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

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Tea and sympathy for the idea of religion as a force for peace

Andrew Buncombe
The BBC headquarters at New Broadcasting House is illuminated at night in London, England.  

We can no longer justify paying the license fee when the BBC wastes so much money on expenses

Mira Bar Hillel
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits