Online dating is a wild and wooly world full of missed connections, delicate communications, and the unique, but not uncommon experience of getting to know someone enough to meet them for one to two beers through a series of messages on the internet. This is the world we live in, and the beauty of online dating is that the carefully worded profile lets you try before you buy. All profile info is to be taken with a grain of salt, but there’s an art to the carefully crafted profile. We all have our personal dealbreakers, but there are some that are (somewhat — there are always exceptions!) universal. Let’s explore…
Dealbreaker #1: Any profile picture taken at Burning Man.
Why: I view Burning Man as a playground for dudes who spend a large part of the year crafting large-scale desert dirigibles and intricate leggings made out of various shades of neon fake fur. It’s a lifestyle that is for some, but not many, and that sadly, includes me. There’s somebody for everybody out there, but a life-long Burner will most likely spend the majority of your date talking about chillwave and playa vibes. If that’s something you can stomach, be my guest. Otherwise, steer clear.
Dealbreaker #2: Any mention of improv or stand-up comedy aspirations.
Why: Sure, everyone loves a funny dude, but there’s a huge difference between someone with a killer sense of humor and an aspiring stand-up comedian. You run the risk of your entire date or potential relationship being the subject of painfully awkward standup routines at open mic nights. If it’s improv, buyer beware — take it from the girls at Broad City, the pain of sitting through a bad improv show is very specific. It’s not something I’d wish on anyone.
Dealbreaker #3: Lewd callouts to any part of my body, visible or otherwise.
Why: Here’s a situation that happens sometimes. A message from an attractive non-troll human! you think to yourself. What a pleasant surprise, surely I will entertain whatever witticisms this person has to offer. The hope that a message from a stranger will be pleasant and not lewd is a powerful thing. Once you open the message, and read it, its a different story.
“Hello I like your profile as well as your lips the way you move them in the pics.”
Here is a newsflash to one and all — I am not a piece of meat, and this whole online dating thing is not intended to be a veil of protection for sleaze. The relative anonymity of the internet affords people the liberty to be as inappropriate as they see fit. Anyone who references any part of my body from the jump, visible or otherwise, is not going to pass go.
Dealbreaker #4: Your profile picture has someone else in it with their face blacked out, or otherwise obscured.
Why: This isn’t a tried and true dealbreaker, it’s more of an irritant. Trust, I completely understand if that picture you selected best shows off your abs/winning smile/excellent teeth. I also get it if you were photographed at peak you with your ex girlfriend, or your frat bros, or your grandma. Figure out a way to crop that person out of the photo without using MS Paint to scribble out their face in red. It looks weird. It looks kinda creepy. We’re all adults here, and adults master things like the art of personal photo editing.
Dealbreaker #5: “I’m not really a TV person” or its polar opposite — a detailed schedule of shows you watch, listed out by day.
Why: Television is not for everyone, and I understand completely if some people honestly don’t watch that much TV, but this statement carries a whiff of snobbery. I’m sure you’ve watched TV in your life at some point, and I’d like to think that if the television is on, you wouldn’t get up and leave the room. Also, everyone knows the best writing and acting is on TV these days, but anyway.
Conversely, if the TV section of your OKCupid/Match/HowAboutWe profile has a detailed schedule of the shows you watch by day, including the shows you sub in when your favorites are on hiatus, I am concerned for your health, your well-being, and am wondering if you have bedsores from sitting on your couch for eight hour stretches.
Dealbreaker #6: Questionable headgear, including but not limited to fedoras, trilbies, ill-advised newsboy caps.
Why: Headwear is so divisive, and I understand that most of this is a personal preference, but to me, anything other than a baseball hat speaks to an ineffable fussiness, a sartorial sensibility that’s more high-maintenance than my standard routine of lipstick if I feel like it and possibly matching socks. Hats are fussy things in general, in need of constant adjusting. I’m probably not making you wait for me to adjust my fedora, so please don’t me wait for you to do the same.
Dealbreaker #7: You are explicit about your physical preferences in your profile.
Why: We all have things that we like and don’t like physically about other people. I am partial to beards, less so to mustaches and prefer dark hair to light. These are not hard and fast rules, merely preferences, but just because I have preferences doesn’t mean I’ve ruled out every single person that doesn’t fit these characteristics. The beauty of this endeavor is that we can pick and choose based on physical appearance to start, ideally gravitating towards the people that we could be physically attracted to. Attraction is dependent on many things, from personality to physical appearance to chemistry. It’s fluid, changing with every situation and person. It’s best to keep an open mind for this kind of stuff, so if I’m reading your profile and it says anything along the lines of “No fatties,” I am closing that tab.