How My Instagram Became a Man Repeller
Picture it: a sunny Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles. The smell of fresh honeysuckle wafted across my balcony, through the door, and into my living room where I had just closed my laptop after taking a meeting with a prospective new social media client. I picked up my phone and opened Hinge for some casual swiping, hoping, in earnest, to meet my soulmate, while also keeping my expectations dangerously low, because, ya know, men.
I came across someone handsome who seemed mildly interesting because of the prompts he chose to answer on his Hinge profile. He appeared to be verbose and unlike the special kind of troglodyte who strictly uses one-word answers to fill in his profile prompts. As if that conveys any kind of personality? I mean, I’m all for brevity, but come on.
The answers to his profile questions possessed a charming vulnerability that’s often so rare to find in the gay male breed who dwell in Los Angeles. Could he actually have looks AND depth?! My heart began to beat faster. The situation looked promising.
To my absolute delight, we matched.
Personally, when on Hinge, I always like to respond to a personal statement on someone’s profile instead of a photo of them; I like to give the illusion that I, too, have depth and am not as shallow as I can sometimes be (?)
We started bantering back and forth a bit until finally, we made a plan to meet. I suggested a restaurant that was located between where we both lived and he agreed to meet the next night.
And then, THEN, the burgeoning romance became derailed. He made the simple-enough-ask to see my Instagram profile. Fine. We exchanged Instagram information.
Radio silence for hours.
I tried not to think too much of it, but a little twinge of insecurity began flickering in my gut. Something seemed off. The next day, I woke up to a message that read, “Can’t do tonight. I have to meet up with work clients now.” When I asked if he wanted to reschedule for another night? GHOSTED.
But wait. He wasn’t the only one.
A couple weeks later, I exchanged messages with another handsome guy. An attractive adult male blonde. How rare. After I said, “hey what’s up?” he replied with:
“No front facing camera comedians.”
When I asked for clarity as to his response, he replied with, “I don’t fuck guys that make front-facing camera content on IG.”
First of all, his writing skills were subpar – it’s “who,” not “that,” sir, so before you come after my internet presence, check your grammar. Secondly, I was flattered he called out my comedy chops, but thirdly, I was absolutely horrified that he was so shallow he wouldn’t even give me a chance to see how endearing, charming, and not-full-of-myself I am in person.
Then I got to thinking…
Social media is kind of ruining everyone’s social life. I know it may come as a bit of a shock to hear me say that, given that I’ve built a career off of social media and digital media in general, but the validity in it is hard to ignore. If it were 1998, for example, you would have to go on a date to see if you liked the person or not; there wasn’t a preliminary glimpse into their character beforehand. Dating pre-social media was so much more idyllic because it didn’t give anyone the opportunity to enter a social situation with any preconceived notions.
As aforementioned, I do use social media for work. Whether it’s trying out different trends to grow my Instagram account so I can share those tactics with my social media clients, or I’m working with a brand partner to create content for a product, there is a thin veil of performance that goes into almost every post I create. So, while the larger public is getting a pretty authentic version of me, and all of us on social media, it’s still not the “real” us. It’s a specter, a projection. I use social media as a tool for branding myself as a creator and author, and of course, to entertain. But does everyone else take it – and themselves – so seriously? As if the content they publish is the be-all-end-all of who they are? Newsflash: people have layers. Many of us have created personas, or even characters, that we showcase on Instagram, Tik Tok, Tinder, and the like.
I started to panic. Were my social media accounts unattractive? Was my content too cheesy and off-putting? Had my Instagram become repellant to men?
As I continued to overthink, I remembered I even had a friend – a FRIEND! – unfollow me on Instagram a couple years back because he didn’t like what I posted on Instagram. And thus, he stopped being friends with me because of it.
Though it hurts in the moment, deep down I know that these types of rejections – be them from “friends” or potential love interests – are really just protections from people who wouldn’t be capable of a meaningful relationship with me. But it still sucks to feel the rejection in the moment, because it’s so personal. You can’t blame anyone but your own persona if someone doesn’t like you at first glance.
But then, guess what happened? I got this message.
Can you say HEARTWARMING?!
I was floored. After the back-to-back rejections I endured because of my social media content, I really started to second-guess and doubt myself. Not that I would ever change myself to find a partner, but I honestly considered toning myself down a bit to appear more palatable. But the message from this stranger was a gentle reminder that while I may not be for everyone, some people still saw the things in me that I see in myself when I’m creating content – and he was a perfect stranger!
While I never ended up meeting the person who was so complimentary, his words touched me and gave me hope that the person I’m meant to be with will love everything about me, regardless of first impressions. Even my cheesy “get ready with me” videos.
Never dim your own flame. Never tone yourself down to meet the appeal of others. Never be anything other than your authentic self. Because when you become the most integrated version of yourself – with all your flaws and quirks and idiosyncrasies – you’ll attract the attention of the right person for you. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for, anyway.