Hi y’all! Ready for your annual reminder of my thoughts on Valentine’s Day? :)
1) Valentine’s Day is a made-up corporate bullshit holiday that puts enormous unnecessary pressure on both single and non-single people!
2) It’s really fucking hard to get a reservation!
3) As Dan Savage likes to point out, it’s kind of high stakes to go out for a super-rich and enormous obligatory meal accompanied by tons of champagne/red wine and then be expected to sexperform amazingly!
4) Red roses that were bought at a corporate-jacked premium and shoved with default baby’s breath aren’t quite as meaningful as any other flower/combo bought on any other day of the year!
5) The whole Cupid concept is kind of weird and creepy, and scapegoats an awful lot of romantic happiness responsibility onto a strangely sex-obsessed armed flying baby who by the way is imaginary!
6) Consider taking it easy about this whole Valentine thing and not letting your current date’s lackluster planning or your nonexistent date’s nonexistence get to you, because that’s kind of silly and your life is probably pretty awesome if you, you know, have access to the kind of amenities that would allow you to, you know, read a blog post!
7) So instead of traditional Valentiney marketing, as is expected of my industry, allow me to please present you some silly “roses are red” poems that tie in to actual online dating advice!
General online dating tips
I see a LOT of primary profile pics (on Tinder, but also on other dating sites) where the first pic is a shot of you in sunglasses. I get it—you were out adventuring on a cool vacation, the sun was in your eyes, you look great and world-travely, etc. That’s all great. But establishing intimacy and (especially for guys) trustworthiness is wildly important in online dating.
Hiding behind your sunglasses can make you seem less approachable. It can even send the signal that you’re aloof or hard to get to know, which is silly—but we’re talking about people’s subconscious snap judgments within milliseconds of seeing your image. We’re not talking about cold hard logic here. Lose the shades and you may open up more enjoyable dating interactions!
Six pics is the max on Tinder for a reason! Why six, you ask? Basically, because people start to zone out after that. If you upload 20 mediocre pics, you seem way less exciting to get to know than if you upload six really excellent, flattering, well-chosen ones.
If you need help obtaining or prioritizing your pics, get in touch!
For most people, one site or app at a time is best. When you split your attention between two dating ecosystems, you give each one less of your time and energy. You log on less often, you engage with other users less frequently, you reply to messages with greater delays, and you generally don’t have as good an experience.
However, many folks do okay with one site plus one *app* at a time—like OkCupid and Tinder, or eHarmony and Coffee Meets Bagel. It’s just not good to combine two complexity-rich and/or paid sites—so no OkCupid plus eHarmony, or Match plus Plenty of Fish.
If you’ve been rocking two expensive sites with mediocre results, I advise you to shut one of them down and set aside what you would have been spending on other dating costs. You can invest those funds in better pictures (nudge nudge), or transportation costs so you can Lyft home after dates, or meals at slightly nicer restaurants. Or getting your nails done. Or a smartphone with a better camera. Or, you know, coaching with me. :)
Basically, spend on optimizing ONE major dating site, not Horcruxing yourself into way too many online identities that you do a crappy job keeping up with!
Ooooh boy. I’m looking (mostly) at POF here, but I also see this problem on eHarmony and OkCupid (in that order). If your picture is super small and pillarboxed or letterboxed, go find a bigger one. If your picture is FLIPPED 90 DEGREES, for Cupid’s sake, fix it! If your eHarmony cover image is weirdly obscured by their user interface, fix it or pick a different image for that context. If your picture is cropped really wide so your face barely shows, fix it.
Just ask me if you’re confused about how to solve any of these awkward image issues!
Heh, it’s true! Lots of dating sites and apps have inconsistent emoji experiences—so, like, an Android user on Tinder see slightly different icons than iPhone users, and some other platforms see weird unsupported character boxes instead of cute little smiley faces. Sometimes the mobile version of a site doesn’t display emoji when the app or desktop version does.
And hey, case in point; not only did the emojis in the embed code of that tweet screw up this blog post until I debugged it, but check it out. This is how that tweet looks on Favstar:
So just remember that you shouldn’t lean on emoji alone for that perfect punchline. Use your words, haha. [I would’ve inserted a speech bubble emoji here but it literally broke my blog post. There isn’t enough irony in the world’s deep irony forges for the irritated cackle I’m producing as I type this.]
