I had a pretty scary situation arise recently as a result of online dating, but was fortunately able to avoid the possibility of my head ending up in the freezer next to a quart of rocky road ice cream. I’m very vigilant when it comes to online suitors, and rightly so. You can’t take for granted that the person on the other end is who they claim to be. Hell… Some of them may not even qualify as people at all. I’ll give you a brief recap of my most recent scenario (there have been quite a few) and then give you some tips on how to avoid being Catfished on the Internet. At the very least, it may give you some peace of mind.
Online dating has always been pretty fascinating to me, mostly because you have the opportunity to people watch from the comfort of your own couch with a bottle of wine. Let me say this… There is a LOT to see. I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert here. The fact that I’m single with two cats will back that up. However, I’ve certainly learned a lot during my time served.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve stumbled across a profile and wondered what the guy could have possibly been thinking while setting it up. There are times I’ve practically dislocated my wrist while swiping left to avoid some of these profiles. After much thoughtful discussion with some of my girlfriends, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps they simply don’t know what women consider bizarre or abhorrent online behavior. Well, friends… I’m here to help.
I prefer sites such as Tinder and Bumble, where mutual acceptance drives the experience. You have to get past the initial impression before any messages are exchanged. This is where I essentially become an online gardener, heavily armed with my weed-be-gone. In no particular order, I’ll list some of my tips on your profile picture selection to ensure that nobody ever swipes right on you. EVER. Continue with the following, and you might as well change your name to Spam, because you’re headed for the junk bin. I’ve even included some helpful, real life examples taken from a five minute swiping session.
Shadow Man Pic: This is always a good one. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve received messages on OK Cupid from these internet lurkers, which is one of the main reasons I detest that particular site. They always spin some ridiculous tale about how they are super successful in their career and can’t risk people at the office seeing their profile. Oh, sure! I totally get it! By “career”, you mean marriage and by “people at the office”, you mean your wife and kids. They always try to convince you to use KIK messenger, which allows them to anonymously assault you with dick pics without exchanging phone numbers. If you can’t put your face out there like everyone else, we all know it’s because you have no business on a dating site in the first place.
autotrader.com, not Tinder.Car, motorcycle or boat profile pic: Are you a car, motorcycle or a boat? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong, if I had the chance to date some super cool transformer boat/man combo, I’d most likely be on board (literally, because he’d be a boat) However, when you use inanimate objects as your main profile pic, you devalue your self worth along with mine. Do you really want a woman who’s only in it for your material possessions? In my opinion, it screams insecurity. If I want to find a great deal on a car, I’ll visit
Child or animal profile pic: Are you a Doberman or a seven year old boy? Why is it so hard to have a picture of yourself as your main photo? I totally get it if you love your dog, cat, kid or iguana. You’re supposed to love them. It honestly just creeps me out when I’m swiping through endless pics of shirtless douchebags and happen upon Johnny Jr’s tee-ball pic or a dog in a Halloween costume.
Where’s Waldo pics: I love guessing games, but if I have to try to photo-hunt you in a group picture from your matching shirt, Smith family reunion, that’s no longer a fun game for me. A picture of your golf foursome, your wedding party (that really happens) or anything else requiring a CSI team to determine who you are, is discouraged. It’s really a simple equation. There should be exactly one human in your profile picture. One HUMAN. Got it?
Ridiculous Filters: Are you IDGAF guy on Tinder? I don’t know how anyone would think this is a well executed plan. I don’t need a guy to give all the Fs, but I find it hard to believe that none of the Fs are available to be given. Seriously… Maybe a handful of Fs? It’s not a smart move. It’s also Ill advised to use filters regarding your political affiliation, especially this election year. I don’t care who you’re voting for, but if you feel the need to announce it before we’ve even said hello, then I know you’re probably a lunatic.
