Whoever historically said “the eyes are the window to the soul” has clearly never used a dating app before.  Whether it’s Tinder, Grindr, Blender, Friendster, Hipster, Lipster, Fister, or ANY of the millions of apps developed each day to connect serial killers with their potential victims, online dating seems to be the way men and women are meeting these days and it is here to stay!  I personally have nothing against dating apps at all.  I think they are yours to use however you would like.  There's tons of variety and each one has its own niche demographic to which it caters.  It's like the Chipotle of dating, you can get the cilantro free rice and Sofritas and no one is judging you.  Whether you're looking for a LTR or just a quick bang in the Rambles of Central Park, I guarantee there is a dating app out there for you!  I think it can be great for people looking for love because you can get to know the person a bit before meeting them IRL.  You can fast forward the beginning small talk and get all of the sibling naming out of the way by the time you meet so that when you finally do sit down together face to face, it's almost like its a second date instead of a first. I think that really works for people looking to find love but who maybe aren't the most comfortable with diving right into first date small talk.  I also think dating apps are great for the people that just want to send their location along with a few pictures of their genitals in really good lighting, meet up with someone, bang it out, and then go back to teaching kids, or doing your taxes, or whatever it is you do.  Get yours either way!  I’m all for it.  However, in my vast experience dealing first hand with Tinder dates and having to "Play Tinder" for friends,  I have learned that all you need to know about a person can be found in the way the person smiles in their profile pictures.


Cher taught us, in the soundtrack for the movie Mermaids, that “if you wanna know if he loves you so, it's in his kiss.”  I'm sorry, but In this post 9-11 world, all of our security has got to be upgraded, including our dating security!  We don't have time to shoop shoop around kissing every one we meet online to see if they are the one, silly Cher.  So, through my “research” as a slutty gay man, I have established 6 of the most common smiles that you are bound to run into on a dating app, and what those 6 smiles mean to you, The Swiper.  Any profile picture can fit into one of these smile categories and each group dictates exactly the kind of person you are talking to on the other line.  So next time you agree to sit down for beers at Harlem Public with "some dude from Tinder," read my breakdown and check out how your date smiles in their profile picture to see if that is the kind of person you are looking for.  Here is my breakdown of the six types of smiles you will encounter on a dating app:

Cute Overload!: "The Dimple Smile"

The first smile I am going to talk about is the one that I see most often on adorable Millenials.  This smile is found on twinky musical theater gays, quirky 20 somethings, baristas, “cool girls”and sensitive musicians. They have Youtube channels and video blogs; They spend a lot of time on their phone and are always connected;  They say things like “My brand;” They are thinking from the outside in, but they are so cute, you don't even care. These Dimple Smilers are usually fun sized and filled with that young millennial energy that powers the city.  Dates with Dimple Smilers are great because you feel revitalized and fresh when you’re hanging out with them.  Much like Winnifred Sanderson, you are sucking the youthful glow out of those dimples with a straw and you feel amazing.  Most Dimple Smilers would be described specifically as cute.  That means a lot.  They aren't sexy necessarily or even hot really, they are cute.  Like a lost little puppy dog that you want to fuck.  Be careful with this breed of smiler.  Dimple Smilers seem like total relationship material from the outside, because they aren’t especially slutty or overly sexual.  They like to be coy and appear nervous and unassuming.  You probably wont sleep together right away, but you will make out sweetly while watching Broad City and do that thing where you both look into each others eyes and then laugh because you caught yourself!!

Just be careful with Dimple Smilers.  The entire date is going to basically be a heart eyes emoji and youre going to start seeing visions of Instagram comments saying #relationshipgoals under your pictures.  However, in my experience, Dimple Smilers tend to suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome.  The unwillingness to grow up is something that I personally have never had the patience for.  For me, that cuteness begins to wear away after a while, because you realize there isn't a ton of substance there.  It's cotton candy.  It’s sweet but you’re not full after it.   It’s not for me, but this totally works for some people.  If you do find yourself in an ongoing relationship with a Dimple Smiler, it will be fun and cute for about 3 months, but after your friends start making snarky comments about the Dimple Smilers Instagram selfies, and you realize your Dimple Smiler is trying to be cute to everyone around, not just you, the relationship will usually fall flat after a few months.  You have to be careful with a Dimple Smiler, their cuteness can be totally addicting and charming, but if you come on too strong, you will wind up friend zoned.  My advice would be to not get wrapped up in their cuteness.  Have a conversation on the phone.  I know its hard to believe, but all phones have a feature where you can dial your friends number that you text all the time, and it allows you to talk directly to them.  Do that with a Dimple Smiler, and if you are still interested in them after talking without seeing their face, then maybe this one is the one, you guys!  AWWWW!


