Red Flags Galore (and other annoying details about getting back on dating apps)
Here's a bit of a preface. I initially started noticing friends get back on dating apps and tried to research a bit into dating red flags and stumbled onto this article on GQ (link), which reads like a sub-par date, I felt like I got 'cat-fished' by the first half of the article, and realized it was just a personal account of the author's gripes as she proceeded to list personal complaints, appealling only to a smaller demographic, without any sort of actionable resolution at the end. This is why I decided to write this article.
Now that Hong Kong is on it's second straight week of single digit cases, people are starting to come back out of hiding like a bear out of hibernation. This means one definitive thing for me: listening to more substandard dating stories that single Hong Kongers are subjected to.
Here's a fun fact: historically-speaking, Hong Kong has never been the city with the most attractive singles. In fact, it's quite the opposite according to certain articles that were made a few years back (Source 1: TimeOut, Source 2: Coconuts HK). But I'm not here to bog down hopes but to get to the real meat of the situation.
Now that people are back on the (digital) prowl after social distancing themselves from anyone besides close friends and family, it's finally time to get back on Tinder, Bumble, CoffeeMeetsBagel or whatever app you prefer. For most people, this is where you shoot your best shot, get your best photos, write your witty profiles and swipe away like there's no tomorrow. On paper, this is a great time but, in practice, it's more akin to trying to wade through a clown fiesta while trying to balance a glass of water that is your sanity. Everyone has been through this and no one has purely had a 'nice' time on these apps, so let's go through all the red flags of getting back on dating apps and some learning points that we should all take note of.
Every few swipes, you'll come across an absolute dumpster fire of a profile. This is what I'm talking about. While most of the offenders are men, I'm an equal opportunist. There are women's profiles here that are not off my radar. I asked a handful of friends about their recent experiences on dating apps and they described it as trying to find a needle inside a dumpster that is filled to the brim with even more dangerous needles. Regardless of how you found the right guy or wrong guy, you're not coming out unscathed. Here's a gallery of crowd sourced screenshots when I asked for "bad profiles".
The theme of a lot of these bad profiles are really quite tame since most dating apps have really stepped up their photo verifying process. However, it doesn't stop people from posting guy's topless selfies, throwing in the occasional "looking for SP/ONS/FWB", having horrid choices of photos, or even blatantly writing (as per the last photo above) that you are "The Sex Master" and "you have a large penis so be cautious before swiping right".
Sure, there are the relatively normal ones with guys wielding swords looking for you to "find out who they are" and others who simply appreciate their dates to "be a professional" (as much as that sounds like they are yearning for a hooker). But let's be real here, these aren't great nor anything to write home about to tell your friends about besides sending it to them for a chuckle.
Here's the trend of men's profile red flags to watch out for: suggestions for sex only, dick pics, penis descriptions, horrible profile photos, engaged/married/in relationship, "suggestions of being a nice guy", Instagram handle (this is not a marketing platform). If you're making yours as a guy, don't do this.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm an equal opportunist. While girls are consistently thrown unwarranted sexual advances, men receive a different trend. Instead of meeting a plethora of ladies with smart profiles, you're greeted with mostly uninspired ones.
Unlike the profiles of Hong Kong men, there's nothing grossly abhorrent about these profiles but the need to roll your eyes has reached a point that my pupils have rolled into another country and is currently in 14-day hotel quarantine. There's an ongoing joke with some single guys: "everyone writes down that they are foodies and love to travel. With that said, you might as well tell me that you have two arms and two legs because its almost standard for a Hong Konger".
Women's trends are nowhere near as offensive but the trend is still evident enough to make me want to rub my eyes with industrial grade sandpaper: excess of emojis, yoga/gym, food lover and traveler (I mean, come on...), overt narcissism, over usage of Meitu face filters and just uninspired photos. If you're a girl, you can do better than the above.
So, besides giving everyone a healthy dose of garbage while alienating my entire readership, another question emerges. How are you supposed to be building your profile? The short answer is to not be uninspired and make them immediately swipe left. The long answer is that you have to find your niche and capitalize on it. If you find it easier for you write self-deprecating comments about yourself, use it to your advantage and make them laugh! If you are more on the cool side, then have some good pictures to show it off. Men are inherently a lot more visual than women, so use that knowledge to trade in those bad photos for something that can highlight your sexiness.
Avoid the normal boring Hong Kong trends because, you know what? We can do better as a city full of singles.
If you're really finding it hard to build a profile, you can crowd source it with the help Reddit over at r/Tinder with their weekly profile reviews. If you're really having a hard time with it, you can send an email over to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you with building one like I have for some clients. Here's some examples of great profiles, though they may be a bit more westernized, there are still good tips to take note of and each of them brings something different to the table.
Here's a small list of profiles that should give you a chuckle. Take heed from these and bring a smile to the next person who swipes right on you. Be sure to take your time reading.
All of these profiles above are ingenious in their own ways and you will remember them all for different reasons. You avoid the pitfall of being forgettable or being an easy left swipe.
In conclusion, realize that a lot of these profiles haven't reached 'kill it with fire' levels of bad. If you're just looking for a casual thing, then maybe these profiles are for you, but this is just to show that, as singles in Hong Kong, we can do better than just do the bare minimum. Since, there's a noticeable increase of new singles taking to dating apps, I want to make sure that you, the reader, move forward with your best foot rather than limp along to settle for sub-par. I wish you the best in your online dating endeavors and if you found this informative, send it to a friend!
The Love Consultant