Swiftfishing Is The Latest Dating App Red Flag
Not all self-proclaimed Swifties are what they seem.
In September, when I was swiping on [redacted app], a Taylor Swift-related bio caught my eye: “Not not down for T. Swift concert.” What followed felt like the dating app version of trading friendship bracelets. His favorite songs by her were “All Too Well,” “The Archer,” and “Enchanted.” They weren’t exactly deep cuts, but a welcome reprieve from the “Bad Blood” and “Love Story” fans who have only ever listened to Swift on the radio for three minutes max. We talked for a while — not just about Swift — and even made tentative plans to hang out. But as many dating app love stories go, that date never happened.
In true Swiftie fashion, I immediately overanalyzed the situation: Does an “Enchanted” fan really balk at a first date, aka an opportunity to become ~enchanted~ with someone new? Or had I been Swiftfished?
Swiftfish (verb): to feign being a Taylor Swift fan as a ruse to appear more romantic, decent, and attractive on dating apps or in real life.
The singer is everywhere right now: headlining an international tour, cheering on Travis Kelce at NFL games, and holding hands with him on New York City date nights. Her voice is constantly playing in headphones (at least, my headphones), and in one weekend, her Eras Tour film became the highest-grossing concert film of all time. At this point, Swift is becoming omnipresent — even in the depths of dating apps.
According to Tinder, the number of U.S. users talking about Taylor Swift on their profiles has grown 44% since February. For that same pool of users, mentions of the “Eras Tour” and “Swiftie” peaked in August, right around the time Swift was wrapping up the U.S. leg of her tour. Now, single Swifties are taking note of the Taylor love — and how often their matches turned out to be faking it.
After Brianna LaPaglia (aka Brianna Chickenfry) watched an episode of Bachelor in Paradise, she made a TikTok to discuss Swiftfishing. “This guy... he’s going on and on about how he’s a Swiftie. You know when you can just tell a guy is not a good guy? ... He’s just saying this so that women hear him saying this,” she said in an Oct. 2 video on her spam account. “I think a lot of men are using [Swiftiedom] to get the women... If a man says they’re a Swiftie, quiz their *ss.” The video gained 79,000 likes — and a day later, commenter @izzypond wrote, “I call it swiftfishing.”
The phenomenon isn’t new — it’s been happening since Swift first came onto the scene. “Once a guy pretended to love Taylor Swift so I would like him but that jig ended rather quickly,” a fan (@felinejesus) wrote on Twitter in 2013. In 2020, one guy (@naurfindel) considered the merits of Swiftfishing, tweeting, “Would girls like me more if I pretended to like Taylor Swift[?]”
Of course, real Swifties *do* exist on dating apps, and it’s totally possible to form a real bond while connecting over her music. But that doesn’t always happen — and the facade only lasts so long before you find out they’re a Swiftfish in disguise.
He told me that he only knew one Taylor Swift song and was Googling the lyrics to try to win me over.
Sammy*, 27, tells Elite Daily that she introduced a date to Swift’s discography, only to realize he was using the music to secure future dates with other people. “After a date, I asked a guy if we could listen to ‘All Too Well (10 Minute Version)’ for the ride home. Later, I got a text from him saying he’d downloaded Taylor’s newest album for our next date,” she recalls. “Fast-forward to one day later when I’m scrolling aimlessly through Raya. Not only did said man pop up, but I also find that he listed ‘Anti-Hero’ as his song.” (A fitting choice, all things considered.)
Melissa, 29, was similarly duped. “I was swiping on Bumble and came across a guy whose profile picture was a photo of him with Taylor Swift on the screen in the background, and he was pointing to her,” she tells Elite Daily. “I messaged him a Taylor GIF (her saying, ‘It’s me, hi!’), and he responded with one. We carried on exchanging memes and lyrics for a month, and when we eventually went on a date, he laid it on thick.”
She considered his next move to be love bombing. “He asked me on a date for the next day and invited me ... to meet his family, which was too much. Then, the next day, absolute silence,” Melissa recalls. When she confronted him about his behavior and he apologized, they went out once more.
Still, their Swiftie connection didn’t end well. “He told me on the second date that he only knew one Taylor Swift song (‘Love Story’) and was Googling all the lyrics to try to win me over from the get-go.”
So sad. You cannot put the Eras Tour as your happy place if you don’t know “Blank Space.”
Other Swifties were enticed by mentions of the Eras Tour on apps, drawn in like a moth to the flame — yes, that is a reference “Better Than Revenge (Taylor’s Version).” Alyssa, 30, caught a self-proclaimed Swiftie in a lie. “He wrote that his happy place was the Eras Tour. After we matched, I started the convo with ‘Nice to meet you, where you been?’” she tells Elite Daily. “He was like, ‘Hi, nice to meet you too. Me? Oh, all over.’”
Though Alyssa kept responding with the “Blank Space” lyrics, her match did not catch on. “When we tried to meet up, he unmatched me,” she adds. Disappointing, but the real betrayal? His Swiftfishing. “So sad. You cannot put the Eras Tour as your happy place if you don’t know ‘Blank Space.’”
Other instances of Swiftfishing aren't quite so transparent. Caroline, 28, started talking to a guy after noticing a niche Swift reference in his profile. “‘Sad Beautiful Tragic’ was listed as his cry-in-the-car song on his profile, so we discussed her. I was like, ‘Oh, great, a guy who doesn’t have shame about loving Taylor,’ but then he still ghosted me after three dates,” she says. JSYK, that particular tearjerker from Swift has lyrics like:
“We both wake / In lonely beds / In different cities / And time / Is taking its sweet time erasing you / And you’ve got your demons / And darlin’ they all look like me.”
If Caroline’s match was telling the truth, he listened to these lyrics, cried to them, and still ghosted without explanation. Her story begs the question: Would a lying Swiftfish be preferable to an actual Swiftie with zero empathy?
In my experience, Swiftfishes often reveal themselves in time, either through a lack of knowledge or sh*tty dating behavior. But there are some ways to spot them early on. Try asking for their thoughts on Scott Borchetta, the Folklore love triangle, and the live versions of “Exile” and “Evermore.”
And for all the Swiftfishers out there, here’s a warning from a song reference you won’t grasp: “Karma’s a relaxing thought / Aren’t you envious that for you it’s not?”
*Name has been changed.