Do You Even Lift?:  "The Jock Smile"

This is what i like to call the “Jock Smile”:

This next smile is very specific.  I have only encountered this smile in men, so sorry lesbians, I will get you next time, and SORRY straight guys, that I can’t cater even MORE to your straight, homophobic agenda!!!! GOD!!! Anyway, a Jock Smile in a profile picture belongs to the frat bro, the heterosexual actor, the lawyer or finance guy who still finds time to get laid.  He works at a startup or hedgefund (seriously, what are either of those things) where he gets paid too much to do a job that he can't actually describe to someone on a date.  He is extremely attractive, pure eye candy and Instagram gold.  A Jock Smile also says to me that a person is probably not the most passionate, captivating, exciting individual, but they DO have their lives together.  They are on a workout plan and have money in their 401 K. They are what basics call “The Dream.”  The snarl of the upper lip shows masculinity, maturity and confidence that can only come with being exactly where you imagined you would be at this time in your life. They have worked very hard to get where they are so they don't have to try any harder to get romantic attention than a simple half smile smirk. Their inner voice probably sounds like that turtle dad from Finding Nemo saying “Whoa, brah!  Camera time!  Time to crush it!”  A Jock Smiler will often be a prime candidate for shirtless selfies, condescending conversation and overbearing Type A behavior.  They live their life on a specific schedule and have a very specific idea of what they want their partner to be like.  They aren’t “fly by the seat of their pants” kind of people, but what they lack in spontaneity, they make up for with people doing double takes on the street.


This self assured behavior doesn't work well for me at all, because I tend to be a damn mess at all times.  I don't work well with Jock Smilers, because their overconfidence intimidates me.  I don't think I have ever paid my rent on time, so when I talk to someone who works a 9-5 job and doesn't wake up to overdraft emails at least once a week, I just get anxious.  I find that Jock Smilers tend to date other Jock Smilers resulting in the ever present “Twin Boyfriends” epidemic breaking out all over ninth avenue.  Jock Smilers tend to be relationship focused which is good for many people looking to settle down, but because they are so good on paper, they tend to be picky.  Good sex is not guaranteed with a Jock Smiler,  but you will most likely feel super cool going on a date with them.  Don't expect too much from a Jock Smiler in terms of life changing experience, but I would suggest having your date in an open area where you are sure to get spotted by them haterzzz!!  If you find yourself in a relationship with a Jock Smiler, they tend to be very loyal and will probably not break your heart, but might leave you with a few nights of very forced entertainment.   I would say leave the Jock Smilers to hookups.  If you are the kind of person that can hook up without getting attached, Jock Smilers are great, because you will feel good for grabbing such a hot piece of ass.  If you tend to get attached, I would say steer clear of a Jock Smiler and keep swiping.  Know yourself before trying to get to know someone else.

We get it, you're different: "The No Smile"

sia lena serious.jpg

The No Smiler is my least favorite person you are going to find.  These condescending, frustrating,  ass clowns are way too cool to be photographed looking like they are having a good time.  They are your artists, photographers, app developers, political douches and model mayhem models.  They very rarely look at the camera or even pretend to be taking a candid picture.  Instead, they tend to look at the floor or out a window contemplatively, looking like they are single-handedly going to solve genocide in Darfur. In my opinion, these people take themselves way too seriously and think they are the smartest people around.  Often people date No Smilers as a transition.  You’re sick of being scorned by Dimple Smilers, so you go with a No Smiler, because the No Smiler is going to challenge anything and everything you say.  They love words like “actually” and “technically” and are often good for people looking for a little confrontation in their lives.  They visit art galleries, go to french movies in the park, smoke Parliaments, attend ironic theme parties in Buschwick, and own rollerblades, but pretend like they hate everything about all of these things.  They are usually past their mid 20s crises and have started becoming the jaded New Yorkers that we will all inevitably be. These No Smilers often spend so much time being jaded and that they wind up being just plain boring.  They are only passionate about the most rare references and judge you for any sort of mainstream things you may like.  No Smilers insist that they don't care what people think of them.  They are different, just like everyone else, you guys!  Dating No Smilers can be difficult because some part of you wants to impress them and seem as cool and hip as they do, but inevitably, your friends (if they aren't No Smilers themselves) will all hate your new No Smiler boo.  Sex with a No Smiler can work in two ways:  Either mind blowing and teaches you something new and different that you wound up LOVING, or it's that kind of sex where you are both avoiding eye contact and just listening to dull rhythm of the squeaking IKEA bed that the No Smiler is judging you for having. 


