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‘Hatfishing’ is yet another dating trend – are you guilty of it?

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Gary Ogden
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'Hatfishing' is yet another dating trend - are you guilty of it? 1

Ugh, yet another stupid dating trend making the world of online (and normal, traditional, real-life) dating a frustrating minefield. You’ve got kittenfishing, stashing, submarining, breezing, drafting season, perspecticide and now there’s another one that you may or may not be guilty of: hatfishing.

How do you know if you’re guilty of this medium-level deception? Well, are you the perpetrator of any of the following offenses?

  • You have a hat on in all your Tinder profile photos
  • You wear a hat to your first date
  • You’ve always got a fucking hat on, basically

If so, chances are you’re a hatfisher. Essentially, you’re ‘lying’ about your appearance by plopping a hat on whenever you’re around your date - so your initial dating profile is full of hats, and then your real-life profile is full of hats, too.

This could be for a number of reasons: 

  • You’re bald
  • You’re going bald
  • You got a head tattoo of Taz the Tasmanian devil in Magaluf when you were 17 
  • You’re a conehead
Fair enough, but what you’re actually doing here, is being a tad deceiving - you’re hiding your appearance, basically - and it’s not too dissimilar from, say, only using photos on your Tinder from ten years ago, before you transformed into the unkempt slob you are nowadays.

As such, women the world over are feeling misled by all those bros out there not owning up to what’s going on up top. It may seem trivial and part-and-parcel of all the winky little fibs you might use to flesh out your dating profiles - high-angled photos, posing with your shortest mates, standing next to a Lamborghini holding your house keys, using a cat Snapchat filter in every sodding photo, face pixelated out like a Crimewatch re-enactment, fake GCSE results in your bio, just a load of pictures of Ryan Gosling but Photoshopped to look like you’re in Dalston - but really, you’re still bending the truth. And it could affect your relationships.

'Hatfishing' is yet another dating trend - are you guilty of it?

The Cut spoke to Jean, a 32-year-old writer, who got hatfished, she said:

“I went out with a guy who wore a baseball cap on our first date. We got a coffee, so it wasn’t a super-formal setting, but then I remembered that he was wearing a hat in one of his profile photos on Bumble, too. After we started dating, I realized that he wore his hats all the time to hide his bald spot.

“So we’d be in a nice restaurant or bar trying to be sexy, but he’d be in a suit with a baseball cap. Looking back, he was obviously trying to hatfish me on Bumble and even kind of in real life, but the funny thing was that it was so obvious that I couldn’t even feel misled.”

Eventually, the game was up:

“We took this weekend trip and at one point he sat down with this serious face and said he had to show me something: He pulled back his little curtain of hair for this big reveal of his bald spot. I had to pretend like I didn’t know he was hiding it the whole time — it was mortifying.

“If someone has a great job and great personality, then the bald thing is fine, but if they don’t have those things — and you can’t really tell on a dating app — I hate to say it, but I think the bald spot would have put me off. When you don’t have that much to go on, the photos matter.”

So basically, if you’ve got a great job, then fucking hatfish all you want - doesn’t matter, Jean will be up for it!

No, but seriously - own it, I say. Starting off your date with lies - even little ones - isn’t the greatest base for a potential relationship. Unless of course she’s wearing a suit of armour in all of her photos - then your hat thing will probably wash, in all honesty. God knows what’s under there.

(Image: Alex Boyd/Jacob Hilton)

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", PDAs, not having eczema anymore, hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the eczema thing though. @garyblogden

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