Tag Archives: online persona

Never date the ageing teen rebel

You don’t get many men falling over themselves to tell you about their childhood when you first start dating. People who had idyllic ones don’t usually feel the need to wheel them out to make conversation.

Unless we had a very bad one, or grew up with celebrities or politicians for parents or something, there’s very little to say about one’s childhood beyond the usual bewilderment at how all the chocolate bars were bigger and everyone got smacked on the legs in the supermarket. The teenage rebel however, idolises his childhood self.

Whenever a date would say “I was such a little shit at school” or a “I was a real tearaway when I was younger”, I’d cringe, steeling myself for a good hour of exaggerations, tales of pathetic, totally invented rebellions and grim attention-seeking that only a child would think were in any way cool or interesting.

As a teen, of course, most of us wallflowers and squares wished we had the pluck – not to mention the attention – of the classroom troublemaker. The nearest I got to it was some unremarkable, try-hard backchat in French lessons. I look back and am mortified by it now. In no way would I ever have considered using this to impress a date 20 years and 11 average grades down the track.

Teenage rebellion always seemed a really soulless path to me. At my school most of the rebels were also colossal bullies – usually, of course, the result of genuine issues at home.

But while for some it was an angry cry for help, others played up safe in the knowledge that somebody would bail them out, that there would be enough money to propel them forward again. Continue reading Never date the ageing teen rebel

7 online dating liars we all meet eventually

According to the Mirror, a recent survey claims a staggering amount of people lie on first dates. 37% of women lie about their age and 29% of men lie about their wage, for starters.

And that’s even before you get to the 14% of women who give a totally false name – I guess they don’t want you @-ing them with your totally amazing bantz after all, boys. Sorry.

Maybe we’d all like to pretend to be someone else once in a while, but it seems dating is the perfect stage for wannabe thesps to try out their best fibs. Here are a few of the most obvious ones you’ll meet.

1. The six-footer
If your date claims to be six-feet tall, I have some bad news: he probably isn’t. For reasons best known only to them, to be 6′ tall is the dream, the ultimate goal. And if you’re not? Why, just say you are – everyone else will fall into line and believe you.

Thanks to everyone being super-weird about height and no doubt tying it into masculinity or strength or power or whatever, it’s common for the more diminutive of us to fudge the stats a little, to add on an inch or two to our online profiles.

Quite how anyone expects to explain this to your date when you arrive and come up to their elbows is another matter entirely, but people still give it a go.

And the best thing is, he’ll probably say to you: “Oh, you’re not as tall as I thought you’d be.”

Tall people themselves don’t really help, lording it over everyone with those magical, aspirational heights of between 6′ to 6’4. Once you get beyond that however, the height-shaming slips into reverse and our loftier friends start knocking an inch or two off to avoid being labelled as giants.

In short (pardon the pun), nobody is as tall or as short as they say. Nobody. Continue reading 7 online dating liars we all meet eventually

12 things you do that scream “thirsty”

Not sure whether you look like a desperate, cloying nightmare on social media?

Wondering if perhaps you may be going a little over the top when it comes to trying to impress someone on Twitter? We’ve all done it.

Fear not! Here’s the most common things we all do that leave us open to being exposed as massive attention-seekers, along with a thirst mark out of 10, so you can work out just how absolutely tragic you (we) are.

First, the thirst scale:
1. I could really do with a sip of water.
2. I’d probably lick a tomato for moisture.
3. That plastic cup from the vending machine looks like it might have a bit of water in the bottom of it.
4. Throat getting quite scratchy.
5. No, I’m just going to sit next to the watercooler if that’s OK.
6. It’s quite hot in here, isn’t it? Can we open a window?
7. If the air were any drier, it would be Joan Rivers’ diary.
8. I’d be able to sniff out a raindrop from 10 miles away.
9. Make it 100 miles.
10. All I can see, hear, smell and feel is sand and I would kill everyone I love for a dribble of stagnant water out of a verruca sock.

And now, the ‘actions’:

1. Tweeting how ugly you feel

If you’re actually ugly: 3
If you’re mildly unattractive: 4
If you’re quite good looking really, in the right light: 6
If you’re what Grandma would call handsome: 7.5
If you’re incredibly hot: 9.5
Horse-frightener, but with accommodating mates you know will big you up: 10
Jake Gyllenhaal: 11

ugly
Here, please, sip this – it will save us all.

Continue reading 12 things you do that scream “thirsty”

Decoding dumb clichés on dating bios

Your dating profile – or the bio on whichever app your fingers are getting busy with – is your storefront, your prime advertising space.

