I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Tinder has its faults (so many bathroom selfies!), but it’s my favorite online dating option so far. The swipe right for yes, swipe left for no format is fun and addictive (though it’s a little too easy to mix them up—so long, soul mate!). You get real first names, and Tinder helpfully tells you if you have any Facebook friends or interests in common. (Useful/creepy tip: If you have a mutual friend, a few clicks on Facebook will get you a last name and more photos.) There are no laborious questionnaires to answer, and potential dates can only contact you if you’ve both swiped right.
Despite Tinder’s rep, most people really do seem interested in more than a fling—”no hookups” is as prominent in the profiles I’ve seen as selfies at Machu Picchu. In a couple weeks of swiping, I’ve met a few nice guys and scanned hundreds of profiles. After reading profile after profile, several types began to emerge.
1. Mr. Models Only
At least one of this guy’s photos shows him posing with a sports car, motorcycle or ridiculously large truck. He’ll also have a pic showing him surrounded by adoring Hooters waitresses. “Call me shallow,” he says, followed by a demand that no one without a thigh gap or a BMI under 21 swipes right. He also disdains cats, kids, vegans and gold diggers.
2. The In Town for the Weekend Guy
Ah, yes, this is what Tinder was made for: the fleeting hookup. This guy may be a pilot on a layover, a European businessman negotiating a deal or a lowly political campaign flunky. He’s looking to get in, have some fun and get out unscathed. Hey, at least he’s honest. He can be a blast as long as you don’t expect to hear from him ever again.
3. Mr. Bait and Switch
I’ve got to give this guy some credit. A savvy marketer, he knows nothing sells like a pretty face. But click on the photo of the handsome hunk, and you’ll be served up a pitch for his latest album, video or self-published book. Does he swipe right on every woman between 19 and 90 just to snag a few suckers? His profile pic is hot enough that you’ll be tempted to find out.
4. The Married Couple
Surprise! This is a two-for-one deal. The first photo will usually be of the happy hubby alone, face artfully obscured, but look through the other shots and you’ll see his wife too, smiling mischievously behind sunglasses. His profile explains that they’re just a normal, fun couple in search of their “unicorn” (tell me I’m not the only one who had to look that up). At least they’re “disease and drama-free!”
5. The Strong, Silent Type
This guy posts a few photos, but leaves his profile blank. Either he’s lazy, or he’s confident his looks are enough to earn a right swipe. C’mon guys, give us something to go on here. This whole swiping thing is superficial enough without depriving us of a tidbit of personal info. I have a strict “no profile, no swipe” rule, no matter how pretty your baby blues.
6. The Invisible Man
Like the Strong, Silent Type, this guy not only leaves his profile blank, but doesn’t bother with a photo either, and his username is obviously made up (I’m looking at you, “Danger”). It’s unclear why he’s here. Just checking out the scene? Cheating? Stalking an ex? Hoping to snag a woman so desperate she’ll swipe right without so much as a grainy pic? Does it matter? Swipe left fast.
7. The Softie
“If there’s any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something.” The Softie kicks things off with song lyrics or a quote, which may or may not be something he just made up. His profile invariably includes a plea for “no more games, please” and a photo of his dog. He enjoys “holding hands” and “spooning” and asks that you swipe right if you’re “looking for a deep connection.” Warning: Two dates and he’s ready to move in.
8. The Misogynist
Like the Softie, the Misogynist has had some tough breaks, but this guy is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. His profile is an angry screed against the “fake, shallow” women of Tinder. At least one photo shows him holding a shotgun. Angry and armed? Where’s the “refer to psych services” button when you need it?
9. The International Man of Mystery
“London > Dubai > NYC > Berlin > YourCityHere” kicks off this gentleman’s profile. All photos show him in exotic locales or sipping absinthe in a bar in Paris. He speaks five languages, enjoys documentaries, knows wine, quotes Pablo Neruda, and is a self-proclaimed master of the tango. The problem? He’s never in town.
10. The Pen Pal
At first, this guy seems perfect. You share common interests and easily strike up a conversation. It’s such a good conversation, in fact, that it goes on for days with no mention of an actual date. You know his life story, but not his last name. If you do eventually meet for coffee a few weeks later, he’s so boring you wonder how this could be the same guy you’ve been texting.
11. The Hiker/Snowboarder/Triathlete
Oh wait, this is pretty much every guy on Tinder. “Active” is the polite way of saying “I’m not fat,” so gird yourself for a parade of passionate runners, cyclists, skiers, kayakers, scuba divers and surfers. If he has even once engaged in an outdoor activity, it’s in the profile. It’s a wonder he even has time for dating when he spends every free moment in nature. Better catch him on a rainy day!
12. The Exaggerator
Results may vary, but in my search range, there are a startling number of 39-year-olds over 6 feet tall. I’m no statistician, but I’d wager that not all of these gentlemen are being entirely forthright. See also: “almost divorced,” “in an open marriage” and “those aren’t my kids.”