Six things to stop doing on hookup apps right away

A surprised and shocked man looking at his cellphone
Photo posed by model (Photo: Shutterstock)

Why does trying to interact with someone on an app sometimes feel so hard?

I recently messaged a hot guy. He turned out to be a tourist staying in a hotel. He was only in my city for another day before flying back across the ocean, so a booty call was probably the only thing on the cards.

We swapped messages and he seemed interested. He had a cute face but I asked him if he could share a body pic or full-length shot. I wasn’t asking for a nude. I just wanted to see what sort of build he was. It was impossible to tell from his headshot.

Related: Finally! A dating app for smaller-than-average guys and the people who say size doesn’t matter

He sent the photo while I was working out at the gym. I checked it and – bingo – he was just my type. I decided I’d message back when I finished my set. When I opened the app again five minutes later, he’d blocked me.


The experience above – and many others – got me thinking about whether there aren’t some simple guidelines we should try to adhere to. Whether you like them or not, hookup apps – or dating apps and social networks as they may prefer to call themselves – are here to stay.

As the commercial scene continues to wither, chances are that if you find yourself single, you’ll be turning to digital dating methods. May I make some – entirely subjective – suggestions to embrace, adopt and put it to practice.

1. Don’t block someone unless you know for certain they’re not interested

It may come as a surprise, but not everyone gets notifications from their apps. They only see messages when they log on. And even then, they may see a message and decide to respond a little later when they are not in their car at a stoplight, surreptitiously eying their messages beneath the desk at a work meeting, or have finished having dinner with friends.

Just because someone doesn’t respond immediately, do not automatically reach for the ‘block’ button. Seriously, what is that all about?

2. Don’t make someone beg for your photos

If you really don’t feel able to have a photo on your app profile, expect to provide one when you message someone or when starting a new conversation. Like posing for a passport photo, a clear face pic means no hats, sunglasses or other things that cover up your face (regardless much you paid for those fancy shades).

It also means no cutesy Instagram filters. You may look really adorable transformed into an anime kitten, but that doesn’t necessarily help people to decide whether they want to jump into bed with you. Not unless there’s some major kink play going on.

3. Don’t fail to have a full-length body shot to share

Because a face pic is not enough. Present yourself as if someone is checking you out in a bar. Can they see the whole package? Most people like to know whether you’re skinny, stocky, average, super-chub, or anything in between.

Claiming you don’t have a full-length pic, in this day and age, will not be received well. Almost everyone has a cameraphone and access to a mirror (or knows a friend with a cameraphone).

4. Don’t send a closeup photo of your anus as your opening conversation starter

We all like a nice butt, but – honestly – there’s butt and then there’s hole. Does anyone think, “Gee, I really hope someone sends me a close-up photo of their hole as a way of saying hello. Not a face pic. Just their anus.” Maybe I’m wrong on this… if so, please enlighten me.

5. Don’t forget that voice messages can be really sexy

Some dating apps now offer the opportunity to leave voice messages. Hearing someone’s voice can help to build up more of an accurate image of that person and add to the attraction. Some people find certain accents a particular turn-on … something to bear in mind if traveling far from home.

That said, as a Londoner myself, I’m still not sure about the American who told me, “I love your accent. You sound just like Adele!”

6. Don’t post exclusionary “preferences”

If you’re not attracted to someone who has messaged you, you’re free to ignore, block or reply with a simple ‘No thanks.’ Including statements such as ‘No fats, no femmes, no Asians’ – or similar racial variations – can seriously impact the mental health of other app users. Why do that when you don’t need to do so?

On a similar theme, don’t be vile towards people who have HIV. Really. Despite the fact those who are HIV undetectable cannot pass the virus on, outdated HIV stigma remains all too real. Again, why be a douchebag when you can choose not to be?

Related: Sexual racism on queer dating apps screws with your mental health

David Hudson is a freelance contributor to Queerty. @davidhudson_uk