Sunglasses: We all look infinitely cooler in sunglasses. In fact, I’m wearing mine right now. It’s acceptable to have one sunglasses pic, but if you’re wearing them in every one, it’s impossible to tell what you really look like. I’d be almost certain you were hiding something… Like a third eye. Once I see your face, feel free to rock the motorcycle cop look as you see fit.
Hopefully, some of you will find this information helpful. I was planning to include shirtless guy, gym rat selfie guy, and “look at all my bitches” guy who has an ex girlfriend in every picture, but I think we can all agree that we’re best served knowing that information up front. If they stopped doing that, we risk accidentally going out with one of them.
Happy Swiping XOXO
And just like that… Life as a Cleveland sports fan has forever changed. After 52 years of heartbreak and tragedy given ominous one word monikers: The Drive, The Shot, The Fumble, the Decision, we can now add the long awaited, THE CHAMPIONSHIP! It may be difficult to understand what this means to the city of Cleveland, but I’m going to attempt to put it into words.
As Clevelanders, we work hard, play hard and feel even harder. We’ve been conditioned to believe that we are somehow cursed or jinxed. Why are sports that important, you may ask? Personally, I can testify to the fact that sports have gotten me through some of the darkest points of my life. It can be such a welcome distraction when things aren’t going your way. It builds bonds between parents and their children, friends, colleagues and even strangers. It brings people together who may otherwise have no commonalities. Our sports teams are conversation starters… Good or bad. We love our teams. This intense love has provided us with some pretty crushing blows over the years. When you love that deeply, you’re bound to get hurt.
In 1997, when the Indians lost the World Series in 11 innings, I felt like something horrible was done to me personally. I’m not sure it gets more personal than boxing up the championship tees that nobody inside the US would ever see. I distinctly remember the sound of the tape dispenser. It sounded like it was mocking me, “not this time, Cleveland. Not this time.” Real despair is crying into a box of “almost champions” tees. The salt of my tears was likely FedEx’d to a third world country along with Chad Ogea’s hopes and dreams. He would have been World Series MVP. Poor SOB.
Our disappointment is legendary. I’ll freely admit that the closer we came to this championship, the more afraid I became. Sweet Jesus, what was going to go wrong this time? Is tragedy lurking around the corner? What would they call said tragedy? I tried to keep a positive attitude, but as someone who’s all too mindful of the past hurt, it was easier said than done. Part of me expected the Cavs to lose at the buzzer in game 7, on a shot made by former Cavalier fan favorite, Anderson Varejao.
Then, something amazing happened… We didn’t! LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers delivered the first championship that a lot of us have experienced in our lifetimes. I can only speak for myself, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do. The emotions hit me fast and hard as I cried genuine tears of joy. I hugged a metric shit ton of strangers and high fived until my high fiving hand hurt. I high fived at least two babies and a police horse, if memory serves me correctly. There was no divide between race, age or gender. We all came together as one to celebrate our city. I’m hoping there’s no video circulating of the spontaneous street dance-off I may have been involved in. I did not win, for the record.
I looked on in disbelief as my city exhibited the purest level of joy I’ve ever witnessed. I realize there’s no handbook for championship celebration, but I did learn that there are a couple of things that must just be natural reaction because it seemed fairly widespread. 1) Men take their shirts off at night for no apparent reason. It certainly wasn’t to showcase their physiques. Championships make pesky shirts seem like a bad idea, apparently. 2) People exhibit an extreme disregard for vehicular safety. It seems that championship rides are executed outside of the vehicle. If you’re not sitting on top of a moving car, you damn sure better be hanging out the window. Thankfully, there is an unspoken “Click it or ticket” exemption when you are the champions of the world. 3) It’s required that you sing Queen’s “We are the Champions” and sway in unison with sweaty, beer soaked strangers.
Now, that I know all of this, I’m much more prepared for the next Cleveland Championship. The Indians are in first place, you know! Also, if ESPN is listening, I think we’re ready to film the next 30 for 30 documentary. Picture this… “Believeland 2, The Musical”
Party on, Cleveland!
I know this will come as a shock, but I have an opinion about something. As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed tonight, I happened upon some posts regarding a petition to boycott Target based on their willingness to let transgender individuals use the public restroom of their choosing. All I can say is that I really hope every one of the idiots who make this promise stay true to their word. I want some sort of pinky swear oath that this is a sincere movement. How glorious would that be? There’s a way to get all of the bigoted, simple-minded A-holes completely out of Target? Jackpot! Why didn’t we think of this sooner? This is the best news I’ve heard in ages.
I’m going to take a minute to try and understand the mentality of these people. Please bear with me, because I’m not fluent in bigotry and unacceptance of our fellow man. What I’m gathering here is that there’s a fear that allowing transgendered people who identify as female (but possess a penis) into a women’s restroom will likely make the Target bathroom pedophilia rate skyrocket. I couldn’t find the current data, but I’m sure your local police department probably has documentation on the enormous number of such crimes. I mean, obviously all people who were born male, but identify as female are out to rape society’s youth in public restrooms, right? That makes perfect sense! I’m not an expert, but I’m willing to bet that these folks have been using those bathrooms all along. Oh, the horror! Your children have been precariously close to being diddled at Target for YEARS! Gasp! I’m sure the probability of being in the Target bathroom at precisely the same time as a transgendered person is overwhelmingly huge.
I’ve always been rather inspired by you. You’re strong, success driven and undeniably beautiful. I watched your Lemonade videos and I identified with you on a very personal level. I felt every ounce of your pain. It made you very human in my eyes. I felt connected to you through the relationship ups and downs we all experience. I was impressed by your bravery when it came to exposing cracks in your own foundation. Thank you for that.
I wanted to believe we were the same… Had common ground. That’s what I teach my daughter. We’re all just human beings, running the rat race. However, tonight you showed me that you don’t view things the same way. You implicitly made this about the power of black women. Granted, I’m not a black woman, but I’ve spent a great deal of my time as a parent ensuring that my daughter doesn’t even have a fleeting thought like that. She’s ten years old, and one of her dearest friends, Samaya is a black girl. I can promise you that she has no idea that’s different. Or important. I can only hope your message doesn’t change that for them. I didn’t think you and I were all that different… Until today.
I’m all for empowerment, Beyoncé. I believe that women should be strong. I believe that people should be true to their heritage or religion… Or whatever else is important to them. I guess I just don’t understand why we can’t do that collectively, as human beings. I can tell you this, if Samaya were to decide to empower herself as strong and black vs just being a great kid, hearts would be wounded. Your project was absolutely amazing. The music, the heart wrenching lyrics and overall presentation was undeniably fantastic. I’m just having trouble with the fact that it’s 2016 and we can’t just view people as people.
I’ve dabbled in online dating over the years, and obviously nothing has panned out yet. I’m currently sitting on my couch covered in cat hair, clutching a pint glass full of Chardonnay. Don’t let that stop you from taking some of the following advice based on my recent experiences with five online dating sites. I’ll put the disclaimer out up front… Everyone is different. You may LOVE some of the awfulness I describe. Who knows? I’m going to rate this backwards, so the least terrible site will be sitting pretty at #1.
I’m fully aware that the perfect man probably won’t materialize while I’m on my couch watching ‘Boy Meets World’ reruns with my cat, Topanga (that’s really my cat’s name), but I do believe that online dating can work. For the love of God, just don’t try to do five sites at once. XOXO
P.S. Linkedin still isn’t a dating site, so just stop, for the love of God.
I have a serious problem. It all started about six months ago when I decided on a whim to subscribe to Ipsy. Sounds harmless enough, right? I honestly had no idea how little I knew about makeup or anything else beauty related at all. I started getting all this great random stuff that I didn’t even know existed! I took it as a challenge to use each and every product, whether I thought it made sense or not. I can’t lie… I had to Google 90% of it. I decided this was a wise choice after I used a gold eyeshadow crayon as lipstick. For the record, it did NOT look good. Eyeshadow as a crayon? When did THIS happen?