When Aileen Barratt, 37, entered the world of dating apps in 2016 after her marriage broke up, she was shocked by the level of sexism she found.
She learned the hard way how to read the subtle – or not so subtle – clues in a man’s profile that reveal what he really thinks about himself and women.
Here she shares for the uninitiated her brilliantly witty ‘translation’ of what men really mean and whether to swipe right (for a match) or left (to reject) a potential suitor. . .
A is for Just Ask
Lazy men often put this in their ‘bio’. It means: ‘I never know what to put here, so just ask me what you want to know.’ But why should I waste time on someone who can’t think of anything interesting to say about themselves? This is a man who demands that you do everything for.
B is for Banter
‘Banter’ used to mean a quick conversation back and forth. But men who say a potential partner ‘must have banter’ are rarely asking for any fun. They want to be able to make “edgy” (aka derogatory or misogynistic) statements and make you laugh because they’re obviously joking.
C is for conversation
Chatting on a dating app can feel like a robotic exchange of pleasantries. The problem is making it a complacent requirement that in the request ‘must be able to hold a conversation’. It sets him up as an intellectual powerhouse—and it sets you up to do all the work.
D is for No Drama
This request is a huge red flag, especially when it’s IN ALL CAPS. What these guys count as ‘drama’ is mostly the natural progression of a relationship. Any wishes or limits at all will be framed as needy. God forbid you admit you want more than superficial texting, drinks and sex. Just swipe left.
Here, for the uninitiated, Aileen Barratt, 37, shares her brilliantly witty ‘translation’ of what men really mean and whether to swipe right (for a match) or left (to reject) a potential suitor. . .
E is for entrepreneur
There are a suspiciously large number of entrepreneurs on dating apps. It’s the equivalent of being photographed next to a Maserati in white chinos. It could be accurate, but 99 percent of the time it’s garbage. Anyway, if being an entrepreneur is his whole personality, he might not have a personality.
F is for fun
This was the first euphemism I noticed on Tinder. If men say they’re ‘fun-seeking’, it’s not going to be rides and candy floss. Do not misunderstand me. Sex is fun! But casual sex is often not that much fun for a woman – especially when it’s not your fun they’re concerned with; It is theirs.
G is only for Good Vibes
A man who uses this noxious little phrase goes even further than the NO DRAMA types. Should you ever get less than totally excited for them, they’ll tell you that it’s really hard when you feel like this because the negativity is really draining, you know? Oh. Actual people have reach.
H is for Height
I can’t blame men for exaggerating their height when pretty much every woman has ‘tall’ on her list of requirements. I think it’s internalized misogyny that makes us feel like we should be bird-like creatures and men should tower over us. Disney has a lot to answer for.
I’m on Inked
He really says, ‘I have tattoos. You can see it in literally all of my photos, but I still mention them here because they are my whole personality.’
J is for Joke
Ah, the constant chorus of, ‘Relax, it was just a joke.’ This man could be called ‘Schrodinger’s douchebag’; someone who makes an unacceptable – often sexual or prejudiced – remark and decide whether they were serious or ‘joking’ based on your reaction.
When Aileen (pictured) entered the world of dating apps in 2016 after her marriage broke up, she was shocked by the level of sexism she found.
K is for Kinky
Lots of men are really into consensual ‘kinky’ sex – which is great for women who are into it too. But a guy who puts “kinky” in his Tinder bio might be one of those creeps who thinks it’s OK to hurt women. Shockingly, 77 percent of women in a survey of my Instagram community said they had been subjected to a violent or degrading act without consent.
L is for Lone Wolf
If you’re looking for a relationship, don’t match with a ‘lone wolf’. In reality, if a man acts like Mr. Darcy at the beginning of Pride And Prejudice, he is unlikely to be smoldering with love for you.
M is for Married
Of the many married men on Tinder, there are those who present themselves as an erotic novelty; those who act as a victim/hero who stay in a loveless marriage for the children; and the downright dishonest. Turn them all over.
N is for no single mothers
Yes, there are valid reasons why someone would not want to date someone with children. But there are no valid reasons to put ‘no single moms’ in your dating bio. It’s a lazy assumption that they come with baggage (the kids) and ‘drama’ (the ex).
O is for Origins
Everyone is asked where they are from in a first interview. But if you’re white, you’re much less likely to get follow-up questions: ‘No, but where are you originally from?’ It can quickly lead to some disturbing places.
P is for points if you . . .
This implies that men believe that their (masculine) pursuits are superior to your (feminine) interests, so they are able to hand out “bonus points”. For example if you drink pints/are a gamer/don’t spend hours getting ready. Don’t give them the power.
Q is for Quiet
Too often a man’s opening game is a complaint. “Isn’t anyone talking here?” “Why is it so quiet?” These guys can’t see far enough past their own bruised egos to notice that their attitude may be contributing to the lack of interest.
R is for Ruin My Life
I’ve seen plenty of men say variations of ‘just looking for someone to ruin my life’. There is nothing romantic about two people ruining each other’s lives.
Tinder Translator: An AZ Of Modern Misogyny, by Aileen Barratt, is published by Hardie Grant next Thursday at £12.99
S is for See What Happens
I am suspicious of men who want to ‘see what happens’. All too often this is code for ‘looking to go on a few dates to see if sex happens’. Theoretically, these men might be open to having a girlfriend—but she almost certainly won’t be you.
T is for takes care of itself
Almost without exception, ‘looking for someone who takes care of themselves’ is code for ‘no fat’. True self-care is the realization that you don’t want to be with someone whose affection is contingent on your appearance.
U is for no users
This man is so entitled that he thinks any woman who doesn’t sleep with him after he buys her dinner is a user. In general, we women like to talk a little before we make that decision. I know, crazy!
V is for Vanilla
Vanilla used to be a flavor of ice cream. Now it is the new term for ‘frigid’ – a label of shame for women who will not participate in certain sexual acts, most of which are painful or degrading.
W is for Where Are All The Normal Girls?
He means: ‘Where are all the passive and compliant women?’
X is for all my exes are psychos
Nothing says “I hate women” like a man who refers to all of his past partners as “psychos.” Yes, some men go through terrible breakups, but usually you find out later. Healthy people don’t lead with: ‘My ex was crazy.’
Y is for You are not like other girls
Translation: ‘I’m not a big fan of women in general, but you’re quite nice and I expect you to take that as a compliment.’ In fact, I’m like other girls, that much.
Z is for Zzzzzzz
In conclusion, if you are exhausted from wading through lies, half-truths and bizarre expectations – you can take a break. You may want a relationship, but if it makes you unhappy, you don’t need one.
Adapted by Clare Goldwin from Tinder Translator: An AZ Of Modern Misogyny, by Aileen Barratt, published by Hardie Grant next Thursday at £12.99. © Aileen Barratt 2022. To order a copy for £11.69 (offer valid until 20 October 2022; UK P&P free on orders over £20) visit www.mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937 .