You’re Not as Cool On Tinder as You Think You Are

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I feel it’s my duty to tell you all something you might not be ready to hear, men of the 21st century: your Tinders are terrible.

Every day in New York City, I am surrounded by attractive young people, glowing with potential, gripping expensive lattes in their soft hands, walking purposefully to their probably very cool jobs. This city is crawling with ridiculously good looking, intriguing people, and yet when I fire up Tinder, what do I see? Blurry photos of six dudes at a bachelor party. Half of someone’s face as they cuddle their dog. Sunglasses. Actual human babies.

Wherefore art thou, virile twentysomethings of the street and subway? I know they are on Tinder, because I am constantly nosing into other people’s love lives in search of writing material. So we must conclude that they are obscured behind awful Tinder profiles. As Tinder appeals to those who might have never used a traditional online dating site, perhaps these users are unaware of how the game is played. Let me enlighten you.

Tinder is all about first impressions, often split second first impressions. Your profile picture is the single most important factor in your Tinder. Half the fun of Tinder is the swipe-swipe speediness of it, and so if your picture doesn’t register as striking, attractive, or well-composed in two-tenths of a second, you’re a goner.

It’s amazing how many people aren’t facing the camera in their Tinder photo. Okay, sure, you looking moodily out over the sea while drinking a beer on a speedboat is a pretty good picture, but I can’t see your face while you’re staring off into the distance at those pine trees! How can I tell if you’re hot if you’re just a faceless person on a boat? Also: no sunglasses allowed. Sunglasses can conceal … almost anything.

It’s extremely important that you are alone in your photo. I can’t tell which of the pack of bros in striped button-downs is you, and I’m too lazy to find out. Rolling deep is not the point of Tinder, my friend. You’re not Leo in Wolf of Wall Street, you’re using a phone app to try to get a date.

Photo quality is also a huge issue. If the best photo of your face you can find is something blurrily cropped from a group picture, you’re going to have to take matters into your own hands. If you have a chill roommate or friend, ask them to take a photo of you while you’re at brunch or something. Not while you’re eating, but while sitting at the table, looking relaxed in the early afternoon light.

Alternatively, get a beer and open up Photobooth and take a selfie. You are in charge of your own destiny here. For the record, this is not about how attractive you are. This is about how to present yourself as well as possible.

Everyone’s bios are also a disaster. Think of your bio as what you would tell someone if you were talking at a cocktail party: where are you from? What do you do? If you’re funny, link to your Twitter, if you’re artistic, link to your Instagram. Do you have a “weird fact” you like to trot out, like that you were born without wisdom teeth or your landlord keeps bees on your roof? Throw that in there. The idea is to give some texture, some idea of yourself.

The biggest thing to avoid is spouting vague platitudes about trying to live every day to the fullest like you’re some undergrad who just dropped acid for the first time. Or that you work hard, play hard, which is just code for, “On our first date I will tell you extensively about my college lacrosse career.” Or song lyrics, because this isn’t your AIM profile.

But, if you aren’t from the US, absolutely mention that. Everyone loves accents.