I Asked Facebook For Its Dating Red Flags

116017204_3a475bc6a1_oOn Thursday I made the brilliant mistake of asking Facebook for its dating red flags. I’d had a rough week dealing with the shittiness of men on the Internet, and crowd-sourcing my disgust with dating seemed like a good way to have a solid laugh and feel less isolated. I figured I’d get maybe a dozen comments. I wound up with close to 200 comments and half a dozen private messages. It turns out my Facebook friends have seen some shit.

The stories ranged from hilarious to painful—people who refused to tip their servers, casual transphobic comments, girlfriends who “don’t really listen to music.” I learned several things: gas-lighting is out of fucking control, men who make comments about not understanding rape culture are significantly more likely to be dangerous, and we’re hungry for the opportunity to discuss our confusing and mortifying experiences. I received messages from people I barely even know who just needed to tell someone about what happened to them and didn’t really need me to say anything back. We all need to feel heard.

Notably, men’s complaints were largely funny, while women’s were largely horrifying. Go figure.

Here are some highlights from my great Facebook experiment. By request, I’m keeping all submissions anonymous. Feel free to share your own in the comments!

Trigger warning: discussion of sexual assault, drug use, abusive relationships, douchebags.

“He regularly used the phrased ‘capital begets capital’.”

“When she wants to be a comedian but literally every single ‘joke’ on her Twitter is just her insulting herself.”

“When he describes every single one of his exes as ‘crazy’.”

“When they enjoy watching you do your work. Silently. Perched on your bed like a vulture waiting for you to die.”

“A girl I’d been dating for less than a week wrote a poem about comforting me as I cried and how beautiful I looked while crying?? I was just like… you’ve never seen me cry, what is this inspiration for this poem…”

“Went on a date with a guy who had never read or seen Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, and couldn’t name any movies or books he really liked. So basically, he had no interests.”

“If they make it through like three dates without mentioning a single friend in any story, they don’t have any.”

“When they use the n-word regularly ‘because it’s funny, people are so sensitive’.”

“I went on a date this summer and he used air-quotes when referring to the LA ‘drought’.”

“It’s a red flag if you feel the need to defend yourself all the time, for whatever reason, or if you feel you need to downplay how awesome you are around the person, in an attempt to make them feel better.”

“She told me once that she read aloud from my thesis at a coke party.”

“When he warns you he hurts everyone he loves, and he will eventually hurt you too.”

“Your partner asks you why you care about Black Lives Matter.”

“He asked whether I considered myself to be a ‘socially conscious person,’ which was kind of interesting so I talked a lot about allyship and how I might understand it better, to which he responded, ‘Why do you keep dodging my questions? That isn’t a real answer, just a careful one.’”

“My ex-boyfriend made out with another girl while we were together but said it didn’t count as cheating because she kept her bra on.”

“She liked Family Guy but not The Simpsons.”

“When he deals drugs and refers to it as ‘agricultural investment’.”

“When his mother texts him during a date to remind him that he has a doctor’s appointment. And he’s 24 years old.”

“When my ex-girlfriend broke up with me, she was like, ‘At least I never cheated on you’ and I was like, ‘Isn’t that a given?’ She was like, ‘No you should be proud of me anyways we’re breaking up.’”

“He wanted to know my last name, then pointed out that we would have been seated near each other in elementary school because our last names had the same first two letters.”

“Your partner cannot accurately define consent.”

“When you visit her parents’ place and there is an entire room devoted to Disney memorabilia.”

“Does she hold her sandwiches like a GOD DAMN T-REX WHY DID THAT BOTHER ME SO MUCH.”

“Your partner complains that hir mother ‘only’ gave an allowance of $2,000 for clothes THIS MONTH.”

“He tried to go down on me and I said, ‘No, I’m not comfortable with that’ and he was like, ‘Ew that just turned me off’ and looked absolutely disgusted with me.”

“Told her I would be out of cell service for a week. Turn my phone on after that week to receive a mountain of voice mails and texts, the last of which said that my unresponsiveness had given her ‘doubts about us’. She then ghosted me about two weeks later.”

“When she’s hooked up with seven of your fraternity brothers JK that’s me I did that.”

“When you find out she’s reading the Bible from cover to cover, and the first time you go over to her house it’s COVERED in Christmas decorations.”

“When they refer to you as an ‘unwanted emotional burden’.”

“Her cat is named after her friend WHO DOES THAT?”

“When we were fucking and I told him it was hurting me, he said, ‘It turns me on so much to hear that this hurts you’.”

“When they pressure you to come out of the closet even though they have yet to come out of the closet themselves.”

“I dated a girl a few times who had a history of bar fights (something like 20) and owned a gun. The date where this was revealed was at a bar so that added potential injury into the mix.”

“When he offers to love you less after you point out that you’re not in the same place emotionally.”

If someone says any of these things to you, DO NOT WALK, RUN:

“If I made out with a gay guy, does it still count as cheating?”

“We’re either having sex without a condom or I’m leaving.”

“I’m driving by my ex girlfriend’s neighborhood and I really want to go set her house on fire.”

“I hate girls, I only hang out with guys. Girls cause too much drama.”

“When I graduated college, my girlfriend bought a bunch of cocaine and we got a hotel room and just did a bunch of blow.”

“George W. Bush is the man.”

“I’m kind of an asshole.”

“This rape shit is really not as big of a deal as women make it out to be. Like, there’s no way it happens that often.”

“I don’t think I could marry you because you’re not a virgin.”

“OMG you have to read this.” *sends you a link to a thread of racist jokes on reddit*

“I mean, I’m not dating anyone but you, but I don’t want us to be exclusive because as soon as I’m not technically allowed to see other people, I’ll really want to.”

“I’m not a crazy drunk, but I knocked out a guy for no reason one time when I drank tequila. Punched him in the face on a stairway.”

When you’re 14 years old: “If I give you a ride home, can I pull over and have you give me a blowjob?”

When explaining a possible tattoo idea: “What, did you go through a lesbian phase or something?”

“Oh, so one time I was basically raped. I got blackout drunk at a party and woke up to find a girl having sex with me. But she wasn’t fat so I just let her keep going. Hilarious right?”

When showing him a photo you took: “I’m sorry, but I really don’t care at all.”

“Foreplay is really just a waste of time. I’d rather get right to it.”

“I’m in no way a feminist, but…”

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Ella Dawson is a rowdy millennial who cares too much about The Bachelor. Her passions include sexual health and education, feminist erotica and social media.

3 thoughts on “I Asked Facebook For Its Dating Red Flags

  1. I told a white guy I was dating that I’d had *a* (singular) black boyfriend and he said ‘That isn’t what any white guy wants to hear’, so I walked out. He later called me a WHORE (his capitals) and COWARD. I wonder what his reaction would have been if I’d admitted I’d slept with about sixty black guys? Priceless, I can only assume.

  2. Some of those are hilarious, some are pretty horrifying. To this I would add “I think the clitoris is a myth.” Also “I had a great time, and would love to go out again… If we do though, I am going to expect something in return by the end of the night. “

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