WITH the terrifying viewers of Netflix’s Tindler Swindler and hundreds of “proud catfish” showing off their makeup transformations on TikTok, singles are rightly wary of dating right now.
But what happens when the shoe is on the other foot?
Callum Flanagan has been single for six years and says his beauty makes dating very difficult.
The 32-year-old math teacher from Windsor is a longtime Tinder user who told Fabulous: “My appearance tends to get in the way of dating.
“I get asked if I’m real quite often, which probably sounds a bit arrogant, but I think it’s more indicative of what the majority of women expect from men these days.
“If you’re a nice, well-groomed guy, you’ve got a good job, you’re confident but respectful, I think that can sometimes raise an eyebrow like ‘what’s the catch here?
“A lot of women think you’re outright lying. Sometimes I’m accused of being a catfish who stole someone else’s photos.
“I get it, I’m sure most people who use dating apps have a history of catfish, or at least know someone who does, so people are being cautious these days. there is nothing wrong with my profile.”
Callum, whose longest relationship lasted six months, says he would prefer to meet on dates in person, but admits the apps come in handy when he works long hours.
He explains: “The reaction is a bit of a shame. Sometimes people assume I’m self-centered or narcissistic – because I have pictures of me in the gym and topless on the beach.
“People say ‘you’re very handsome’, ‘too good to be true’ or they ask ‘are you real?’
“You can only express your personality through an app, there is no depth.
“I have quite a few photos on Tinder but no bio, which I imagine is quite disconcerting for women.
“They must be thinking ‘can’t this guy come up with a few sentences about himself?’ and I wonder if I’m wrong.
“But nothing sneaky happens, I just find the bios to be really cringe-worthy.”
I’m quite often asked if I’m real, which probably sounds a little cocky. But if you’re a well-groomed handsome guy, I think that might raise an eyebrow sometimes.
Despite this backlash, Callum will continue to post the same kinds of photos — because it’s important to show he cares.
He explains: “I think teaching is a wonderful profession and something that I am passionate about.
“But teachers can work long hours and personal care can suffer.
“It has always been important to me to separate career and personal life, to prioritize personal time and self-care.
“I make sure I hit the gym, follow a skincare routine, eat well, spend time on interests like fashion and finance.
We all have this feeling that teachers are a little older, a little miserable, a little dull. And I like to think that’s not the case with me
“It all helps to look and feel good. I want to show that it’s part of my personality.
“I think a lot of people associate my job with being older and a bit neglected, which I understand because teachers work such long hours.
“Also, a lot of people have had a miserable experience at school or met a horrible teacher.
“We all have this feeling that teachers are a little older, a little miserable, a little boring. And I like to think that’s not me.
“I’m not saying there’s a stigma, but it can be quite upsetting when I tell women I’m a math teacher. They’re not quite sure how to take it.
“In combination with my appearance, a lot of them think something is wrong, if you’ll excuse the pun.”
Callum sticks to dating apps and still hopes to find love.
He says, “I get asked ‘are you picky?’ a lot, because I’m still single, I don’t think I am, even if I respect myself.
“In the past, I’ve had a lot of friends try to set me up on dates, but blind dating isn’t really for me.
“I used to get frustrated with apps, but now I realize they reflect a changing world. We bank online, we shop online, why shouldn’t we go out online too?
“Once I had that realization, I started to take it with a pinch of salt and enjoy it more. I know I will eventually find The One.”