We often hear women tell horror stories of the interactions they’ve had on dating apps. You know what we're talking about — the encounters where men send creepy, inappropriate messages, or just straight-up dick pics to every match they make.
But what about the flip side?
To get the male perspective on dating apps, HuffPost Canada spoke to five men about their experiences. Turns out, a lot of them are just as appalled by these dating horror stories as women are.
"I’m horrified that grown men take the time to type these messages out to somebody else with their faces and names on these apps," 36-year-old Andray Domise, a former Tinder user, told HuffPost Canada.
Mario Matiz agrees. The 25-year-old from Whitby, Ont., who has used apps such as Tinder and Plenty of Fish, said, "I ask women what their horror stories are and the picture they paint to me is a lot of guys being either very pervy or just very — for lack of a better word — dumb. [Women] have it tough."
But women aren’t the only ones who have it bad. According to Brett Thornton, who uses the exclusively gay dating app Grindr, men in the LGBTQ community can be just as vulgar.
"We’ve got guys just as creepy as you do," the Oshawa native explained. "My profile clearly displays that I’m 22 years old and I still get messages from 50-year-old men, and the first thing they send is a shirtless picture and then their dick. And these are grown, mature [men]."
"I can imagine what the women have to deal with just from what we have to deal with," he added.
Thanks to these few bad eggs, dating apps have received a bad reputation, which is one of Mike Robertson’s biggest pet peeves. Tinder especially, he says, is known to be used for hookups.
“But it doesn’t have to be just that,” the 36-year-old Torontonian says of the app. “It is whatever you make it, or whatever you talk to the people about. It’s open. You can make it whatever you want it to be.”
Fellow Torontonian Peter Y. agrees. “If people were to approach stuff like Tinder in a little more lighthearted, fun way, I think a lot of people would have a good time on there.”
Below, the men share more of their biggest pet peeves on dating apps and other revelations.
For many, Tinder is a go-to place to meet potential dates, but for Peter Y., it’s more of a social platform to just meet new people. The 26-year-old Torontonian said he joined “purely out of boredom, just to see what it was like.”
“I’ve had my share of interesting experiences,” Peter said of the app. “I’ve definitely met some really cool people, but at the same time I’ve met some not-so-cool people.”
On bizarre experiences: “This girl that I didn’t even meet, I basically had to cancel our meet-up last minute because of work and she just blew up on me. She started cussing and swearing. She sent me a barrage of texts and then the next morning she apologized, but at that point I was already over it and [she] was just not a person I would want to meet.”
“Another experience was when I met one of my first Tinder matches. Halfway through our lunch I asked her what her occupation was, and she told me she was a student and an escort. That was definitely more memorable.”
On how apps changed dating: “We can come up with new approaches to talk to people online because we’re kind of hiding behind a medium where we can think and edit what we’re going to say to them. I think dating apps definitely changed the game for how men and women interact with each other.”
Although Mike Robertson doesn’t currently use any dating apps, he has used Tinder and Bumble to meet women in Toronto.
“I used to try and meet girls at the bar, but they’re not exactly getting the best representation of me and vice versa, so I just started doing it online and it really worked for me,” the 36-year-old explained. “It seemed like a great alternative way to meet somebody.”
On the male experience on dating apps: “I wouldn’t say [it's] easier but it’s just different. Men have to try harder to make sure they’re a nice guy. That bugs me too because you don’t want to be too proper because you actually really want to get to know people. So if you’re playing by the rules too much then you don’t get to really open up as much.”
On confidence: “You date a lot more when you’re doing this, so just getting out there, meeting the people, texting the people, you get to know a lot about yourself through all these people that you’re talking to. They might be asking the same questions, but you finally have to learn to answer these questions really honestly.”
Andray Domise and his girlfriend Eseroghene Omene (pictured above) are proof that Tinder love stories are real. The two met over a year ago on the dating app and have been together ever since.
“I was optimistic but not getting my hopes up on anything,” Domise said of his expectations on the last time he joined Tinder. “You always want to be optimistic that if you put yourself out there that you’ll meet somebody. I didn’t have all my hopes set on meeting someone on Tinder, but that’s what happened.”
On dating app etiquette: “In general, people need to learn to slow down. When you’re talking to a complete stranger, the way you would approach somebody at a bookstore or at a food court, you should probably exercise the same thing when you’re talking to someone over a dating app, and that applies to both genders.”
On how dating has changed: “What’s changed for guys is that the power dynamic is a bit more level in the sense that you [no longer] have somebody who doesn’t really have the choice of whether to talk to you. You meet somebody on these apps and if they don’t like you, they just move on. I think it’s leveled the playing field a bit.”
Brett Thornton started using Tinder and Grindr because it was the easiest way to “find guys that are looking to meet up with other guys.”
“Out in the world, there’s always that little bit of anxiety or that little bit of 'I don’t know' when you see a guy,” the 22-year-old explained. “Even if you get a few signs, you still might be nervous or anxious, or even just because of public perspective you still might not want to go over and say something. So I always find myself on dating apps because it’s the easiest way to open up to any kind of conversation.”
On the problem with Grindr: “There’s a lot of compartmentalization on gay dating apps and it’s not a good thing. You’ll see people who are out there for sex or what not, and it says that, but their first tagline is ‘No Blacks. No Asians. White people only.’ Or, ‘Black people only.’ We break each other down. It’s no femmes, it’s no transgenders ... it’s a lot of internal bigotry coming from ourselves. It’s a harsh environment.”
On what people on dating apps should know: “Not to be afraid to be upfront with what you’re looking for, but make sure you do it in a respectable manner. We’re still a community that’s trying to really fight for freedom, really fight for rights in parts of the world and even still here. We don’t need to be fighting amongst ourselves. We don’t need to be so rude. Whatever you’re looking for, just look for it with some respect and dignity.”
When you work in a male-dominated field, it can be hard to meet women. That’s why Mario Matiz decided to try out dating apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish and OkCupid.
“It seemed like it was easier to meet girls this way instead of going out, like the traditional way,” Matiz, who works in IT, said.
On dating horror stories: “I think for men in general it’s mostly that a lot of times women — well I think everybody’s guilty of this — but they hide certain characteristics. The most common one being that if a woman is attractive in her picture and you go meet her, she’s not similar to her picture at all in a lot of cases. I’ve never experienced that but I’ve heard some of my friends say that that’s the most common [problem] when it comes to dating online.”
On why dating is harder for men: “Honestly, as a guy, you have to try a lot of things. Girls receive a message and they pretty much look over your profile and they decide whether they actually want to continue or not. As a guy, in order for you to actually start a conversation, it’s almost a whole strategy.”
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