Hey, Niklas,

As someone who has been on and off online dating since 1998, and is still single (at this point its by choice) I have some thoughts here. First, and foremost, research shows that some 81% of us lie on our profiles- about age, weight, height, earnings, some or several key aspects of what we are and what we have to offer. Boy can I attest to that. The older I’ve gotten, and I am 67 by now, the more dishonesty I’ve seen. To be fair, when you’re 23 you have far less to hide, and not as much life hanging off your belly (well, that depends), but the fact is that with some 85% of lying on our resumes (YES, that’s also researchable) it’s very clear that we have an honesty issue. While I’ve had some long term connections come off Match.com, the trend is that men within shouting distance of my age (and my male friends report the same thing) have a HORRIBLE habit of posting pics that are between ten and twenty years old. Those same men automatically assume- because it’s what they do- that I have lied on MY profile, that my pics are out of date, that I am being dishonest about my life. That’s despite the plethora of photos showing me skydiving, riding, rafting, hiking, summitting huge mountains etc etc all over the bloody world. What, I fucking photoshopped all of them? It’s monumentally easy to check the veracity of every single claim I make from my military service to the prize winning books I’ve written. In my case, to your point, it’s very easy to be able to stand out from the crowd, as there are damned few women (or anyone in general) who live the life I do, epic adventure travel all over the world, body builder, sports enthusiast, prize winning writer blah blah blah. What I’ve found is far too many dick pic senders (will you kindly fucking STOP) of all ages, men who fire nasty grams at me saying things like who the fuck do you think you are -which I can only sort out means that they are incredibly angry at me for living the life they believe they should have but don’t have the balls to do- and younger men who assume that I’m desperate to suck a dick and therefore want to hook up with an attractive older woman for that sole purpose. Gentlemen, grow up, please. I have no interest whatsoever in spending my life with anyone any more, but I do occasionally enjoy company. Yet…one guy in the area where I’m moving, after perhaps two exchanges, fired me a Sasquatchy full body pic with his dick barely covered up, which I did NOT solicit and did NOT care to see (other than to think fuck, this guy needs a Brazilian). There is no faster way to end a thoughtful conversation than to fire off unwanted photos of body parts. And sadly, age doesn’t convey any kind of wisdom. Men of all ages make the assumption that we women online are aching to see acres of dicks, which kindly we DON’T except to make fun of, so gents, don’t send ’em if you won’t want to become a laughing stock.

However Nik, let me add a thought to your story: one of the finest ways I know to be able to tease out what helps us stand out from all the crowd is this question: what is it that people would never guess about you? We are so often trained to think of our lives as uninteresting when they aren’t. Anyone over the age of ten has had something interesting happen, or has a fascinating hobby, or whatever. That’s the part that starts the conversation.

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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