With the dreaded ‘cuffing season’ right around the corner, urging lonely singles to land a partner just in time for Christmas and New Year, dating apps are being used in full swing this season. And with the burgeoning use of dating apps, comes the expert TikTok advice on how your dating profile should look to attract compatible partners. After red flags (calling your exes crazy) and green flags (being an Aquarius or Pisces), a new flag has been birthed by Gen Z—the ‘beige flag’.
Long story short, if your date (or you) are exhibiting beige flags, they’re mind numbingly boring, a tag which perhaps is even more insulting than being a toxic red flag, am I right? At least the red flag-bearers have some personality and mommy issues to make them memorable, and you would never have to worry about having a dull day around them—unless their red flags mean wrecking your car in a jealous rage, then yikes!
Tendance 📢— Spotters 🔍 (@SpottersMedia) September 16, 2022
Il y avait les green flags, les red flags, il y aura désormais les beige flags : l’indication que quelqu’un n’a pas de personnalitépic.twitter.com/aH4RSfZDUy
So, how do you spot these so-called beige flags in a dating profile or an actual person, even? Well, just wait to see if they gush over Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Harry Potter or any other generic (read, iconic) TV shows and movies, or if their entire personality is loving dogs, or “living their best life,” or debating whether pineapple goes on pizza, and voilà, you’ve fished out the beiges from the reds and the greens. First coined by TikTok creator Caitlin MacPhail, the self-proclaimed dating guru and CEO of beige flags, the term is fast gaining mainstream recognition with over 3 million views for the hashtag, and Caitlin’s analyses on dating profiles sent in by people to see if they reek of beige, being a huge thing now.
Beige flags are definitely early signs of incompatibility, but if I’m being honest, it just seems like another ploy to hate on people who have ‘basic’ and ‘cheugy’ interests like quoting The Office as an icebreaker or owning a ‘live, love, laugh’ neon sign. Everyone is in the running to be declared the ‘main character’ and everyone wants to stand out, which apparently can’t be achieved if you’re caught dead with over three pictures “with the boys” or being a “certified foodie” or hell, even a proud Hufflepuff.
According to Caitlin and her TikTok jury, you get a beige flag for answering dating app prompts with cliches like, “The best way to ask me out is ‘by asking’”, or ‘I need someone who can ‘keep up with me,’” or simply for liking ‘bike rides, sunsets and pizza’. If I’m getting this right, you exude unsalvageable drabness if you’re a hopeless millennial trope in all your corporate-embracing, saying ‘doggo’ instead of dog, living for ’90s nostalgia and scented-candle-loving glory. The series of videos detailing how to spot these flags by Caitlin also emphasise that you’re a beige flag-bearer if you respond to prompts with tired banalities and buzzwords.
I think it is safe to say that this dating trend was birthed as part of the ongoing generational war between millennials and Gen Z’ers, which I believe is a right of passage for every new generation before they’re handed over the baton and subjected to the same kind of cruelty. While defining and dissecting the makings of a beige flag is all fun and games, I think you should steer clear of pretending to be someone you’re not in an attempt to be “cool” or alternative. In fact, your potential partner may even appreciate you even more if you embrace your so-called ‘basic-ness’ and other cringeworthy interests rather than manufacturing an inauthentic personality to brand yourself as the main character.
Believe it or not, it may even be good for you to go for a partner with tinges of beige in them, instead of reaching out to the walking red flags, who promise to take you on an overwhelming, passionate and ultimately toxic relationship, if theories and Mills and Boon books are to be believed. Toxic doesn’t equal excitement, and comfortable doesn’t mean it’s boring.
Perhaps the young guns believe that ignoring beige flags will lead them to a beige relationship with no sparks (although mocking the ‘live, love, laugh’ neon sign is warranted). But, dating profiles hardly reflect the true personalities of people and shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all while choosing a date. We all are inevitably bound to be unoriginal and enjoy Taylor Swift bops just like everyone else, and social media constructs must not deter you from being your true self, as cheesy as that sounds—pretty sure I just earned a beige flag for voicing the ‘be yourself no matter what’ quasi-motivational 2013 Tumblr post, but oh well! That’s the price you pay for being honest.
It is often intimidating to not only put yourself out there in the cut-throat online dating universe, but also struggling to sell yourself and convey your effortless originality by being into Karl Marx or lesser-known underground artists. The constant pressure to promote yourself on social media while elbowing your peers out of the way to appear original and elusive (and anti-vanilla), is just messing with everyone’s heads at this point.
So, why not just embrace your Hufflepuff-ness, and your love for doggos and pumpkin spiced lattes, and let your personality shine through instead of your interests? Being self-aware is way cooler than concocting fake idiosyncrasies to appear cool anyway. And in this day and age, if loving multiple dogs, scented candles, tequila, brunches and complaining about corporate life are your only “crimes,” I’d say you’re doing (more than) okay.