If it’s not okay in person, it’s not okay.
When it comes to online dating on Tinder, Bumble, and the like, I’ve developed a strict policy of calling men out on their bullshit behavior.
I’ve been told I should just block them, ignore it, or “let it go”, but after a series of unfortunate dating events, I refuse to do that any longer. I’ve made it my personal responsibility to educate people as to why what they’re saying is not okay.
Maybe no one has told them before? Maybe they’ve only ever talked to their friends, and never a real live woman? Or maybe they’re just assholes. Regardless, it’s important to me to stand up for myself – and for womankind. To speak up in a way that doesn’t berate, but genuinely asks why on earth they chose to open with an offensive or sexually explicit message.
But I wasn’t always this way. It started with one little message. It read: “Hi babe, you look like you love anal.”
I stared at my phone screen, eyes unblinking and mind racing. I’d only said “Hey there,” and yet we were already past the foreplay and straight to anal? We hadn’t even exchanged names. And my profile very explicitly stated I was looking for a relationship, NO HOOK-UPS.
I felt kind of…assaulted.
I was very new to Tinder dating when this happened, so I had no idea what to do. Should I reply? Should I block him? Should I report him? I ended up putting my phone on the table and backing slowly away from it.
But overnight, this one sentence sent to me by a stranger kept haunting me. I couldn’t figure out why it bothered me so much. I knew there were douchebags out in the world, but I’d been coupled up for so long, I hadn’t really experienced them in this new and confronting way.
I talked to a few girlfriends about it at brunch that weekend. I thought I was dropping a bombshell: an OMG moment. But none of them were fazed.
“Yeah, that’s pretty standard,” one said.
“You should be grateful it wasn’t a dick pic,” the other continued.
“I’m sorry,” I replied. “I’m supposed to be grateful a stranger graphically telling me how he wanted to have sex with me wasn’t something worse? That’s…not right.”
I was encouraged to just let it go, told that offensive messages and Tinder go hand in hand, and block anyone else who opened with sex talk from there on. But I wasn’t okay with that.
Why should the victims of crappy behavior have to change their ways, rather than those actually dishing out the crap? The next time some Tinder sex pest thought it was okay to steamroll straight to a vulgar comment, I was ready. I was gonna call men out on bad behavior, and no one was going to stop me.
It wasn’t long before I had the opportunity to do just that.
“Hi, I’m Dan and I have an eight-and-a-half inch cock” a new message in my Tinder inbox read.
“Hi there Dan, I’m Liz. Nice to meet you. So, does that line ever work for you?” I asked.
“Haha nah, not really,” he answered.
“So why do you say it?” I pushed.
There was a pause as he formulated a response.
“You women are the ones who love talking about guys’ packages,” he said.
“You love it, you’re always talking about it to your girlfriends.”
I cracked my knuckles and began typing back.
“Listen, I’m gonna tell you something Dan,” I started.
“Women do not talk about penis size right off the bat. And we certainly don’t care about measurements to the half inch. Also, if we’re ever talking about size, it’s either big or small and probably because you’re not using it properly. Tell me Dan, would you introduce yourself to someone like that in real life?” I said.
“Probably not, that would be weird,” he admitted.
“So how is it not also weird online? We’re total strangers, and you just basically exposed your dick as the first thing you said to me,” I continued.
“But online is kind of different,” he said.
“How? It’s still a first meeting, and first impressions count. Let’s flip this. If someone matched with you and the first thing they said was ‘Hi, my name is Rachel and I have a four-and-a-half-inch clitoris!’ you wouldn’t think that was okay. You’d think ‘What the hell is wrong with that girl?‘ Which is what women think every time a man’s opening line is about his cock.”
We ended up chatting for a bit longer, and actually having a pretty interesting debate about where the myth that women like knowing penis size upfront actually came from. Dan eventually admitted he regretted saying ‘cock’ as soon as he pressed send, but felt like he needed to back himself.
Unfortunately, other interactions haven’t gone as well as this one.
I’ve been called a whore, a bitch, a slut, unintelligent. I’ve been told I lack a sense of humor. I’ve even been told that the reason I”m single is because I stand up for myself.
But if it’s a choice between being single and putting up with someone who wants to introduce himself by electronically flashing me, I will take single. Every. Damn. Time.
No matter how many times I’m attacked, I’ll continue to call men out on their bullshit behavior online. Because if I get through to even one guy, and he thinks twice before he leads with his dick, then it’s so worth it.
Images via giphy.com and pexels.com.
Comment: Do you call out bad behavior on dating apps, or are you more of a block-and-delete person?