When High50's online dating columnist Louisa Whitehead-Payne's efforts produce a distinct lack of invitations from men, our writer makes an objective appraisal of just what type of women are getting the interest and why.
Reality bites hard. I have been rejected by my first two hopefuls. Invitations to connect are not exactly pouring in. Market research is the answer.
I switch gender and take a look at what I would see if I were a bloke. There are so many more women than men out there! The odds are really stacked.
Encounters Dating lists the most popular profiles so I look at who gets the most views. My views are in double figures but the hotties are in the hundreds.
What works are very pretty, feminine portraits. Long hair. Blonde preferably, but not exclusively (thank goodness, as I am brunette). The most hit-upon lady also has a glammy holiday shot of her in a white lace playsuit, with long brown limbs much in evidence. Bitch.
My intrepid-looking pic (windswept hair, freckle-faced, no make-up) clearly doesn't cut the mustard compared to girly-girly pretties. Not even with Halong Bay behind me to show how interesting I am. Bugger! And I thought we had come a long way.
Now I should point out that I am tall, slim, good-looking and actually a match for the top 10 older ladies. I was just staggered that the girly presentation was everything. Still. At our age.
I Knocked Seven Years Off My Age
Age. That was the thing. I look at the age of women that the men were seeking by changing my age on a fake profile I created. Suddenly hundreds of men that were not a match were suddenly a match.
Most men aged 50 to 60 are looking for women around five to 20 years younger. Further Googling reveals that the average number of years women take off their age on dating sites is 15. Fifteen! Frankly, I can't say I blame them.
Why Do Women Our Age Endure Online Dating?
But what happens when they turn up for a date? I could not bear the horrified disappointment in the eyes of a date when creature more elderly than expected rocks up. So I chop seven years off as I think I could get away with that.
I am learning to play the game.
A newly single girlfriend is coming for the weekend to compare notes. Let me tell you about Gayle. Her first online dating experience was on an extramarital website. Despite an unhappy, sexless marriage she hadn't wanted to split up while her kids were still at home.
She was specific about what she wanted: a tall guy with a six-pack and a shaven head. She would meet him for a glass of wine and they would part after 15 minutes or go upstairs to the room she had booked and have sex.
The men she spoke to simply didn't believe she didn't want dinner first. But she didn't need a hot meal, she needed hot sex. And that is exactly what she got.
But then she fell in love with her first date. And left her husband for him. Then, after five years together, he wouldn't commit, so she walked away. This time, she says, she is dating properly rather than improperly.
The Injustice Of Marketing Ourselves
Two ballsy but bruised ladies, then. Drinking red wine and sharing stories. At the end of the evening we are seething with resentment about the injustice of it all. We are angry that we have to market ourselves to men more than they seem to have to do to us.
We're furious that a little light cheating is necessary to attract a man of the age we want. It's crazy that two successful and sassy women are having to pander to what men like to get what we want.
And Gayle is super annoyed when I say her holiday body shot made her thighs look fat and that she shouldn't use it on her profile.
I decide to stop seething and swallow my pride. Gayle decides to seethe for longer and says she'll keep the fat thigh shot. She is principled... me, I'm a pragmatist.
So I upgrade my photos to pretty-pretty selfies. And, guess what? The interest in me quadruples.
I get the bit between my teeth and decide to favorite every man I find interesting on both websites to see what happens. If the odds are stacked against you and it's a numbers game, you need to play those odds. I don't like losing so I decide to play to win. And the fat thighs don't make it on to Gayle's profile either.
So, ladies, swallow your pride, lower your age, gussy yourself up and play the numbers game. All's not fair in internet love so get over it and play to win.
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