As if dating wasn’t an absolute cluster to begin with, a global pandemic has narrowed the opportunity for romantic-comedy-style meet-cutes to nearly nil. Those of us who entered quarantine single have only a few choices left — exposing ourselves to the derision of app dating or heading down to the local animal shelter, adopting a bunch of geriatric cats, putting on a terry-cloth bathrobe and retiring into the anonymity of spinsterhood.
I, for one, am not ready to throw in the towel yet. But scrolling the likes of Hinge and Bumble these past few months, I’ve come to notice a pattern among service members. Relentless swiping has revealed seven distinct types of “Military Dude” you can find on dating apps.
The car guy
If ever there was a junior enlisted stereotype, this is it. Cpl. Camaro loves his car so much that he financed it at 27 percent. All his profile pictures include the car — him in the car, him leaning against the car, him working on the car. If you are lucky enough to couple up with him, you’ll need to know you come second to the car. You might be his girlfriend, but the car is the love of his life.
The “guns, God and country” guy
Gunnery Sgt. Guns, God and Country is a true patriot. He loves the Constitution as much as the Bible, neither of which he’s ever read, but they mean everything to him. Well ... almost. His Glock holds a special place in his heart and his bed. He sleeps with her under his pillow.
The world traveler
Lt. World Traveler’s personality is the number of stamps on his passport. In his dating profile, he has a series of nonsensical words in other languages that you don’t speak, but then again, neither does he. But they make him seem super interesting and worldly, right? He’s looking for an adventurous adventure partner to go on adventures and do adventurous things. What that means during the minutiae of everyday life is uncertain. But it’ll probably be an adventure.
The fish guy
Though the trope of the fish guy extends far beyond the military, he is also extremely prevalent among service members who seem to have an extremely limited range of hobbies, a list that includes sitting on boats, getting violently sunburned, wearing bucket hats, and drinking Bud Light. Sgt. Fish Guy wants you to know that although he doesn’t have a boat, he’s got friends who do, and he can use it to provide for you in the event that we are plunged into a world without supermarkets.
The guy with four kids from four exes
Staff Sgt. Strong Swimmers is the most virile man you’ll ever meet. He loves his kids — all four of them — even though they live off-post near bases around the country. His profile is littered with photos of him at various military functions in his dress blues, but he’s gone above and beyond by blacking out his dates’ faces so you don’t have to see them. According to his bio, he wants more kids, but he’s definitely not ready to settle down. He’s got many more wild oats to sow.
The “I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill you” guy
There’s a very specific service member-type whose self-importance knows no bounds. Spc. Secrecy can’t tell you where he works, what his MOS is, or where he’s from. Is he a SEAL or a sanitation technician? He can’t say. He loves you and definitely wants to see you, but he can’t because he has a secret mission that’s going to take him out of town for an extended period. But your time together was very special.
The vet bro
There is a thin line between service member and separation for the vet-bro, a type whose personality is “the military.” He wears Oakleys, “‘til Valhalla” t-shirts, and has his unit prominently tattooed somewhere visible, just in case it was unclear that he served. He’s looking for a special lady who appreciates that his dating profile features a fish, his car, a psalm about violence, a heavily stamped passport, his brood of kids, and that he can’t tell you where, when, or how he served. He is every one of the other six rolled up into one neat package — the whole package.