Tinder + Men = FISH

5 Minute Read
5 Minute Read

Yesterday I joined Tinder as a woman, as is normal behaviour for a straight male.[1]I didn’t really – Poetic LicenceAnyway, the reason for this was to check out for myself the phenomenon which a few female friends had told me, which invariably lead to the same question…

Why do all the dudes on Tinder have a picture of themselves holding a fish?

Interesting. And indeed, if you are looking for a fisherman, forget the local pier, Tinder is the place to go – and this is the point.

What I find the most interesting about this, is that so many men all came to the same fishy conclusion on their own. With no way of seeing the profiles of the other guys on the app to steal ideas from or to compete, each man had individually thought to show off his fishy prowess to the ladies as a good idea.


When we use online hookup apps such as Tinder, which are inherently different than online dating websites, we are entering a primal playground.

Where online dating uses a variety of methods of matching potential partners, including some kind of function to search and browse users profiles and to also send messages freely to others, hookup apps work on first impressions only. Online dating = your own pace vrs hookup apps = fast and furious.

Regardless of what method you opt for, meeting anyone online is fraught with danger in the sense that until you actually meet for real, you know, face to face, you cannot possibly know if there is any kind of real connection there. It doesn’t matter how well you chat on the phone, video call on Skype or through the zillions of text messages you send each other, only being in the presence of each other is where chemistry is found.

When we meet people in normal life, even passing strangers in the street, a whole host of different factors hit us; what do they look like, smell like, how do they talk, how do they dress, do they appear nervous, confident, aloof? Then we have the more subtle signals; their body language and how do they ‘feel’? We have this ability to sum everything up and create an impression about somebody. Whether its right or wrong remains to be seen, but we can process all of these different factors in a few seconds and produce an opinion. For potential partners, this amounts as chemistry;  is it there or are you just two good friends.

The problem with online dating apps is that they take us back tens of thousands of years in evolution and bring to the forefront our raw, primal instincts.

This thing is gonna look awesome as a profile picture guys

The Tinders of this world particularly, strips away all of the factors that give us the ability to form a rounded opinion about somebody as it concentrates solely on initial first impressions, in the most judgemental way imaginable, if you think about it.
Because of how we are encouraged to swipe left or swipe right on the first view of a person, these initial first impressions are split-second affairs; first impressions on steroids.

Us men are simple creatures, and for most, this comes down to one thing, and one thing only – hot or not?

By entering such a place, we are taken back to the very first level of primal desire. Would she be a good bed mate? With no chance of being able to message someone whom you may be interested in, a user is simply given the choice of yes or no.

Being placed into this mindset, or rather, having this mindset thrust upon us, can have effects that we are even not conscious of having ourselves, and one of these is how we offer ourselves as a potential mate?


Throughout the animal kingdom, courtship displays are where it’s at. They are displays in which an animal, usually a male, attempts to attract a mate. Whether he is the strongest, prettiest, has the largest horns, can build the largest nest or whatever he feels needs to be done, to seal the deal with the female.

This is what the fish pictures are about. They are the human equivalent of this …

Jeez woman, I cant make my smile any bigger

Let’s be frank. Men are on these sites, to find a mate. To attract a said mate on such platforms, he has very little chance of displaying anything at all and he knows this. Considering that he more than likely doesn’t read the small profile offered to him from others, he would place little emphasis on this himself, and men being more visual creatures, whatever needs to be said, is done through imagery.

On an unconscious level, a man understands that a woman is looking for two main aspects of a potential mate. He may not know this on the conscious level, but remember we are in a primal space here and these attributes will be driving the decision making process when choosing what images to show – his courtship display.

The first display is his virility. His strength, power and ability to protect. This will result in a myriad of bare chested images on every other profile.

The second display is being the provider. The hunter-gatherer. As we are living in 2020 and not much opportunity to show an Antelope slung over our shoulder, or worried about being a social outcast by displaying a dead Lion, unless you are a dentist from Minnesota, fish is the next best option.

* The featured image from this article was kindly donated from artist Ella Weber, who also came across the fish issue on Tinder. You can view her website here. [2]https://www.ellaweber.com/*


1I didn’t really – Poetic Licence
Share this Post: