I’m sure you’ve seen the commercial: good looking man meets attractive woman on the sidewalk, they enter a restaurant that could be in Anywhere, USA and laugh the night away. Meanwhile, the voiceover guy is throwing out stats about relationships, online dating and informs us that we are in fact witnessing this happy couple’s first date.
This smart looking couple did not meet on just any site, but the premier online dating Mecca for singles that is www.Match.com. In case you’re not familiar, they claim to have more dates, more relationships and more marriages than any other site.
My initial reaction to this most informative 30 seconds targeting the one third of the population who, like me, is single was full of sarcasm. I asked myself: If I sign up, will cameramen follow me to my first date? Further infiltrated by the frequency of this commercial, I later wondered: How do they know one in five relationships start online? Did my questionnaire for singles get lost in the mail?
Then one lonely Friday night, I asked myself the most important question: Why not give it a try? So then and there, I powered up my laptop and joined the dating site which promises more. Keith Morrison’s crooning voice narrating Dateline faded to the background as I hurriedly filled out my profile, uploaded a few pictures and anxiously began browsing for my man.
Just like their commercials, the Match.com site provides its members with valuable nuggets of information. For those of you who may not be in the loop, when you open your personal home page, you will find various statistics. This is how I know that in a six-month span, my profile was viewed 5,101 times, 24 people have “liked” my photo and 30 people have “winked” at me this week. What is even more special is to see that I’ve been selected as the favorite by a handful of guys including The_Sasquatch and Will_Rub_Feet (more on this later). The final statistic to note is that I’ve only been out on a handful of dates.
CNBC.com recently posted their list of top 12 cities for online dating. Montgomery was not on that list. Let’s humorously consider why this may be…
Match.com performs a magical analysis and based on my specifications, provides a list of men who are my “Daily Matches.” From this inventory of eligible bachelors, I can then rate them as a “yes, no or maybe.” Today’s list included upgradeyourself1, and we are considered a match because like me, he is a non-smoker and likes felines. Hallelujah, and never mind the fact that this guy already assumes I need upgrading! Match.com has located my soul mate based on the criteria that he doesn’t reek of cigarette smoke and he has a cat. Perhaps the marketers of Match will reconsider the makings of a great couple.
Next, let’s look at the actual screening process. There are key elements of the profile, and a few simple mistakes can put the brakes on a match. (Please note, we mean no one harm or shame and are simply observers of what is trending in the hopes we can all learn and improve our odds at finding love).
The first rule is simple: post a photo. If your profile is minus a face, you are going to have to work really hard to garner attention because it signals a red flag. Women are wondering if you are (a.) hiding something (b.) lacking commitment (c.) have no access to a camera. So now that you’ve posted the photo, it’s important to note that holding a camera phone in front of the mirror shirtless is, unlike your phone, not smart. If you have amazing abs, most women will prefer to discover that as a bonus to your great personality when you take her to the beach. Last and most puzzling are the men who post photos with other girls posing next to them. Unless you are soliciting polygamy, this should be a no-brainer. Photoshop is your friend; however, if your ex is literally still in the picture, you may want to re-think your strategy.
The Screen name and Headline
Consider this the introduction and opening line. Being unique is a plus, but remember that you are painting a picture of who you are. When it comes to wanting to know more about a person, these small bits tell everything. I’m sure I’ve passed on many a great guy over this, but I question compatibility and have specific messages to following:
The_Sasquatch - I can see that you are balding which is not a deal breaker, however, any name associated with a yeti sends me to a visual of future Saturday nights spent waxing your back.
Will_Rub_Feet – While that is very kind of you, I’m wondering what you expect rubbed in return? Besides, the only strangers who rub my feet are at the nail salon, so I’ll pass.
The last suggestion on a screename is to be clever and stand out. In our region, this means staying away from RollTide, WarEagle, Bama and AU because they are a dime a dozen. After a while, you unfairly begin to group all those guys in the same category of no.
Never is there going to be more pressure to craft the written one-liner, and here are a few “nevers”:
“If you don’t cook, don’t start.”- Great, rdytoluvagn, you are already telling me what I can/can’t do, and we haven’t even met. Actually, this offer sounds pretty fair for us girls who don’t use our kitchens!
“I will love you.” – So, Jaime7541, are you psychic or looking to love everyone? Most girls want to feel special and declaring your love before we’ve even “winked” is probably not the best headline to reel one in.
“Looking for 4 a Queen”- I’m hoping this is a typo DLM 8896, because if you are looking for four queens, you are going to have your hands full! Let’s all be sure to proof our work before putting ourselves out there.
The Initial Email
A plus to online dating is that you can correspond and have a sense of each other’s personality before talking or meeting face-to-face. That being said, I’ve polled several other women who date online, and we receive countless attempts of the same email that drives us nuts. It contains one word: “Hi.”
Really, what kind of reply does that warrant? Most women admit they ignore those emails for lack of effort alone. Perhaps the best reply was suggested by another woman who was just as frustrated at getting this lame email, so she sent back: “I’m assuming you can write a complete sentence? If so, feel free to prove it to me and try again.”
While we can find humor in the online dating mistakes, the biggest mistake of all is taking no action and expecting our dream date to simply show up. Ten years ago, online dating was seen as the last refuge of the desperate. Ten years ago, I was married. Lucky for singles today, it’s become main stream, and we can try it without shame. We can’t tweak our past, but we can revise our online profile if it’s not producing good results. The main thing is to balance humor with honesty, and present a message that accurately depicts who you are and what you are looking for. Don’t be discouraged by the number of rejections. It’s not about stats, as a wise adviser reminds me, “it only takes one.”
Maybe Match.com is right: it is about more. More laughter, more patience and more hope that sifting through more profiles will bring me to the one… with or without the cat or the camera crew.