If you’re signed up for my newsletter, you’ll know that this month’s issue was all about how to wrangle dating app notifications so they don’t drive you crazy. :)
Sorry for the f-bomb, gentler readers. But it REALLY makes a bad impression when there are numbers in your username! Of course this tip is technically true across all dating sites, but it’s actually a worse offense on OkCupid because of the type of people that site attracts.
I’m working on revamping my username guide, so for now, just shoot me an email if you suspect yours might suck. We’ll workshop it together!
And on that note…
A-List is OkCupid’s paid level of service. It’s about $20/month for a single month, or less if you prepay for several months at a time. Here’s what it gets you:
The thing is, though these features really do work against you in some ways!
With advanced searching, you end up filtering for specific body types, but that categorization is so vague and subjective that it rarely helps. (One person’s “fit” is another person’s “chubby”—trust me.)
Specific question answers are tempting, but most match questions are too binary to really work. If it’s like “do you want kids someday?” and the answer is like “under these circumstances, with this sort of partner, I could see that as a maybe,” but the choices are just “yes” or “no,” you’re basically building an unnecessarily reductive decision maker by searching on that one answer with no nuance or context.
Read receipts on messages just allow you to drive yourself crazy.
The “Who liked me” bit is nice, but that data point is more meaningful and effective at turning into a date when you’ve liked them back… and the free system notifies you of mutual likes.
Invisible browsing is tempting but actually makes it less effective to connect—people treat profile views as a show of interest.
So while you can make a case for some A-list features some of the time, *most* users just don’t need to be spending their money on that stuff! Changing a bad username for a one-time $20 fee is a good deal, though. :)
This is my biggest beef with OkCupid, haha. The founders have actually mentioned from time to time that they don’t think match percentage is that great a predictor of true chemistry or compatibility, yet they continually emphasize it in their UI.
Basically, if you are a 50% match or higher with someone, and they have cute pictures and write to you in an interesting way that makes you want to know more, you might as well go on a date to figure the rest out!
At this point, those questions have been removed for long enough that everyone should delete those answers so they don’t look outdated compared to their competition.
This might seem silly, but it’s a pretty good generalization—the sort of person who’s active on Twitter tends to be younger and more technically savvy than your average Match user. Twitter people are often a better fit on OkCupid or even Tinder.
Obviously, this is a broad generalization, but in my years of online dating coaching I’ve found it to mostly be true. Factors like demographics and personality type are huge in figuring out which site is the most effective ecosystem for each individual. I’m happy to help you figure out where you belong if you’re not having success on a given site; just ask me!
This is a HUGE problem on Match! It’s an issue on POF too, but I mostly see Match failures out in the wild. You know that “tagline” area that shows up next to someone’s username and picture in search results? Match cuts it off weirdly without telling you.
Check your tagline to see what shows up to other people when they’re just browsing search results! (I’d tell you a specific number of characters, but they’d immediately change it tomorrow if I did that, haha. It’s best to just do some basic testing.)
Like I said, it’s mean—but totally true. eHarmony’s interface was redesigned YEARS ago and there are still so many bugs that are so frustrating and confusing to my clients. It drives a former software tester like me bonkers! :)
I think the link there is pretty self explanatory. And as you know, I’m loads cheaper, haha.
Plenty of Fish poems
I hope this one is self explanatory too, but allow me to elaborate! Plenty of Fish is a Canadian site, founded by a Canadian guy. And it performs remarkably better in the Canadian market! It’s funny; even a short geographical distance isn’t a factor. POF rocks in Vancouver, BC but sucks in Bellingham, WA, just over the border.
So if you’re on POF in the US of A, get in touch so we can place you somewhere better for your market!
Just for fun :)
Heh. I truly jest. I don’t care what color your text bubbles are, or what phone you have, or really, whether you text at all. (That’s not true; I vastly prefer email, but you get the idea.) I just had to make with the stupid-cute emoji-rhyme poetry, you know? (And I do love me some Apple products. )
Oh, and in case you needed even more Valentine (or Galentine) fun from other rad women on the web, here ya go!