We all know that people can be jerks online. The internet troll has become a species of its own at this point. But online dating is just the worst. From POF to Tinder, it feels like an obligation to start some form of online dating, but every single one seems teeming with people who have taken trolling to another level and mixed it with a totally unhealthy dose of sexual harassment.
Some of these messages are bland and disgusting, some of them are creative and disgusting, but for the most part they follow these three common themes and to be honest, since I'm bi and my profiles list me as such, I've gotten some form of these from both men and women and it's not less creepy from either.
1. "Do You Like To *Insert Sex Act Here*"
It's just never cool to walk up and start asking someone for the details of their fetishes, especially when you've just met, or haven't even met at all. It's super disturbing how many people will literally start conversations this way. It doesn't matter if what they're asking you is something you like or not, the fact that that's the first thing they want to know about you and they cared so little about whether or not that question would make you uncomfortable is such a red flag.
2. "Do You Want to Meet Up? How About Now? How About Now?"
I'm not saying it's bad to ask a girl out early, that's fine, whatever, but I always say I'm not comfortable meeting in person until I get to know you online. It's then that things get weird, stalkery, and harassy. They'll ask again five minutes later, and then again, and then why, and then they'll start calling you names, and it's just a big mess.
If they don't take "I'm uncomfortable" for an answer, even when it's something as small as a coffee date, that's a super bad sign. It's really a small step from pressuring someone into a date, to pressuring them into stuff they're really not comfortable with.
3. "What's Up Sexy/Beautiful/Baby?"
I'll be the first to admit, I'm the kind of person who will call everyone from her best friend to her great aunt "Hon" or "Baby" or "Boo" but there's a difference between saying "sorry, hon" when you bump into a stranger at the store and saying "Hey baby" to someone you're just meeting for the first time.
Starting off a conversation with pet names is creepy for multiple reasons. It could mean you care more about what I looked like in my pictures than what I had to say in my profile, or it could mean you're only interested in talking to me if it turns into a date or something more. It rarely means you're interested in my intellect. For this one, I usually just tell the person it makes me uncomfortable and see what their response is, but remember, if they start getting pushy about it, you're right back to #2.
Moral of the story: Make your boundaries clear and don't ever let someone sweet-type you into a date if they started off making you uncomfortable. Stay safe in the cyberverse, ladies, there's some great people out there, but sometimes you do have to dig to find them.