As I was going through these well-meaning but not-right-for-me dudes, I realized I have a set of criteria.
Humor Life Sex and Relationships

The Sh*tastrophe That Is Online-Dating After You’ve Been Married

As I was going through these well-meaning but not-right-for-me dudes, I realized I have a set of criteria.

By Laura Wheatman

I am getting a pandemic divorce because I am cool and trendy like that. I’m not officially divorced yet, but it’s in the final stages. I recently got an email from my loving and attentive father about something boringish and adultish and at the end he wrote the following:

Perhaps this is inappropriate, but I’d recommend you “dip your toe” into the dating pool just to see what’s out there, perhaps some male platonic pen pal friends who are candidates for a future relationship? Dating apps? Coffee dates? I’d just like you to have someone nice to support you emotionally or whatever …. just a thought. I know it’s probably too soon but you have a LOT to offer.

I love you very much,


Coupla things:

1. My dad is being sweet and I love him.
2. Totally inappropriate, yeah.
3. If I WERE dating, I would not tell my dad unless it was kinda serious.

As it happens, over the weekend, a childhood friend who is also single told me to sign up for Hinge and even took some pictures of me doing cool, hip things (Rowing a boat! Standing in a field!) to put on my profile. So…I took my dad’s dating advice. Ew.

Immediately, I balked. I’m not ready. The first picture was of an old man. Nothing against dating out of your demographic, but this guy was a boomer and I am a millennial. I hit the little x. The next guy to pop up was a literal child. I scrolled down. Okay, he was 19 but NO THANKS, baby man. I figured out how to work the settings and picked a reasonable range for my comfort level. Still, though, it’s rough out there. As I was going through these well-meaning but not-right-for-me dudes, I realized I have a set of criteria. I’m not asking much just….a few things. A trifle, really.

  • You cannot have more than one picture of you skiing. There can only be ONE. None is better, really.
  • No motorbikes, motocross, etc. My heart can’t take the anxiety about you crashing and my face will wrinkle from cringing if you ever make me watch you ride.
  • The photo needs to be high enough resolution that I can tell what you actually look like. This is honestly like bare-minimum for the 21st century, guys.
  • I think this one’s not a big stretch either, but you shouldn’t have one very beautiful girl in the picture with you unless it’s extremely obvious it’s your sister. You need to be twins and wearing shirts that say “twins.”
  • If the picture is not of you it better be of your dog. What’s with all these landscapes, men? I get it, you go places! But I don’t actually care. I want to know if your facial hair looks like it might give me a chafing rash.
  • I feel weird about seeing pictures of your kids’ faces. Hand to God there was a picture of a little boy in his Calvin Klein undies. I felt like, as a mandatory reporter, this was crossing some line.
  • You caught a fish?! Whatta good booooyyyyy! Good job. Good job. PS: Performative masculinity makes me queasy. Also fish.
  • It’s cool that you can play the guitar I guess but I’m only hitting like if it looks like you’re doing it ironically. Or if you promise you can play “Rainbow Connection.”
  • I’m not going to be a huge stickler for grammar, but if your answers to the questions don’t even make any sense at all, you clearly didn’t put any time into this thing.
  • I get that you’re showing me a picture of you with a mask on to show me that you believe in the coronavirus which is in fact an important thing, but if you have more than one picture of you in a mask it makes me think that you’re scared of me seeing your face. Are you perhaps the Phantom of the Opera? If no, uncover that face.
  • If every single one of your pictures is you and some exotic location, you’ve overwhelmed me. I’m out. Show me a picture of you just sitting on a couch or something. I want to know what my real life is going to be like. We cannot be whisking ourselves away every moment. We are in our thirties (or first half of our forties). We have budgets.
  • Don’t tell me two truths and a lie. I don’t know you. I don’t know how crazy you are. The whole point of two truths and a lie is for people you know to guess things and prove that they know you better than your other friends.
  • A lot of dudes say that their dream date involves a lot of sweating, and I don’t mean in a sexy way. Like some people come out and say they want to work out together. Who wants to work out with someone on a date? It’s like pretty high up on my least sexy times of day. I like to work out, and I appreciate someone else who does too, but I sound like a pregnant bulldog when I exert myself. And, no offense, but I don’t really wanna cuddle up after a nice long squat sesh, bro. Swaaaamp assssss.
  • Picture of you at Burning Man. Not going to like it. But thank you for including it so we can get that out of the way. I’d hate to fall in love with you and find out you’re a Burner. Burners are best together. Find one of your own kind.

I had a very strong urge to start trolling dudes. I really wanted to reply to their prompts with smart-ass comments and send some quick copywriting notes. “Guess where this picture was taken?” “Space.” But I didn’t.

I actually did “like” a couple of people’s profiles. I even got one message!

I liked his comment about valuing properly sorted recyclables and he sent me a message that said, “You’d better throw away your plastic bottle caps!” I replied, “You know it!” End of chat. Look, Dad, I’m dating! I have a male platonic pen pal, just like you wanted!

Maybe I’ll try Bumble.



About the Author

Laura Wheatman Hill lives in Portland, Oregon with her two children. She blogs about parenting, writes about everything, and teaches English and drama when not living in an apocalyptic dystopia. Her work has appeared on Parents, JSTOR Daily, the Submittable blog, Slackjaw, and others. You can find her at