Last week, MTV premiered season 5 of “Catfish” – the show we all know, and have subsequently turned into a verb. If you live under a rock, I’m not sure why you’d be seeking my blog for news and advice, but a Catfish is someone who lies about their identity and often fakes multiple relationships online.
An episode of Catfish details how Nev Schulman goes into detective-mode and sniffs out bullshit from states away, so by now, you’d think people would do the same (it’s a lot of Google image searching) if they’re in a “fishy” online relationship.
But, here’s the thing: the show is so good and mysterious, and Nev is super fine, and well, so is Max, so as long as people keep Catfishing each other, I am going to watch that shit.
If you’ve been watching “Catfish” each season, you might remember one season when Nev was pret-ty open about his girlfriend. I don’t think she’s in the picture anymore, as he mentioned he was single in an article last year, where he also said he still is not online dating. Smart man.
And just in case you weren’t sure, the term “Catfishing” comes straight from the movie “Catfish”, where it is revealed that cod was originally shipped in tanks from Alaska to China, and because the fish were bored the entire way, they ended up as tasteless. It was later discovered that if Catfish were placed into these tanks with the cod, they would keep the cod “on their toes” during the trip. In life, we are challenged by catfish, they keep us guessing, and in the end, they make us better people.
So, the show is on Wednesday nights on MTV, and while I kind of feel like nothing can shock us now, there’s a new show staring Nev that comes on right after, called “Suspect”.
I’ve watched it (how could I not) and essentially it’s similar to “Catfish” in that Nev is uncovering truths and lies, but the secrets usually aren’t revolving relationships. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s deep, dark secrets that they’re uncovering.
It’s pretty interesting.
On “Suspect”, Nev is joined by artist and activist iO (not Max, but still cool). I didn’t know much about iO, so I did some Googling, and found out she photographed 2,000 people who identified themselves as not 100% straight, called Self Evident Truths. She’s also done a TED Talk on this project, and I find this incredibly fascinating – no, seriously, if you’re at all interested in human rights, you should check it out.
So, who’s going to break down and watch “Catfish” and “Suspect” with me? Any takers? Well, you know where I’ll be each Wednesday night!
I recently became obsessed with watching “Love at First Swipe” on TLC. The show stars Style Expert Clinton Kelly, along with Online Dating Guru Devyn Simone.
The point of the show is to help women (I haven’t seen any male contestants yet) present their best self on their online dating profiles. At the start of the episode, the viewer is presented with the woman’s current online dating profile.
Naturally, it’s a disaster. It usually has racy or very old photos, some sort of weird screen name, and other, general information that makes the woman appear un-dateable.
One recent episode featured a woman getting her Master’s in math. She only wanted men who were also math geniuses to message her online, and she made that very clear on her profile.
The next part of the show involves the contestant meeting Clinton and Devyn, and the expert pair works to get to the root of the problem: why is this woman presenting herself in a way that attracts the wrong types (if any at all) of men?
Then, Clinton works with her to get a new, flattering look, as well as new photos for her profile, while Devyn works with her to figure out what type of man she is looking for, and what she can put on her profile to represent her best qualities and attract the right man.
In the end, the contestant’s new profile is presented to 100 men, and of the (usually 70 percent or higher) men that say they’d like to date her, she gets to pick one to go out with.
I know I like this show because I’ve tried my hand at online dating, and it’s not an easy thing to do. I’ve always looked at it as a passive way of putting yourself out there, but we’re all so “connected” these days, I’m starting to realize it’s not passive at all.
As of now, I’ve tried Match, Ok Cupid, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Glimpse. While I’ve gotten hundreds of messages between all of these apps, I’ve only gone on actual dates with three men from them.
Just like the women on “Love at First Swipe”, I too, have wondered why certain men message me and others don’t, or why the men I meet online don’t end up as successful relationships.
While my profile is nowhere near as extreme as the ones I’ve seen on the show, I’ve started to realize that some of the information I’m putting online probably isn’t representing my best self. One of my main profile pictures is of me, drinking a mug of coffee. The mug also has my blog address, The Bitter Lemon, which is usually my username as well.
I think this kicks me in the ass in two ways: 1. It automatically says I’m bitter, or bitchy, and 2. It leads men to this blog, which has a lot of personal information about me right off the bat; and a majority of that information is about my dating failures.
I’m not saying it’s information I’m going to keep secret, but I probably shouldn’t lead with that. I’m also working on letting go of my past heartbreaks. Sure, it still affects me in some ways, but it doesn’t define me, and it’s not something a date needs to know.
Right now, I’m not participating in online dating, but after seeing this show and considering some ways I could improve my presence to potential suitors, I’m considering it.
Who knows, maybe I’ll be seeing you online soon.
I’m finally going to admit it: I hate Halloween.
As a kid, I loved it (duh, free candy), and in college, it was the perfect excuse to wear fishnets and do keg stands.
But, I’m older now, and truthfully, a lot of things that didn’t scare me before, terrify me now.
I’m particularly terrified of masks. Any type of mask. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a mask, if it’s covering someone’s face, I’m out of there so fast.
According to my mom, I’ve been scared of masks my whole life.
Honestly, who wouldn’t be? If you can’t see someone’s face, it’s difficult to tell who they are. What’s more frightening than the unknown?
In high school, a guy I dated invited me to come over. When I arrived, he was wearing the infamous white mask from “Scream”. He didn’t chase me or tackle me; he just sat there staring at me.
It was creepy as hell, and after many shrieks for him to remove the mask, he did, and everything was okay again.
But when you consider dating, there’s all sorts of things people can do to trick us into thinking they’re someone they really aren’t — and not just in October.
The last guy I was in a serious relationship with put on a very sweet façade at first. In this world, he was a good father, a hard worker, and a loyal boyfriend. But, four months into our relationship, the person behind the mask started to reveal himself.
Truthfully, he was a deadbeat, he was fired for stealing money from his job, he was arrested for drunk driving, and he was infatuated with his side chick.
It was one of the meanest tricks anyone has ever played on me.
While it’s been two years since that went down (like a razorblade in an apple), I’ve certainly come a long way, but I find myself very cautious as I attempt to step back into dating. Will it be a mean trick or a sweet treat?
Technology makes it easier for people to trick us into believing one persona, when there could be worlds of secrets behind the mask (also known as the Instagram filter).
When I use dating apps, I constantly wonder if that’s the real person I’m talking to, or if Nev and Max are going to arrive at my door and tell me I’ve been Catfished.
Even when messaging with guys, I sometimes question the meaning behind the text, or if they’re even as single as they’re telling me they are.
I recently started a new job, and everyone told me they never celebrate Halloween at the office because no one was into it.
Sweeter words have never been spoken. I was so relieved that I wouldn’t have to see masks at my office at the end of the month.
But, of course, enough people spoke up that they wanted to wear costumes, and so, a costume contest has been added to our task list. And, what’s a costume contest without a Halloween-themed potluck?
But, I don’t want to seem like I’m not a team player, and I often try to keep my mask fear to myself.
So, I need a costume. I’m toying with the idea of going as Amy Winehouse, because I can rock some ballet flats and a Bump-It without judgment.
Halloween is all about living as someone you want to be, right? Then, I should totally go as Kate Middleton, because she’s got killer style and a hot, kind husband. Or, maybe I should go as Ronda Rousey – powerful, rich, and knows how to kick ass.
Who knows what kind of costume I’ll end up putting together. But I know this: it’s time to start putting a few of these fears behind me. Sure, I don’t want to get tricked by a man in a mask, but if I’m going to find my knight in shining armor, I’m going to have to get out of the dark.
When I was 16, I had my palm read. The psychic told me I would end up with a guy who was tall and blonde, and he may even have the initials “J” and “S” (in any order).
In the last 14 years of dating, a majority of the guys I’ve fallen for have been short and dark-haired — the opposite of what I was told. Is that just my “type”?
Honestly, I’ve flattered myself a lot thinking that I’m the woman who dates all different types of men. I have a soft spot for your standard emo-punk guy, I love a jock, and I will lust after any man that looks half-decent in a suit.
When I worked retail, it was fantastic to get a cute guy in the store. I recall drooling over many men who would try on plaid shirts and ask for my opinion.
Removing buttons of said plaid shirts with my teeth would be the next step in my retail fantasy, but I’ll stay on topic.
One of my coworkers merely said, “oh, he’s cute, but he’s not my type,” when one of the plaid suitors left the store.
Huh? If he’s cute, why not date outside your type? How does a person even really know their type?
Well, I started with Google and I took the Dating Persona Test from OK Cupid, of course!
After answering about 50 questions, including “Does living on a sailboat sound like a good idea?” (Yes) and “Have you done a lot of kinky sh*t?” (depends on your definition of “kinky”), I had my answer.
It says I’m a Deliberate Gentle Love Master, or “The Maid of Honor.”
It really didn’t say much about the type of guy I should be looking to date. My male counter-type, “The Gentleman,” is said to be steady, mature, marriage material, yet also a “male slut.”
Well, this is just a bowl of cherries (insert Demi Lovato bisexual reference here).
