How To Be An Online Dating Ugly Duckling & Still Snag a Swan

We all remember hearing the tale of The Ugly Duckling as wee geeks. And our GeekMoms and GeekDads told us that the moral of the story was that it didn’t matter what you looked like as a kid. Eventually you’d grow up and be beautiful.

Except… well, not all of us grow up to be swans.

And different people find different things attractive. Some people don’t even like swans.

What’s a duck like you to do?

Show Off Your Ugliest Feathers

OkCupid did an excellent bit of analysis earlier this year called The Mathematics of Beauty. In their number crunching, they found that it’s better to be a 10 in some people’s eyes and a 1 in others rather than a 7 across the board.

Through the numbers, they showed that it’s best to play up the thing that you think is your worst characteristic rather than hide it. You chubby? Show off those curves or that Buddha belly. Got some crazy piercings? Shine ‘em up for the photo shoot. Been saving up for years for a nose job? Feature the schnoz in your photos and you’ll quickly find someone who thinks it’s adorable.

Pretty crazy, isn’t it?

Counterintuitive, no?

But the numbers don’t lie. Go check out the article on OkCupid’s blog if you haven’t yet read it. There are tons of photos and purdy graphs and charts. Then get out there and take some pictures that show off the real you.

Show Off Your Pond

Remember the soda wars? Back in the day (aka the 80s), it seemed lots of the ads for soda involved blind taste tests or one-upping the other guy. Coke is better than Pepsi. Pepsi is better than Coke. Polar bears prefer Coke. Blind taste testers prefer Pepsi.  (Side note: Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, has a fascinating bit about why Pepsi performs better in taste tests than Coke.)

WIRED had a really cool article last week about the “success” of Coke’s new marketing strategy. In the article, the author describes a memory of a high school football game in which all their friends are drinking Coke out of glass bottles. The problem? The high school banned glass containers. They may have been drinking Coke, but it was out of styrofoam cups, not glass bottles.

Why the false memory?

Coke ads.

Coke’s new strategy to convince you to buy their product is to show Coke being consumed in situations that are feel-good memories. The things happening in the ad are warm and fuzzy and tear-jerking (in a good way) and tie into things you probably already remember from your real life. Except now, Coke is there.

You, ugly duckling, need a dating profile that works like a Coke ad.

What’s a great thing that’s happening in your life that would make someone feel warm and fuzzy, joyful, or giggly? Write about the wind on your face as you ride down the mountain trail on your bike. Write about the look on your dog’s face when he hears the word “park.” Write about the time you subdued the astral kraken with a very lucky critical hit when you only had three hit points to spare.

You’re an Online Dating Duck. Quack Like One In Your Profile.

There are two steps you can take today to increase your chances of getting more emails on your online dating site:

  1. Replace the pictures of you hiding your worst features with pictures of you embracing who you are, today.
  2. Find your Coke-ad-worthy moment and add it to the beginning of your dating profile.

Happy dating, geek friends.

P.S. My geek dating ebook, You Geek, They Grok comes out on June 6, 2011. I can’t wait to show it to you!

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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