The Dos and Don’ts For Men On Dating Apps

If you’ve landed on this blog post thinking, “What has taken her so long to write something like this?” the answer is a combination of having used to work for and not being able to + not wanting to give online dating anymore attention than it already gets + laziness + so many other ideas beating it to the top of my priority list.

If you’ve landed on this blog and have no idea who I am but some Google search led you here, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Emma, I’m in my early 30s, I’ve been dating on and off for the better part of a decade, and I’VE SEEN SOME SHIT.

Not one of my immediate best friends has ever had to deal with the dark, depressing horror that are dating apps. They all just happened to meet their fellas out in the real world before dating apps took over the “dating” world as we know it. Unfortunately for me, I’ve been on and off all of them for years, popping my online dating cherry with none other than OKCupid back in 2012 (yeah. I’m seasoned).

Me in 2012.

Me in 2012.

Since, dating apps have become the new norm. Whereas “meeting online” was once taboo, now it’s expected. With the rise of social media, the sickening amount of time we all spend on our phones day in and day out, and how seemingly incapable we are of approaching humans in public, how the HELL ELSE are you gonna meet people? For singles who are seriously looking and not involved in things like church, Crossfit, or any other kind of cultish clurb, dating apps have become a necessary evil. Hell, even for singles who aren’t seriously looking. At their best, dating apps make you feel like you’re at least kinda “putting yourself out there,” and matching with those you’ve swiped right on or liked is an instant ego boost — no one can deny that (thanks, gameifying culture). But, at their worst, they’re a self-harming tool that subject you to endless rounds of rejection: you don’t match, he doesn’t respond, he suddenly stops the conversation, etc. Sometimes it feels like you’re willingly putting yourself on display for others to judge without knowing you at all. Oh wait — THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT DATING APPS ARE.

As a heterosexual female, I’ve only ever seen my side of things, but I’m willing to bet that no matter your sexual orientation, we all deal with similar shit. I just feel like hetero males on dating apps need A LOT of help, and I don’t necessarily feel like giving it to them but, at the very least, letting them know all the ways they are fucking it up for themselves.

And before we get into the long list of grievances I have with the typical hetero man’s dating app profile, let me say this — I get it. I know that men have a rough go of it when it comes to securing legitimate pictures to post on dating profiles, and I know they’re usually pretty terrible at written word. Rarely are they in situations where it feels natural to request a picture of themselves or even suggest a group picture, and the act of talking about themselves causes extreme discomfort. But most dating app behavior is a no brainer, which leads me to say @ MEN — DO BETTER.



Shirtless Pics.

Are you dumb? You have to be to still be selecting these pictures for your dating profile. I guess if it’s on a beach and NOT alone but not NOT alone because of a girl in the picture, fine. Like be on the beach without a shirt on WITH friends, MAYBE. But in or around a pool? Nah. Nowhere near a body of water? Nah X 10. In a bathroom? Just delete your profile and throw your phone in the trash. Now, I understand that not everyone is on dating apps to find true connection and are just thirsty, so showing off the goods at the jump is a tactic. But also, I don’t understand and I need you to stop now, sir. Thank you.

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Mirror Selfies.

Guys, no. Okay? Just no. Same to girls, but that’s another story. I get it — my mirror selfies are some of the best pictures of me because I know my angles and I’ve mastered my poses. But based on principle alone, even I won’t put a mirror selfie on a dating profile (even if it’s FIRE AF). Mirror selfies are, in their very nature, awkward. What fucking face do you make? You don’t. We all stare at the phone screen or creepily at the mirror. Is smiling into the camera via the mirror better? No. It’s worse. And yes, I take and post them often to show you guys my outfits, but I wouldn’t dare choose it as a dating app profile picture to promote my looks. Plus, since men aren’t very good at a small thing called “detail,” their backdrop is almost always incriminating. Unmade bed, hell hole of a room, weird trash, URINALS — you can almost always find something you don’t like in the background of a mirror selfie. So, as uncomfortable as it might make you as a man, if you look great, ask a friend or even a neighbor to take a pic. Do it for your own dignity.