My real beef with dating within your type is, how do you know if that type is even the right type for you? What if you’re ignoring an entire world of men or women simply because they’re not your type?
According to an article on Oxygen.com, dating within your type is extremely limiting, as you could be passing up a person who’s a perfect match.
Not to mention that whole opposites attract thing, and the idea that differences within a relationship can lead to really great things.
Of course, there are boundaries here. If the men of my past were my type, then my type is a cheating liar, who’s got a knack for manipulation.
So, right off the bat, let’s put all of those traits in the “do not date if…” category.
If you’re only dating people based on superficial traits, that’s when you run into problems.
Okay, so maybe the guy or girl isn’t completely ripped or a billionaire. But what if they’re kind, fun, and great in bed?
There could be an entire awesome relationship waiting for you just because you’ve overlooked hair color or job title!
The most important part about dating outside your usual type, is that you could gain a completely new perspective.
With any new relationship, there’s always a chance you could get hurt. But learning something is always a good thing.
At the very least, you’ve met someone new, and you may learn a few things about yourself and your “type.”
A month ago, I downloaded a new dating app called “Coffee Meets Bagel.”
I’ll admit I downloaded it on a rather lonely night, as I was watching “Nightline”.
The app’s founders were on the show, after they’d turned down $30 million from an episode of “Shark Tank” — the largest bid in “Shark Tank” history.
The founders, three sisters, claimed their app was the “anti-Tinder,” as it is geared toward women users.
In order to cater to women, the app uses information from your Facebook profile and presents potential matches (called “Bagels”) based on mutual friends, as well as shared hobbies and interests, instead of being focused on physical aspects.
“Meh, why not?” I thought.
I’ve tried Tinder (gave it a whopping five minutes before getting creeped out), and Glimpse (a dating app that feeds through Instagram).
And I’ve also tried Match.com (for which I’m somehow still getting “wink” alerts two years later), and Ok Cupid.
I’ve met up with guys from Match.com and Ok Cupid, but haven’t had much luck from the apps.
With Coffee Meets Bagel, you’re presented one Bagel a day at noon. You get to see four pictures of their choosing, and a small snippet of their profile — likes, dislikes, where they work, and what they look for in a date.
You can either “Like” or “Pass” on the Bagel. If you both like each other, then it’s a “Connection,” and a chat feature becomes available (very much like Tinder).
Over the summer, the sisters presented a TEDx Talks, revealing data about online dating.
They found many stereotypes we know in dating are true: men date younger women, and women like men who make more money.
But what they also found was that the people who ended up in relationships had profiles that were longer in content.
These same people also shared messages in the chat feature that were twice as long in length.
In other words, they put themselves out there. The app founders looked into the other half of the equation: why were the singletons being so quiet?
Because they were afraid.
Putting in effort could mean a hurtful rejection.
Whoa. I am definitely feeling that.
The cool thing about Coffee Meets Bagel is that once a week, you get a report that gives you a little tip to get more profile likes.
I’ll admit I’ve got the, “Your Bagels are requesting more information” tip at least twice.
Guess this writer better get to writing!
The only thing that’s impossible to control on dating apps or websites, is that you’re only going to meet someone else who’s on the app.
What if my dream guy doesn’t watch “Nightline” or “Shark Tank”, and doesn’t even know about Coffee Meets Bagel?
This is when us control freaks have to put all the cards in fate, and somehow just “know” that whoever is meant to be with us will make his/her way to us.
Sounds a little crazy, amiright?
But, it all boils down to one thing: we all just want to be accepted and loved.
Since joining Coffee Meets Bagel, I’ve made several “Connections,” but I have only messaged with a few guys, and haven’t met up with any.
I will admit, it’s nerve-wracking to meet someone new in-person.
But, I’m still willing to go for it. So, I suppose it’s time to update the ole profile. I wonder how the whole “relationship columnist” thing will go over with the Bagels?
We’ve all heard of Tinder, the social app that shot to fame as an easy way for tech-savvy single people to meet others in their area. It’s as simple as any dating app can get: you link your Facebook profile and the app populates your photos with your profile pictures from Facebook (decreasing odds of getting catfished). Once your profile is set up, you’re then presented with other Tinder users in your area. You can set the app up to show you members of either sex, and limit the results based on proximity too.
Users can then use the feature that Tinder has become known for: “Swipe Left” for “No” and to move on to the next user, and “Swipe Right” for “Yes”, indicating your interest in the other user, and then move on to the next. If you and another user both “Swipe Right” for each other, you’re a “Match” and can then start messaging each other, presumably to start getting to know each other and setting up dates. In essence, Tinder is speed-dating on a mobile platform, and many agree that it’s made dating easier. But what exactly is the app doing for relationships?
