So … online dating and dating apps. Let’s talk about them! When my ex and I separated, I wasn’t in the right head space to jump right back into the game. First of all, separation and divorce is traumatic. I was completely unprepared for that, and I had so much shit to work through. But also, I was 35 years old, with two small children, and hadn’t been single in a good long while. So the entire process of dating was, quite honestly, terrifying for me. I do not enjoy change, I’m not a big fan of meeting new people. NO NEW FRIENDS!

But as a single mom who works from home, I wasn’t exactly surrounded by eligible bachelors, you know what I mean? So, a few months after the dust had settled on my new life, I waded into the dark, murky waters of online dating and dating apps. I immediately regretted my decision. If you’re thinking about getting back in the game, here’s a primer on the types of men you might meet online. Godspeed, friends.

Dating apps make it really easy to “connect” with people. But those people? Some of them are not … great.

1. Let’s start with the WAY TOO YOUNG FOR YOU guy. There’s always a few of those.

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So when you sign up on these apps, you enter your age, and then a range of ages for people you’d like to “match” with. But like, they don’t filter out the babies. So here I was, 35 years old, looking for a peer, and getting messages from men in their early 20’s. Now, I won’t say that I wasn’t flattered. But also, do you have any idea how hard it is to find common ground with a kid (yes, they are kids) fresh out of college, whose never been married or even held a baby? Me: Wow, it’s already 9:30, I’ve got to get to bed! Him: Yeah, I’m gonna hop in the shower and head out around 11 tonight, you wanna come? No, Sparky. I do not.

2. On the flip-side of that: the Way Too Old for You guy.

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Sure, you want someone established and mature and who isn’t there to play games. But you’d be surprised how many people message you who are SIGNIFICANTLY older than you. Just as it’s hard to relate to a young one, it can be really hard to relate to someone a lot older. One guy asked me out, but I didn’t have child care so I had to decline. He suggested I just “leave them home alone”, since that’s what he did with his kids when they were that age … 20 years ago. OK guy.

3. Swipe left on anyone who went to The School of Hard Knocks.

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Maybe they mean it as a joke? But like, you’re trying to get a sense of a person in just a few short lines. Hahahaha, school of hard knocks, get it?? Listen, life isn’t easy for pretty much everyone, I really don’t need to deal with someone who might have a chip on their shoulder about their particular circumstances.

4. Hey, you matched with someone! And have exchanged a few pleasant messages! So imagine your surprise when you open the dating apps and find a picture of their dick in your inbox. Trust me, you will encounter SO MANY OF THESE MEN.

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I just … why. Why the unsolicited dick pics? Also, has there ever been a SOLICITED dick pic? They’re not attractive. No one wants a grainy cell phone picture of a penis. LITERALLY NO ONE. But that won’t stop potential paramours from sending them to you! I could wallpaper my bathroom with dick pics from men I’ve never met. Men: stop fucking doing this, for the love of god.

5. Next up in men you’ll encounter on dating apps: The Mommy Chaser.

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These ones are … weird. The initial conversation will go something like this: “Hey, nice to meet you!” “Nice to meet you, too! I see you have kids, love that.” “Oh, that’s great! Do you have any of your own?” “Oh, no. But moms are so hot.” I’m not sure what their motivations are, but I cannot tell you how many of these men I’ve encountered. Mommy issues? Saggy boob fetish? Who knows. The thing is, they have no idea what goes into being a parent, and their attraction will probably wear off very quickly once they find out. Sorry, but the “hot mom” stereotype doesn’t really translate to real life.

6. Or, how about the I Don’t Like Kids guy?

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I’m not entirely sure why someone would swipe right on me if they don’t like kids, when I literally have it posted in my profile THAT I HAVE KIDS. It’s not a sweater I can take off, for fuck’s sake. “Well, maybe I’ll like yours!” Yes, because using my children as an experiment in dating is exactly what I want to do. I get not liking kids. I don’t particularly like kids other than my own. But maybe stick to trying to match with people who don’t have kids? Just a thought.

7. The Guy Who Wants to Meet RIGHT AWAY.

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So you get a notification that you matched with someone, and then get a message a minute later asking you out for coffee that afternoon. Ummmmm, slow down? I probably swiped right on you in a wine haze a couple of nights ago, let me at least review your profile! This has been one of my biggest struggles with online dating, to be honest. I can’t just up and go out for drinks or whatever. I work, I have kids, I’m tired, and probably haven’t showered in a few days. This guy will have a solution for every one of your excuses, which just shows his complete disregard for your time and circumstances. Also who goes out for drinks on a school night? Honestly.

8. The Ghoster, or the bane of everyone’s online dating existence.

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Dating apps are super convenient, but they’re also really impersonal. And nothing is more impersonal than someone literally disappearing from your matches or inbox. You matched, you chatted, maybe you went out a few times, and then poof! In the wind. Chances are, you were one of several people they were “dating”, and they went another direction, which is fine! But we’re all adults (except for Too Young for You Guy), so a quick note letting you know wouldn’t be the worst thing.

9. Married or In a Committed Relationship Guy. Fuck these guys, for real.

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Ugh, these might be the worst of the worst. Some of them will come right out and say it: I’m married, just looking to have some fun. HAVE FUN WITH YOUR WIFE, SHITSTICK. But others will keep it a secret, and you’ll discover that they’re in a relationship when you do the requisite social media stalk after a few chat sessions. These assholes should all fall into a deep hole.

Dating apps can be great, but they can also be awful. If you’re in the thick of it, solidarity. At some point, we all just might want to invest in one of these gorgeous toys and call it good.

(Image: iStock / Milkos)