Group Photos.







Why would you do this? You’re setting yourself up for total failure. This profile is about YOU — not your group of friends, many of whom I will probably find attractive only to find out you’re not any of the attractive ones I was hoping for. WHY WOULD YOU LEAD WITH THAT? Don’t do this to yourself, please. Post a few pictures of JUST YOU first, then you are allowed to post a group photo. Or, if you really, truly don’t have even one solo photo to post, circle, highlight, and point arrows to who you are in said group photo. For the love of God.

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Creepy Filters.

I’m perplexed as to why a guy would ever think a zombie/skeleton/overall terrifying filter from an app would ever be a good picture to put on a dating profile? Sound specific? It’s because it is. In my latest dating app venture, the amount of these filter pictures I’ve come across is unsettling. I don’t want to see you as a devil? Or zombie? Or skeleton? Ever? For any reason? Why do you think that’s cool or sexy or funny? Why am I still asking questions? HARD swipe left. The fuck outta here with your human-brain-eating zombie lookin’ ass.


Landscape Pictures Sans You.

LITERALLY WHY? I understand you want to show you travel and have seen some shit, but no. Your picture of the mountains shows and tells me nothing about you besides basic things like likes to travel, is adventurous, capable of booking a trip, knows how to operate a camera phone. If you’re IN the landscape pic, completely different story. But don’t waste valuable dating app real estate on a sunset. And while we’re on the subject…

Any Picture Sans You.

This doesn’t pertain just to landscape pictures. For example, I saw a picture a few weeks ago and it was a dude’s kitchen counter top? With drink mixings on it? Not stylized. Not some artistic shot of fresh cocktails he had made (and even if it was, that would’ve also been bad). Just a countertop with a few drinks on it, a random cap to some bottle, some mail. Like. WHAT? How? Why? Is there any reasonable explanation for this? Let me give you the short answer: NO. THERE ISN’T. To show you’re somewhat domesticated? Capable of making drinks? Have a home? I mean, for all we know, that isn’t even YOUR countertop! It would make my life to sit down with these men and go on their dating-app-profile-picture-selection journey with them to see why they choose they do. Then again, I wouldn’t make it out alive. I would spontaneously combust.

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Any Picture Older Than a Year Ago.

Again, I know how hard it is for males to have a repertoire of updated pictures. It’s not as natural for them to have someone around who is constantly capturing moments (@ all my friends throughout my entire life who’ve ever complained to me about always having my camera out: YOU’RE WELCOME). However, the golden dating app rule of thumb should be NO PICTURES OLDER THAN A YEAR AGO. I don’t care about the you from 2015. I don’t give a rat’s ass that you used to be a lot thinner in your 20s. I’m offended you think a picture of the wedding party you were in as a groomsmen in 2012 is a picture I’d ever take into consideration when swiping on you. And trust me — I realize this an epidemic for every gender on dating apps. That is, sharing old photos that in no way accurately depict what they look like now. If we all just stopped lying to ourselves and posted TRUE pictures, dating apps might be a less damaging place. I’m not the thinner, younger-looking, 20something from 2016 anymore, and you aren’t either. Let’s set each other up for success, huh?

More Than One Dog Picture.

You have a dog and you love him. That’s great. Seriously, big brownie points. However, all I need is one picture of your dog (preferably with you in it, but I understand those moments are rare), and I am good to go. No need to make your dating app profile an unofficial shrine to your furry bestie. I get it. You’re a good dude. You care about your dog. I will probably love your dog because I love most dogs. Now let’s get back to YOUR face, please. Thank you.



Tell me I’m lucky.

“If we match, consider yourself lucky. I’ve only ever swiped right on 5% of girls on here.” An actual profile blurb I read a few weeks ago. Oh, thank GOD your selective, Hilter Youth lookin’ ass chose ME! Thank you thank you thank you! Tell me what I can do for you. Anything! Really, anything! Can I stroke your small small penis to further inflate your massively oversized ego?! PLEASE. I BEG OF YOU.

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Tell me what to do.

“A simple ‘like’ on here is not gonna cut it, ladies. I need an actual reply to a question or comment or you won’t be getting a match.” Hey, fucktard. The prompts you answered on here in an effort to entice me fucking SUCK, but you’re cute, so I’m willing to give you a simple ‘like’ to prove yourself further — EVER THINK OF THAT?

Give one-word answers.

On Hinge, you’re supposed to answer three prompts to showcase your personality a bit. Many men choose to either a) take them as a joke or b) answer them in one word. Now, I know a lot of men are not talkative or communicative by nature, but I’m not sure how you expect to get anywhere on a dating app if you aren’t willing to say more? Example: One of the prompts on Hinge is, last meal? I saw a guy who simply wrote “Home-cooked.” That’s it. No more details, other than it needed to be made in the home BY someone. It could be a bowl of fucking cottage cheese with cantaloupe for all I know or a protein shake. Another example: “How to make me laugh” is a prompt, and supreme assholes like writing “Be funny” or “Tell a joke.” HAR HAR, MOTHER FUCKER. I’M LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE NEXT GUY. BUH BYE.

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Be a fucking creep.

This is a given, and an unstoppable force, but I’m gonna at least say my peace. The most recent example I have of this was a 36/37 year old man who had answered the prompt “Worst date you’ve been on” with “accidentally went out with an 18-year-old.” Now, people lie about their ages all the time, so believing it was an honest romcom mistake, I was intrigued to know more. I responded with “18??? What?!” and this conversation ensued:

Him: What can I say? The young ones like me.

Me: Ew.

Him: Yeah, cause younger women are gross. Don’t be jealous, emma 😂

Obviously, I promptly unmatched him and said a thousand curses on his family and penis.

Had enough? SO HAVE I. So here are some things men SHOULD DO on dating apps if they want to see success.


Engage us but don’t compliment us.

I don’t care how you write it, any sort of compliment about our physical attributes via a dating app comes off as creepy. Being the first to message and keeping the conversation going with engaging questions and commentary is great, but save all “your smile is stunning” and “that hair!” shit until we meet in person. It’ll come off much more genuine that way.

Be upfront.

Oddly enough, I had a really nice, honest exchange with a dude who let me know after a few witty exchanges that he wasn’t looking to get into anything even mildly serious and wanted to let me know at the jump. Now, young Emma would’ve been like “Oh! Same! No yeah totally just kinda seeing what’s what. I mean, a drink couldn’t hurt?!” But seasoned Emma was like “Wow thank you so much for letting me know and well wishes on your journey.” If we were all more upfront about WHY we’re on apps, maybe they’d function a bit better.

Chat me up.

I feel like this is a highly debated topic in terms of meeting via dating apps. Once you move from in-app messaging to full texting, do you carry on a pretty steady texting rapport leading up to the date or do you set the date and go radio silent until you’re face to face? I’ve experienced both sides and, I have to say — I really prefer continuing the conversation. Obviously, there need to be boundaries in terms of sending pictures or updating someone you haven’t even met yet about your everyday happenings, but I much prefer getting some of the get-to-know-you convo out of the way before the date itself. It makes meeting up feel a bit more familiar, and I’m all for that.

Show me your face with and without beard.

This is not talked about enough. Beards change men. Usually for the better, but sometimes for the worse. Regardless of whether or not you have a beard full-time, I need to know what to expect in the event you ever shave it off. So go ahead and share a beardless picture on your profile please so I know what’s under there. TIA.

Make a plan.

Messaging in the app is fun for a bit. You never know when it’s gonna go off or when you’ll get a response. But if you seem to be really hitting it off with someone, I wouldn’t wait more than 3-4 consecutive days of in-app messaging before you throw out the notion of meeting in person. If you wait too long, you’ll become awkward pen pals and probably end up feeling emptier than when you first signed onto the app. So, set a date. Exchange numbers. Get the fuck off the app.

I love Hinge’s tagline/mission statement: Designed to be deleted. Keep that in mind during your dating app ventures, heed every piece of advice I’ve so kindly offered you via this extensive blog post, and remember — the best way to make a guy laugh is to be funny.