The algorithm you personally need to use to find love is NOT built into the system a dating website will offer you.
Amy’s research suggests that in order to maximize your online dating popularity, you must use optimistic language; keep your profile to a well-written 97 words; look great in your photo; and take approximately 23 hours between email contacts. Is popularity your goal though? Fair enough if meeting as many people as you can for casual social outings is your game. However, if you are truly seeking compatible companionship through an online dating forum, then please, read on. The algorithm you personally need to use to find love is not built into the system the website will offer you; you need to put in the time and effort to essentially write your own framework for what love looks like to you. We human beings are complicated and unique creatures and a one-size fits all mathematical approach will not work for everyone.
Online dating has become the second most popular way of meeting someone these days. According to the website findthebest, Match gets around 17 million unique visitors per month, or a current total of almost 38 million views per month. That is roughly 10 percent of the adult population of North America. Plenty of Fish had the greatest number of total visits per month at over 60 million. All of these active users partaking in online dating websites can lead to some pretty interesting dates and good stories: Amy’s worst date cost her $1314.37 for a swanky dinner, replete with multiple bottles of good wine, when he dodged the bill by sneaking out, saying he was “going to the bathroom”.
Correlations discovered by Amy during her bad date data gathering period included the realization that men who drink Scotch reference kinky sex almost immediately on a first date. My suggestion is don’t do that. Conversely, if that honestly is your cup-of-tea, why not have that important piece of information right in your profile from the get-go so that you attract a sexually compatible mate?
During the time between my readiness to meet new people, and getting into a monogamous relationship, I spent almost six months on two online dating websites, Match, and Plenty of Sharks. Oops, I meant Plenty of Fish. I started on POF because it was free; and, like anything in life, I discovered you get what you pay for. I stand by my statement to this day when my girlfriend complains about her choices on POF. I chose Match as my paid website because Helen Fisher is/was associated to it. According to findthebest e-Harmony is the best website for someone seeking a serious relationship while Match is the best for matchmaking.
My online dating experiences could be distilled down into two vastly different camps: the only dates I actually went on all came from Match while 100% of my outrageously crazy stories with the opposite sex come from the POF website. To be clear though, I started on POF, so by the time I got to Match, I was more experienced writing my profile, was more aware of the photos I chose, was far more discerning in who I responded to or contacted, and I had watched Amy’s talk. Needless to say, if this current relationship doesn’t work out for me, I am in no hurry to get back on those websites.
None of Amy’s suggestions saved me from the most prevalent problem I experienced with online dating sites: people who are not on the correct website for what they truly want deep down inside. The man who wanted an Adult Nursing relationship with me probably should have been on a Fetish website. The guy who two weeks into a great conversation let me know that, A) he was married, and B) he was looking for a submissive for role-playing, probably should not have been on a conventional dating website either. He clearly did not read my biography past the first couple of lines because there was no way I could have been mistaken for a submissive. He belonged on a cheaters website, or a S&M website, not POF. Guys, be clear about your needs and wants, and know who your audience is. If you are only looking for a part-time European-style lover as one second-date informed me, again, maybe another website is more appropriate than being on a mainstream website and having the “looking for a relationship” box checked off.
We all have differing perceptions and understandings of what relationships are, but it wouldn’t hurt to clarify within your profile what your true intentions are, if they differ from the mainstream in the slightest. I have seen profiles that are that direct, and as a browser, I appreciated the honesty that allowed me to move on.
Amy’s Grandmother would tell her to “stop being so picky.” Was I being too picky trying to find a “normal” “nice” guy to have a real relationship with? The data Amy eventually captured suggests this old-school advice on finding a mate is actually all wrong in the new reality. Users of online dating websites need to be more picky. Online dating is predicated on an algorithm (math), which suggests that what you put into your profile is directly correlated to your success in finding a compatible match through the system.
However, the mathematical variable for which you have no control over is the honesty of the user at the other end and the information he/she is putting into the system. Which was the problem I ran into over and over again. People that flat out misrepresented either their personality, their looks, or their intentions. Sometimes all three, and sometimes so blatantly I sat there in awe wondering who they thought they were fooling. Amy suggests that when confronted with blank windows or black and white questions, we are either superficial in our answers, or downright unable to be brutally honest about ourselves. Which makes an algorithm pretty pointless. In that scenario, which seemed to be the majority of my limited experiences, you will get matched up with people whose white lies and rose-coloured glasses correspond to your white lies and rose-coloured glasses. That is not likely the start of an epic love affair for the ages.
Knowledge is power, and now that you are aware of our human tendencies, you can be mindful and conduct a critical review of your profile write-up. Or better yet, maybe have a close friend quality-control it for you?
I believe that online dating needs to undergo a radical shift from the pleasant superficial qualities that allow us to get along with someone for a few dates while we explore commonalties, way over to the other end of the spectrum. Forget the niceties as you get to know each other; I think online dating needs to start with the deal-breakers, the hard stuff that will cause your relationship to fail years down the road. You can decide later how to divvy up your personal time and activities, bicker over what movie to rent, and compromise on where to go for dinner. The issues that normally take a year or more to come to light in a relationship can actually be put out there from day one.
I would love to see a profile that clear as day outlines what someones fighting style is, what their thoughts are on any controversial topic in our society at the present moment, what their love language is, political voting preferences, actual religious or spiritual practises, sexual predilections, what their relationship with money is, what a melt-down looks like for them, the most significant book they have read and how it changed them, etc. I hope you understand the picture I am painting at this point. In a superficial marketplace such as online dating, the only chance you have of truly finding love is to get brutally honest about your flaws and weaknesses. We all have them, so make peace with them, lay them of the table, and let someone who isn’t scared of your particular brand of crazy find you.
How Amy tackled the challenge of the superficial and less than forthright world of online dating was to write and write and eventually distill down 72 different data points for what she wanted in a mate; what love looked like for her. She two-tiered those points into deal-breakers and none deal-breakers and then ranked her data points. Last but not least, she then created a scoring system per data point. I am not a mathematician so that all seems rather daunting to me; however, taking the time to create a clear list of deal-breakers for yourself as a starting point sounds wise.
So to answer the question I posed, what can men write in their profiles to catch a women’s attention? I believe the answer is to be uniquely you. Find something niche about your personality, goals, or life experiences, and flaunt it, in the correct forum. Now off you go to communicate your values, ethics and morals to others in an honest manner.
And please, never, ever use a shirtless selfie taken in the bathroom mirror as your profile photo. Ugh. I could write a whole other article just on that topic, but others already have.
Here is some further reading about online dating with tips for men that I think is great, mostly because I too would have made some of these points if I had written this article sooner. And, how to write the opening message to your online woman of choice.
Photo:Flickr/ William Brawley