The world of dating has had a massive change-up in recent years. Gone are the days of meeting someone at a malt shop over a milkshake (I think that was a thing) or asking for their number on a train (I’m sure this was a thing and I’m glad it’s gone).
Instead, we’ve moved the scene into the digital realm with apps like Tinder, Bumble, and the like. And with that move, romance has become sort of a game, with successful matches feeling more like completing a level on Candy Crush than the start of a genuine connection.
And of course, with this gamification have come the strategists. Hundreds of dating ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’ with their own opinions on the best ways to beat the system; opinions on what photos to upload, what messages to send, even exact times of the day to message.
Is that really what love has come to? Has the purest part of human experience been boiled down to a list of boxes to tick off? ‘Do this and you win’? ‘Do this and you lose’? Well, I rebuke that. I believe that true and honest connections can surmount surface details like how you set up your dating profile.
To prove this, I went through as many articles as I could find (three) on the dos and don’ts of Tinder etiquette and tried to make the worst profile possible and see if I could still find love.
I didn’t want to use my actual name for this new account because I didn’t want anyone actually finding me in the real world, so I began by Googling the most unattractive male names.
(Sorry to any Aidens out there.) To create the perfectly terrible Tinder profile, I had to start with some truly terrible photos. And since I’ve never taken one in my life, I had to do some research.
Tom Ella of Swipe-Life has a set of guidelines he recommends when choosing your photos. I decided to ignore them.
“Show your face: I learned profiles that start with a solid face shot get 27 per cent more likes than profiles that don’t and immediately deleted that pic.”
The first photo I uploaded was one where my entire face is hidden by hookah smoke. And no, I didn’t smoke hookah for this article, that was a personal decision.
“Lose the glasses: When I learned pics with glasses perform worse than those without, I felt like an advertisement for corrective eye surgery… Now, I get 2 per cent more likes on Tinder. Thanks LASIK!”
“Say goodbye to the selfie: After dozens of takes and endless minute adjustments to lighting and angles, you come away with a photo that looks like you snapped it in a flash. Maybe it’s unfair, but that’s why you’ll get 7 per cent more likes when you swap out that selfie.”
I took perhaps the most unflattering selfies of myself that I could, made sure not to smile in them, then used editing software to add a pair of glasses that didn’t bring out my eyes at all. With the same editing software, I also changed the entire shape of my face. I didn’t want my good looks skewing the results.
For the rest of my photos, I decided to freestyle and use my own intuition when it came to being unattractive so I included a Joker quote and a photo of me holding a fish.