I am looking for a sapiosexual guy." That's the line, which ran below the photograph of a gorgeous woman, on writer Jaidev Hemmady's Tinder page. Chancing upon it a few months ago, Hemmady had two options – either swipe left or right. He chose the latter. Why? "I had never heard the word before. It immediately aroused my curiosity," the 35-year-old recalls. Thinking of it now, Hemmady tells us it was probably his most foolish decision ever. "When we did begin to converse, I asked her what she meant by sapiosexual," he says. She said it was "fascination for intellectual men". "So, would she choose an average-looking man with the IQ of a rocket scientist?" To his surprise, the girl typed in a 'NO'. "He has to be both, handsome and smart," she insisted.
One possible reason for this artifice in vocabulary could be the nature of online dating. Here, as everywhere else, first impressions matter. Only last week, IllicitEncounters.com, UK's leading dating website for married people, released a survey after analysing four lakh profiles, where it threw a few words of caution when describing oneself on dating apps. While words like 'confident' and 'honest' earned a good score, 'shy' and 'happy' were major put-offs. With technical details playing a key role, relationship coaches are now being roped in to add finesse to people's dating profiles. When we enquired, most coaches claimed that 50 per cent of their clients were currently investing in online image building. The rules may differ for each, but if you want to be a smooth player in the swipe game, here's what you could do.
Treat profile pic with kindnessSome time ago, freelance photographer Ritesh Uttamchandani was asked if he was interested in clicking profile shots for dating apps. "Some of the photos you see on these apps are horrendous, boring and repetitive," he rues. Uttamchandani, who joined a few dating apps out of sheer curiosity, says that because of the nature of his job, it wasn't hard for him to see through the sham behind the lens. According to him, there are four kinds of set images common to most profiles – the side profile, the exotic destination shot, the selfie and one that flashes a facial asset. Of the four, he advises avoiding the selfies. "Pout selfies are the worst."
If Uttamchandani is thinking aesthetics, London-based Dr Siva, who is a physician and relationship expert and runs drsivacoaching.com, says that the profile picture also reflects how serious you are about the dating game. "Larger women should not be ashamed of their body type. Men like women who are comfortable in their own skin," claims Dr Siva.
Mumbai-based Shiva, the head coach of Real Man Academy, which runs dating and seduction workshops, advises following the ABS rule. A implies having pictures that show you lead an 'active' lifestyle. B means portraying a 'bold' body language. (Example: no crossed legs). S is showing off your 'social' circle. "If there are women in your photograph, it's good, because it shows they are comfortable with you."
Be quirky with your bio"Be original when describing oneself," says Nidhi Sharma (47), personal branding coach at Bon Impressions in Mumbai. "Never put up an inspirational quote in your bio. It would be stupid to believe that someone is going to date the person who scripted that quote," she says. Instead, she suggests writing something that reflects your attitude towards life. Elizabeth Sullivan, a dating coach, who runs Lovementor.com in London, advises using positive language to describe oneself. "Add some humour.
But, don't force it because people can see through it." Hemmady says, "I prefer women who don't shy away from talking about their food adventures."
After you've been swiped rightAccording to Nidhi, a lot of men come across as being very forceful and persistent, once they've got a right-swipe from someone they have taken a liking to. "Begin with a 'hello, how are you?' even if that means sounding a tad bit formal. Let the rapport develop before getting personal," she suggests.
Also, when your 'prospective date' messages, do not respond immediately, says Shiva. "It shows you have lots of free time. At a subtle level it communicates that she/he is the only person who is texting you."
Being online all the time can also be a turn-off. "That shows you don't have much going on in your life. Especially on weekends, be completely offline. As the saying goes, fake it till you make it," Shiva says. Online dating is just a tiny window to your world. "It's a practising tool, until that door really opens," Sullivan says.
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