The VICE Guide to Tinder for Men, by a Woman
Let us help you.
Illustration by Ben Ruby
It's pretty common to hear dudes complain about how hard it is to use Tinder when you have a dick. As a woman, I'm not surprised at that since I swipe left on 95 percent of the profiles I encounter in the never-ending human carousel. But if you're wondering why your matches are sparse or why you've been ghosted on so frequently, you might be stumped as to what you're doing wrong.
I get the Tinder struggle. I've been using this wretched app for close to a year. Before I deleted the app recently, I had hundreds of matches, a Tinder Social gangbang, and blocked more phone numbers and Snapchat accounts than I care to count. Within the hours upon hours of time I spent swiping, I identified some common mistakes dudes make. You can hate on me for being a succubus, but I'm here to help you as a woman who has used this app entirely too much. And to do that, I've put together a guide for men looking to improve their Tinder game.
Group Shots as Profile Photos
No one wants to take the time to try to guess which one is you. And especially if you are using a group shot as your main photo—which is way too common—you're inevitably going to get more swipes left. It's safer to just not.
From the thousands of profiles I've swiped on, it seems some of you are scared to take selfies. Stop that. Take a selfie, give us a shot of your body, another photo or two of you, and maybe a meme for good measure.
How to Make Your Bio Not Suck
When it comes to bios, do less. Give us a couple brief points about yourself or write a sentence or two that shows you are creative, funny, or have some other desirable personality trait. Height shouldn't be mandatory (as many of you seem to think it is); I personally would ask if I was so concerned.The profiles above are examples of things you maybe shouldn't put in a bio:
- "I own a business and 6 cars": I think the dating site you're looking for is SeekingArrangement, bro.
- "Swipe right if you have more things to talk about other than reality tv and celebrities... *cop car emoji* no drug abusers either": Wow, way to shame strangers on a dating app, but good on you for letting everyone know you are a closed-minded, judgmental prick. You are probably the feds.
- [poorly crafted giant block of text]: Spewing lyrics and then listing off some activities you like with not so much as a line break... Yeah, *swipes left*
- "I have an opinion about women. Prove me wrong": Along with that profile photo, you've successfully let every woman on this app know that you are a misogynist. Good luck with that.
A Note on Animals in Tinder Photos
Animals are cute and pure and way better than humans. I tend to agree. Full disclosure: I've swiped right due to a cute cat or dog, and many women I know have done the same. It definitely can have an effect, depending on the lady. However, there's a right and wrong way to incorporate furry friends in our Tinder profiles.
In all the profiles above, we see some weaker ways to incorporate animals: laying out a bunch of dead birds on the ground like a physical manifestation of your toxic masculinity; a close-up selfie of you with a horse; you flailing a fish in a little girl's face. *swipes left*
The dudes below know what they're doing. Look at this cute (one-eyed?) cat; look at this man who is majestic as fuck riding a horse in a beautiful landscape. *swipes right*
Speaking of Photos, Let's Talk About These Ones of Inanimate Objects
It's really obvious when you're trying to flex. I'm sure it's attractive to some women, but I'd wager that a number of them just think you're corny. Dude on the left: OK, you're a chef, we get it, nice steaks. Dude on the right: Your condo's living room is not even that impressive, and it's sad that you think this is something worthy of displaying on a Tinder profile. Are we going to fuck on that IKEA coffee table, or what are you trying to say with this?
Super Liking Can Be Kind of Creepy
I personally felt a bit sick to my stomach every time I saw a super-like notification come up on my phone until I did myself the favor of disabling them. I don't know for sure why—maybe it's just the type of dudes I attract—but nine times out of ten, the men who super-liked me tended to be those I would never let touch me, let alone put their dicks in me. It comes across as aggro to super-like since you are immediately pushed up in a woman's feed. Sometimes, it can work if she finds you mutually as attractive instead of being instantly repulsed.One of the first dudes I hooked up with from Tinder super-liked me; that ended with us fucking twice and me ghosting on him after because I could tell he was quickly becoming obsessed and possessive. Now, I tend to see super-likes as a warning sign.
In sum, if you're going to super-like, do so carefully and sparingly. I personally have only done it three times: two on accident, the other time to troll a friend.
Uniforms Are Not as Sexy as You Think
YOU ARE LITERALLY THE FEDS. Also, what would your employers think of you being in your work uniform on Tinder? Hmm?
I mean, at least you're being open about being a gun nut so those of us who are freaked out can slam that red X. Props to you for that, boys.
Be Honest with Your Intentions
Some men on this app are pretty vague with their intentions when you're deciding on if you'd like to meet up. If you want to fuck, just say it at some point instead of being coy—don't say you want to "chill." I think most women would rather know what they're getting into instead of showing up expecting to grab a friendly drink and then within five minutes you are trying to grab their pussy.
However, opening a conversation with "DTF?" or "I'm going to dick you down like Lex Steele" (yes, I've actually seen this) might not be the best idea. Again, the goal is to not creep out a woman immediately. Once you test the waters by exchanging a few messages, maybe you could drop a lewd line if she seems down. That said, let's work on openers.
Here's some examples of bad ways to get a woman on Tinder to talk to you: being corny, being clout-seeking, or asking a complete stranger to give you a birthday gift.
If you want a reply, simple seems pretty effective: some version of "hey, what's up?" Alternatively, you could ask her something benign about her job or interests from her bio or give her a compliment that is nice but not creepy. Here's a couple that worked on me:
Where to Have a First Tinder Date
First of all, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT insist a woman you've never met from Tinder come over to your place for a first date. Or at least don't present it as the only option. If she brings it up, then go for it. But generally speaking, we are not pizza; you can't just order us to your house. Not saying it couldn't work for some brave ladies out there, but it's nice to give a more neutral option to start, say somewhere public like a bar or coffee shop.
Be a Weed Dealer
I definitely swiped right on this profile.
Don't Be a White Dude with Dreads
Shave your head, delete your account.
Sometimes It's Not About You
This is important to remember. Seriously, sometimes it is just us. We lose interest, unmatch, get busy with our lives, ghost. Sometimes, just like you, we're here to people watch.
The last thing a woman wants to see when she decides to open Tinder after a few days of not checking it is multiple messages from a man who is upset that she hasn't replied yet. If your message history with a woman looks like you're talking to yourself, you're doing it wrong.
If a woman unmatches you, please do not try to contact her on any form of social media. Trust me, it probably was intentional, and dwelling on it will only hold you back from future meaningless sex and potential meaningful relationships.
Follow Allison Tierney on Twitter.