As someone who spent more than his fair share of his single life in the dating app era, I’d like to say I’ve seen it all. The evolution of ghosting and sexting. Messaging etiquette and the evolution of apps like Bumble and Hinge to give the ladies more agency (read, less chance of encountering an unwanted dick pic). But no sooner do I bow out of the game than everything goes to shit.
It appears that there are two, brand-new trends that men far worse than myself have engaged in. Yes, it seems some of my fellow dudes aren’t content with the more honorable practice of embellishing all your personal accomplishments, getting drinks, and subtly implanting the idea in her mind that you two should see how your physical chemistry is on the first date. Instead, you monsters have reduced this once-proud franchise into a cesspool I’m glad to no longer be associated with. At least until my girlfriend finds the flaw that is one too many, in which case I’ll likely jump right back into the depths of this awfulness.
The first new trend I learned of recently is “kittenfishing.” Adorable as it may sound, kittenfishing is the light version of catfishing. Instead of creating a profile for a person who does not exist or just pretending to be someone else on an app, “kittenfishing can be as simple as using profile photos that are out-of-date or heavily edited…[o]r it can be more severe, like straight-up lying about your age, height, interests or accomplishments.”
Now at least catfishers have the slightly more respectable position of doing what they’re doing for the lols, and not trying to cause long-term harm. At the end of the day, catfishers are just trolls trying to get a rise out of strangers. A dick move, sure, but the harm is relatively short-lived once their prey realizes they aren’t actually talking to Bella Thorne.
On the other hand, kittenfishing has the potential for some lasting consequences. You meet someone from the app, thinking that they’re a certain person. When you meet them IRL, they might be a little different than you imagined, but tell yourself that you probably built them up in your head. Next thing you know, it’s four months later and she reveals to you that she’s actually 38 and divorced, and her ex-husband is in the Hell’s Angels.
Look, we all lie on our dating apps to make ourselves seem more impressive. If you’re not trying to put your best pictures on the app, editing your profile to be as witty and cool as possible, you’re doing it wrong. But there’s a fine line between acceptable embellishment and outright lies. Your blind date should be able to recognize you from your photo when he meets you without visibly flinching. She should know your real age, occupation, height, marital status (you married guys on dating apps just all seem like the biggest creeps), where you primarily live and work, and what level of relationship you’re looking for.
Exaggerating interests and accomplishments is permitted, otherwise, every girl I’ve ever gone out with would never see me again once she asks me what I think about the Bachelor. But it must be within reason. If you’re a die-hard Red Sox fan, you can’t hold that in lest you end up liking a girl who grew up in the Bronx and wants to take you for a game. The same tactic should be taken with regards to your job, if you’re devoutly religious, if you’re married, or any information about you a simple Google search will turn up. You don’t necessarily have to put your flaws out there in the open, but you can’t paint them over and pretend they didn’t happen.
In short, don’t lie about the shit that matters. Beyond those basics, your date will clue you in on what stuff is important for you to address, and what sorts of things he doesn’t care about. Kittenfishing is not cool, and if you’re too insecure to be yourself in front of strangers who are largely judging you based on your first photo, re-evaluate if you’re ready to be dating.
Now, I thought that was pretty despicable, taking lying on your dating profile to a whole new level. But then I heard the term “pigging.” If you are unfamiliar, sit down far away from anything that you might break in anger.
Pigging, or “pulling the pig,” is a “game that sees a man try to woo a woman they deem ‘fat and ugly’, solely because he and his deplorable friends think it is ‘funny.’”’ In some circles, the group will even crown a “winner:” the guy who attracts the “ugliest” one. There may even be a cash wager for the said winner.
Honest to Christ I wish I was making this all up. I really do. But apparently, this is a horrific extension of the practice of “benching,” or keeping a match on the hook even though you aren’t really attracted to her just for the sake of having someone to hook up with. Full disclosure, I’ve benched girls and I know I’ve been on girls benches. I’m not proud of this, and it was an awful experience being benched. But pigging is just vile.
There is something seriously wrong with you, male or female, if you match with someone you are definitely not attracted to, continue to engage with them over text, and ask them to meet knowing you won’t show up. Or meeting them for the sole purpose of laughing at them with your friends. That is cruelty for its own sake.
For the love of God, be decent human beings. If you match with someone you’re not totally attracted to, unmatch them, don’t respond to their messages, block them, whatever. If you were slightly attracted to them at the start or want to give them a chance for some reason, that’s fair too. But when you know that there just is no attraction to a guy or girl, whenever that is, move on. You can let them down gently, lie to them, ghost, I don’t care. Anything is better than humiliating them for the sake of your sick game.
If you were unaware that pigging and kittenfishing were things, I commend you. If you are a participant in these practices, stop now. Stop now, go to your nearest Catholic Church (regardless of your religion), and go straight to confession so a priest can tell you how many prayers you need to say to gain forgiveness. Or, at the very least, you’ll get to hear the disappointment in his voice and realize that you made a man of the cloth call you a “rotten little shit” after you’ve left. .