of them to save other women the hassle.
But during my online adventures, there have been repeated signs I’ve seen on hundreds of profiles and from chatting to lots of men. From the tiny, something isn’t right, tell-tale giveaways, to the absolutely massive red flags that get waved right in your face but are easy to miss.
Some of these signs are about spotting a fake profile. Dating apps are full of fake profiles, unfortunately. Then there are the tell-tale signs that a person has too much to hide. And then there are the signs that a person will be the best date you ever had and the worst boyfriend you’ll ever have. From the research I have done, abusers thrive on dating apps and have perfected their techniques at luring in their next victims. But in general, I hope all this behaviour is just limited to those that use dating apps, because if this is how society in general behaves then the human race is under threat!
Right here goes;
As with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, the likes of Tinder and other dating apps, are also full of fake profiles. You would think the operators would want to clear the apps of them, but the reality is, fake profiles raise the user numbers, which investors love, and con the real user into parting with their cash to get more details on the hotter profiles. Trouble is, the hot ones tend to be the fake ones.
So how do you spot a fake? There are a few things that are dead giveaways;
Too good a quality photos. Do his photos look like he just stepped out of GQ Magazine or the Kays Catalogue? Most people have rubbish profiles photos (refer back to the Swipe Right blog). If they look a bit too good, chances are they are fake.
Just the one photo. Probably fake. Especially if it’s a really good photo.
No details. Ummmmmm, so what exactly are you judging them on? The fake photos?
A bloke told me this one whilst we discussed the horrors of online dating, after meeting on a dating app. Anyway, look for tell-tale signs in the background. Plug sockets. Are they UK sockets? Foreign photos tend to be fake profiles. Does the room have products lying around with foreign names? The devil is in the details.
If you happen to swipe right on a fake profile and it messages you, chances are you are talking to a bot. Pay attention to the language it uses and the phrases. Do they sound natural? Does it sound like something Greg from Blackburn would say? Pay attention to the details.
A profile may not necessarily be fake for it to be dodgy, or of a person with something to hide. Like a wife. So there are a few things to look out for.
Flash face. You know those gym topless selfies to show off their muscles, but the flash hides their face? Yea, that’s no accident.
Tigers. Ok, not necessarily tigers, but there is a well-known thing about Tigers of Tinder. Men think that women are attracted to extreme adventure and danger so they post photos of them with tigers, or doing something that looks dangerous or in some adventurous location, like Mount Everest. It’s like a peacock with its feathers. It’s just showing off and making up for something else. Like a lack of morality or a small dick.
Bullshit job. Oh so you’re a hand model are you? Yep, bore off.
Passive-aggressive profiles. This is an odd one but I’ve encountered a few blokes who make quite bold statements in their profiles about attracting batshit women or how women should give gentlemen like them a chance, and then they behave worse than the straight-up fuckboys! Honestly, the tales I could tell! I had a date last week with a bloke who actually had quite a long statement on his profile about how women don’t give nice guys like him a chance. How millennials had done guys like him a disservice. How he was polite, good manners, chivalrous, had values, wanted to treat a lady correctly. Let me tell you, this was all absolute bullshit. His behaviour was absolutely appalling. It was a level of low I didn’t even think was possible. It actually shocked me. And that takes a lot.
** I will just say though that in the case of Mr Passive Aggressive, I really hope that he makes a point of proving me wrong because before his post date appalling behaviour he was everything his profile said he was and more besides. Unless his true colours came out once he’d got my attention, in which case he’s already proven me right!
Not Single Or Unavailable
To be honest, these signs don’t just apply to dating apps and the more tell-tale signs will manifest when you get to the date stage. But there are a few warning signs to look out for during the messaging stage. This list will probably end up being really long. Sorry in advance. Perhaps grab your wine/coffee now.
When you are in the messaging phase how much detail are they giving you? I totally get we are in an age of being careful about what information we give out or we have to be aware of our safety. However, we also live in an age where most of us put far too much detail about our lives online. You can probably find my bra size if you look hard enough at the information I put out. Now I totally get that as a blogger I give out more information than the average person. But it also means I’m probably more careful about the information I don’t put out. I’m also fully aware that anyone I’m messaging can very easily find out a lot about me, so I am quite open with what I tell my potential suitors. I send them a link to here now early on.
If someone is genuine in their intentions and actually wants to date, are looking for a relationship, and not just looking for their next shag or a side chick, they will tell you even the basics. Like their surname, where they work, what they do, social media links. Just enough so you can form a pattern of who they are.
Likewise, if a potential date is letting you do all the talking in the messages and not revealing much, beware. It’s a sign of a lack of genuineness.
Texting, Texting, Texting
Does he message you a lot? But only message? Don’t get me wrong, I love the little flutters you get when the name pops up on your screen and they’ve messaged you. But what if that’s all they do? Do they ever phone you, as in speak to you? You know, speak, using actual words that you can hear coming out of their mouth? Or Facetime? Texting may be all well and good for flirting but it covers a multitude of sins. Like another woman, sat in the same room as them whilst they text you. Remember the talk we had about Sexting Is Cheating?
Throw the odd curveball and call them. Not during work hours, because that’s unfair. But if you get the feeling they are about to go on a messaging marathon, call them. Even better, offer a FaceTime early on in the messaging game if they are looking for a potential date. Use it as a security excuse, that you want to see they are who they say they are in their profile photos. If they are genuine they will love to hear from you and enjoy chatting on the phone. And it gives your thumbs a break. Nobody wants a penpal. It also gives the impression you’ve other things to do than sit texting them all night.
There’s another point on texting that I’ll cover further down. Grey ticks and blue ticks are the worst!
No Social Media
Come on! Who in this day and age doesn’t have social media? Even if they hardly use it, they still have it. Are you telling me that someone who uses a dating app doesn’t use social media? I call bullshit on that one. So, here’s a great tip for you. If you can’t find them on social media, it’s because they don’t want to be found. They’ve something to hide!
From my experience, most men are keen to take the messaging off the dating app and on to WhatsApp quickly. It seems to be the fuck boys messaging app of choice. Anyway, this means you have their phone number. Connect your social media to your contacts (Facebook and Instagram) and then look in the discover part. Are they there? Even if their profile is private, you should still be able to decipher enough information to determine they are who they say they are. And single! You don’t have to send them a friend request straight off, but drop a joke kind of line that they appeared in your people you may know. If they’ve something to hide they’ll go quiet.
Also, Google is your friend. If you can’t find a single thing online about a person, that’s a warning sign. Have they even given you the right name?
We all know that men and woman can play the most awful, cruel games in dating and relationships. The second I get the slightest whiff that someone is a game player I am out of there. People who do this destroy your self-worth and your self-confidence and quite frankly are causing us all to have greater mental health issues.
During the messaging and dating phase, a person should behave consistently. An example being messaging. Think about how you message your friends and family. Most of them are pretty predictable. I know I am. People always say to me they know I reply quickly. That’s partly due to my own anxiety issues and that because of my work I pretty much live with my phone in my hand. If I don’t respond quickly it’s because I’m either asleep, on the loo, in the shower or on a call or on a plane. That’s it. Or I’m pissed off at you and don’t want to speak to you. But even then, I always have to have the last word so chances are I’ll still reply. Unless I really don’t like you, in which case I’ve probably blocked you.
I know that my mum can be hit and miss, depending on where she’s left her phone. I have friends who won’t reply for days and others that will reply pretty quick. I have some that have notifications turned on and others that have their phones constantly on silent and never hear it ring. These are the subtle little things we all know, sometimes subconsciously, about the people who live in our phones. Your potential date is no different. Their messaging habits should remain consistent if their intentions are also consistent with what they tell you. If they are flaky with their replies, give the benefit of the doubt. If it becomes a habit, it’s a problem. They are giving you just enough attention to string you along. They’re playing games with you and your emotions. Fuck them off.
I was having this conversation with a friend the other day. Back in the olden days when we used to go out to pubs and clubs to meet people because we didn’t have mobile phones or the internet, you could suss people out pretty quickly. Fortunately/unfortunately I worked in bars and clubs for years. I felt like it was a study on human behaviour and body language. In-person, most of our communication isn’t verbal. It’s our body language. Back in the day, if you saw someone across a smoke-filled dancefloor you liked the look of, chances are you were looking out for the subtle clues that would tell you if they were worthy of a dance or a snog, or your number if they were really lucky. Or you might know somebody in their circle of friends, dancing around their handbags. Basically, you had quite a lot to go on before you even started the conversation.
With online dating and messaging, you’ve none of that. You go straight to the conversation. And unfortunately, it’s not a face to face conversation. You can’t look into someone’s eyes and know they are lying. You can’t spot their nervous tells. The subtle little bits of body language that in a face to face situation would give them away.
So it’s super important that when you do meet them for the first time you are ultra-observant. Look for the nervous body language. I met one guy who despite being the most confident guy in the world via message when he got face to face with me, he looked like a startled rabbit in headlights and had terribly nervous body language. And it wasn’t first date nerves. He looked even more terrified the second time I met him!
This can happen on and offline so it’s very much not just restricted to online dating. However, it is a widely used technique of abusers and if you know the signs you can spot them very early with online dating.
Love bombing is when someone gets way too affectionate way too early. They shower you with false sincerity. Very early in the messaging, they are moving very quickly to lull you into a false sense of security. You think you’ve struck gold with boyfriend material. If you go on a date he will shower you with compliments, be very affectionate and tactile. This may seem and feel very flattering. Of course it is! You’ve been swiping the dregs of society and receiving dick pics for months and now Prince Charming is trying to sweep you off your feet.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing guys out there who will fall head over heels in love within days of meeting their princess. But, now let’s be realistic. It’s the very rare exception, not the rule. Tinderella may well go to the ball, but she’ll hell as like be marrying Prince Charming by Christmas. Guaranteed.
Think about how people usually, naturally behave. I’m always eyeing up the DILF’s in the freezer aisle in Tesco’s. Doesn’t mean to say I’m going to fall madly in love with them over the frozen pizzas does it and have a ring on my finger before I’ve got to the tea and coffee aisle.
Which brings me to my next point……..
Too Good To Be True
This saying applies to your dates as well as those online money scams. When you are in those first flushes of romance and you’re developing a textual relationship with him, maybe even had a couple of dates that were amazing. He’s hotter than your steam iron and your fanny flutters have escalated to all-out throbbing. It’s really hard to take off your rose-coloured spectacles and see it for what it really is. Has he ticked every single box on your imaginary (or real) ideal man checklist? Does he agree on every point you make about pretty much everything? Does he share your values, opinions and outlook on life? Does he want the same things as you? Has he got this amazing future mapped out that snuggly fits with your perfect future?
Yea, you might want to check all that again.
The day I met Mr Hot As Hell, no kids, doesn’t want kids, good job, own home, nice car, lovely manners, bright future, abs like a washboard, I thought I’d won the lottery. And then I wondered where his faults were because nobody is that perfect. Luckily he was rude as hell to me and very disrespectful on one incidence and that was enough to tell me he was too good to be true. He was gone. He probably had a small dick anyway.
Now this is a big one for me and a massive red flag. If a bloke is genuinely into you, he will never, ever disrespect you. If he does it unintentionally, by god he will be sorry for it and he’ll never do it again. He will move heaven and earth to fix it if it’s a genuine mistake, even if it still means you don’t want to see him again. If he does it very early on in the messaging or dating process, it’s a bloody big warning sign to you.
If he does or says something that you find disrespectful and you tell him, and it doesn’t stop, he isn’t sorry, or it gets worse, it’s a massive problem. Or if he says he’s sorry but his actions don’t match his words. It is a sign that he is trying to break down your self-esteem and gain the upper hand in order to gain control of the relationship. Abusers need to do this very early on in their relationships. They are testing the waters.
If you find your date to be judgemental of you in any way very early on, this isn’t good. They don’t know you well enough to judge you. Be it what you do for a living or what you wear. It’s none of their god damn business. They only get to judge when they are paying for it!
Ghosts, ghost, those damn ghosts. I can sum this one up really easily. If you ghost someone after a few dates or even one date, you are a no balls fucking prick. Lads, man up. Be polite and say thanks but no thanks. And don’t you dare ghost and then pop back up in 4 weeks time with a ‘Hey stranger’ text. You’ll get told to go fuck yourself. One chance matey and if you blow it you’re gone!
And if you do say thanks but no thanks, do not round it up with some bullshit false validation. I had a guy tell me (btw, this guy clearly had way too much to hide, like a girlfriend!), that I had loads of great qualities and he was sure I’d be snapped up soon! Would you go and fuck off with that one! What do you think I am? A half-price pizza on its sell-by date! I’d rather be single than settle for being snapped up cheaply!
Likewise, using the silent treatment as a means to manipulate to get your own way, is not good. If someone is only replying to you when you agree to what they want, be it what they want to do on a date or when they want you to pop round for a shag, they have issues. Don’t make them your issues. It’s manipulating and controlling and chances are they are a gaslighter too. Don’t go there.
There are a few other subtle little things to look out for, which can be just genuine little slips or warnings signs of danger ahead.
Pays cash on your date. Who carries cash anymore apart from say in a pub or club? If you’re meeting for dinner or a coffee and he pays cash, it’s because he doesn’t want the transaction being on his bank statement.
Checks phone. Does he check his phone in your company giving the impression he’s happy enough to do this like he’s nothing to hide? But then takes forever to reply to you? You’ve got the two grey ticks but no blue ticks. God those ticks will be the death of me and send my anxiety soring!
Has he mentioned sex or taken the conversation to that level very quickly in the messaging stage? As in within the first hour? He’s not looking for a relationship. He’s horny and wants a shag. You’ll be lucky if you even get a KFC out of this bloke!
Nicknames. Pass me the sick bucket! If a bloke calls me baby or even babe, very early on, I’m blocking and deleting. I’ve got a name, use it! He uses a nickname to stop himself from saying the wrong name. Trust me.
Makes excuses. Some excuses are genuine. Some are outright bullshit. If your gut feeling is that he’s lying, then chances are he’s lying. Give the benefit of the doubt once. If the excuse is real, the follow-up behaviour will make sense. Again, if the actions don’t match the words, it’s a bad sign.
Right, I’m done. Nobody has yet to convince me that online dating is the answer to my single status. Actually, all it has managed to do is reaffirm it as a good decision! I have swiped through what feels like thousands of men, chatted to a lot, and been on dates with a few. I even slept with one (shock horror). And not one of them was worthy of a nice mention on here. None will be on my Christmas card list and none will ever make it into All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. And that takes some doing given my ex’s! Now I’m perfectly open to being proven wrong if you happen to be reading this. We all love a good fairy tale. Somehow, I think I’ve called this bunch of dicks absolutely right.
But you know what if you are reading this my dear dates, take a bit of advice from me if you take nothing else. If you put as much effort into being the nice guys you portray yourself to be as you do being an absolute wanker, then chances are you wouldn’t need to use dating apps or have the constant energy-sapping bullshit to deal with. Change your focus. It might make your life slightly better. Being kind, polite and having a level of integrity and morality will cost you nothing. Being a lying, cheating dickhead that treats women like shit will cost you far more in the long run. That’s the example you are setting to your daughters/nieces/sisters. Think on.
I think my next blog will be my own really honest dating profile and then I’ll leave it up to you my dear readers to find me my future dates. Because for now, I give up!