Dating, Relationships

Toxic Trifecta: Three Red Flags in Online Dating Profiles

Michael St. Michael

Over 32 million people in the US regularly use online dating apps. Individuals from all walks of life look for everything from secret partners and casual hookups to long-term relationships on places like Zoosk, PlentyofFish, Hinge, Bumble and Tinder, to name just a handful of a whole stable of dating apps.

At DMC we have put together a list of desiderata for males looking for female partners for more than something casual. Gents, if these seem like common sense, they are. Ladies, if you find these patronizing…well, we can’t help you there. Please note that I am a straight guy seeking a straight, unattached female. I guess today there a number of pejoratives that I can expect to come my way for that statement, which is ironic, since the very people throwing the stones these days at the same decry the bugbears of intolerance and prejudice. Moving on…

Transparency Issues

These red flags happen with such frequency that there is either a big disconnect in expectations between what women and men expect out of these platforms, or something else is seriously amiss. In the thousands of profiles I and my friends have viewed, we find that that a high percentage of women in our age category (35-55) do some or all of the items discussed below, any one of which raises a red flag. I have to stress I just got out of a long-term committed relationship. I am reasonably grown up, somewhat intelligent and therefore I have no expectations of perfection, am aware of my own faults, and I am happy for people to just do them. But…

Does she look like her profile pictures? The number of women who use out of date, heavily
photoshopped, or otherwise filtered pictures is off the charts. Do men do this? I expect they do, but I don’t date men. Take this as unisex advice.

Many profiles feature only heavily filtered or otherwise edited photos and many women turn out to look totally different in person than the shots they post. If you ask why this is a problem, you are in the wrong corner of cyberspace. Please just present yourself honestly. Have the integrity to be yourself. Of course we all want to be our best in our snaps, to have the most flattering look. But these should reflect your best present self, not your best self in 1998. Why would you expect to get beyond the first date if you are not true to who you are?

More than a few women I have found are not honest about their age. On Bumble, I ran across a woman I know personally. She is attractive and eligible for sure, but she undercut her actual age by several years in her profile. Again, how do you expect any trust to develop when you start out from the most basic of false premises?

Oh, it also helps if you let people know about kids, like if you have them and if so, how many? Do you hate them? Also good to know.

This should be dating 101, but it happens all the time. Let guys know if you are actually married or in an otherwise committed relationship or just looking for an FB. Some guys are into that, you know? Just not my cup of tea.

Sexual Firsts and Ego Stroking

Sometimes before the first date actually happens and we are just in the chatting phase, I have found a lot of women have to somehow telegraph that they have not had a guy for an age and a day. I am almost fifty and I am not looking for a virgin. I find it a major red flag when women think that they have to make it seem like the haven’t seen the inside of someone else’s bedroom for so long that their hymen has grown back.

Same concept and also a major red flag: no small number of women that my friends and I have encountered feel the need to communicate that they experienced the first or the greatest type of sexual experience. My last girlfriend said she had never received oral sex before. Since she was not 19, the odds of this occurring are literally almost nil. Sex makes women feel open and vulnerable. Sadly, our culture still makes some women feel that enjoying sex or having multiple partners is bad. That is a shame, and I strongly disagree with that attitude. But please, do not tell me that I am the firstest, bestest, or mostest when I know odds are I am none of those. My ego can take it. I promise. And I promise a lot of other men’s egos can, too.


This takes a lot of forms. At its most innocuous, it manifests as bad manners. Dr. Lovestrange covers a spin on the ghosting phenomenon in a recent column you can find here. This is the least damaging, most banal, and most common form of ghosting. We call it building the bench.

The ratio of men who wish to insert their penis into the vaginas of attractive women is, scientifically speaking, approximately 467,976:1, women are bombarded by guys. Women who want to date more than one guy have a queue of a bunch of other dudes they are kinda, sorta, maybe interested in, so they put them on the bench. That means women do the drive by chat with the bench player once a week or something. That’s fine. But it’s also fine if a guy wants to see you in person and calls bullshit on your flimsy excuses, the most common form of which is “I don’t get on here much” or “hit me on my IG, I am on there a lot more”. Then why the fuck are you talking to me on a dating app at all? A wise person once said: Honesty saves everyone’s time.

Unfortunately, this seems like a function of women letting themselves fall into the trap of allowing the lowest, most vile form of the sex to set the bar for the other interactions they have with others. Not fair. Hit the hard reset on that one.

Ghosting someone in a serious relationship, when you just do not want to sit down over a drink, have a cup of coffee, and look the significant other in the eye and tell them you are done is a coward’s game. I have had it played on me. I will never it play it on a woman I care about, even a little bit. Here gender, whatever yours is, has got nothing to do with it. Grow a spine and make a phone call and tell the truth. How hard can it be?


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