“I’m one of those girls who can go hiking with the boys, bearing a messy bun and dust on my nose then go home and put on a dress and lipstick and go out dancing.”
“I’m one of those guys who can sit inside a coffee shop all day, reading and writing skewering political editorials, then go home and watch silly comedies over pizza.”
“I can be outside or inside.”
“I can be happy or sad.”
“I have no idea how to describe my personality on a dating profile without making myself seem like the most indecisive and pretentious human ever to walk the earth.”
This is the trend on apps like Tinder and OkCupid. People don’t want to look like shallow bores so they hedge their bets and go for every trait they think will score them points somewhere. Rather like trying to win a national election in a country as big as ours, you end up appealing to nobody as you try to appeal to everybody.
The reverse is also true:
“I want a woman who will support me no matter what while also calling me on my shit.”
“I want a man who is sensitive yet masculine.”
“I want someone who is both tall and short.”
“I want you to be hot yet not too hot.”
“Good in bed but not so much so that I get insecure.”
Until everyone in the dating world is a quivering mass of indecision, cowering in the corner and waiting until someone will tell them what to do and say.
These binaries reinforce certain heteronormative stereotypes about gender and sexuality. What does “masculine” even mean in this context? Why is there an implied mutual exclusivity between being a woman and hiking? Why is “being one of the boys” considered an inherently superior quality in a female partner? What does “one of the boys” even mean? It’s a lot of stress and to be perfectly honest, nobody can be all of these things.