Then I could build a super profile—a sort of amalgam of the popular girls and my own data.” Her self-presentation is not quite as creepy as it sounds, though the takeaway is still disappointing for those of us who are averse to putting a PR-style gloss on our personality: To get what she wants, even the most charming, educated, successful woman must massage her assets to be appealing within the peculiar ecosystem of dating sites.And so what follows is a makeover montage from a rom-com: Webb working out. Webb retooling her profile to be vaguer and friendlier. I am perpetually indecisive about even the most mundane things, and I couldn’t imagine navigating such a huge life decision so quickly. Happily so—and probably more so than most people I know who had nonarranged marriages.The first girl, he said, was “a little too tall,” and the second girl was “a little too short.” Then he met my mom. Let’s look at how I do things, maybe with a slightly less important decision, like the time I had to pick where to eat dinner in Seattle when I was on tour last year.And then she observed what types of women messaged those fake men.This way, she could systematically size up her competition.First, she made a matrix of the traits she demanded in a mate, and also the dealbreakers.
“Online dating, once viewed as a refuge for the socially inept and as a faintly disrespectable way to meet other people, is rapidly becoming a fixture of single life,” wrote Amy Harmon in a 2003 piece charmingly titled “Online Dating Sheds Its Stigma as ” According to a 2010 survey of recently married people, dating sites were the third most common way that these couples met.
And she clearly feels not an ounce of shame about the lengths she went to in order to get what she wanted.
Both Slater and Webb show (directly or indirectly) the problem with dating sites: they reduce people to their photos—followed by some hard numbers about age, weight, and income—so it’s no wonder online dating mirrors offline sexual dynamics.
Despite her borderline-crazy, data-driven contortions, Webb comes across as more realistic than Slater, with his laissez-faire approach to finding love online.
The difference highlights the limitations of this modern mechanism for a timeless trouble.
I didn’t want to try to hide who I was or pretend to be someone else—I just needed to learn from the masters and present the best possible version of myself online.