Sometimes it’s best to treat Internet dating like one long social experiment. You toss out ideas and strategies at the wall and hope something sticks. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it goes catastrophically bad.
It is with that mindset that I signed up for a 3-month trial on NYMag’s site: How About We. To make a comparison to non-dating social media, HAW is pretty much dating twitter. You make a profile, then you post date ideas (I didn’t count, but it’s probably restricted to something like 140 characters). Potential suitors can respond to your date ideas, and thus a connection is born.
I’ve been on dating sites for almost two years now, and generally, my strategy in building my profile has remained unchanged. I pick out my best profile shots (usually one of my classic head-shots), write a few witty quips about my favorite pastimes and hope the fish bite. To say that I’ve been unsuccessful would be an understatement (any friends of mine or loyal blog readers can attest to this fact). It got me thinking that perhaps I should spend more time in strategically putting together my profile. First task: picking the appropriate profile picture. Usually I take one of my professional headshots with the best angles, but I started wondering if maybe the “pretention” of having a professional headshot was off-putting. I scoured my photo library for a picture that might best capture my personality.
I decided on this one:
By uploading this photo, I reached a startling conclusion: men LOVE Muppets.
Within 24 hours, my profile had received over 100 hits (which was greater than the sum of all my hits from the first few weeks on this site).
You wouldn’t believe some of the Muppet loving emails I received. Most of the guys just wanted to know the Muppet’s name (it’s Edward by the way, and he lives with my 8-year old nephew). The comments ranged from clever (“If you’re good enough for a Muppet, you’re good enough for me”) to downright strange (“Everyone in my office has their own Muppet” This was most peculiar because the guy was an accountant).
My next experiment was with my date idea. Your job was to fill in the blank at the end of “How about we ______” Prior to that, I had kept the dates simply by plainly stating a cool NYC date idea with no frills or witty innuendo, such as:
“How about we go see a comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade”
“How about we go check out films at the IFC”
“How about we check out the new exhibit at the MOMA.”
You get the idea. BORING. But I decided to go a more witty route and landed upon this, my piece de resistance:
“How about we occupy a bar stool.”
This was right around the time that Occupy Wall Street was making headlines, so it was topical (in the wise words of Tracey Jordan: “Wordplay!”). And I would be remiss not to point out the flirty undertones of two people sharing drinks at a single bar stool. I patted myself on the back and watched as I received a barrage of emails from eligible bachelors asking me out for drinks.
Oddly enough, my first actual date from this site didn’t happen as a result of my witty date idea. Instead, I ended up corresponding with a dude named Omar who suggested that we stroll through the aisles of Strand bookstore.
To be continued…