Rhodri Marsden: Men! Cast off the yoke of internet love

Scientists have found that ugly men have a tough time of it on dating websites

Share

My friend Natasha went on a blind date with a guy who'd said, prior to meeting, that he looked like Harrison Ford. His failure to think things through became screamingly apparent when he turned up looking nothing remotely like Harrison Ford, an anomaly Natasha pointed out immediately. "Mm", he replied, "shall we leave it then?" She walked off.

This modern parable provides the perfect illustration of an inherent problem with internet dating, namely that the relentless search for people who look like Harrison Ford (or whoever) is thwarted by those who pretend to be more gorgeous than they actually are. They might do this by using a photo of themselves shot from such a bizarre angle that it lops off 20 kilos, or by using a photo of their best friend – a strategy that, unsurprisingly, never works.

Now scientists at Villanova University in Pennsylvania it seems, agree with me on this score, although I could have saved them the trouble of looking into it. After extensive research, they've established that ugly – or, as I suavely describe myself when it's really dark, "not conventionally attractive" – men have a tough time of it on dating websites. You don't say. It's like competing in the 100m hurdles while carrying a Welsh dresser.

Their study has found that our attempts to compensate for double chins or squints in the written portion of our profiles fail, because we don't communicate the same breezy confidence that "genuinely attractive individuals" do. Instead, we unintentionally drop hints that we're consumed with self-loathing, then give it away by quoting Sylvia Plath in the sign-off. The study, which involved separating photos from text and asking women to judge both, concluded: "Men with attractive photos wrote texts that were rated as more attractive." Really so?

My own profile features heroic prose worthy of a Pulitzer (non-fiction category), conjuring up an image of some godlike colossus striding purposefully through the mountains, Black & Decker Workmate in one hand, flowers and chocolates in the other. But then I blow it by accompanying it with a picture of my face – the face you see above but about six years older – because I can't bear deception and, frankly, it's the only face I've got.

As a result I receive approximately two approaches a year: one sent by mistake, the other asking me if I've got the right time, or something equally unromantic. I hereby urge us to cast off the oppressive yoke of the online dating industry, venture into the real world and deploy our effortless charm in person, seducing people before they realise that we have gappy teeth and a fat arse. It works better. Honest.

r.marsden@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Among the ‘extreme’ ideas favoured by Neil Findlay is the re-nationalisation of Scottish railways  

Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

DJ Taylor
Bill Cosby dismisses the allegations that have demolished his lovable TV persona as ‘innuendos’  

Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

Rupert Cornwell
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin