Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Online Dating Experience (With Screenshots!)

Reviewing online dating apps was a fun exercise, and you all seemed to enjoy the post (a sincere thanks for all the ad clicks! Please keep clicking!), so here comes the sequel: The Online Dating App Experience - With Screenshots!

I think posting actual examples of messages is a good way to illustrate what it's like to try and find dates online. Of course, it is just my experience, since every screenshot below is of a message I personally received on my dating profiles. Everyone else's experience may be completely different, and it goes without saying that it is all valid.

Note that I am fully aware that it's not only women who get terrible first messages and are insulted and objectified at online dating sites/apps. What transfolk, disabled people and people of colour experience trying to date online is much more horrifying. People of all genders can be desperate, clueless, racist, classist and everything else in between.

Online harassment is a problem for everyone.

Yet, I am a straight white cis woman, and I mostly deal with straight cis men online, so naturally every message below comes from a man.

I've been having it quite good with online messages for a while, honestly. I haven't gotten a dick pic in a long time. I haven't been called a bitch or asked if I was a feminist. (I am, duh.)

Most of the messages I get are vapid one-liners, inane references to my practice of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, out-of-context compliments or just lazy "hellos". Then there are some odd ones. And ones with sexual undertones. And the combination of all of the above. I don't frequently engage the messengers, which probably accounts for lack of post-rejection insults.

Before you ask, yes, sometimes I get nice messages too. I usually try to respond in a reasonable amount of time and send some myself. Sadly, signal to noise ratio is still out of control in the online dating world.

Where to start? How about with some of these...


I heard women were guilty of that too. I believe it. Pick a generic compliment or ask how I am doing - that's guaranteed to pique my interest, right?

Thanks. I guess.


Alright, maybe you've actually opened my profile. Still not helpful.

I'm not twelve and we have a zero match. Not cool.

You are well within your rights to ask: what's your beef with one-liners, Katya? These aren't that bad! Fine, maybe they aren't. They are just boring and very easy to ignore. So I do.

Generic Crap

One step above from one-liners are copy-pasted messages that contain zero or minimal customization. Sure, send the same boring thing over and over again - maybe someone will bite?
These frequently are also the messages that contain PUA-type shitty tricks, unsolicited erotic stories and begs for a date sprinkled with desperation and a touch of mansplaining. Yay! Love getting these! (Not.)

Yes sir! Right away sir! A few people did indeed tell me I was gorgeous, but you ain't got battery for that shit.

Okay, maybe this one isn't a copy-paste (because I'm totally a cutie. Lol.), but what do you mean always? Like from the beginning of time?

Angels don't talk, Brian. They sing. Or silently gesture.

Both messages are looking great, buddy. Effortless. No coffee for you.

I'm not a pie :(

This one starts off innocuous enough, but then... No. I can't trust headless strangers.

You are thinking Tinder, young man. This is OkCupid. This is REAL.

Here's one of those stories. Did you write it yourself, Dick?

Hmm. I love this weather! This surely tells you a lot about me!

Is "chat and snacks" like "Netflix and chill" now?

There is nothing in my profile about how I feel about these sites, Justin. Way to assume. Also, a decent conversation and sex weren't mutually exclusive last time I checked. How do all these couples do it?

My energy tells me not to.


So, the following messages were probably not a copy-paste. They were likely meant for me, so they are entertaining. In a sick, sad way.

Ugh. God. What? Why? No.

No thanks.

I am not a dessert to be appealing (also still not a pie). Really? I totally lied about what I'm looking for in my profile, so that you could ask me. Puh-lease. The answer isn't going to be "wild sex with anonymous strangers with no photo up".

"If you don't mind"

I just had to respond to this one. Alas, he didn't bite. It *was* a sex question, I knew it!

Well, that settles it then, doesn't it?

Note this guy's age.


Probably at least for someone closer?

This is... not a great way to categorize human beings.

Sex club invitations

I only have two examples of this, but it warrants its own category. Oasis Aqualounge is a pretty famous clothing-optional spa in Toronto. It's a fun place to go, but do I really need to explain why it's completely out of line to invite someone there in your first message? These guys don't think so.

Long convo below with so many typical creep remarks thrown in! When he suddenly switches to Russian, he says that he studied it in school and wants to hear me swear in it. My response is that I don't swear in Russian. (Almost true; I try not to.)


I just ignored this one. One guy was enough.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Comments

The message category that takes the cake is for sure the one referencing my martial arts hobby. I don't mean it's a bad idea to mention it, but when it's mixed into a one-liner that fetishizes me as a practitioner or makes a joke about "not messing with me"? Yeah, I hate it.

Fresh tip: don't mess with anyone, not just those who know how to choke you unconscious.

If I had a penny every time someone made a comment about "trying my moves"... It gets so old so quickly.

Look, dude. Yes, I do have preferences when it comes to submissions, but I have a feeling you're not interested in talking about the actual martial art.

What's the point?

No, it doesn't show anything really. I might be the laziest martial artist in the world, who knows.

Weirdly, I'm not interested in indulging random men's fantasies, sorry, trust exercises.

Jits, dude. Not MMA. Don't like MMA.

This is actually just one of many. many messages to that effect. "I want to learn - teach me." "Teach me your moves". "Can I be your student? Teach me." Find an academy and put a white belt around your waist, for god's sake!

The unique rank of blue.

Rashguards rule.

...This post has been in the making for over a month. After going through all the messages, taking and editing all these screenshots, and thinking of all my responses to them, I went ahead and closed all of my dating accounts. All of this messaging nonsense is frankly ridiculous. But that's just me.

If you are using or are thinking of using online dating apps, I sincerely wish you the best of luck. I hope that unpleasant messages, whatever they may be, rarely find their way to your inbox.
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