Battle of the Sexes

9 ways to improve your online dating profile: A PSA to men everywhere

Dating is hard, y’all. It’s a jungle out there. I fully commend anyone looking for love (or something like love) for going online and downloading dating apps and putting themselves out there.

This winter, I dabbled in the online dating world and joined Bumble.While swiping through profiles, I noticed that there were lots of guys who had serious potential, but for lack of a better word, weren’t marketing themselves very well.
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Unfortunately, apps like Tinder and Bumble rely on a superficial snap judgement to swipe right for like or left for dislike. Looks are subjective, and I’m by no means here to tell you to hit the gym, change your wardrobe, or be untrue to yourself. However, I’ve noticed some trends in male online dating profiles that seriously need to stop.
Out of the goodness of my heart and my need to give people unsolicited advice, I’ve assembled a list of ways you can improve your online image, and hopefully land the love of your life (or love for one night).

Smile

I’m always surprised by the number of online profiles that don’t feature a photo of someone smiling. I’m guilty of posting the broody, serious selfie on social media, but when it comes to online dating there’s a fine line between sultry, and mugshot.
That’s why it’s important to feature at least one photo of yourself smiling. A smiling face is approachable, it shows you like to have fun and at least ONCE thought something was funny.
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Avoid the low angle selfie

Nobody looks good from this angle. Taking a low angle selfie is basically saying to someone, “This is what I look like while you’re blowing me.”
I get it, it’s embarrassing to be seen taking a selfie, but sneaking a selfie while in your car from the perspective of your gas pedal is not cute. If you’re looking for pictures for your online profile, there are other, more flattering ways to take the perfect photo!

Tread carefully with mirror selfies

Mirror selfies were meant for a time before the front-facing camera. Although not as bad as the low angle selfie, mirror pics can go awry if your bathroom/bedroom is a mess, you forgot to flush the toilet, and your beard trimmings mixed with toothpaste have caked to the bathroom sink.On the upside, I do get to see what kind of phone you use, that you use Crest toothpaste and that your shower doors are spotless and streak free (bonus points for a clean guy!).
Mirror selfies are cheese-ball, and we all know they’re just sneaky ways for us to show off our bodies/outfits to prospective love interests, but for the love of God, choose your setting wisely!

Pets are always a good idea

Studies show that including photos with your pets increases your attractiveness to women by 25%* Dogs, cats, kittens, puppies, your Uncle Murray – grab something covered in fur and snap a photo. Having pets shows potential interests that you’re capable of caring for something and can be gentle and nurturing … just like you will be with our future babies.
Too much too soon?
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Avoid sunglasses

Is that you? I can’t tell.
The eyes are the windows to the soul, and you might as well be a soulless ginger if you include a photo with sunglasses.

Leave the ex out of it!

Unless you’re going to Photoshop over your ex’s face to make it look like you’re embracing Hillary Clinton, don’t bother posting a photo that features your cropped out-ex.
Girls tend to take more pictures than guys, which means during your relationship, she probably took a shit ton of pics, and now that you’re single you can’t find a decent pic to post without her lying cheating face in it!
Don’t fret (or crop) The solution here is simple: Take photos specifically for your online profile or just take more pictures the next time you’re out with friends!

Keep your shirt on

We get it, Casanova – you work out. If you’re posting a picture of your shirtless self, there’s a 9/10 chance I’m swiping left because you’re coming across as someone using Tinder as a personal little black book of conquests.

Limit group photos

It’s OK to include a group photo on an online dating profile. Firstly, this signals to me that you’re capable of forming emotional attachments to people (huge plus). Secondly, it gives me a chance to scope out your friends in case you and me don’t work out.
Include group photos if you’ve already included several solo shots. I shouldn’t have to play Where’s Waldo to figure out who you are!
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Tell me about yourself

