For context, you definitely want to have a quick read over part one again. OK? Good.
There’s one last problem which will make a mockery of your peace of mind.
Problem 3: The Hottie Paradox
This is more of an issue for men, but I think it goes both ways to some extent.
I think it’s pretty established by now that in a free-for-all like okcupid, boys and girls do things differently. The majority of males are fervently pursuing, and the majority of females are desperately filtering.
The lovely graph-porn over at okcupid illustrates that boys fire off emails with a machine-gun cadence. Girls are then left to hack and splutter their way through the deluge, somehow retaining a shadow of patience in the face of overwhelming douchery. Boys spend their time copying and pasting emails; girls spend their time deleting them.
There are two practical consequences.
It’s particularly frustrating that very obviously attractive ladies are going to be basically uncontactable. A common scenario for popular girls is that they log in to a full inbox (300 messages on okcupid). If a person is both hot and righteously on top of their shit – checking every day and deleting heavily – you might get through. If they’re less organised, or busy, or anything less that a deleting machine then your missives will never be seen.
The second problem is one of patience. Those rare ladies with genius-level intellect and bikini-model construction are typically not highly motivated to put up with this level of bullshit. Sure, they will giggle and sign up, curious to dabble – because who knows, right? – but will lunge for the Delete Account link with extreme alacrity when the unstoppable torrent of shirtless SUP GURL U SMOKIN bilge spatters over their perfectly forged features.
I’ve seen the most very-conventionally-attractive girls pull their profile in a matter of days, presumably because of the unpleasant tsunami of attention. In a true Hobbesian free-for-all, the chronic assholicism of boys is crushing.
The fact is then, above a certain level of physical attractiveness, the mechanism of online dating simply breaks down. If ‘truly stunning looks’ is on your shopping list – and even if you’re a sparkling hottie yourself – you’re probably going to have to get out there and do things the old fashioned way.
Again there’s some fascinating reading on the harsh facts of face-lust over on the okcupid blog – some seriously sexy number-crunching.
This is not comforting, you do realise that
OKCupid is worst for this: with great freedom, comes great opportunity to spam. But there are more things in heaven and earth than OKC.
Oddly, it turns out that Chemistry.com – with its quaint habit of not letting you do fucking anything without five kinds of photo ID and signed permission from both your parents and grandparents – is a winner here. Chemistry doles out contact with fellow members in a miserly dripfeed. The good news: if you connect with someone smoking hot on ye olde Chemistry, the chances are excellent that not many competitors know about them.
Let’s take a sample subject: me. How many significant past relationships have begun based on different sites?
- Chemistry: three
- Match: three.
- OKC: zero.
Bear in mind this is over quite a long time – I’m not a chronic slut or relationship-ADD sufferer (discuss).
The point is: I have come alarmingly close to The One on several occasions, and those meetings were possible precisely there wasn’t a whizz-bang Web 2.0 chat-fest that allowed every Tom, Dick and Horatio to be drenching them in virtual saliva.
So with these problems – excess hope, tenuous connections, the hottie paradox – what can you do to avoid hurt?
Strategy 1: Spread your bets
Remember that the response rate for anything you send is going to be low. Over time, only for every ten or twenty people you contact will you get one reply back. Maybe. That’s the harsh reality.
Secondly, your photos and profile matter infinitely more than the actual message content.
So save yourself some trauma and resist the urge to spend hours crafting a perfect message. Chances are it will go in the bin, often for completely mundane reasons (they met someone, they haven’t logged in, their mailbox is full of dreck).
To actually maximise your chances, you just need to demonstrate that you’re paying attention, and not spraying the same form-letter to anyone with a half-decent visage.
‘Paying attention’ here means at minimum addressing them by name – remember, candychebs4u is probably not an exotic European moniker, don’t use it as one – and ideally bringing up something that you liked in their blurb.
“Check out my profile and reply if you like it – thanks,” is a good straightforward way to sign off.
At the risk of belabouring the point, I recommend having a read over OKC’s analysis of what people actually respond to in messages.
Strategy 2: DON’T MUG YOURSELF
Depending on your taste and mood you can either go for Don’t Mug Yourself:
Or the equally poignant motif, You Do It To Yourself (yes I know that’s not the name of the song):
Here’s a hurt-dodging rule for you: Think really fucking carefully before clicking the Who Viewed Me option.
Seems like a good idea right, to see those folks who clicked on you? Well think of this feature as, ‘these are the lovelies who checked you out, but were not excited enough to email’. Often that’s no problem at all – until that superhawt honey you have been building your dreams around shows up on the list (and your inbox remains resolutely empty). You can hear the snort of rejection from the other side of the internet.
There are a million reasons why you won’t get a response – as you will know from your own inbox management. So never, never take it personally. I get more emails than I can be bothered giving civil replies to, so a lot of perfectly nice people go in the bin. The system is not perfect; random and unfair things will happen.
Accept that pure luck will be a powerful factor. Resist the urge to dwell on missed opportunities.
Strategy 3: Hidden gems
So we’ve established that the system is basically broken for very-obviously-attractive people; the photogenes who have dropped off the GAP poster, or suicidegirls banner, depending on your taste.
This is where your niche lusts become important. Don’t go with the crowd. Embrace the awkward spectacle wearers. Indulge your passion for the raging ginger. Give in to your inner chubby chaser. Look harder for the hidden gems and you’re less likely to be disappointed.