Guest Post: The Great Dating Profile Experiment

Regular comment readers will remember how Neelkomol and I egged shilsen on to try being a girl online for a while and see what he gets. Being shilsen, he did. And here are the results:

All of us guys, or at least all of us who have female friends or partners who are trying or have tried to date online, have heard the horror stories about their experiences. Recently, as suggested by a couple of people here, I created a fake profile on OkC, to check out what things are like on the dark side.

I set it up as a 30 year old Indian woman, attending graduate school, with only the following information:

Description:
Vivacious, extroverted, funny, sarcastic, adventurous.
This is my first time making a dating profile and I’m just testing out the waters. Not looking for anything special, but simply hoping I meet some fun, intelligent people to go out with (and, if lucky, stay in with).

Good at:
Calculating things in my head, dirty jokes, random trivia.

Six things I could never do without:
Wifi
My phone (What? I like my tech!)
A good book
Fun friends
Pets (though I’m doing without right now)
Lots of variety in food (I’m a foodie)

What I think about:
How much my sister is going to tease me for dating online.

On a typical Friday night I am:
I’d like to say going out on the town and having an exciting life, but that’s been happening quite rarely nowadays–which is one of the reasons for this profile.

You should message me if:
You like what you see!
And please, if you do so, tell me something about yourself. No one-liners asking how I’m doing! (I added this after a large number of one-liners—and it had very marginal effect, of course!)

In the interests of seeing what things the dudes fixate on, I made the details include the following:

  • bisexual
  • 5 ft tall with an athletic body
  • a non-smoker (no drugs)
  • social drinker
  • agnostic
  • mostly monogamous
  • not interested in children
  • set itfor age groups 22-46, as OkC, being all about older men, suggested

And to wrap things off I went with a blurry stock photo of a young woman in a graduation cap.

With all that done, I popped the profile up at my current location (in New Jersey, right outside New York), answered 100 of the OkC questions so there’ll be some data for matches, and buzzed off.

Over the next week, I checked messages but didn’t respond to any. After two days, I switched her location to New Delhi and then, after another two days, moved it to Calcutta.

The responses

Outside New York:

  • 43 responses in 2 days
  • 35 men, 2 women, 3 couples (one of them Indian)
  • 19 messages that were more than one line
  • One “Want to fuck?” (Indian guy :P)

Delhi:

  • 177 responses in 3 days
  • all men
  • 81 messages that were more than one line
  • one “are you a bi” (and nothing else!); another “great to know that you are a bi”; one “Hello dear. Jimmy dis side. I am fun loving guy, love to make good friend and i also like casual sex if u like it”; one “pardon me but u exhume sexual it and come out as a very naughty n demanding person”; one “u want sex date”; one “Why does every woman on this site wants to deal with only single men?!! I would bet that half of so called single men would be actually married and other half may not be good company! Marriage is a man made institution and it should not come in between two souls trying to communicate!”; one which consisted of five messages in a row: “HELLO”, “I like ur profile”, “I love u”, “I love u”, “Amira r u Muslim, Muslim girls r very beautiful.”; one that only said “I am all in for animal rights I think they deserver as much as we humans do” (?!); one “At this point in life I am looking for a friend. Maybe a live-in relationship. I do not know.”; one that simply said “sex chat?”

Calcutta:

  • 77 responses in 4 days
  • 76 men, 1 woman
  • 35 messages that were more than one line
  • one guy who messaged 4 times in 2 hrs to share his number and say he was waiting; one “I reviewed your profile in length and really liked your credentials. Can we be in touch??”; one who sent the longest response yet, wrote again within an hour to express disappointment at the lack of response and has now deleted his account; one lovely message of “Hey…I don’t know what exactly you’re looking for but you look pretty horny to me especially when you said that part…staying in with. ;) accha tell me…im inquisitive…when you say you’re bi…have you touched/slept with a women? That sounds really awesome actually.”; one “though i m a bit bad boy but i m honest n loyal person searching for a milf in my life with whom i can share my true love because i like mature n elder woman in life.”

And that’s as much as I could bear to put up with before I decided to wrap things up. So, what did I learn from this? Mostly things that I already knew, but a couple of additional little details, so here are a few random observations.

  • The number of guys who shared their phone number immediately was a lot higher than I would have predicted. And almost completely an Indian thing (only a single American did). Something tells me women would be much, much less likely to do so.
  • The ratio of people who only used a single line (sometimes consisting of a couple of short sentences) was remarkably similar in all areas. And the number who got beyond a very short paragraph was tiny.
  • Less than 10% of them showed any indication of having really looked at the profile. And that’s a damn small profile to go through! I think only a single one (an American) showed that he had looked at the answers to the questions.
  • The Americans essentially never mentioned sex right off the bat, and of the Indians who did, the number was far higher in Delhi.

And I totally get why lots of women go, “Screw this!” after trying online dating for a while. If I had to wade through piles and piles of the kind of dreck that I saw people send, I’m reasonably confident that I wouldn’t bother.

This little experiment also made me curious enough to check my own activities on OkC. Unsurprisingly, the shortest opening message that I’ve ever sent someone was longer than even the largest one out of all those that “Amira” received. What I didn’t know, however, was that of the 19 people with whom I’d initiated contact on OkC, 10 of them responded. If you take out the earlier ones where I was in the process of separating from my wife and mentioned that in the interests of honesty, it becomes more like 9 responses out of 14.

I’ve been told by some of my female friends that it’s a pretty good record of responses. And I’m pretty sure that’s not because I am a wonderful catch (well, I clearly am, but that’s a different story!), but simply because every message was detailed and written with a lot of time and thought, and specifically tailored to the particular profile and personality of the recipient. It seems self-evident to me that it should be the approach one takes since, after all, I was writing to them based on their profiles and personality. But the above experiment underlines the fact that it’s not at all the norm.

So what I learned is basically what I already knew—for the most part, men in the online dating world suck! And they don’t need training from pickup artists and all that crap; what they need are lessons in reading comprehension, attention to detail, expressiveness, and not being a douche. Oh lord—I just realized: I need to teach them freshman composition!

Any more volunteers to date online with a gender swap?

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22 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Great Dating Profile Experiment

  1. I tried this over a bored few weeks last year to check whether its a men only thing. So I created a fake profile for a gay woman. While the number of messages I got were significantly less, the quality of messages wasn’t significantly higher. I wonder if it’s got something to do with the expectation of making the first move that inspires the mass produced one line type messages.

    Liked by 1 person

    • well it depends on quality. and who sent them. were they women who said hai sexy cn v hv funtimz? or men? or just boring messages like hi hru? also it’s interesting how people who identify as liberal and openminded are reluctant to accept that the marginalized groups we support might also boast of assholes. hee.

      Like

  2. This inspires me to start a fake OkC profile, chic of course! I have pretended to be a chic on the old Y! Messenger for cheap thrills, so I am guessing it should be no different. It will give me an opportunity to kill time on slow days at work, and blow of steam on really hectic days by giving back at some of the outrageous messages.

    Btw, found the animal rights thingy super hilarious! I was like “Whaaaaaat?!”. I am not sure if it was the result of being ‘monogamous’ or ‘agnostic’.

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  3. Delhi has copy-pasted the shaming culture directly from America. Young teenage guys who are not trying to become players and not boasting of sexual conquests are actively bullied and crucified to an extent you cannot imagine. You have to chase because girls like to be chased. They believe. This is reinforced by the movies. You have to become a player. That is the ultimate rite of passage. Those who are not doing it are losers. And this is also proactively reinforced and approved by the womankind here in Delhi who are too passionate and eager to adopt the slut-stud system invented by the anglosaxons. The rocket science of signals and covert communication has to be followed.

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    • you know while i agree with you in terms of what’s wrong with how dating is fucked up, i can’t help but call your attention to how you’re smoothly removing all agency/responsibility from half the people involved! actually from all because poor girls they are brainwashed they can’t think, and poor boys they have no choice but to do what the evil girls demand. these are very problematic assertions.

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    • And you made such sense, till it got lost somewhere between “too passionate and eager womankind here in Delhi” and “invented by anglosaxons”.
      Tut, tut. It is such a pity, the prejudices that have become so deeply ingrained in the bloodstream that we can’t even smell the stink. :D

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Clearly you should start a movement here, 50dates, so there can be even more whining from men online about how women don’t respond to them, and that there are soooo many fake profiles, and why can’t there just be real women who like them as much as they do, and … and … and … :p

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The whole dating thing doesn’t really work in India because we aren’t taught manners, etiquette, space and respect.
    What’s weird is that, with the right motivation, a site like shaadi.com can also become a pain in the butt. :)
    And no, nothing will induce me try it again. At 42, I’ve learned my lessons..
    Kudos for putting yourself out there and trying to achieve the impossible. Have to cheer your enthusiasm and initiative.
    Wish you every success and luck with this and more :)
    — DG

    Liked by 2 people

    • but but but
      did it work?
      =)
      i have tried those too. shudder. they’re WORSE. though in many ways people tend to use the same strategies they use on okc: bulk email same stuff to everyone; don’t read profile; have unrealistic expectations…

      thank you!

      Like

      • Hmm… it worked to the extent that I met some decent blokes who turned into insipid friends later. The rest can compete with your OKC weirdos, the brawn and no brain types. :)

        A couple of months ago, another unmarried friend (around my age) wondered if opening a single bar had any business value. The main intent was to check if we could find ONE single above 40 guy who had brains in the right place. I am guessing we’ll shut shop in 2 days, max!!! ;)

        Liked by 1 person

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