Sure, a picture tells a thousand words, but as anyone who’s spent more than a minute in the company of a  boyband can tell you, hot looks are no guarantee of a great brain or a good time.

Given that most people are only a swipe away from dating oblivion, you’d think that guys (and girls, of course, if that’s your thing) out there might try a little harder to attract your attention. Sadly, most people are saying very little but a slightly different version of the same 20 or so things – most of them as empty and meaningless to you as hearing about someone’s blow job in a train station in 1973.

Here, I decode a few.

“Might be time for some strings attached.”
Here I am on a sex app, a bit of tech that was created by somebody who wanted to make it easier for people to have sex with perfect strangers, using it to look for sex.

Thing is, I don’t want people to think I’m only here for the sex, oh no. I’m a sensitive soul, you see – I have a lot of thoughts, most of them quite deep and meaningful. I’m not just a piece of meat. So I’m looking for a boyfriend – some ‘strings’, if you like – who can take me away from all these endless cock pics and headless torsos and “what u into”.

But of course, rather than say that I want a relationship and rule myself out of any anonymous boning, I’ll only say that I ‘might’ be looking. Step this way, Prince Charming.

“Tall, dark and handsome to the front of the queue.”
War-torn Afghanistan has nothing on the devastation caused by the hordes vying for my affections. There are catfights, broken hearts and bloodshed at every stage of this miles-long queue, each suitor more beautiful and statuesque than the last.

And when you get to the very front, where I sit like Caesar on a throne made not of marble but made from bathroom selfies and protein shakes, there are the tallest, darkest and most handsome of them all.

Each one is on his knees, praying to his god (that would be me), hoping he’ll be the one selected by me to have uninspiring, brief and regrettable sex in a box room that could really do with vacuuming.

But even I know the truth: ain’t no queue.

“Ages 18–25 only, please. I’ll block oldies and I’m not into daddies.”
I’m an ageist wanker who prefers younger, inexperienced men who perhaps won’t realise I’m a devastatingly disappointing fuck.

“I don’t bite… unless you want me to.”
Spoiler: the sex probably isn’t going to be that good and I will say “fuck, yeah” a lot during the act in the mistaken belief this makes me sound  ‘kinky’. Then I’ll bite you.

“I like going out and staying in.”
I am a deeply complex and unusual person! Sometimes I even do both on the same day! Get on this rollercoaster if you dare!

“I love to laugh.”
That’s not to say I do laugh, or indeed will laugh. The chances of me making you laugh are pretty slim.

Usually when I manage a chortle, it’s at something inappropriate like a child falling over, or you, in three months’ time, telling me that this isn’t really working out.

“Looking for a reason to delete this app.”
I, too, am looking for true love, without which I couldn’t possibly press and hold my finger on the icon of this dating app, then press the little ‘x’ that appears in the corner of the icon, deleting it for ever. Yes, I can definitely only do that once I have collected a slew of marriage proposals, not before.

And when people ask us the story of how we fell in love, I can look at the ground, then at you, then at them and, with a tear in my eye, tell them: “He helped me delete Grindr, and from then, I was hooked”.

“I can’t think what to write here. I’m not that good at talking about myself.”
I get up, I go to work, I come home. Sometimes I’ll go for a drink after work with colleagues. But usually I go straight home. There is TV, takeaways, masturbation. Sometimes Grindr.

Oh, and I also head up an international crime syndicate, have a meth lab in my kitchen and have killed a man – but my life’s too uninteresting to talk about really and I never know what to write on these things.

“I like to stay in with a DVD and a bottle of wine.”
I’ve had all my fun being an amazing, exciting, vibrant, sociable person already – before I met you – and now it’s time for me to settle for the boring inevitability of a relationship before I am too old and ugly to snare anyone. And all my friends are doing it.

After a few dates in the pub, we’ll be staying in a lot, whether you like it or not, talking about what to watch next on Netflix. We’ve had our fun; time to leave the scene to the youngsters.

I am 25.

“I’m very discrete.”
I’m married and do not own a dictionary.

“Whatever happened to all the cool guys on here? Am I really the only one looking for more than just a bunk-up with a faceless body, a spiritual connection with someone where you identify not just on a sexual level, but an emotional one too. I guess I’m being unrealistic looking for something deeper on here, but it would be nice to find out. If that’s not what you’re after, keep on moving.”
Pump me raw, stranger.

More like this:
10 toxic things you really shouldn’t say on your dating profile
10 terrible opening lines for a dating profile 

Thanks to everyone on Twitter who suggested their favourite dating bio clichés.

