When Tinder Dudes Demand An “Active Lifestyle”

Bro, do you even have manners?

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Photo by juan pablo rodriguez on Unsplash.

Tinder is not a menu. It’s not a place where you rattle off preferences and have a sex sommelier present you with options matching your taste. But dammit if men on Tinder don’t try to use it that way.

There are common phrases aplenty in online dating, many unsavory, most just plain boring. But there’s one I’d like to address today because when I have an opportunity to point out genuine nonsense, why not do it? It’s Saturday morning, I have the time.

The phrase I’m referring to is “active lifestyle.” I see it again, and again, and about 50 times more after that, and I’d like to unpack it. First of all, it’s stupid, but second of all I have a feeling what it really means is something to do with women’s bodies, something men have literally less than zero business weighing in on, but love to regardless.

Apart from “don’t be fat” which I surmise his surface-dwelling ass could have understood from her photos, informing himself of whether or not the size of her was visually acceptable, what do men mean when they say things like:

“As long as you have an active lifestyle, we’ll get along just fine.”

“Looking for someone with an active lifestyle.”

“Please have an active lifestyle.”

“I maintain an active lifestyle, I expect you to do the same.”

Alright. Let’s ignore the glaring truth that somewhere in the bowels of the internet lies a school for J.Crew blue checkered shirt boys that teaches them how to communicate with women online. That’s the only explanation I’m accepting for why these turds always sound like they’ve just rolled off an assembly line.

I instead want to focus on what it really is that they’re asking for. If you’re asking me, I honestly think what they’re asking for is a woman who constantly works out, spends $40/class (between $2–$10K per year) on SoulCycle, maintains her 23-year-old waistline through retirement age, does not jiggle or sag at any extremity, and always makes him feel like his girlfriend is “hot.”

Bro.

The hilarious thing here is that what they’re asking for sounds exhausting, and they don’t even have an idea of how much goddamn draining effort it takes just to look like an entirely normal human woman on any given day. You want to see active? Watch me get ready for a date, bitch, I’ll give you whiplash. But do smell the nearest shirt before you get dressed to come and meet me, that’ll be enough prep.

If they’re asking for it specifically, what exactly do they think women who don’t have an active lifestyle are like? Do they think women without active lifestyles stay home in pajamas all day every day never moving unless it’s to feed the cats? I really want to know what’s in their headspace here. What exactly is an inactive lifestyle?

I walk 10K steps, or just over 4 miles, every day. I don’t sit on the subway, ever. (But I sure do watch plenty of bros ignore the elderly and pregnant people to keep their seats, don’t worry.) I write, in some capacity, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. I recycle. I wake up at 6am. I call my mother.

I am all kinds of “active,” but I’m not what these men are actually looking for. And this little linguistic ruse they’re pulling doesn’t fool me. If you want a skinny (but still curvy!) hot body, just fucking ask for it, man. If you’re going to treat Tinder like a menu, go all the way there and say what you actually mean, don’t soften your language because you think that makes you appear like a good guy. You are not a good guy, you are a shallow and demanding tool, and I see you.

We like what we like, there’ll be no stopping that. And if a man wants a woman with a body that defies science, I am not trying to stop him. But here’s what I like: I like getting to know someone, rather than putting a lists of requirements up on an app for strangers to read. I like figuring out the “lifestyle” rhythm two people have together. I like long walks to Prospect Park on Saturday mornings. And I don’t like men who demand physical characteristics from women they’ve never met.

Or maybe they just want to go hiking, I don’t know.

Written by

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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