There’s a strong desire amount the UK’s dating community to find a happy ending. The findings of the Match.com LoveGeist Report 2010-11 shows that love is more of a priority than ever for singles in the UK, with 93% of daters looking for long-term love, rising to 97% among the 18-30s.
According to similar research done for the last two years running, 1 in 6 people met their spouse through an online dating website. That’s a lot of people using the web to find true love, so surely it pays to be honest from the start? According to three online dating devotees, now happily settled down, a profile is not the place to start with home truths. And a first email is about getting the conversation started, not revealing your entire life story. Leave something to the imagination!
This isn’t about fibbing – which is easier to do on line than in person because we know our body language won’t give the game away – but simply leaving the details for later down the line. Tips from Match.com for posting a tempting profile include crafting a catchy headline. Men are more prone to reject women at the first glance and so what’s to feel guilty about with some creative personal PR? “Bubbly personality? We all know what that means don’t we? I’m part-whale!” So says Adam when his dad is helping him search for a ‘female’ online (Inbetweener Simon Bird stars alongside Tamsin Greig in Channel 4’s new comedy Friday Night Dinner, starting 25 February).
Dr Jeff Gavin, psychology lecturer at the University of Bath, told The Guardian that your email address, spelling, how explicit or upfront you are, and your speed of replying to emails are all more likely to turn someone on or off you. And that’s echoed by Ollie at Match.com: “Doing a spell check is vital!”
Gemma, 34, an editor from South London, says, “If I get as far as exchanging mobile phone numbers with someone and then they text me ‘Cnt wait 2 c u, lol’ language, or if an email is littered with spelling mistakes, I’m going to be more put off by that than anything in their profile.”
Sophie, 35, a solicitor from Surrey, puts little faith in any profile. “You never get to know someone until you meet up. Also, I would have never approached the guy I’m dating now in a bar because I would have thought he was too good looking for me. We’re pretty serious now, after 18 months. With a previous date, I lived for the excitement of phone and text sex and yet when we met up, there was no spark at all but there was plenty of male chauvinism that he didn’t include in his profile!”
Rosanne, 41, a hair stylist from Dorset, is a single mum and found it easier to use dating sites to do the initial ‘sifting’. If she was going to pay for a babysitter, the date had to stand a chance of working from the outset. “I would tick all the boxes in my profile so that someone wouldn’t reject me on something silly. Also, you can’t tell from a profile if you’d fit in with a person’s social circle and family. I’d always schedule a phone chat pretty early on as you can tell a lot about the guy from how you get on over the phone. But pretty soon, you need to see how willing they are to introduce you to friends or family. That’s the best way of seeing what his world looks like and how you’d fit in.”
Katie, 25, a teacher from County Durham, found that Internet dating allowed her to date while housebound due to illness. “I was recovering from ME when I started Internet dating and so had to be honest about that because my energy levels were so low. Of course it would have been pretty shortsighted to put that in my profile. It’s meant to tempt people! I discovered though, after opening up after a few emails, that there really are lots of genuinely lovely guys out there who want to settle down, have kids etc. and who are willing to see past difficult circumstances.”
Agreed then – leave the small print for further down the line and stay positive and upbeat about yourself in your profile and early emails. And try to leave a few things to the imagination! Or isn’t that fair play?