No Smilers are hard for me, because you can’t always read what they are thinking.  They are secretive and can be way too serious.  Two things that I am terrible at.  I would say you want to lay the groundwork with a No Smiler before meeting them so you know if it's something you think you should invest in. You should be able to tell if the person not smiling back at you in a picture is a "deep artist." stuck up douche bag, or is just too cool for school. If you find yourself in a relationship with a No Smiler it means that you are caring and patient and understanding. It also means you probably enjoy the idea of getting this No Smiler to change and see the light. Make sure to remember that there are two sides to a relationship and although your cool no smiling companion is deep and dark and brooding, they may be perfectly content with coming off like a grumpy fish and have no intention of changing.  So make sure that you are getting out what you put into this relationship. Maybe your superpower is the ability to put a little tiny smirk on every No Smiler in New York City, but after a while it will get exhausting and you will wind up wasting a lot of time on a completely boring person. No Smilers can be a real trap so put in a lot of effort in the beginning to figure out if this person is worth it.  Know your non smirking cohort well before the first date to make sure you're not going to get stuck across the table from a complete dud who judges you for knowing the entire rap in "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls.  


Dental DAMN! That's a "Big Smile"

Alright Straight dudes and lesbians, I got you, because this next smile is found mostly on girls.  Not all girls, but specifically the most "earnest" girl in her friend group.  The girl who straightens her naturally curly hair and doesn't have the confidence her friends do.  She usually has a Tiffany's chain bracelet and can be seen carrying her friends bags.  Her favorite sports team is your favorite sports team.  She is there to take care of her drunker friends, plan the next birthday party, and above all, make sure that she stays in the friend group.  She is an event planner, works in PR or Marketing and LOVES Disney movies.  She tries to show all of the teeth she has when smiling to seem approachable, but really it winds up making her look a little Cray Cray.  The Big Smiler is a subdivision of your "Basic Bitch."  She is too modest to call herself a full Kween, but has the stifled potential to make a really good life partner.  A Big Smiler can be a little insecure and try a little too hard to be seen.  However, since you are not a complete monster,  you aren't going to take advantage of that and make this poor person feel bad.  Right??  Just be aware that these Big Smilers have some emotional baggage, but will often be a really good time if you can get them to be comfortable. They just need a little help, that's all! It’s not that these Big Smilers are ugly, it's just that they have surrounded themselves with a very hot group of friends.  They have a big heart to match their even big smile and are just waiting for their Prince Charming to find them and sweep them off their feet. 

If you are looking to wifey up, or if you enjoy being "The Healer" in relationships, this is the smiler for you.  A Big Smiler pairs very well with the young overworked lawyer type, the silent salesperson, or the graphic designer living with their parents.  The Big Smiler is on the dating app, but is completely embarrassed by it.  They say they only do it for fun, when in reality they are swiping more than that fox on Dora the Explorer. You want to tread lightly with these smilers, because they can be real stone cold clingers, but if you are trying to rebound,  get off of the apps, or just dive into your next relationship ASAP, The Big Smilers are for you!  If you are just trying to get some booty and be on with your life, DO NOT APPROACH a Big Smiler.  They will keep trying to convince you that they are "chill" while they dream up the perfect location and hashtag for your Disney themed wedding.  Big Smilers are serial monogamists and relationship traditionalists.  They are "Daddy's Little Girl" which can be totally sweet and charming if you're looking for the future mother of your children, but can be capable of some serious drama if you lead them on with no intention of commitment.  Be careful when dealing with these delicate, special creatures.  They get taken advantage of a lot in this world of "fuck or get fucked" dating apps, so if you are the kind of guy or girl who is sick of having contacts in your phone with the last name Tinder, if you are sick of sneaking out of a girls place in the morning before she wakes up, if you are ready to bring a big lady smile home for Thanksgiving this year, a Big Smiler is for you!

the tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips:              "The Tongue Smiler" 

