As part of my #fit4gencon initiative, I joined a local gym. This, of course, has reminded me about online dating. (There’s not much in this world that doesn’t remind me of online dating. It’s an illness, I tell ya.)
Presenting, in no particular order, the 10 reasons why your online dating website is like a gym.
1. There’s a free trial, but you gotta give up your personal information, even if it’s just to peek in the windows. With the exception of the free sites, most sites require you to sign up for a free membership even if it’s just to poke around. Once they have your email address, expect to get emails with special membership discounts and deals to try to get you to sign up.
2. There’s always a sales pitch or gimmick to get you to sign up for a membership right away. Most paid sites will also allow you to set up a profile and even receive emails from other members. The only snag is that you can’t actually READ those emails until you pay. Wondering if that email in your box is from your future spouse? Pony up the cash. (Only to realize the email is from Swamp Thing. Oh well.)
3. There are a ton more people there between January and March. People put the gym in their New Year’s Resolution, but they don’t actively resolve to find love. However, after the holiday season, most single folks hit the low point between Just Spent Holidays Alone and About to Spend Valentine’s Day Alone. Hence, you’ll find the most new people on your site earlier in the year.
4. There’s always that person who looks way too slutty. You know that girl at the gym, the one in the painted-on spandex, full makeup, and perfectly coiffed hair? She looks like she’s waiting for her john to show up rather than getting fit. You’ll find these girls on your dating site, too. Cleavage shots galore.
5. There’s always that person who looks way too dumpy or smells horrible. Nicholas from DungeonMastering tweeted a horror story about a guy at his gym. You’ll find plenty of undesirables on your dating site. In fact, some of them will email you. Be kind, let them down gently, and move on. Despite the fact that you don’t like them, they have every right to use the service.
6. You’ll find plenty of girls who are there just to look pretty. This is the girl at the gym in the perfectly matched workout outfit, down to the sneakers that look brand new. She’s got the leg curl machine on the lowest weight possible and is lazily doing reps while chatting on her cell and examining her manicure. She’s not here to work out – she’s here to see and be seen.
Wonder why all the prettiest girls on your dating site don’t write you back? Here’s the secret – they don’t write anyone back. Or very, very few people. They’re on the site to see how many guys email them. Many of them have sky-high criteria, so will possibly email back 1 out of every 25 guys who email them. Want proof? Check out all the girls with the red dot on OkCupid – responds very selectively. You’ll find they’re the “hot” girls. The average girls tend to fall into the orange or green categories; they respond more often to emails.
7. There are hardcore people who you’ll see every time you’re there. If you’re on more than one dating site, you’ll probably notice some overlap among the members. There were times I’d be in a relationship for a few months, or a year or so and not be on match.com. Then I’d come back and I’d see the same guys who were there before. So I’d wonder, were they single the whole time… or like me, did they pop on and off between relationships?
8. If you don’t come with all your supplies, you won’t be able to do much. Forget your sneakers and you won’t be using the cardio machines. Forget your deodorant and you’ll be stinking up the joint. Online dating’s not much different – if you don’t have quality photos, you won’t catch anyone’s attention. If you slack on writing a profile, you won’t draw those people in and convince them to write you back.
9. If you don’t make it a habit, you won’t get results. Being a card-carrying member of a gym doesn’t mean you’ll lose weight or build muscle and having a profile up on a dating site doesn’t mean you’ll magically manifest your true love. Both require showing up on a regular basis and making a commitment to using their tools and services to meet your goal.
10. If you don’t put forth effort, you won’t get results. I recently had a client write me demanding that I re-write his profile because the only women who wrote him were overweight homebodies with baggage. When I emailed him back to troubleshoot the issue, I asked him how many emails he was sending per month. The answer? Very, very few. He was expecting women to flood his inbox with emails just based on his profile while he sat back and chose from all the hotties. The reality? That doesn’t happen for 95% of straight men. You need to send first contact emails – try to email at least 5 women a week and you’ll start to see the results you want.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN!
Work hard and you’ll be a success story!
Happy dating, geek friends!
Edit: For a funny (and accurate) portrayal of the characters you’ll find at your gym, check out this article at Obesity Panacea.