A for Athletic:

Originally used to define a very active and <10% body fat build, but today used by ~30% of the population, each of whom thinks that they are among the top 1% in terms of being fit and active

B for Bareback:

An unsafe and risky sexual behavior involving penetration without condoms. Users are likely to be on PrEP (refer P for PrEP) and sometimes disguise themselves behind terms like “latex allergy”.

Also B for Bottom refer to V for Versatile.

B for Bots (not to be confused with B for bottom – refer to V for versatile for that) – refers to spam messages from automated programs. Typically identifiable with height parameters being mentioned as 2’3″ or 2’4″, pings from these “bots” (short for robots) give a temporary high that quickly goes away when you realize these users are offline, thousands of miles away and cannot respond intelligently. However on your darkest days, bots might be your only solace and bring a (artificial, short-lived) cheer.

C for Clean:

Intended to mean that they get regularly tested for STDs. But, in reality, it means that they have once visited an STD clinic and have gotten tested under a fake name, several sexual partners ago.

D for Ddf (drug and disease free) :

Supposed to indicate someone who does not use recreational drugs and gets tested for STDs regularly. In reality, it means that they might still be 420, popper friendly and may still engage in risky sexual activity with the “right” guy.

Also D for dl (down low), discreet, discrete – “down low” – All synonyms for saying that they are anonymously looking for sex and do not want to share the courtesy of exchanging a face picture. Discrete specifically indicates that this user has a <60 I.Q. score for confusing a mathematical term with anonymity.

Also D for Dates refer to R for Relationship Seeking.

Also D for Dom refer to S for Sub.

E for Ecstasy:

Rarely, you’ll come across a profile with a random “E” in the profile description without any obvious meaning. Congratulations, now you’ve found an Ecstasy (recreational drug) lover.

Also E for Emoji /Emoticons – The use of emoticons in the profile, again correlates highly to age and intelligence. The threshold number of emoticons that can be used without having to presume a lack of social and communication skills depends on age. For users <25 yrs old, 2 is a safe bet. For users between 25-35 yrs old, it drops to 1 and for users 35+ even 1 emoticon is a bad thing.. Also, in any message within the app the use of multiple emoticons signals a serious degree of mental health issue and or under-development

F for Fem :

Usually used to indicate this user is not interested in meeting effeminate people, often used as “no fems/sissies”. Often indicates a deep discomfort with their sexuality and suppressed homophobia in their upbringing.

Also F for Fit, refer to J for Jock and T for Toned

G for gl (good looking) :

Indicator of lavish self-praise and high levels of assertiveness/aggression when found in a profile with a picture. However, if this word is found on a profile without a face picture, be rest assured that this is a trap.

H for Hung :

Used to boast about the size of one’s penis. The question remains as to what qualifies as hung? Thanks to zoom function in mobile phone cameras and some basic photographic tricks, almost anyone can qualify for this tag.

I for Ink :

Refers to tattoos. While it’s been a while since tattoos have become mainstream, this term is used to indicate that there might be a serious deficit of un-tattooed surface area with this guy.

J for Jock :

Indicates an affinity for sports fetishes and or interest in some sports – usually college football. Not to be confused for their body type and please discard any hopes of the user actually being athletic, fit or muscular.

K for kik :

Popular IM app among teens / young adults, offering anonymity to text, sext and bond without having to exchange email address or phone numbers. Usually popular near college campuses.

L for Laid back :

Highly correlates to being 420 friendly, part-time employed and at least 4 tattoos. These users hate anybody who owns or wears a suit in their pictures or if you end up typing a full sentences. For instance, you may never get a reply of you ask “Hello there, how are you doing?”. However, if you ask “wassup?” you might get some cryptic messages back. Even NSA struggles to read these messages.

Also L for Looking, refer to R for Right Now.

M for Masc :

The latest fad, replacing the more offensive “straight acting” adjective for gay men who are masculine enough to “pass off” as straight. The fact that someone feels the need to use this label automatically indicates that they are definitely not 100% masc.

 Also M for Mixed – A racial definition chosen by people of color to increase their chances of making a connection. Most “Mixed” people are in reality not different from other people of their race, but this simple trick can often increase the rate of making connections (while still several times lesser than if your race was “white”).