First off, Tinder relies on our growing reliance on social media to actually get anything done. It’s just another one of the hundreds of thousands of apps that rely on Facebook to work. Over the years, Facebook has become tied into everything from online shopping, to trying to find employment, with LinkdIn using Facebook to populate contacts as well. Blog posts from the company that launched mobile social gaming website Pocket Fruity also say that even the online gambling market is trying to move forward with integrating their games with Facebook. This increased reliance on social media has, unfortunately, been proven to be detrimental to healthy relationships. Studies have shown that connectivity via social media might be too much connectivity, and they have not just been shown to accelerate affairs, but elicit jealousy and insecurity as well.
Of course, most of the people who use Tinder are actually interested in hooking up with someone, right? After all, you wouldn’t be on the dating app if you were already in a relationship, right? Well, sadly, that’s not the case. Studies published by the Global Web Index show that 30% of all Tinder users are already married, and 12% are already in a relationship. And because the app shows you potential matches based on proximity, it wouldn’t be surprising to find people you already know on the app, and maybe even be presented with relatives and friends as potential matches.
And when you do find someone you aren’t related to or don’t already know and looks attractive enough, you’re presented with a choice to “Swipe Left” and never hear from them again, or “Swipe Right” and get chatting. And what do you have to go on? Not much, other than a few handpicked photos, and a short description authored by the user as well.
Does Tinder make us shallow? Willard Foxton thinks that there’s a chance it might. Having tried out the app, he found himself being largely ignored before a female friend told him, “You’ve used your Facebook profile picture, haven’t you? The one with you looking fat and quizzical? Also, in your bio, you say you’re looking for a relationship. Chubby and looking for a relationship? That’s a bad Tinder combination”. Once he’d switched to a more flattering photo and changed his bio to a witty one-liner, the matches came pouring through.
But the only date he managed to arrange was with a lady who met people on Tinder for fun, without really looking for anything special. Caroline Kent echoes the sentiment, saying that she found herself swiping through photos and discounting potential matches based on “weird fringes” and on being the shortest person in a group shot. And when she did manage to meet up with a stranger that a shared acquaintance assured was “a safe bloke,” it was for nothing more than sex, and neither she nor the guy made any effort to hide it.
Caroline also presents one of the most compelling observations about Tinder: “Tinder isn’t a dating app, it’s the Yellow Pages for ego-boosting one-night-stands.” Many of the people who go on Tinder aren’t there to actually meet someone who can change their life and begin a relationship with. Rather, they’re there to boost their own egos, and see how many people think they’re attractive enough for a Swipe Right. If that’s what you’re looking for, and you’re really just DTF, then you might have a good time on the app for a few days, but if you’re after an actual relationship and want to date someone seriously, you’re better off staying off of the app.
I’m SURE you heard all the hooplah in the last few weeks: Hilary Duff joined Tinder.
I suppose the real craziness over The Duff joining Tinder — I swear I heard this news at least a dozen times — is that she is actually taking it seriously, and is actively going on dates.
I have incredibly mixed feelings about this, and I know I’m probably just going to come across as a crazy person, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. For starters, it makes me really sad to wrap my head around the fact that a gorgeous, talented, celebrity such as Hilary Duff is having to stoop to Tinder to meet people/get laid/get a date, etc.
On the other hand, I’m sure she’s just doing it to have fun and I kind of hate it when we all freak out over celebrities doing “normal” things like sitting at home swiping away right before a new episode of Intervention.
Anyway, I only bring this up because I realize I’ve been talking a lot about online dating lately. And because of that, I’ve been hearing a lot from YOU guys about your experiences in the online dating world — I love hearing your stories!
But what your stories have shown me is that even a world that was once thought of as so modern and unconventional, like online dating, even has it’s changes, but it also is rooted in our antiquated ways, as humans.
Think about it. We’ve heard it before — all of this technology isn’t making us any better at communication, and we could assume this theory is equally true for the dating world. If a person can’t communicate via voice, they probably can’t communicate by email, text, or social media.
When it comes to “typical” dating, we have a lot of questions: when is it okay to call the person? How often should I text? When should the relationship progress physically? Blah, blah, blah…
The thing is, there are just as many (if not more) questions in the online dating world. Just because we’ve figured out the technology, doesn’t mean we’ve figured out the actual dating part.
Since my date about a month ago with a guy from Ok Cupid, I’ve checked my messages a whopping ONE time. I stopped logging into Glimpse altogether.
While I’m not giving up on it, it’s safe to say I’m taking a small break, partly because other areas of my life have taken over, and partly due to the fact that when you think about it, there’s just too many questions.