Ladies, some advice on online dating: the old real estate adage of location, location, location, applies.
“If you’re a woman, you probably want to start on Match.com because it is a little bit like Target,” said Andrea McGinty, matchmaker and owner of 33,000Dates.com. “It has everything, from a high end, upscale group of professionals to everything imaginable.”
With online dating, your profile becomes that all-important first impression to a sea of suitors. So, you want to convey a sense of self-confidence and a positive attitude, Ms. McGinty said. Put some work into it, and let your personality come through. And don’t lie about your age or weight. (To learn more about online dating, read In Online Dating Sea, Lots of Bait, Few Nibbles.)
Olivia M., 31, is always honing her profile.
“I put a decent amount of effort into it,” said Olivia M. “It is always evolving, and that is the case for most people.”
Avoid generic, vanilla statements (remember, no hand holding walks on the beach) and, really, who doesn’t want a nice guy to travel with and who makes you laugh. Believe it or not, ladies, guys notice those things.
Jon H., 32, has seen “I like to travel” on so many profiles that it has become a standard. “That’s always in there,” he said. Maron F., 65, said he avoids women who have a heavy dose of travel in their profile, “because I’m just going to be a gigantic disappointment.”
Ms. McGinty agrees with the guys. Women use “travel,” she said, as a kind of shorthand for being worldly and sophisticated. But travel is like nice , in that they are generic. If you’re going to include travel in your profile, be specific.
“It doesn’t mean anything until they know more about what you’re talking about,” she said.
The same goes for humor. Tell your prospective suitors what movies make you laugh or if you get a giggle from British humor or something goofy.
Men are visual, so photos are important. Ms. McGinty suggested five to eight tasteful, full-body photos showing you doing an activity alone or with friends. For example, if you do yoga, a tree pose is a good photo. Downward Facing Dog, not so much.
“You want good photos that show you and show some of your interests, where you are not just posing,” Ms. McGinty said. “Selfies are a no-no. They are kind of boring. The same thing with sunglasses. People want to see people’s eyes and know what they look like. You want to represent yourself as what you are really like now and what you look like now.”
No photos from a decade ago and, Ms. McGinty said, “beware of headshots.” Guys are not going to swipe right if you have only headshots.
“Women who have at least two full-body shots do much better than those who have only headshots,” she said.
And one piece of advice for guys: Unless you’re water skiing, keep your shirt on in photos.
Now, for first contact. Yes, that sounds like you’re meeting terrestrial beings – and in a way you are. After exchanging texts, have a five- to 10-minute phone call or video chat — just enough time to decide if you want to meet in person. Longer conversations may get awkward or go so well that it amps up expectations. Video also will give you both an opportunity to visually assess each other before deciding on the next step.
“Men say they look at the smile, the eyes, the hair and teeth,” Ms. McGinty said. “But just as important on a FaceTime call is what your expressions are like. Do you look pretty happy, a positive person? Or do you look dour?”
Be proactive online. Set the filters by geographic range, age, religion, education or profession, if those are important to you. Ms. McGinty suggested making the first meeting during the day, like a lunch, because it has a normal ending. And remember – the first date with a guy is only about whether you want a second date with him. That’s it, nothing more.
If Match.com is Target for women, then it is Overstock for men.
“If you are a man, Match.com is more heavily men than women, so it probably is not the place for you to start,” she said.
Guys living in a bigger city or market can expect more competition. So, figure out what you want and need in a match before settling on a dating site or app, she advised. Guys also need to put in some work and beef up their profiles.
“Guys put a lot less effort into it,” Olivia M. said.
What travel, nice and laugh are to women’s profiles, competitiveness and spontaneity are to guys’ profiles. And they tend to lie about their height.
“I would say that guys all say that they are overly competitive about everything. [It] is astonishing,” Olivia M. said.
As for spontaneity, quitting a job and moving to a new city is pretty lame.
Men also tend to be less sensitive to the tone of their profiles. What may seem like a simple comment to them, may feel more abrupt to a woman reading it.
With all the hurdles facing online daters, people are still managing to find each other. Jon H. was d riving to see his grandparents one day. Passing by a town, a woman hit the “Like” button on his profile.
“It is funny how it works out,” said the 32-year-old investment banker. “If I wasn’t driving by that day, I would not have met my girlfriend of four years, who [now] lives with me and whom I love.”
As for Olivia M., she recently met someone — the old-fashioned way — through friends.