Online Dating for the Less Than Beautiful
Fear not, oh average-looking one! Turns out that the most attractive among us are not necessarily the most successful with online dating. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, this is the one arena where the less than lovely can actually shine.
Think about this: You're sitting around on Sunday morning with your coffee, browsing for new blood on your preferred dating site when you spy her: long raven hair, eyes like saucers with sweeping lashes, lush lips with an inviting half-smile, bone structure like Olivia Wilde. For a moment you allow yourself to fantasize that this beautiful creature, also well-written and witty, would meet you at the local coffee cafe for a first meetup. Then, as you visualize yourself walking in and extending your hand in greeting, the fantasy screeches to a halt, as you are suddenly plagued with self-doubt.
"Why would that beautiful creature be interested in the likes of me? No doubt she's receiving tons of offers from better looking, wealthier dudes with Ivy League degrees. Come to think of it, I'll bet she's damn snobby about who she'd date, or even respond to on a dating site. She has her pick of the cream of the crop. Fahgettibout it! "
You aren't alone
It turns out that many of us average schmoes feel exactly the same way about approaching very good-looking members of dating sites, as well as in real-life situations: the bar, the cafe, the gym. Most of us assume that if someone is too attractive, that person has so many prospects that we would quickly get weeded out.
As a result, we make a conscious decision to bypass the beautiful and choose instead to contact or approach those individuals that we perceive might be more apt to respond favorably to us. In fact, OKCupid, well-known for dissecting and analyzing dating algorithms published a piece entitled The Mathematics of Beauty which demonstrates in fascinating detail the dynamics that play into the choices we make about who we contact online.
Average-Ish, Less Than Beautiful?
Those of of us who are relatively average in the appearance department have different expectations than our gorgeous brethren. We don't expect heads to turn as we walk down city streets, and we don't expect overly solicitous treatment from a restaurant host or salesperson. Being average on the attractiveness spectrum means that we don't rely primarily on our looks to get us in the door; rather, we've learned that our personality and wit, sense of humor and intelligence, fashion flair and confidence will be the entry ticket to many opportunities.
We also aren't afraid of a little rejection--we've learned that while our particular style may not be attractive to all, we value those who can see past the typical universal beauty, and appreciate our unique appeal.
Approachable Always Wins
Understanding that many people are intimidated by or have preconceived notions about the very good-looking works in our favor.
A real life example: Two women are perched at the bar--one elegant and classically beautiful, and one merely average-looking. The beautiful and elegant woman will indeed be hit upon, but less often than the average looking woman. Men suspect (correctly or incorrectly) that this beautiful woman may consider herself out of their league, and rather than be rejected, typically elect to approach the more average or somewhat good-looking woman instead.
Translated online dating: When an individual is generally seen as being more average-ish than beautiful, a greater pool of candidates will tend to approach this member, assuming that he or she will be more approachable and more apt to accept their invitation.
Not Typically Beautiful? Play It Up!
Dating profiles, which rely initially on a collection of photos, followed by a narrative to introduce ourselves, offer an excellent opportunity to play up aspects of your looks, personality and a unique sense of self.
Although you may believe you're mousy-looking, and have been told that you tend to come off as shy, play this up with a playful pic of yourself peeking out from behind one of your favorite books.
Self-conscious about your extra cush-on-yer tush? Consider an action pic of you catching a ball, or jumping at the beach with your pup; a little extra padding isn't slowing you down or making you apologetic. How about a photo of you in a cool apron creating your favorite dish, having fun, or serving your pals at a dinner party.
Seriously Different or Less Than Perfect?
Heavily tattooed, face-pierced, bald as a cue ball, skin condition, extremely short or tall, have a stutter? This is the chance to come out of the gates smiling and waving--without apologies.
Show that you embrace you as you, and then allow your well-crafted, thoughtful and witty profile narrative to do the rest. This may not get you the flooded in-box of the extra good looking gods and goddesses among us, but will do wonders for weeding out those who aren't really interested in more than a hook-up with random people, and invites quality people who are willing to dig deeper for what you have to offer.
Wait No More
The best piece of advice we can give you is not to wait passively for others to make the first move because of a fear of rejection. We've all been rejected, and rejected others ourselves--and if you're new to online dating, get used to it. It comes with the territory. Just shake it off, do some browsing, and send off your own initial email to someone who interest you.