Image: Chazwags on Flickr

10 terrible opening lines for a dating profile

As I always say, your dating profile is your storefront, your big shiny window display that you use to get the punters in. But in just a few short sentences, you can turn your gleaming emporium of you into a rundown old convenience store, with dirty canopies, smeared windows, and nothing of interest inside.

All of the following are based on actual openers from dating profiles I have perused over the years.

“I’m kind of like a Charlotte in the daytime and a bit of a Carrie on a night out. Maybe with a touch of Samantha too if you’re lucky LOL. Which Sex & The City character are you most like?”
Mmmm, don’t know. How about whichever one would be least likely to sleep with YOU? Comparing yourself to three of the most irritating TV characters of all time isn’t exactly endearing me to you.

You are not like Carrie. She lives in a shoebox in Manhattan and somehow gets no end of men to fall hopelessly in love with her despite having a brain made of butter and a really whiny voice, along with a self-centred streak wider than the Champs-Elysées. That isn’t going to be happening here.

Miranda is the only one who is in any way OK, but you are not her either. Nobody is.

“Looking for the missing half of a possible Kooples ad campaign.”
Kooples. The dullest shop ever with a smug marketing campaign to match. Notice how any of the so-called couples don’t seem to have been together that long? An irreversible wedge forever between them thanks to a passion for clothes that look like they were designed by committee. It can never last.

“Be prepared to lie if anyone asks where we met.”
Oh, I *will*! I’ll say it was at a sex dungeon. Run by your mother.

“If I can tell you’re gay when you first walk into the room, we probably won’t get on.”
Well, I guess I had better leave my feather boa, Judy Garland tapes and tight lurex vests at home on our first date, and sit tight and try to be all manly on my fun evening out with a massively insecure homophobe.

The thing with douchebags like this is that, more often than not, they’re as big a Kylie obsessive as the rest of us – they just think it makes them, and us, a bad person.

“I’ve got a lot of strong opinions, and I’m not afraid to share them.”
In other words, sign here right on the dotted line for a date filled with half-baked ideas gleaned from Sky News and over-confrontational attacks on the welfare system or Madonna.

“I love long walks on the beach/round the city/in the park/up hill and down dale/toward the guillotine in a big floaty dress.”
We get it. Most people love a long walk or two. This effort to sound earthy and romantic and outdoorsy fails and makes you sound boring, clichéd and desperate. Do people really choose potential partners based, above all else, on a fondness for walking farther than the end of the road and back?

Let the ‘long walk’ conversation come out on the first date, if it really must at all. NB: If you don’t like long walks, feel free to keep this to yourself too.

“FOR SALE: One happy-go-lucky runaround, 2 or 3 not so careful owners, not too many miles on the clock and in fairly good condition. PRICE: Drink in the pub, dinner ONO.”
Oh, I see! You’re a car. See also: mock eBay ads, pastiches of old-fashioned personal columns, parodies of movie posters etc.

On the surface of it, these always seem like a good idea because you think they make you seem quirky and funny.

The sad fact is that they are blisteringly unoriginal, usually misguided (You’re a clapped-out Ford Mondeo? Really?) and say very little about your personality except that you’d rather come across as some clever wit on your profile than reveal anything else about yourself. Besides, I can’t drive.

“Hello there! Thank you so much for clicking on my profile!”
As romantic, sexy and authentic as the announcements in train stations that tell you they are sorry for the delay to the 13:03 to Edinburgh that day, despite it being recorded in a studio in Battersea in the early ’90s.

“I’m creative, intelligent, masculine and fun. I DON’T like mind games and timewasters. I DO like honesty and fidelity.”
I’m not sure you’re being entirely honest about the “fun” part, are you?

I ran this through my dating profile translator machine (my head) and it came back with “I have been cheated on and messed about by all manner of blokes, probably because I’m not that much fun to be with and have lots of bizarre hang-ups.”

Telling people you don’t like timewasters is a bit like telling everyone you love breathing. We get it. Tell us about you, not who you’re trying to avoid.

“I don’t know what I’m doing here. Internet dating is a bit weird, isn’t it?”
If you have suddenly woken up from a century-long slumber, I guess it is, yeah.

If you were birthed in the modern world, however, get with the programme and quit this fake bemusement with the internet like you’re a maiden aunt seeing a pair of crotchless knickers for the first time.

More like this:
Decoding dumb clichés on dating bios
10 toxic things you shouldn’t say on your dating profile

Why I believe in internet anonymity – even when you’re calling me a ****

We hear a lot about trolls in the news these days. A sub-class of human previously restricted to the mysterious world of specialist messageboards and forums about dodgy TV shows nobody watches any more, the troll has now been brought front-and-centre, blinking uncertainly in the shimmering light that is Twitter.

