The Secrets Of Online Dating

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 8 2014 @ 6:29pm

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Wired analyzed data from OKCupid and Match.com to help online daters create the most appealing possible profiles. Their suggestions in a nutshell?

Learn to surf, listen to Radiohead, mind your grammar, use Tinder, OkCupid, Match, and Grindr on Sunday, watch Homeland, stop listing your eyes as your best feature (nobody cares), and please, please make eye contact with the camera and smile with teeth in your profile picture.

Amanda Hess notes that Wired‘s number-crunchers “found that both men and women gain popularity on the site when they play against gender stereotypes”:

On OkCupid, men who mention “my children” are rated as highly attractive, while women who discuss their kids are not. It’s good for women to talk about electronics and for men to talk about crafting, but not the other way around. It’s much better for women to mention The Matrix than it is for men to mention The Matrix, better for men to mention weddings than it is for women to mention weddings, and better for women to mention war than it is for men to mention war. The lowest-rated women talk about Twilight, poetry, and “chick flicks”; bottom-ranked men discuss zombies and C++. (More fun facts: The most popular women on the site call themselves “girls,” while the most popular men call women “women.” And it’s really hot for guys to use the word “whom.”)

Daisy Buchanan insists that profile pictures trump self-descriptions, however finely-tuned:

[T]he fact remains that a picture paints a thousand words and, as long as you look good in your photograph, you can fill the “about you” section with an extended essay about your passion for the works of cinematic auteur Michael Bay, and still get plenty of messages. This might be why image-based dating apps like Grindr and Tinder are so popular, with the latter increasing its user base by 25% a week at the last count.

Putting the image-first hypothesis to the test, comedy writer Alli Reed created a fake profile using pictures of a model-actress friend accompanied by text that indicated “she’s not just a bad person, she wants to ruin your life”:

Q: So you created a profile for a girl named AaronCarter’sFan who likes to party and knock over homeless people, or at least their cups, and she’s a racist, gold digging, fake pregnant-getting, 25 year old girl, white girl. How’d you do?

A: AaronCarterFan did very well. In the first 24 hours she got 150 messages. I had the profile up for two or three weeks, and she got close to 1000 men message her. … [A]fter so many messages started rolling in, the optimist in me decided that these men had just seen the pretty photo and had not read her profile. So my goal at that point became to convince them that she is just awful. That she is the worst woman on earth. If they asked what I was doing I said I was pretending to be a 14 year old on Facebook so I could bully my sister’s friends. I would threaten to pull out their teeth. With a lot of guys I could just, I wrote gibberish, just pounded on keyboard for a minute and sent it and the vast majority of them responded with that sounds great, what are you doing on Friday?