Dating in 2020 (part 4)

Silhoettes of catfish on surfing scene

Having been on online dating sites for a while, I have got to see a lot of different profiles and I have played around with what my profiles look like a lot. There are various differing schools of thought about what you should put on your profile and what you should leave off, what pictures you should use and those to avoid. A lot of the advice is aimed at the US market and sometimes doesn’t make sense to those of us from different countries and cultures.

Despite all of this advice, I see a lot of people not bothering with it, from those who don’t write anything of value in their profiles, or anything at all, to those that use unsuitable pictures. Others write of what they don’t want rather that what they do, delivering a negative message about themselves. Everyone is different, one person’s red flag is another’s green light but certain things don’t really belong on a profile where you are effectively trying to sell yourself.

Pictures are important, especially now. In the early days of this century, I didn’t have a picture that was suitable to be put on my profile. I remember getting on very well with a woman on Gothic Personals until I sent a picture of me, that I’d got a friend to take on my camera, with the crew cut I had at the time. No more connection, hair not long enough. It wasn’t the only time. After that, for a while, I grew my hair to a length that was still in keeping with the Army rules and since my service finished I have deliberately grown it. Some of the online gurus would advise me to cut it again and get rid of the beard but that doesn’t take into account the type of woman I would like to attract and those I want to put off.

It may be superficial but how you look is something that is important to most people, there are a lot of online memes and motivational messages saying otherwise but I wonder how many people believe in them. On the other side of that coin, a lot of people are demoralised by the constant bombardment of pictures of “perfect” people through the use of photo manipulation, make up, lighting and other tricks of the trade, including the current fad for filters.

Using the Tinder parlance, I swipe left a lot. The first thing I see is the profile picture, if I can’t see what you look like I will presume that you have something to hide and will generally reject that profile immediately or, if I am not fed up of seeing unsuitable images, I may look at the next one or two before making a decision. I see a lot of profile pictures with landscapes, animals, food and other random objects, whilst it may be important to who that person is, it shouldn’t be the main profile pic. Others that put me off are extreme closeups of face, a picture of a person in the distance, filters blocking features, more than one female (rule of thumb, if there are two or more women in a picture, the profile belongs to the least attractive), picture with a man (I’m not interested in polyamory) and strange camera angles. I also swipe left for pics where the age on the profile bears no relation to the picture. After that, if I am still on the profile, I will look at the other pics to see if any of my personal red flags come up and I also like to see a full body pic.

At some point I will read the profile if I haven’t already swiped left. If it’s there. Or has anything useful in it. I like to read a profile that gives me a clue whether a woman may interest me or not, or if they are looking for something specific. All too often there will be a rant about what sort of person they don’t want – men with fish, men with bare chests, toilet pics, players, married men, etc. – this begs the question why they don’t filter them out by looking at their profiles and pictures and really reading messages. Sometimes the person writes something and it’s obvious that they haven’t bothered to check it, silly spelling mistakes, poor grammar and sentences that are cut off due to the character limits (I’m not talking about women whose first language isn’t English).

Then there are the ones with nothing or next to nothing in their profile, some are probably old accounts which haven’t been fully deleted but others are from women who aren’t really bothered or will know that men will swipe right on them anyway. I’m sure that some men will swipe right on anything female, even if there are no pictures or information. Some sites do insist on a minimum amount written but the free sites don’t bother.

There are catfish and “like” collectors on these sites and these are often easy to spot, e.g. they will have nothing but Snapchat or Instagram links or, the latest version, a short nonsensical sentence with the social link. Finally there are those who are trying to survive in these difficult times, either asking for money or gifts directly, offering pictures or videos for sale, having a link or email address partly hidden or claiming to be sugar babies.

There are differences between the sites, some sites give you the option to enter more information but many people leave a lot of things out, defeating the point of having them. OKCupid allows you to answer questions to get a better match but many people stop at the minimum of 15, which generally leaves you none the wiser about whether you have things in common or not. Some sites will police profiles more than others. Tinder relies on users to tell them if a profile is dodgy but used to limit the numbers that you reported, which was crazy when scammers were flooding the site with fake profiles and now they make you jump through several hoops making it a pain to do. Both Tinder and Bumble have verification systems where you can verify yourself as a real person by copying a pose, although this can be tricky posing and making sure your phone camera is pointing in the right direction. OKCupid has a system in place where your profile will suddenly gain a lot of likes and then offers you the paid version to see them. I have never taken it up as I specifically say that anyone interested needs to message me. You can see who messages you so I doubt that the majority of likes are genuine and are probably coming from bots or catfish. I have seen a few suspicious profiles on Bumble and found some on Veggly.

Having been on several sites for a while I have realised that old profiles don’t get deleted. I see the same ones again and again, with no updates or other changes. Some are more obvious when they mention a date in the past or their age, which doesn’t match with the one on the profile. Some complain about the age being wrong and, when logging in using Facebook was the norm, there wasn’t any way around it. Nowadays with different options that usually indicates a dead account.

All in all online dating is hard work, which is why I periodically give up and delete my accounts. Occasionally I will delete my account to enable me to have a fresh start with new pictures and a different profile to try out. It was getting to the stage that I would no longer want to seek female companionship beyond my friends and get a cat for company but, Fingers crossed, I had a date a couple of weeks ago, we are chatting online quite a bit and we are trying to work it so we can meet up for a second date.

catfish pictures 13smok and kropekk_pl from Pixabay