Beige flags are the latest dating phenomenon to divide the internet

Forget the red flags. Apparently beige flags are the new dating phenomenon to watch out for that’s trending on TikTok. Still, the definition of beige is, it seems, in the eye of the beholder. Unlike red flags (a sign that a partner or potential partner isn’t a good fit), pink flags (minor areas of concern for a partner that have the potential to escalate into a relationship threatening problem down the line), and green flags (positive attributes), beige flags can mean different things depending on the context.

To break it down, we need to consult the authority on all things slang: Urban Dictionary. The first definition the website gives is: “Something that is neither good nor bad, but makes you stop for a minute when you notice it and then continue. Something strange.

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This is the definition that inspires a TikTok trend for “my boyfriend’s beige flag…” or “My girlfriend’s beige flag is…”, in which people in relationships share bizarre details about their partners, such as the fact that they always ask the waiter what they should order and then follow suit; or talk in their sleep about their golf game; or mispronounce words; or their refusal to put their phone on silent at night in case they miss their alarm. (I mean, this might annoy me personally, but…)

The beige flag caption typically overlays a video of said partner doing something innocuous like eating or drinking coffee.

However, Urban Dictionary also offers a different definition, seemingly applicable only to online dating profiles: “Beige flags are a sign that someone is boring or lacks originality. Beige flags are often generic or very clichéd things that many people put on their profiles. Some listed include: “Images holding fish, statements about tacos, mentioning TV character relationships, offering the choice of ride or die.”

TikToker @itscaito, who calls himself “Beige Flags CEO” in his bio and claims to have coined the term, lists a few in a now-viral video, which includes “hating cilantro, pineapple on pizza etc,”” any references to extremely traditional sitcoms” and “using puppies as personalities”.

User @itcaito, aka Caito, accepts “DMs” from daters who want her help evaluating what or isn’t a beige flag on someone’s profile or even their own.

From our, ahem, field research, we might as well suggest the generic suggestions of some dating apps like Hinge and Bumble, which can evoke predictable responses. (e.g. “My simple pleasures…” may be partly responsible.)

According to the creative director of hookup app Tapdat Alice Leach, beige flags as boring responses on a dating profile are reasons to say no to a date because, “Clichés in profiles are game-changers because we know the person doesn’t have make any effort, and that’s likely reflected in the bedroom. She adds, “Are you really not paying attention or are you too shy to be honest? Either way, a beige flag.”

But is this being a bit harsh? Brit Dawson, writes for GQ, has a different view. Brit, who defines beige flags as “cringe millennial tropes.” Harry Potter references, argues that “boredom can be an underrated value when it comes to partnerships,” adding that what counts as a beige flag for one person might be a green flag for someone else. It also calls attention to the idea that just because someone is “boring” on their dating app may not translate into real life: “Dating profiles are weird online constructs that see people resorting to generic responses and broad interests as their people often feel intimidated trying to sell themselves.”

Perhaps this is the real reason behind the seemingly conflicting definitions of the beige flag. In relationships, as in the previous definition, they are adorable quirks. On a dating app, they’re no good. Supposedly, many of these couples met on these apps (some stats claim that 70% meet on dating apps nowadays). Which begs the question: Could judging a profile by its beige flags be a misguided policy? The jury is out…

This post was originally posted on Glamorous UK.

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