A newer smile trend that can be found on many a sexy millennial is a Tongue Smile.  The Tongue Smile looks like this:

Its a way to seem silly, adorable and DTF without trying too hard.  It shows that you can be a little goofy and usually guarantees a fun time to be had.  A Tongue Smiler is a personal trainer, club promoter, or sells drugs.  They have the young vivacious energy of the Dimple Smilers,  with the life experience and drive of a Jock Smiler.  As you can see, the Tongue Smiler can be a real wild card. They have been around the block a few times and enjoy the single game, but you can have real conversations with them and they will give it to you straight.  They smoke weed, live with at least five other roommates and understand the importance of voting in presidential elections. They are honest, blunt and take life by the balls and aren't ashamed of their sexiness.  These confident Tongue Smilers are great to date if you are also confident, but one can quickly turn into chum for these Tongue Smiling sharks if they aren't aggressive right back. 

Tongue Smilers enjoy a challenge and will often respond stronger to you ignoring them than you trying to impress them.  I would suggest not trying to rise to the level of a Tongue Smiler's adventure capabilities, but instead be your truest self!  Tongue Smilers tend to not have a specific type and have probably dated every type of boy or girl under the sun. They enjoy life experiences and understand that dating is not just looking for a future partner, but can also be great for just making a one on one connection.  You want a Tongue Smiler as a friend for sure because they are always chasing the fun, but the idea of dating one might be exhausting to you if you are more of a stay at home kind of party machine.  A Tongue Smiler will get you out of your apartment and take you to a park you probably haven't been to before or to an ironic theme restaurant in Times Square or to the newest Groupon deal in Poughkeepsie, because they heard it was going to be a fun time.  They do the things in New York that I am always saying I am going to do.  They have subscriptions to secret events, always run into someone the know when they go out and have probably slept with a few DJs.   They are sexy, loud, fun, and totally my cup of tea.  I would suggest always going out with a Tongue Smiler, because they are sure to be a good time if you are open and excited about new adventures.  If not, maybe try a No Smiler for now and I look forward to your wedding registry at the Disney Store.

do you:  "The Natural Smile"

Now this is the final and most important smile to focus on.  These are the winners for me.  The Natural Smilers.  They truly don't give a fuck about looking a specific way.  They are goofy, playful and funny and don't spend all their time and attention worrying about their lighting.  They definitely don't have Facetune and their camera roll is filled with screen shots of bad social media etiquette, not selfies!  They might have a few silly profile pictures: ones with them looking ugly or messy. They aren't afraid of not looking perfect or cool. Their profile pictures involve them in a group of friends that look like they are actually having fun, not just posing for the candid. These Natural Smilers are who you want to always date, because they are REAL.  They aren’t trying to play the game, you know exactly what they are thinking and what they believe.  They know that it is better to be yourself and to wait around for someone who is real, than to just be in a shitty selfish relationship.  Natural Smilers are real marriage material and should be taken seriously.  If you are matched to a Natural Smiler, you want to drop your pretenses and get excited about just meeting and having fun on your date.  Be warned, these people are usually a little sloppy and a little passive and can be unorganized, but they are attentive lovers, good friends, and the kind of person you want to bring home to mom. They believe that life should be lived in the grey area and that not everything is black and white always.  RealiTea fully supports all dates with any and all Natural Smilers.

No matter what kind of smile sucks you into an online dating profile and keeps you attracted, remember that everyone is different and everyone has someone out there for them.  It can feel like a real bummer sometimes, but dating should be a fun, informative and positive experience.  Whether you are on a date with a Tongue Smiler, a No Smiler or a Natural Smiler, be open to everything and anything, because there are no rules in the game of love.  I think it is important to date as many different types of people as possible, because one day you're going to look back and wonder if you really got all of the life experiences you wanted to.  You’re going to wonder if you played well or played it safe, if you took all possible chances you should have and if you learned everything you could from as many people as possible.  I think that a life not lived is the saddest thing imaginable.  So go out there and live your best life.  Don't spend all your time trying to find the answers to life, just find the joy in the questions.  In the things that AREN'T guaranteed.  The best thing about a bad date is that it adds a new, rich, amazing story into your personal book of life.  So accept the bad dates, look forward to the good ones, and remember these different types of smiling profile pictures and what they mean for you.  Don’t get murdered and play safely!  Happy Swiping!


Jason Simons