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Being a millennial is a constant tug-of-war between perpetual connection and perpetual loneliness, and our online dating messages prove it.
We’re in the era of always talking to someone, but feeling connected to no one. We can be sitting alone in our bedrooms in the dark, but also hearing from thirty guys that we’re hot. Or, we can be in a bar full of a hundred people, but still swiping through Tinder to find someone to go home with later. It sort of feels like, since online dating has mainstreamed, that we’ve found this amazing haven for unlimited sex, but it’s really fuckin’ us up. We’re totally overwhelmed because compared to traditional dating, dating via the interwebs hasn’t been around very long. We haven’t quite figured out the rules yet, so our online dating messages are kind of a free-for-all.
Do you 90’s kids remember that episode of Rugrats where all the babies woke up one day and their parents were gone? At first, of course it was amazing. But by the end, they’d basically destroyed everything. There was crime and obesity and abandonment issues…yeah Rugrats didn’t mess around. But my point is, the babies wanted their structure back. And that’s what’s happening with online dating. We’re enjoying the fact that there are no rules, but the consequences are creeping up on us. And they are as follows: we’re unequipped to deal with people long term (i.e. marriage, children) and our self-esteem is down the drain, through the pipes and all the way out into the ocean.
When your online dating messages serve the sole purpose of getting you tons of quick hookups, you’re short-selling yourself long-term.
I’m not saying you can never have a one-night stand. We’ve all been there. I’m saying that when your idea of dating is swiping for a new one when you find out she’s not vegan, you’re doing it wrong. Yeah. You’re actually depriving yourself of emotional connection that you need to survive as a human being. We’re social creatures, and to never learn how to make a relationship last because of the there’s more where that came from mentality, is harmful to your development. Trust me, I’m in school to be a marriage and family therapist. Here’s how:
I work off a theory called family systems theory. It basically says that any client who comes to therapy should be assessed based on how their whole family interacts with each other. The person who comes to therapy out of that family is usually the one who has internalized the dysfunction the most. And the less the client’s family is able to communicate effectively, the more deep-seated the problems are.
I expect a gargantuan influx of communication problems when the people who ask to suck my boobs on Tinder decide it’s time to settle down. Or those people who start swiping the second they find a flaw in their current partner. Because they haven’t learned to communicate effectively when they want something or have a problem, they will either A) not be able to hold down a romantic partner or B) be very unhappy and/or cause unhappiness in a future family member because of the interaction patterns they get stuck in together.
Also ladies and gents, our online dating messages are trash and they make people feel like trash.
Though I’m sure the ladies aren’t fully exempt from the sexual nature of mainstream dating apps, my experience is only with men, and men do seem to have this problem more often anyway (lookin’ at you, Harvey, Kevin, etc). You guys are SO CRINGEY in your messages! Tell me– would you ever walk up to a beautiful woman in a bar and tell her, without so much as a hello, that you wanted to fuck her up against the wall?
No. You wouldn’t. You’d have mace in your eyes before you could even blink. But I’ve had that exact message sent to me more than once. Sometimes more explicit ones. And I have yet to figure out what the difference is between the two scenarios.
I’ll tell ya a story. I have a Tinder account. And a Plenty of Fish account. And one on Bumble, and OkCupid, and Hinge and Happn and Weepo and Coffee Meets Bagel. I’m on ’em all. Partly because now that I do this series, I like to cast a wide douche net. But originally, I was on them because I loved all the male attention I was getting. It was the most amazing thing that I could just open my phone and have ten compliments waiting for me in my various inboxes. For some reason though, after a while, I started to dread opening them. Even though everyone was saying what seemed like nice things, no one wanted to know who I was. They all just wanted to fuck me.
I was feeling worthless, expendable, and like I should deeply appreciate any time I spent with my hookup buddies because that was the only love I would ever get. I still feel this way sometimes. I’ve been hooking up with the same guy for three years, granting him every inch of me and also every freedom to be with other women, just so I don’t lose him completely. I have cheapened myself; I’ve decided that what I really want doesn’t matter, because I’ve been told in online dating messages that this is all I will get.
That brings me to my mission..
As much as I would love to eventually be in a healthy, caring relationship built on mutual trust and solid communication, right now I have a stack piled high of worthless online dating messages.
Or…are they worthless?
I’ve decided I’m going to post them. The inappropriate garbage, the cheesy, cookie-cutter pickup lines, and yes, the good ones too.
The shitty ones are going up in hopes of it becoming less socially acceptable to treat real people like sex objects. There’s a simple test I wish everyone would use before sending a message on a dating app: if you wouldn’t want your mother or sister to read what you’re saying to me, a complete stranger, don’t say it. At least not until we get to know each other.
Another test has to do with comprehension, because I’m also going to post the ones that don’t make sense. Even people you’re trying to hook for casual sex deserve a message you looked over at least once. And bro, it’s just not good for your game if your “hey” comes out as “gey.” Especially if it’s the only damn word you’re sending me.
But finally, I’m also going to post the ones that are sweet, funny, and fantastically clever. Because amidst all this negativity are some real gems. I don’t want them to miss out on the attention they deserve because I’m too busy complaining. And sometimes, we just need a nice funny one to get us through the day. Let’s be honest, a lot of these lines are funny in a tragic, if-we-didn’t-laugh-we’d-cry kind of way.
I’ve set up some ground rules for myself so as not to be a total dick:
- I would never make fun of anyone’s appearance, race, ethnicity, etc. This is not about me being “too good” for the people I post about, etc. This is about re-creating a healthy dating culture. If someone is respectful toward me, I will be respectful toward them back, regardless of what they look like.
- I will not put anyone down who seemed to have good intentions. It’s hard to put yourself out there even if it doesn’t end up coming across well, and I respect that.
- I will cover up names, usernames, locations, and pictures if any faces are clear. Don’t want to be sued for slander even though y’all did put this shit on the internet to begin with and we’ve all been warned about what can happen when you put things on the internet.
To start us off, here’s a Tinder gem I received a few weeks ago:
Looking for more of the disastrous online dating messages that are the Tinder Files? Find the whole collection below: