#online dating application
I tested out six different online dating profile pictures – can you guess which one got me a date?
Looking for love: Siobhan McNally
This is the busiest time of year for the internet dating industry, as singletons try to find a date in time for Valentine’s Day.
A recent study revealed that the right photo will help you land you the right man so single mum and Your Life columnist Siobhan McNally, 44, decided to test out the look of love..
I based my six “fake” profiles in different locations so I wouldn’t get too much of a crossover on the search criteria, but I used the same personal profile each time, only changing the type of person I was looking for according to my picture.
After two weeks, I then signed back into my six usernames to see how many men had viewed each one and, more importantly, messaged me.
To give me even more feedback, I then asked professional dating coaches Jo Hemmings and Peter Spalton to look at my profiles and explain which ones would be the most successful and why.
My profile blurb:
My self-summary: I’m a 44-year-old working mum to one little schoolgirl.
What I’m doing with my life. Filling it with good friends, family… and cake.
I’m really good at. Seeing the funny side of things.
The first things people usually notice about me. A smile. Although I think they probably hear me first.
I spend a lot of time thinking about. How to squeeze a week’s worth of life into a day.
The six things I could never do without. My daughter, my friends, my kitchen, my i-gadgets, my music, and my hairdresser.
On a typical Friday night I am. Cooking, dancing in the kitchen, opening wine and inviting people over.
Favourite books, movies, shows, music, and food. Historical novels. Thriller and crime movies. Unashamedly popular musicals. Big band and 1940s music. And any food with enough chilli to make me go deaf.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit. I think I may have been wrong on a few occasions.
Expert opinion: “This is a fun profile, quirky but not weird,” says Peter, “although maybe I’d avoid listing Big Band music if you don’t want to attract so many oldies.”
Jo agrees: “Frankly it’s the pictures that really matter, but this is a fun profile with a good line in self-deprecation.”
And so to the profiles.
looking for someone to get into my drawers. Fnarr
Result. I was quite impressed with the 10 messages I received, considering I’d kept all my clothes on in the picture. Many were of the short, “Hi there” type, like forming a whole sentence would be just too much effort, but none stood out as particularly gruesome.
One poor bloke took the drawers pun at face value and told me (cue geek voice): “I’m very handy at opening jammed drawers in the office
– I keep a toolkit for just such emergencies.”
Expert opinion. “Are you in the girl scouts?” asks Peter, “but it’s a cute photo.” While Jo says: “Touch of the air stewardess about this one
– would probably appeal to a few business types who see the humour in the picture.”
Username: PARTY GIRL
looking for someone who can keep it up all night (dancing, that is)
Result. “I love a Nottingham lass,” read one message from a bloke who looked like a rave reject from the 90s. Two very young men pleaded with me to be my toyboys, and are now filed under, “To be opened at a later date – maybe 2040”.
Expert opinion. “You definitely look like the good-time girl here and would probably attract younger men, or those just wanting sex. It might intimidate the shyer types though.” Peter gets straight to the point: “You look a bit hammered. And it’s never a good idea to have someone’s arm around you who’s cropped out of shot.”
looking for someone who prefers a run to propping up the bar at the Running Horse
Result. Not unlike with the cat lady picture, the quality of my five messages was poor. I reckon you could post a picture of a goat online, and you’ll get at least five declarations of love from complete mentalists.
Again, the Zoosk survey was bang on the money when it advised women to avoid having their picture taken outside. The light’s often bad and you don’t look your best, especially in green pedal pushers. What was I thinking?
Expert opinion. “It’s not a very flattering shot,” agrees Peter. “Well,” says Jo, “no make-up of course, but then who looks their best when they’ve just been for a run? It might attract a few wannabe sporty types, or appeal to older guys.”
looking for someone who prefers Factor 15 to X Factor
Views. 153 visitors
Messages. 19 messages
Result. Along with a few “phwoars” from naked male torsos, I also got emails from some cute blokes.
One in particular tickled me: “Hello I’m applying for the beach bum role. I’ve never applied for a role with a bum in it, can you tell me about the benefits?” wrote Simon, 42, London. I like a funny guy, so I replied to Simon with more details about this very rewarding position. We met in a posh London hotel for a drink, and he made me laugh so much, I kept choking on the bar snacks. Sadly we weren’t meant for each other, but he was a top bloke.
Expert opinion. “This is the classic shot all men will go for, although I would avoid wearing sunglasses,” says Peter. While Jo says: “I like this one – it’s revealing without being too showy. My guess is you’ll get approached by fairly decent guys who are comfortable in themselves.”
looking for someone who knows the difference between Top Cat and Bagpuss
Result. Just as Zoosk had predicted, I only got a few responses from my cat lady picture, and those ranged from the deluded to the downright dangerous, although one chap did say my pussy was adorable.
If that wasn’t depressing enough, one of my messages also came with a warning from the moderator that the sender may be running a scam.
One of the unintended results from working six different profiles is you get to spot the dodgy ones quickly. Men without profile pictures are obvious giveaways, and the usual excuse is they can’t upload their photos. Avoid like the plague – and never message them from outside the website.
Expert opinion. “Ah,” says Jo. “Pics of cats and women are not usually recommended. This will get a limited response, and they’ll be a quirky bunch.” “Yes,” agrees Peter, “you do look a bit strange”.
looking for someone who knows the difference between Vin Diesel and vin de table
Result. This got the best response – most were good quality messages from normal-looking blokes. And one man made me laugh when he wrote: “You seem a bit classy to have Gloucester down as your location.” Oops.
I went a bit gooey over the message from a very gorgeous Rob, 38, who flattered me with: “Please don’t tell me you drink table wine,” but he’s a bit spiritual for me and probably lives in a yurt.
Expert opinion. “This is a good picture – it’s full-length and you look relaxed. Yes, you’re drinking but in a nice venue with flattering lighting,” says Peter. “This type of photo will get the greatest response,” agrees Jo. “Sexy and sophisticated with a glimpse of leg. Probably will also attract more intelligent types too.”
So what is the best look for finding love?
I only met one bloke after this particular test, but if I’d been in the right place, like Gloucester, I’d have needed a bar with a revolving door for all my dates. The overall standard of men responding was pretty high – and certainly younger than the types I normally get. The results prove that men are indeed simple creatures, and in the end, the online dating sites reflect real life. Sweaty running gear only turns heads for the wrong reasons, so fake it, flaunt it… and get a good lighting assistant.