February 8, 2021

The Good, The Bad, And the Bullshit; Searching the Wild West of the Internet for advice in online dating.

If you’re looking for something on the internet, be it a community of like minded beekeepers, the best way to brew beer in your closet, LARP enthusiasts, or the answers to question 24 of that one section of your SAT, chances are it can be found on Reddit. It’s the place that operates under the guise “the front page of the internet”, a civil place of discourse with its moderators, admins, and subreddit rules of conduct. But really, it’s as my sibling once described it– it’s the wild west of the internet. An often vulgar, always intoxicating place, where anything can be found, seen, discussed, and proliferated. It comes as no surprise that the subreddit r/onlinedating and various similar subreddits have very active communities. On this page people can ask for advice, get their dating profiles reviewed (read: torn to shreds), or just vent to an audience that can relate with their frustrations. In this column I comb through some of the top posts and their comments, sorting them into the categories below and providing a brief explanation of my choice for each one. 


Overview: u/Al_palll struggles to get matches that interest him in his online dating quest. He had a three-month fling with someone that he matched with, but then shoot! It ended, but he’s ready to talk to new matches again. He reactivated his account, and now wonders if Tinder is punishing him (???) for deactivating his account by matching him with people he does not find attractive. He has attached a link to his tinder profile, and seeks advice from his fellow redditors. 

  1. The Surprisingly Sound

u/Fidodo

I think a lot of people here are being nitpicky. There's nothing obviously wrong with your profile. Could just be the times. When were you last seriously looking? If it was late summer or start of a new school year it could be that there was more activity and now that we're in a post holiday covid boom that there's less.


Ah, the balm of rationale. Thank you, r/Fidodo for your practical take on the situation. I found this comment to be the most potentially helpful and/or comforting because the comment section can so easily spiral out of control, with various well-meaning advisors pointing out camera angles, specific words in bios, or haircuts for the reason someone is struggling to date. Changing times and circumstances can alter the dating landscape, and that’s the fault of no one’s tinder bio. We know that there’s no magic formula for success; it takes patience, authenticity,, and sometimes a little (but not too much!) help along the way. 

  1. The Well-intentioned but Generally Unhelpful To Anyone


I chose two quick bites for this course, since they are both fairly useless without requiring explanation. 


u/QuesadillaDeCoog

You look like this one you tuber that does comedy

Edit: it’s Trevor Wallace


Comment one is purely unhelpful, as it is off-topic as well as vague. Is it a positive quality for one to resemble Trevor Wallace? Can that be leveraged to assist r/Al_palll in his quest for connection? Unclear.  

 

u/ItsInTheVault

I don’t like mask pics. Is that mask really necessary outdoors?


As for this selection, it may please the reader to know that the original poster affirmed that yes, it was indeed necessary for the location in which the pictures were taken, and was soundly congratulated by other redditors for his commitment to public safety. Some even pointed out that he should keep these pictures as part of his profile, since a potential match might feel reassured by the fact that he so clearly takes the pandemic seriously and doesn’t wish to endanger others while out in the world. 

  1. The Garbage Pile of Unwelcome Sexism


u/idiocracyishappening

So...I want to say this in the kindest way possible. You are a good looking human, but you still look very boyish. Like, you haven’t grown into your manhood yet. Depending on the age and type of girl you are going for...you may be competing against more mature men. Especially since women tend to date a little older. It’s just something to consider. I wish you all the best out there!



I sort of think the kindest way to say that would have been to just not say it. The original poster is clearly already an adult, and to suggest that they simply haven’t reached the heteronormative threshold for traditional masculinity, and that they may not find a connection until then is, well, not great. Yes, there are some “nice” phrases in this post, and it appears that the commenter was well-meaning in his response, but I feel like on the whole, this comment would discourage and confuse rather than uplift and instruct. Also, the phrase “you haven’t grown into your manhood yet” is… a bummer. 


After reading hundreds of comments, two things are clear; if you’re struggling to date, you’re not alone, and that you can ask for help when you need it… Just maybe don’t ask Reddit. Ask that one friend of yours, they’d love to.


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