You would not believe the number of men who photograph themselves with large birds (usually birds of prey) on Tinder.
I haven’t kept all of them, because they’re not actually funny; and I am considerate of your feelings.
But after seeing it a million times, I’ve started to wonder what is going through these guys’ heads when they consciously select the ‘large bird’ picture for their Tinder profiles.
So, just to get it out the way so that we can get back to Tinder Top Trumps: here is a selection of the common ‘large birds’ shots, with some best guesses of the subtext.
1. The Standard: I’m a Nice Guy with AN EDGE
The tried and tested falconry shot.
The Standard works best with some adoring women or admiring children visible in the background. It’s supposed to convey the quality of strength and mastery that the dude has, which allows him to commune with any wild beast and tether it to his will. Unafraid and yet gentle, he has soothed the vicious bird only through the sheer force of his sexual potency and manliness. And that is secretly what every woman/vicious bird wants, no?
John is also demonstrating how a ‘Mona Lisa’ smile can add a whole new level, hinting at roiling, turbid waters of deep intellectual thought. Crashing and breaking on the shores of his being.
You might be the one to bring them to the surface… BUT only if you can stay silent, and respectful. Like this owl.
(Note: what The Standard really conveys is that you once went to the Animal Farm Adventure Park in Burnham-on-Sea and said ‘Yes’ to a teenager with a big glove. But the symbolism works for me, so I’m willing to overlook it).
2. Standard: with ‘party guy’ expression variation
Subtext: He’s virile. He’s tattooed. He’s up for a laugh. He loves CHEEKY BANTZ.
Matt and the eagle are going to party, are you with them? ARE YOU WITH THEM?
NB: Matt and the eagle don’t like time-wasters, or ugly chicks.
Methods of conveying their dislike vary: from dumping them in a Wetherspoons, to tearing at their faces with razor-sharp talons.
3: The eagle whisperer
You normally see this done with other wild animals. Generally in a picture which depicts the guy standing dopily while a tiger, elephant or dolphin eats out of his hand.
The crashing symbolism of this is nonetheless drowned out by the trumpeting noise of the guys’ enormous ego in the next shot, as he stands in front of a mirror with his toweling shorts drooping low on his rippling orange abs (the shorts, it is implied, are only held up by the bulge of his silken, yet weighty penis and/or strategically placed sports sock).
On balance, I usually find the bog-standard ‘feeding a wild animal shot’ quite meh.
I therefore have to applaud Julian for combining it with the intrinsic sexuality of the ‘falconry’ genre, adding a whole new layer of complexity and taking both standard shots to the next level.
It’s beautiful, and I too want to eat out of his hand.
Also, that bird looks kind of like a tiny velociraptor that he’s found in a bush and bonded with, like the person taking the picture is going ‘Come on, Julian’ and he’s going ‘No! It’s starving! Where’s it’s mother? I must protect it with everything I own, even if it means taking my shirt off and displaying my hard, manly chest.’
This, as every woman about my age knows, directly taps into the ‘I used to fancy Sam Neill when I was a kid and watched Jurassic Park’ portion of the brain, whether you want it to or not.
You win Tinder, Julian.
4: The parrot playa
Hey girl! You are SO FINE! Come hang out, let’s get a Mai Tai? Take your dress off and get your ass onto this beach chair.
Oh, babe, so many birds flock around me on a daily basis, it’s like I kinda forgot that they were there on my shoulder. Yeah, I know, I’m so sick of all this phony adoration, it’s just been like this since I was 17 and started working out, lolz….. It’s a crazy world, and I just want to escape it with you. I’ve got some champagne in the apartment. I’ll ring the maid and tell her to put it on ice. You stay right there, baby, right there.
The parrots? Nah, babe, it’s cool- I have reinforced silicone shoulders- I had them surgically inserted so that the claws wouldn’t draw blood. It was a big investment, but y’know, I couldn’t tell the birds they couldn’t land on me any more. They need me, girl. They need to be near me.
Man, speaking of shoulders… I am LIKING yours. They are super fine [theatrically mops brow]. I think you’ll be special to me, girl. Special.
You like parrots, right? I could tell them to leave…but…I’m not sure how they’d take it. They love me. it’s just how it is. You’re cool with that, right?