Decoder for Dating Profiles

I’ve been doing the online dating for about a year, and I see the same phrases come up frequently in men’s profiles. It’s like they’re all cribbing from the same limited selection of templates.

I decided to create this tongue-in-cheek guide to bridge the gap between what men think they are saying versus how it is interpreted. Their words are in bold.

“I’m an old-fashioned guy.”

“I know how to treat a lady.”

“I was raised to open doors for ladies.”

What this says to me: “I like traditional gender roles”

What he means (best case scenario): “I have basic courtesy and manners, yet somehow think this sets me apart.”

What he means (worst case scenario): “I expect the women I date to adhere to traditional gender roles. I open the door for you, you go make me a sandwich. No feminists allowed.”

“I’m a laid-back, easy-going guy.”

What this says to me: “I’m coming up short with what I should say in my profile.”

What he means (best case scenario): “I’m not neurotic at all.”

What he means (worst case scenario): “I’m like a big, goofy dog who doesn’t understand why you are yelling.”

“Real women only.”

What this says to me: “I don’t want to be messaged by profiles that are just ads for escort services.”

What he means (best case scenario): “I am optimistically hoping that the escort salespeople will respect this virtual “no soliciting” sign.”

What he means (worst case scenario): “My heart was broken when I found out that twenty-something supermodel stripper wasn’t really into a balding middle-aged man with baggage.”

“I want a girl who can hang out and watch sports with me, but also dress up in heels for a night on the town.”

What this says to me: “I need an all-purpose girl.”

What he means (best case scenario): “Television and movies have told me that there are plenty of ‘cool girls’ who love sports and beer and all the other guy things yet are totally hot. I believe this story and want one of these girlfriends.”

What he means (worst case scenario): “I need a woman who can also replace the male friends I don’t have.”

Desired age range: 5–20 years younger than [the guy]

What this says to me: “I ‘deserve’ a younger (read: better) woman because in my biased opinion, I’m quite the catch. Maybe I have a decent job, or maybe I’m slightly less ugly than my peers, or maybe I just have a unreasonably high opinion of myself. I have not considered that a woman my own age might be quite attractive, or that by refusing to consider people my own age, I come off like a judgemental douchebag.”

What he means (best case scenario): “I want babies, and I don’t want to endanger a woman with the risks involved in having children later in life.”

What he means (worst case scenario): “I really need a woman who isn’t mature enough to recognize my warning signs.”

“No drama.”

What this says to me: “I don’t want screaming, plate-throwing, or other antics.”

What he means (best case scenario): “I’ve been dating younger women, and am starting to realize that young often means immature.”

What he means (worst case scenario): “I am a huge asshole, constantly treating people like shit. My last girlfriends kept getting bent out of shape about my drinking, philandering, etc. I need a meek girl who will just quietly put up with my shenanigans, because I don’t think a woman’s anger is ever justified.”

Profile picture shows man (usually in his car) wearing sunglasses.

What this says to me: “I feel most secure when wearing sunglasses, and most in control when I’m behind the wheel.”

What he means (best interpretation): “I look good in these sunglasses.”

What he means (worst interpretation): “I am so insecure that I can’t stand the thought of people seeing my eyes.”

“I am the proud father of 3 kids who mean the world to me.”

“I love spending time with my two little boys.”

“My daughter is #1 in my life.”

What this says to me: “Any woman I date has to fit in with my family.”

What he means (best interpretation): “I have to arrange a sitter before dates.”

What he means (worst interpretation): “I need an unpaid housekeeper/nanny, STAT!”

“like music hanging out LOL also up for a good time. u like sushi and movies? Im just a cool guy lookin for sexy lady”

What this says to me: “I am functionally illiterate.”

What he means (best interpretation): “Im not all uptight about rules n shit. im cool yo”

What he means (worst interpretation): “I was deprived of oxygen during a crucial period of fetal development. I feel threatened by people who use three-syllable words. I can’t calculate a tip to save my life, repeatedly get scammed out of money by Nigerian princes, and can’t figure out how to put together Ikea furniture. I’ve never willingly read a book that didn’t have pictures.”

I hope this shortcut saves you some time.