After a recent breakup and a foray into writing about dating apps, I was left with a very dangerous situation on my phone: Tinder. I know people who have forged inexplicably great relationships after meeting on Tinder, but they are the unicorns of the cesspool that is the world of dating apps. Honestly, online dating should at least be done from a desktop. I just don’t want to be picked out of a love interest lineup on any device that can be set to vibrate. But I digress. If you’re going to do Tinder, at least do it with the knowledge that some flags are just too red to ignore. Here are a few dudes who are holding those freak flags high.
1. The dude who clearly has a girlfriend. Okay, I didn’t think this was a possibility, but it is a very, very real possibility. His first picture is always innocuous enough: sitting next to a pretty girl by a fire, candid as hell, looking as could-be platonic as an American Eagle ad circa 2006. Sure. By the third picture, it’s clear that this is his ex. Right? Ex? By the last picture, you’re pretty sure that this guy doesn’t have a picture from anytime in the last four years without this girl. Are those her parents? You seriously went with the graduation pics for Tinder? Jesus. Obviously swipe left for this guy, but do take a moment to revel in the fact that there’s someone out there more screwed up than you.
2. The dude with the random baby. Is that your baby? No? Okay, good, I guess. Why is it there, then? Why did you actively decide to make your main profile picture one where you are supporting the neck of an infant? These dudes are trying to show you something that they could have easily done with a small animal or a toddler, let’s be real. I don’t need to see an infant to get the ‘sensitive bro’ vibe. Why the baby? Maybe he thought his biceps look particularly good curled around an infant. Maybe he’s a Tinder mastermind trying to play to the sensibilities of my ovaries. Or maybe he just uses other people’s kids as props on his dating profile to make him seem more interesting. No matter what his reasoning is, don’t let the dude with the baby fool you with hot dad vibes. He is not a hot dad.
3. The dude with a celebrity selfie. I don’t know that this is something that happens anywhere besides Los Angeles, but I have to take a moment to say that people who use pictures with celebrities on dating websites are among the saddest of them all. Please miss me with your arm-around Dane Cook photo op. What is the point of this? I guess the goal here is to find someone who wants to touch that celebrity as much as you, and then have sex with that person, thereby cementing a beautiful relationship all on the shaky foundation that you really loved the movie Waiting. Don’t do it. Unless he has a picture with 2Chainz. In that case, match with him and give him my number, girl.
4. The dude with the tiger. WHY?! WHAT DO THE TIGERS STAND FOR?! I need to know. Someone please tell me what kind of secret signal the tigers are sending, because I don’t get it and I think about it every day. Are you going to take me on a magic carpet ride? Wait. That was Jasmine, not Aladdin. Are you trying to send me Princess Jasmine vibes? Am I a street rat? Why do dudes on Tinder have pictures with tigers? No matter what the answer, stay away from them.
5. The dude who doesn’t own a shirt. A beach pic? Cool. Jetskiing? Sure. Doing yard work? Okay. Basketball with the bros? Right. In front of your mirror alone? Oh. I get it. Those weren’t all photo ops that happened to show off how buff, athletic, and useful around the house you are. You just really love how you look without a shirt. This dude is the type to have a mirror above or strategically placed near his bed. You will never be prettier than him or even close to as pretty as he is in his mind. Do not go near this dude.
6. The dude whose friend you hooked up with. Here’s a funny thing: if you do “like” this guy in the app, chances are you’re going to have a match. And you’ll think, “but wait, I definitely just made out with his friend last weekend in my driveway, did I not?” You did. He knows that, and he definitely recognized you, but unless you message him and invite him to your driveway, he is going to blame this all on coincidence and laugh it off. Avoid it all. He is a liar and you don’t need this messy Friends plotline of a “coincidence” in your life. Don’t be a Rachel.