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

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Recruitment Genius: PA

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

Day In a Page

Read Next
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) pictured shaking hands with Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi on 25 March 2004.  

There's nothing wrong with Labour’s modernisers except how outdated they look

Mark Steel
 

Any chance the other parties will run their election campaigns without any deceit or nastiness?

Nigel Farage
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness