PART ONE: the story of the futility of dating websites/apps…

Yes, I have made over 15,000 swipes on Tinder.
Don’t believe me?
I do live in the Chicago suburbs and I do drive all over the area every weekday. On my very limited down time, I sometimes check my Tinder Que and swipe a few dozen lefts or rights.

After over a year of swipes, I’ve made a grand total of 4 mutual connections.

Here are the details:

#1: A catfish attempt by someone using photos from an Russian Adult Model for her profile pictures. Like we men can’t tell real vs fake. I used reverse image search (TinEye) and found the real person from those photos. After digging, I found her on Twitter. I sent her a private tweet containing the Tinder details in private. A few minutes later, she responded: “You are SO being catfished! That is not me!” I also located a matching Facebook profile, the link for which I sent via Twitter to the adult model. That facebook profile disappeared pretty quickly.

#2: The second one never answered messages. She only sent a single message: “Check out my photos on…” and included a link to a fake spam website (aka TINDWEB). This is the most common spam anyone will see on Craigslist, Plenty of Fish, and the rest of the Dating websites – a link to alleged “private photos.” Sometimes this is posted on the profile directly, many times it is sent in a private message. Anyone who clicks this link may find photos, but most likely will find someone trying to swipe your private information.

#3: Had a nice long conversation via text using the Tinder Messaging function. After a while, I asked her what she was doing this coming Sunday. She replied, “Church, of course!” to which I pointed out that my profile does list I’m an Atheist. Her immediate response was a long-winded (longer than this article) condemnation of my Satanic virtues and demon-worshiping witchcraft.

She spent several minutes screaming (ALL CAPS) that I needed to come to church and read my bible and that I must learn the teachings of Jesus.

I calmly pointed out to her that I am Atheist and believe that none of those things are real. I tried to educate her that Satanists believe in God as well as the Devil, only choosing to worship the human pleasure aspects of life, as opposed to calling them sinful. I further went on to teach her how Witchcraft is the worship of Nature, of Earth, of living within the world, connected to every living being.

I also clarified to her that I had read the bible, gone to Sunday School as a child, and – having become an adult – made the decision to put away the insane fantasy of invisible people watching me all the time.

I advised her that shows like Supernatural and Lucifer are works of fiction and fantasy. Mere myth. I also told her that the film “God’s Not Dead” is complete fiction and that only 1 in a million Atheists ever act as bonkers as Kevin Sorbo (a devout and deluded Christian fanatic in real life who was portraying a vindictive and spiteful Atheist character) did in that film.

She reported me to Tinder as a fake user, to which I responded to Tinder support that I am human, sending them photos of myself, my cat, and validating my humanity. I also mentioned to them that I was uncertain if the woman accusing me of being fake was human…

#4: She has mutually swiped right, but after 5 messages from me, she has never responded. It’s been 3 months and she just sits there inactive.

So, my adventures on Tinder have been seldom and interesting. It’s a fairly worthless app filled with people hoping to find someone pretty enough, someone tall enough, someone close enough to share a drink or possibly a lifetime with.

After 15,000 swipes, having merely 4 mutual matches seems pathetic. But is it? Really?


PART TWO: advice for people who post photos to dating sites/apps…

Having swiped left and right over 15,000 times, I have seen some really strange things. Here are some tips I believe men and women may find useful when posting photos to their dating profile.

1: Face Photo – Have a well-lighted photo of your face – smile, smirk, show your teeth (or not, if you will). Don’t frown, don’t “duck face” and definitely don’t use photo add-ons like animated dog ears or a bunny mouth. Show us who YOU are – with or without makeup. Show us your personality without looking like a fool (i.e. kissy lips). It’s nice to follow trends, but if your first impression is making a pruned-up winced-eye expression, you’re prime material for being swiped left or ignored.

2: Full Body Photo – Get someone else to take a photo (or several) of you. Try on different outfits. Do something different in every shot. Don’t have every single photo be the same angle of your body or head. We’ll think you’re hiding a flaw on the side you never show us.

3: Background Action – I’ve seen thousands of bathroom mirror photos. Some are ok, but most are poorly lit or have things you probably did not notice in the background. One such image has a toilet with the seat up and period blood droplets on the seat. Yes. Period blood. Another had a child in the background (the profile listed no kids, living alone). I’ve seen some with dirty toothbrushes, overflowing trash cans, and unwitting extras in the bathroom who would never suspect they were part of somebody’s profile photos. So take a look around, behind you, and make the best of your shots.

4: Web Cams – At some point, people may want to do a webcam chat/Skype. This should be something that happens after a real face-to-face meeting. Referring back to the Tinder connection #1 – she wanted to do a web chat but said her webcam was broken. That was the final nail in the wrist of her catfishing self-crucifixion. Anyone asking for a webcam chat is most likely trying to deceive you. Don’t fall for it!

5: THINGS WE DON’T WANT TO SEE – Lately there has been a ton of Duck Face, a lot of Cartoon Ears and Lips, but probably the worst things you can do for photos are the following:

A: Wrinkle your forehead – makes you look 10 years older and unattractive to the opposite sex.

B: Lay on your back for a selfie – your body weight shifts and your neck and face tend to gain a lot of mass – making you look heavier than you really are

C: Take a bathroom “Booty shot” – certainly many of us like to look at your ass, but if you’re trying for a selfie of your own behind, it will NEVER look good. Have someone else take the photo.

D: Group shots – You have a BFF and they’re in every shot you have, guess what? If your BFF looks more attractive than you in any way, we will always assume they are the person we are talking to. Any shot with more than 3 people should be forgotten, unless you identify yourself specifically from the rest of them.

E: Dark Photos/Smoky Photos – what are you hiding? Not everyone can see your navy blue shirt and black pants on a black background in the dark. Smoky photos must mean you are a chain smoker, or they wouldn’t be smoky. Increasingly, most of us seeking people to date have no interest in anyone who smokes. Sure, there are some out there who love to light up, but we’re talking about 1 in a million – literally.

F: Links to your personal photos collection – this is a major RED FLAG for anyone – it screams that the profile is spam – someone who is trying to hack the unsuspecting fool who thinks they’ll be seeing some skin.

So these are the things I would say if someone asked me how they could improve their chances on dating sites.

No matter what you do, never give out your personal information until you have met the other person face to face in a public place, until you have gotten to know them and watched how they react, move, and speak around you.

TRUST must be earned, and trusting someone you have never seen in person can be a deadly choice.