The adoption of Twitter to the bosom of the mainstream has finally done for social media what Facebook could not and would not: it’s made it okay to talk to absolute strangers, even if you’re not an ‘internet geek’.

Those who partake in trolling — of which there are very many complex levels from ‘mild ribbing’ to ‘death threat’ with a whole sub-genre of sexism, homophobia and vague paedophilia in between — are often thought to ‘hide’ behind the anonymity the internet affords them. Although IP addresses are freely available to any body who can be bothered looking for them, the fact that it’s usernames and not full Sunday names which accompany each bilious entry allow a freedom that we are in turns proud of and disgusted by.

Every so often, there are calls for procedures to identify internet users to be more transparent and robust. Sites like Google and Facebook have ‘real name only’ policies, with the former recently mulling over whether to force their gaming and reviewing users to also ditch their usernames and display their full ‘Wait until I get you home’ monikers.

There has been applause and outcry in equal measures for this approach to posting on the internet. On one hand we remove the opportunity for trolls to post faceless vitriol with little worry about the effect it has on the object of their ire. I imagine menacing posts about cutting somebody’s throat lose their thrill for the poster if their name is easily retrievable, easing the path to retaliation and/or punishment.

Casual racism and homophobia would, perhaps, shuffle off elsewhere from its natural habitat at the bottom half of articles in the leading newspapers and all would be well again. There is nothing quite so powerful as a barrier to online nastiness as having your full name attached to it, take it from me.

But when crusading against the vicious, masked internet assassins, we forget the other side of anonymity: the ability to speak one’s mind without fear of recrimination. Internet posters don’t just spout random opinions and then take their leave — they engage, interact, reply. They try to bully those who don’t toe their line. People on the internet like to disagree with each other, and things can get very heated. An online pseudonym doesn’t just give you carte-blanche to be as unpleasant as you like; it protects you from those who are.

In a world where a name is instantly Google-able (I hate myself for using such a non-word, and no doubt the trolls will be after me for doing so) and almost everyone ‘has Facebook’, an invisibility cloak of some sorts gives the ‘good’ people of the internet the chance to speak frankly about what they believe in — be it attacking racism, talking about the positives of immigration or impassioned essays on horrifying real-life experiences.

Naysayers claim that as long as you don’t post vitriol on the internet and are totally truthful, you have nothing to worry over when it comes to a removal of internet anonymity. But I disagree. For all those who post on the internet, there are thousands, millions more just watching, like a coiled spring, awaiting outrage. Maybe your musings on the situation on Israel or gay marriage or women’s rights in Saudi Arabia may seem fairly balanced and innocuous, but there’s every chance someone out there doesn’t like what you’re saying, and wants you to know it. Remove your mutual veil of online facelessness and your detractor may find other ways to make life difficult for you. And how will they do that? Well, with your name freely available for all to see, he or she is spoiled for choice. A heavy-handed example, yes, but we shouldn’t encourage the opportunity. For every 100 people who just shrug and think ‘what an A-hole’, there’ll always be one twisted mind willing to go the extra mile in the name of internet justice.

So, internet warriors, do your worst. In some ways, it is almost flattering that someone would take the time out to log in (or in cases of extreme desire to express, sign up!) and type furiously away, their tongue no doubt hanging out of the side of their mouth, just to say that you suck. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but I’m hard-pressed to take offence at what humm1ng8ird1876 has to say, even if they’re lobbing outright homophobia my way or calling me a… well, take your pick. After all, they don’t know my name either.

Anonymity is a gilded cage which protects us from each other. Let the key stay lost.

Say no to the evils of Twitter flirting

Social networking always starts off with the best of intentions. The aim to encourage people to share information and stories and feel ‘part of something’ is all well and good, but when you throw a load of gay men into the mix, it isn’t very long before the talk turns from poaching eggs and what’s on TV to exchanging those infamous ‘headless torso shots in the mirror’.

While some of us are intent on telling everyone about how nice our morning porridge was, the other half of Twitter has their pants round their ankles and something in their hand that you could probably stir your oats with, should you wish to.

Whether bored, idly horny or the sort of person who could do with a bromide enema or two daily, the Twitter flirter will think nothing of plunging even the most innocent of conversations into a seemingly bottomless pit of clumsy innuendo, and it doesn’t matter who’s on hand to see. In fact, the bigger the audience, the more inappropriate the flirting will be.

Continue reading Say no to the evils of Twitter flirting