Your profile should be your elevator pitch to the dating world. Like to travel? Include pictures of yourself on holiday. Love sports? Include some snaps of you playing hockey or soccer. Hate everything? Include a photo of yourself holding a sign that says, “I hate everything.”
That being said, starting conversations online can be intimidating! The hard part of online dating isn’t matching with someone over Tinder, it’s about starting a conversation to see if you’ve got that textual chemistry!
A good idea to get conversations started with potential matches (Especially Bumble where the ladies have to message first) is to pose a question in your profile as an ice breaker.
Ex: What’s your favourite city and why?
      If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
      What’s the one food you could eat for every meal and never get sick of?
Separate yourself from the pack by avoiding boring conversation!
These simple tips and tricks can help change your online image from “serial killer” to “bring him to Christmas dinner.”
Promote your best self online and offline. I’m no expert when it comes to making a relationship last, but I can tell you that as a judgmental female of consenting age, I’m your prime demographic when it comes to online dating.
Be yourself, have fun, and never accept candy from strangers.
Go forth, and wear protection.
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*Based on my own personal research of looking a pictures of men with puppies
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So you’ve realized you’re an online stalker: Welcome to the club

The Huffington Post recently published an article reminding women everywhere, that the grand romantic gestures that happen in movies, don’t always translate in real life.

The article spells it all out for you in the title, Romantic Comedies Teach Women That Stalking is a Compliment, with writer Chloe Angyal reminding us with ovaries, that unless it’s Ryan Gosling writing you a letter every day for  a year, it’s just f*cking creepy.

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This article assumed I have no concept of reality , which is sort of true, but made me surprisingly introspective of my own stalker-ish behaviors when it comes to dating. Don’t call the police (again), I’m not referring to Fatal Attraction level boil your bunny, “Why Don’t You Love Me,” type stuff. I’m talking about the little things we do online, to learn about and track the people we’re interested in.

When does it go from social media savvy, to stalking?

It’s fairly common to Facebook the object of your desire, or look them up on Instagram. When you meet someone new, and send the initial invitation to connect on social media, the friend request is the virtual acknowledgement of a burgeoning relationship of some kind; romantic, friendly, or other.

What you do next is what separates you from the rest of the pack.

Personally, I’ll admit that I’m an adorable creep.

When I connect with someone on social media, I unleash research skills that should have already peaked the Canadian government’s interest. I can find out where you went to school, where you work, what you like to do and I’ll begin piecing together an idea of your family, your previous relationships and your own level of social media comfort based on the effort you exhibit to cultivate your online image.

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From there, I’ll search tagged photos to see who you socialize with the most versus who comments the most on your photos, rule out that frequent commenter as the friend you only talk to online, find out that your parents are divorced but you’re dad’s re-married to a nice woman named Sheila, Sheila has three kids from a previous relationship, you all seem to get along well and celebrate the holiday’s up North at your cottage, where you once broke your leg skiing .  Of course I won’t admit to any of this and when we hang out casually ask whether or not you’ve ever broken a bone, if you like to ski, or if you have any brothers or sisters. I’ll feign surprise but correct you when you say you broke your leg in 2008.

It was 2007.

If I REALLY like you, I’ll see what events you’re attending and maybe, JUST MAYBE suggest to my friends that we attend, “Just because.”

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If we’re chatting and you all of a sudden don’t respond, but two seconds later like a photo on Instagram, I’ll know you’re avoiding me. I’ll know, and do absolutely nothing about it because I refuse to double text, and instead will just sit here and watch what you’re liking online.

This is creepy, right?

Totally creepy, but slightly adorably because I’m just being extra cautious of stranger danger and vetting a potential match before I invest time and effort into getting to know them. Also, the fact that I have zero muscle tone and am inherently lazy automatically makes me a threat to nobody.

Ok. I exaggerated…slightly.

But what’s more likely to happen: Me doing all of this recon before a coffee date, or a man scaling a Ferris Wheel threatening to kill himself unless I go on a date with him?

Firstly, I’d commend his climbing abilities. It’s rare that people show any kind of initiative anymore. Secondly, the fair only comes to this neck of the woods once a year, so his window of opportunity is incredibly small, but I can online lurk 12 months a year, rain or shine, night or day.

I’m really not this weird.

I swear.

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Happy lurking, Y’all!

Girls with high mileage

“All guys want a virgin. If you can get a girl that’s untouched, you marry her.” I was sitting with my guy friends sipping a mediocre cup of tea, listening to Marcus explain the Holy Grail of the fairer sex. “You want to be the only guy your girl has ever been with.”

I smiled. “That’s absolute bullshit.”

“Not at all, that’s the truth.” Marcus replied with confidence. “Nobody wants a girl with high mileage.”

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I mentally ran through the list of “Must Haves” Marcus and Roman had imparted to me. According to them, the ideal woman had to cook, clean, want children, produce children, stay in some sort of physical shape after birthing the aforementioned children, but now she had to have a fully intact hymen, too?

You would think by now my blood would be boiling, but after nearly a year of exposure to conversations like this, I’ve become incredibly immune to their stupidity.  I almost take pleasure in it. Like I said, it’s like watching apes in their natural habitat.

“Riddle me this,” I asked the table. “When you’re out and about hooking up with girls, are you thinking, ‘I’ve got to keep my mileage low for my future wife?'”

I was met with a tither of laughter from Marcus. “It’s a double standard, I know, but it’s true. I’m just being honest.”

“I wouldn’t want my future wife to have had sex with like, 20 people, or have been in several long term relationships.” Roman, the devout Catholic of the group added to no one in particular.

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Is 20 a lot of people?

In our group, I’m the youngest at 28. Everyone else is in their mid 30’s, and aside from Ken, still single. If the average person has been sexually active from the age of …say…17, and hadn’t been in any serious or long-term relationships, was it unreasonable to believe that by the age of 30, said person was having sex with at least 2 people per year?*

WHAT ARE WE? MONKS?

Marcus decided to turn the tables on the conversation, “Would you ever have sex with a guy who told you he was a virgin? No, you probably wouldn’t. The double standard is real.”

Always needing a backstory, I pushed for more details. “Maybe, I said. Why is he a virgin? Is he waiting until marriage? Is this for religious reasons? Because if it is, that’s a hands-down no.”

“Why not?” asked Roman, the Pope’s representative in Canada.

“Because that would mean we have different beliefs and values. Why would I waste someone’s time if they were upfront with how they live their life? ”

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Unsatisfied (just like my imaginary religious suitor), the guys shook their heads at my unwillingness to prove their point. 

This was obviously a prime example of patriarchal thinking. Using the word ‘mileage’ to compare women to cars, something that can be acquired as a possession.

What confused me even more, was the idea that these guys were actively engaging with women who weren’t “wife material” but still expected their untouched, virginal spouse to be existing somewhere in the universe going about her day sewing buttons on clothing. Were they not just “ruining” these women for their future husbands?

Were they aware that they were talking to a woman who can’t cook, is on the fence about procreation and who most likely broke her hymen in a bike riding accident when she was a kid?

Listen folks, what I do, who I do, or who I don’t do is none of your GD business. I’m not judging anyone. Do you. Do him. Do the whole football team, I really don’t care.  You should never feel bad about your sexuality and sexual history or lack thereof.

What do you think we can do to help rid the world of this kind of sexist, antiquated thinking?  Is it too late for these guys?  Do all men think this way?

Tell me what you think!

 

 

 

 

* Note: I have not had 20 partners but fingers crossed!

Never Marry the Hot Girl

The other day, I sat down to tea with my guy friends  and they let me in on a tidbit of information that is apparently well known among the male population: Never, ever, marry the hot girl.

Before we go any further, you should know that these are actually REALLY sweet guys, but sometimes they say the dumbest, most appalling tripe I’ve ever heard.

I tried to maintain my composure, keep my cuss words to a minimum, but of course, asked them to elaborate.

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Marcus, the laid back, well groomed, fashion obsessed member of the group, took the lead. “The hot girl is going to make your life miserable,” he said. “Date her, but right after you break-up with her, start dating someone average, still pretty, but you know. Not as pretty. That girl’s going to go above and beyond for you because she has to. ”

I reached for my cellphone, pretended to text and immediately began taking notes for this blog post. “What do you mean, above and beyond?”

Marcus continued, “The average girl’s going to cook and clean and have your kids. She’s not concerned with staying beautiful forever. She’s wife material.”

Bullshit or honesty? I kept pushing. “Don’t you think that your wife should be the most beautiful woman in the world to you? Shouldn’t you think she’s actually the Hot Girl?”

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Sensing my growing frustrations, my co-worker Roman, interjected. “Oh, nobody’s saying that you don’t love your wife, or think she’s beautiful. You fall in love with her personality, and that makes her even more beautiful.”

“But she’s just not the hottest, that you physically have ever been with,” Marcus added. “She’s great, but she brings something else to the table.”

This is where I should mention that both Marcus and Roman are single. Our married friend, Chris, sat further down the table shaking his head in disbelief, quietly laughing at our conversation.

“This is ridiculous.” I told them.

“Do me a favor,”Marcus said smiling. “Next time you’re at the mall, look at the left hand of every hot girl you see. There will be no ring. Then, look at the other girls,  they’ll all be married or engaged.”

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I was in disbelief but intrigued. I admit,  I’ve never really dated any guy that I thought followed traditional definitions of “hot.” I’ve  dated good-looking guys,  but not guys that could be mistaken for  male models. I have an innate distrust of really good-looking people or “hot” guys , maybe because I don’t believe they would ever be interested in me, or that I wouldn’t be enough to keep their attention. There’s always going to be someone prettier, better looking, hotter – and all that jazz.

Were the guys just (poorly) describing the same type of insecurity?

“Everyone wants the hot girl,” Marcus continued, obviously enjoying the ability to espouse his wisdom to the opposite sex. “She knows it. She likes the attention, and there’s always going to be someone trying to take her.”

There it was, insecurity rearing it’s ugly head.

I nodded, more or less agreeing with everything they weren’t saying. What began as a shallow conversation turned into a glimpse into what we all have in common: fear that someone’s going to affirm the idea that we aren’t “good enough.”

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I could easily take this conversation at face value and think these guys are witless d*cks, but maybe this was just a glimpse into someone’s heartache history. To come up with this “rule” there must have been a girl who broke their heart, right?

Or, could this simply be a  matter of discovering that looks aren’t everything?  No matter how “hot” someone is, there’s more to a partnership than physical attraction.  My favorite adage is the crass, “For every Supermodel, there’s a guy that’s tired of f*cking her.”

The Hot Girl is subjective. The Average Girl is subjective.  Diff’rent Strokes for Diff’rent folks. Are there any hard and fast rules for dating, or are there just lessons we’ve learned that we should keep to ourselves unless articulately expressed?

Am I being to kind in trying to look beneath the shallow surface of this conversation?

What do you think? Tell me in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunchtime Anthropology: A new series

In January, I began a new position working in IT. I left my comfortable little cubic-cave, and my office of menopausal mother figures to join a team of six men from cultural and religious backgrounds that could not be more different from my own.  As the only female in the group , I consider myself a younger, curvier, Jane Goodall living among the primates.

I was worried I wouldn’t fit in with the team, that we’d have nothing in common, or that they wouldn’t be washing their hands after visits to the rest room.

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It turns out, my six multicultural computer chimps were concerned about having me on their team as well. I recently found out they were briefed by my boss to, “Be kind, inclusive, and not to say anything that can be misconstrued as sexual harassment.”

At three o’clock everyday, I was invited to join the boys for tea, and listen to them discuss cars. Every. Single. Day. I learned about shocks, struts, brakes, winter tires, summer tires, paint finishes, mileage, their dream cars, their current cars, their worst car, their wives car, their wives driving, their motorcycle, their sport bike, sports bikes versus Harley’s and it went on and on until faced with cutting my own ears off with a butter knife, I stopped going to three o’clock tea.

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After a week of keeping to myself, one of the more sensitive primates of the pack invited me back to the round table, where to my surprise they were willing to discuss dating, relationships, and the differences between men and women.

It’s been 10 months, but I believe I’ve finally been accepted as one of their own. This achievement brings me to a new series of blog posts entitled Lunchtime Anthropology, where I’ll relay my humorous and sometimes enraging observations and conversations with what I’ve affectionately dubbed, “My Frans, my bestie boos, my hoes” even though they insist I stop calling them that.

Their identities will be protected, and details of our work will be avoided (I’m not looking for a law suit here), but I’ll be sharing a male perspective to this otherwise estrogen riddled Tampax ad of a blog.

Luckily, none of the boys on my team care about my blogging endeavors, so I’m safe. If I should be discovered… Well. Godspeed. It was a pleasure writing for you.

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