It’s hard to believe dating-app usage has surged over the past year when most profiles feature a picture with a dead fish and a quote from The Office. Quantity, unfortunately, doesn’t always equal variety.
Amy-Jean MacLean recently released Tinder Men of Winnipeg (And Beyond) Part II on Twitter, her second photo set satirizing local men’s dating app profiles. The photos feature MacLean dressed in men’s clothing and have captions with names, neighbourhoods and personality traits.
The inspiration for the series came while MacLean was living in England. There, she noticed the limited types of guys on dating apps and felt like she was seeing the same people on repeat.
Upon returning to Winnipeg, as expected, she noticed a different but still limited amount of profile types on dating apps.
One day while working from home last spring, MacLean was wearing a denim shirt layered with a plaid one. She looked at herself, took a picture and captioned it “Chad, 21, Transcona, likes Busch Light and Nickelback,” she says.
MacLean posted “Chad” to her Instagram to a positive response, made more, “then brought it to Twitter, where it got uptake,” she says.
The “devil is in the details” for MacLean. She pays attention to elements like a gold chain or drawing on facial hair, making sure these are “intentionally just a bit bad,” she says.
From Morden originally, MacLean’s friends help fact-check the geography of her posts, and, as she’s run out of men’s clothes from her own closet, she’s now outsourcing to friends, as well, she says.
MacLean isn’t aiming to make fun of men with her satirical posts. “It was just almost like catharsis, I guess, for my experiences and the experiences my friends have shared with me,” she says.
A lot of women comment on the accuracy and say, “like, oh my god, I’ve dated that guy ... but then I’ve also had guys say the same thing,” she says.
Emily McDonald has used dating apps in both Winnipeg and now Toronto. McDonald noticed the Tinder Men of Winnipeg posts and has “definitely seen all of those things,” she says.
“I naively was expecting it to be different,” McDonald says about dating-app profiles in Toronto.
The bigger dating pool means “there’s just more of each type,” she says.
The tropes on the women-seeking-women side of Tinder are different, but they still exist, Laura Boyle says.
Boyle sees four different profile types based on the goal of the profile, including partners looking for a threesome and women looking for friends, she says.
A quarter of the time, it will be “a woman who actually is seeking other women (for) a romantic relationship,” Boyle says.
On local, women-seeking-women Tinder, Boyle has come across straight men, bios about obscure lizard species, folks using the app to find jobs and women thousands of kilometres away in Connecticut, she says.
“That’s why I get so annoyed, because I’m out here just literally trying to find love, and there’s all these obstacles in my way, because this app is flooded with ... other weird things,” she says.
Follow MacLean on Twitter to see her satirize dating-app tropes in her Tinder Men of Winnipeg threads @shamyjean.
Published in Volume 75, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 17, 2021)