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How To Game an Online Dating Site

How To Game an Online Dating Site

Create the wrong online dating profile and you'll be spending your Saturday evenings with Netflix and frozen meals and the cat. Create the right profile and people will come flocking to you.  You'll have a line of suitors and suitoresses snaking down the block to your door.  People will be chanting your name in the streets. An article in New York Magazine's The Cut created a huge stir in the online dating circles by identifying the most popular straight guy, straight woman, gay man, and lesbian woman on OK Cupid.  The NY Mag writer talked to the data wonks at OK Cupid and asked to be contacted to the person in each category who received the most messages from other OK Cupid users during a specific period of time.

A key thing to remember is, as the article mentions,

The four people selected wouldn’t necessarily claim to be the wealthiest, most stunning or successful singles, but...they were among the top five in their respective categories and, perhaps less scientifically, were the four who were also willing to be interviewed for a story.

So, we're looking only at success within the realm of OK Cupid.  This means that these are four quite ordinary people who have successfully gamed OK Cupid to their advantage.  Let's look at one of these people, Lauren Urasek (currently her OK Cupid handle is loandthecosmos, but we expect this will change before long), because her profile is absolutely a textbook version of how to game OK Cupid, since she reportedly receives about 36 messages a day:

1.  Realize That You Can Fashion an Image Out of Nothing

Popular Woman Close Up

Ms. Urasek masterfully created a mask for herself.  Men perusing her photographs may not even realize it, and that's why we've blown up her photograph to this huge size:

Strip off that mask of hers.  Take off that lipstick and mascara.  Clean off the face.  Let her eyebrows revert to their normal, genetically-ordained bushiness.  Change her Betty Page/Cleopatra hair style to something plain and Midwestern.  Cover the tattoo.  Open the eyes to dispel the come-hither look.

What have you got?  She's quite normal, just like the rest of us poor slobs.  This woman is not gorgeous.  Not even close. In fact, drill down to those bottom OK Cupid pics and you'll see that, like the rest of us again, she's fighting the pudge.

Know what we like to call those types of bangs?  Female mullets.

2.  Think Like an Attention Whore

She isn't necessarily interested in dating all of these men.  She's a woman who wants attention, and perhaps some dates will come out of it.

It's all about numbers.  Create enough of a stir that thousands of eyeballs will focus on you.  Then, with that huge pool at your disposal, you can do the picking and choosing.

3.  Create a Slut Persona

This doesn't mean you have to be a slut.  Just create a slutty image.  Hers:  "I'm smart and independent, but I can be your slut-toy.  Let's go to The Encore at Wynn in Vegas, pull a few slots retro-like, and then you can do me all you want, big boy."

Lauren in Vegas

4.  Be Sublime

Sublimity is the freshener in this mix.  It's the lime in the cocktail.  She says

I spend a lot of time thinking about neuroscience and the amount of stars/planets/galaxies in existence.

All of her talk about the cosmos; her Laurence Krauss quote ("Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded..."); her talk about forests and the ocean.  All of these things are calculated to present a counter-balance to the slut persona.

5.  Write in Non-Sequiturs

This is so classic OK Cupid, we hate to even mention it.  But write lists of things that don't go together, such as her favorite things being

astronomy (not astrology), whiskey, hockey, grammar, red pandas, forests, down comforters, airplanes, sushi, and the ocean

Not just non-sequiturs, but the high (stars) and the low (hockey).

6.  Be Confrontational and Badass

You must create an edge to your persona.  Communicate that you cannot be pushed.  She tells us that

I don't get intimidated easily. My opinions/sarcasm tend to offend people.

7.  Put Everything Through the Cool Filter

Her list of favorite movies

Requiem for a Dream, Fight Club, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Garden State, 500 Days of Summer, Donnie Darko, Religulous, Kimjongilia, and most any documentary

is solely limited to edgy, cool, semi-indie movies.  However, nothing is so indie that it is unrecognizable.

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