Why do Straight Men on Dating Apps Just Want Women Who Don't Take Themselves Too Seriously?
At the dawn of the dating app era, we were all allowed (indeed, expected) to make our swipe decisions by superficial means. Blitzing through profiles, we categorised our potential matches in whichever arbitrary way we fancied; hot, not-hot, dad bod, mirror selfie, holding dog, etc.
But now that users have the built-in option to list their height, politics, religion, drinking habits, and even star sign, the game has changed. And that’s not all. On top of all this info, those quirky little personality prompts are expertly designed to break the ice and provide a window into our unique souls...
Except that after a few months of deleting and re-downloading our favourite app (coming across the same moustached cat dad every time, but never matching), we realise a simple truth… literally no one is unique.
My experience of dating apps is limited to the woman-seeking-man perspective, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that we gals have our own obvious profile refrains. But from my perspective, I can tell you - straight blokes are dull as hell.
Flicking through their unoriginal personality bumf gives me a sensation akin to the second-hand anxiety of watching bad stand-up comedy. And there’s one particular cliché that I think (as a matter of national emergency) simply must be acknowledged...
Why do so many of men just want someone “who doesn’t take herself too seriously?”
After my flatmate first pointed this prolific preference out to me, it became impossible to escape. “I’ve got another one!” we’d yell every few days, until it only seemed right to start compiling the evidence.
Now, it’ll come as no surprise to anyone who knows us that my flatmate and I are *whispers* feminists. So, we can’t help but think that the reason so many men want someone who doesn’t take themselves “too seriously” is all to do with patriarchy.
The “seriously bros” (as I choose to call them) want a certain idealised woman; one who isn’t “stuck up” or “high maintenance”… They want a woman who doesn’t think too highly of herself to ever date guys like them.
The rejection of women who take themselves too seriously smells suspiciously like backlash against two possible stereotypes. First, imagine the kind of queen whose immaculate makeup is worth more than your life and whose Instagram is better curated than the Tate Modern. Second, there’s the socially aware cynic who cares about equality and won’t hesitate to call out your bullshit. Neither type is more worthy than the other (and they’re certainly not mutually exclusive) but there is something they have in common – people find them intimidating.
Telling a woman not to take herself so seriously is just another way of telling her that having self-worth and a capacity for independent thought makes her undesirable. It’s a gentle form of gaslighting. Because allowing a woman to care about the world and hold men to her standards would make the seriously bro feel far too uncomfortable.
So maybe you’ll tell me I’m taking a harmless cliché a little too seriously… but I think these guys are missing a trick. Because not only are women who take themselves seriously fierce as hell, but they’re also going places. And that’s the kind of woman you’d be lucky to match with.
Title image by Alice Skinner
All other images used have unfortunately been captured from Hinge and Bumble. Thanks to Alys and Chloe Marshall for their contributions.