Tinder Do’s and Don’ts
(originally published in Word Vietnam, June 2015)
DON’T: Taking pictures with flowers, or of flowers on their own. This is the Vietnamese lady equivalent of those passed-out tiger pictures everyone hates, and it’s your best clue to stay far away. What is this, a fifth-grade Valentine’s card?
DO: “I am your nerdy colleague in the day and your best drinking buddy at night.” We only wanted to know two things, and these are both of them.
DON’T: Having a long list of cities you’ve travelled through. That only means that you’ve probably slept with two people per city, and that’s f****** gross.
DO: Telling us if you’re traveling. Showing travellers awesome stuff they’d never find on their own is fun and makes them more likely to kiss us. Until about the 10th time, then we basically feel like a sex tour guide.
DON’T: Like crappy stuff. We know that our expat scenes are villages — we complain about it often enough. And it’s awesome to meet people we haven’t already met yet (and are fated to meet again and again). But don’t be one of those people we hate. We will know.
DO: Meet us halfway. Eventually, Tinder dates can be like pulling teeth. “Want to check this place out, I hear it has a nice happy hour” gets lame when it’s really the cheap place you go to in order to hide potentially awkward situations from your friends. If you want to dispel a little weirdness, find a cool hangout you’re both comfortable with.
DON’T: Shots of you and a million people. No you can’t bring them on our date.
DO: Having friends in common. Neither of us are probably creeps, yay!
DON’T: Stating racial preferences. Just keep your misanthropic tendencies bottled up inside as you calmly swipe left.
DO: Stating your height. One of our friends once went on a date (wearing heels) with a guy who was about her height. Right at the start, he said, “You’re much taller than I thought” — and she said, “You’re much shorter than I thought!” The date didn’t get much better.
DON’T: Taking pictures with slave animals. Yes, the elephant pics are almost as bad.
DO: Taking pictures with dogs wearing neckerchiefs. Listen, if there’s one thing which dog people and cat people can agree on, it’s that dogs with tasteful accessories are just the best.
DON’T: Pictures of you licking someone’s foot. Foot fetishes are fine, but we’re not sure we want to kiss you now.
DO: Cosplay photos.
DON’T: Blurry selfies. Is this your idea of a party picture? Getting drunk and mishandling your phone in the bathroom mirror?
DO: Your incandescent smile brightening up a cigarette break. You’re so pretty.
DO: Puff your cheeks out around a duckface smile, bracketing all that will be wrong with the children we hope you never have with peace signs. Only if you want to give us a quick tip that you are terrible.
DON’T: Westerners doing peace signs. No, you’re not being ironic.
DO: The “ok” hand gesture. It’s a little bit cleverer than the peace sign. You have reached the tipping point between irony and just doing something we’ve seen a million times.
“DO: Taking pictures with dogs wearing neckerchiefs. Listen, if there’s one thing which dog people and cat people can agree on, it’s that dogs with tasteful accessories are just the best.”
DON’T: The ‘No-one can tell you what you are worth except for yourself’ self-description. And what exactly are you telling yourself? That you need to tell smiling strangers that they shouldn’t demean you?
DO: Some written description involving sarcasm and science. We like people that can laugh at themselves, and probably subscribe to Nihilist Arby’s.
DON’T: Clip art of broken heart on cheek, while pouting.
DO: Tattoos that say existential things in foreign languages.
DON’T: Saying “Nothing about me” or “Normal” in the self-description.
DO: “Work like a geek, play like a freak.” Is this a meme? We like it. It’s got two of our favourite words in there, and it rhymes. You probably have style.
DON’T: Jumping in the air with your feet pulled up and your head held backwards, carried away by the awesome beach or mountain you’re standing in front of. We want to know you’re fun — but whoa, calm down.
DON’T: “Even I’m going with pain I don’t care, I’ll fight and stand up with my freedom, peace and confident.” TMI.
DON’T: That Marilyn Monroe quote. Just one question: Are you Marilyn Monroe? No really, are you?
DON’T: Pictures of weddings are kind of weird. Do you go to weddings often? Do you want to have a wedding soon? Is attending weddings one of your hobbies?
DO: Blown out background framing you biting your lip. A Tinder impression has advantages and disadvantages, and one of its advantages over real first impressions is being able to capture that heart stopping first impression, and make it go on and on.
DON’T: Yoga pictures taken from behind. We know you’re spiritual but until you do contortionist s*** we’re not interested.
DON’T: That ‘warrior 2’ pose you’re doing in front of Machu Picchu.
DON’T: A picture of a kitten wearing a tiara.
DO: A picture of a cat head on your sexy body. #catwang.
DON’T: Clip art of a heart dug into beach sand, with a wave rolling over it, and a flower inside of it.
DO: Cute little stickers on your whimsical photos. Sometimes.
DON’T: Talking about sex in loud ways. Everyone likes sex, but you’re just looking for attention.
DO: Tasteful shots that show us you have a nice bod. Hello.
DON’T: “Just looking for friends.” Didn’t you make enough friends by randomly requesting people over Facebook?
DO: Honest boundaries. Boundaries are fine as long as you’re not defensive about them. “I mean no disrespect but please swipe left if you’re expecting sex after a few lines of text” is about as good as it gets in this category, and we might still think you’re negging us.