One dull evening, my flatmates and I decided to sign up for ZivugZone. Separately, we sat at our laptops uploading photos and writing descriptive paragraphs. Then we microwaved some popcorn and waited.
It didn’t take too long. The messages started arriving. For one of my flatmates, about three a night. For me — every couple of days. Not that it mattered. The guys who messaged us had depressingly boring profiles. Not one bothered to upload a photo. Their messages were invariably “Hi. Wanna talk?” And their description went “I’m a nice guy looking for a pretty girl.”
This was pretty standard for the site, we discovered, scrolling through the options. I wondered: are the women this bad too?
So I created a male profile. I wanted to see if the female profiles were as bad as the male. And yeah: I wanted to scope the competition.
And boy was there competition. Everyone had a photo. And some of those photos were gorgeous. I despaired as I scrolled through a smorgasbord of pictures clearly taken at weddings, their subjects posing in perfectly ironed hair and impeccable makeup. I didn’t even bother to read their names or descriptive paragraphs. I just went “Pretty — really pretty — gorgeous — whoa! — Shnasty — Ooh, look at her I should give up now…” I felt like such a guy.
Then a photo caught my eye. It was different. The clothes and hair weren’t elaborate – -she was wearing a zip-up sweatshirt and denim skirt. She was standing in the midground, facing a log cabin, peering flirtatiously over her shoulder at the camera. She wasn’t just pretty — she was cute. I stopped and read her description. She said she was a fun girl who enjoyed traveling and playing in the sunshine. Okay, it wasn’t quite like that, but that’s the impression it gave. She sounded like every man’s dream. I practically asked her out. Then I remembered that I’m not really a man — just posing as one.
Then I realized something even more embarrassing: the girl in the picture was my flatmate.
I double-checked the name. “Goldy S.” Yep. That was my flatmate.
Amy Webb says your descriptive paragraph should be less than 99 words and include “sunshine,” “smile,” and “girl” in it. And Goldy’s sure as heck did. So I decided to do an experiment. I copy-pasted her paragraph wholesale into my profile and waited for the messages to roll in.
“Can I use a photo of you too?” I asked next. I thought a good next step would be to pair her photo with a humdrum, non-sunshiny paragraph and see what happened.
“No,” she replied, possibly not wanting to go into competition with herself.
So I left it at that. I never completed the experiment.
Well, someone went and took the experiment all the way!
“[Comedian Alli Reed] created the fake OKCupid profile, ‘aaroncarterfan,’ using a picture of her best friend who is a model, ‘hoping to prove that there exists an online dating profile so loathsome that no man would message it,’ despite how attractive the picture is.”
She wrote that she’s very good at convincing people that she’s pregnant, and that she enjoys knocking the coffee cups out of the hands of homeless people because “it is sooooooo funny.”
She got 150 messages in 24 hours.
So there you go, ladies. It’s all about the picture.
Well, maybe not all. You should probably still have a 99-word sunshiny paragraph, rather than a list of your vices. But if you want anyone to even glance at that paragraph, you’re going to need a pretty darn good photo.
So get snapping.