 Also M for Married – refer to P for Partnered.

N for Not my type :

A polite way of saying that they are not interested in you. In reality it means “I’m out of your league” and or subtle racism/classism. This is still better than being completely ignored or being insulted back with a slur.

 Also N for NSA – Originally used as “No Strings Attached” (Not to be confused with the notorious spying agency), but redundant in today’s context as this has become the default expectation. Stating this explicitly indicates the user is at least 40 years old (since this was a common statement when they used the first generation of online dating platforms) and is potentially delusional since they perceive a distorted version of reality where all the users are pursuing strings (also refer R for relationship).

Also N for Netflix and Chill – refer to R for Right Now.

O for Otter :

Since Bears (large men with a lot of facial and body hair) are out of fashion at the moment, Otters dominate the scene. Otters are fitter and have less unruly hair that may have been trimmed at some point in the last 3-6 months.

P for Partnered :

Not to be confused with “open relationship” as this might just be another reason to be on the down low (refer D for dl). Could range from situations where the couple is looking for a third, fourth etc. to just one person who wants an undercover sexual encounter without the knowledge of his partner. Most sane users will avoid these complications.

Also P for PrEP / PrEPared – Indicates that this user has a strong preference for engaging in bareback sex or similar risky behavior and is undertaking a regular course of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (which prevents transmission of HIV even in case of exposure). Rarely, an ultra risk-averse user may also be using PrEP but they are unlikely to advertise this in their profile.

Q for Queer :

Indicates that the user is anachronistic and has Shakespearean interests. Higher chances of getting essay length messages and rarely used (and long) words. Message at your own risk.

R for Relationship / relationship-oriented / relationship seeking :

Usually means they would like to courted for a duration ranging from 10 seconds to 10 minutes before they ask “are you top or bottom?” or “do you host?”

Also R for Right now – Means these users are on the lookout for an immediate encounter. Since almost everyone on the site is looking for an instant gratification, the users who explicitly say this are almost always more desperate.

Also R for Raw – refer to B for Bareback

S for Sub :

Short for submissive. These users seek out dominants (shortened as “dom” usually) to enjoy BDSM (Bondage and Sado-Masochism) role-play and kinks ranging from ropes to pretty intense activities denoted by acronyms like FF, WS, CBT, PNP etc.

T for Toned :

Intended to be a more comfortable indicator of body type, in the middle of being “average” and “athletic”. In practice, you can assume all “toned” people are usually average and all “average” users are usually “a little extra”.

Also, T for Top, refer to V for Versatile.

Also, T for Twink, refer to Y for Young.

U for Uncut :

Indicates a special preference for an uncircumcised penis.

V for Versatile :

This is one of the most confusing terms. Most commonly used by those who prefer to bottom (who like to be penetrated) but consider it to be somewhat shameful. Most true versatiles masquerade as “pure top” since the ratio of tops and bottoms is always skewed more towards bottoms in almost all situations and being a “top” increases your odds of an encounter.

Also V for Visiting – Used to indicate when the user is just traveling and often accompanied by “anyone to show me around town?” or “Let’s grab a beer” these profiles are not any different from the others since most users are only “looking” in any case. Indicates a heightened degree of desperation if the user also starts to add things like “last day in town” or “here for 5 more hours only”, expecting to have Black Friday like crowds.

W for Wanna hang? :

The most frequently traded message on the app, that’s code for come, let’s have sex.

Y for Young :

Supposed to indicate the age range, but a very subjective term. Some useful guidelines: If found on a faceless torso profile, expect 18-25 yr old; If found on a profile with a picture, expect 25-35 yr olds; If found on a picture less (or landscape picture) profile, expect 45+ yr olds. But, if used as an adjective to describe what they are looking for, ALWAYS means <27 yr olds.

Z for Zac Efron :

For obvious reasons, many profiles would like to indicate that their stated requirements or conditions do not apply to those who look really good and often, the gold standard for this is Zac Efron (e.g., fun only, nothing serious – unless you’re Zac Efron.

I have left out ‘X’ for you. Let’s see what you come up with


Karthik is a Boston based strategy professional with a passion for writing by the side

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