Swiping Right: The Artificial High of Online Dating Apps

Swiping Right: The Artificial High of Online Dating Apps

Online dating: just like a catalog of potential partners. Right?

There are amazingly beautiful women on the dating apps. I’ve seen them. I’ve never gotten a message back from them, but that doesn’t keep me from trying. I mean, aspirational dating is the rule. Why would we be shooting for someone outside our attractiveness zone? And in this catalog of women today, in New York City, I thought I’d give up some secrets about what this single dad is looking for in an online dating profile. I think the DNA reveals a lot about me (part of my goal in writing this) and might reveal a bit about how women might go about selling themselves differently online.

Immediate Left Swipes:

  • Too much sex (if your cleavage or bathing suit picture is your lead, I’m not interested)
  • SnapChat-filtered cute photo (left swipe with prejudice)
  • Happy “drinking” girl (if alcohol is your lead, again, we can all drink, but don’t make it a “feature” of your introduction
  • Exotic locations (the message to men, “I like to travel. You can provide the travel, right?” Or perhaps the intended message is, “I’m well off, and I’d like to travel, won’t you come with me?” But the message I pick up is “I’m showing off how well-traveled and exotic I am. Those folks don’t have to advertise it.
  • Fitness may not have been part of your ongoing plan
  • “Something is not right about this picture” (It appears something has been altered, filtered, retouched. It’s too glamorous.)
  • Conservative. (Sorry, Trump is a turn-off.)
  • Wow, look how amazingly happy I am. (The laugh photo that’s a bit too much. What else can you show me about your happiness? Caveat: some laugh photos are amazing and captivating, it’s a fine line.)
  • Extremely cute. (I know I’m not going to rise to the top of your suitors, so I’m going to pass and let them fight for you. And, I’ve been burned a bit by beautiful and superficial women.)

Right Swipe w Enthusiasm

  • Chemistry in a photo? Yep, sometimes I don’t even look at their profession or additional photos.)
  • I can almost feel your joy. (This is something in your gaze. Yes, you’re smiling, but there’s an additional warmth. See item above.)
  • You’ve got that look that reminds me of someone. And it was someone I liked a lot. Hmmm… “Hello.”
  • Tennis (Yes, tennis is my fantasy. And the skirts… )
  • Your work seems like a fascinating conversation waiting to happen. (Hmm. Maybe I need to work on mine, now that I think of it.)
  • You went to a powerful college and your cute. (Brains are the real erogenous zone. A witty and cute woman, I’m IN.
  • No idea, but I don’t even have to dig into your profile to know I’d be attracted to you.

The difference between attraction and chemistry. 

Online dating profiles are built around a fantasy relationship you have in your mind. And as any of the profiles excite you a new slightly revised fantasy is born. This is how online dating works. You imagine yourself with these women as they flicker by… NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. YEP. NO. NO. NO.

What is important to realize: these are dating profiles and your imagination is playing tricks on you based on suspect information. It’s fun. It’s a fantasy. What these people say about themselves may be partially accurate, and partially made up. Their photos may not be recent. Their smile may have been a lucky photograph, and mostly they are not smiling.

Here’s the truth: you are projecting the kind of relationship fantasy you’d like to have happen. And that’s golden information. You need to know what you want. You need to be clear on the things you will not tolerate. And you need to take all online dating profiles with a grain of salt.

When I have the immediate RIGHT SWIPE I am hopeful that the woman will swipe back and we will have an opportunity to carry on a conversation. I have no expectations that this will lead to a coffee date or a future relationship. In fact, that potential is so rare, I’m beginning to think of online dating as a game. Yes, my last relationship came from OK Cupid, but I haven’t even opened that site in a month. I’m playing on Bumble, mostly.

And if you can understand that a good bit of this is a game, you can let go of expectations and begin learning a bit more about yourself. Is it only the thin people you are attracted to? Is there a hair color that gets a second look? Does someone’s education or work make a difference in how attractive they appear to you?

And this is all before we get to any information in their written profile. Truth #2: attractiveness is subjective and VERY IMPORTANT. If I’m attracted to their photos I will explore more about them. And this too is an interesting insight. There are women who get the right swipe on their first photo in seconds. There are women who get a left swipe just as quickly. And there are the “hmmm, must examine further” women who I begin to explore the rest of their profile. Note to self: that first photo has got to be the winner.

And, as the heart wants what the heart wants, that initial swipe-vibe is usually correct. The “let me look further” women are mostly swiped left due to an additional photo that I think shows a more accurate, and less attractive to me, woman. And sometimes it’s the words they write that excite me towards a right swipe of a “this would be an interesting conversation” woman. I do want someone who’s smart, articulate, and ready for a long-term relationship.

When I do get those few right swipes I imagine a “hello” date that goes well. That’s just the beginning. What usually happens, in the case of the women I’m matching with here in NYC, is that certain threads become clear.

  • We’re not all that interested, just entertaining ourselves.
  • I’m not an NYC resident and they’re not interested in a long-distance thing (neither am I, actually)
  • There’s just not much fire between us
  • A coffee date is never mentioned

That’s all just fine. I’m dabbling in the idea of a travel dating app user. I’m not entertaining the traveling dating app hook up. That’s not part of my plan, never has been.

Today, it’s all just fun and games.

UPDATE: 12-hours later, nothing. No paths forward to a coffee date. Nada. Oh well, all is as it should be.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

back to Dating Again

 

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