Online Dating


Frederick had always been a rather shy guy. Even if he wasn't so clumsy to stammer when a girl spoke to him, he had certainly never been able to be relaxed. Actually, he had always felt a little unlucky.

One day he discovered a dating app. He tried it partly for fun, partly out of boredom, partly out of curiosity. You have to be bold to board a woman. His friends were always so confident, or at least pretended well. Instead, he needed time to think about what to say, he had never had a joke ready. Instead here, in the apparent anonymity of the Net, he managed to strike up some brilliant jokes. He had built an intriguing profile, selecting his best photos for Facebook. He was not forced to look into the eyes of the objects of his desire, he did not have to react on the fly.

First chats were followed by first dates, and (finally) first adventures. It was easy, but not boring! He had become an expert, he had all the existing dating apps, the ones just to have sex, the more psychological ones like OkCupid, the geo-location ones like Happn. He had some curiosity for Grindr and other applications dedicated to gays, which seemed to be much more explicit than those for hetero people. Not to mention those for BDSM experiences, B/D (Bondage and Discipline), D/s (Dominance and submission), and S/M (Sadism and Masochism). But he had never tried them.

As soon as he woke up in the morning, the first thing he did was to check the phone to see if a new girl had written to him. His favorite app was still Tinder, for him it was as a dish of pasta: tomato or pesto, oil or butter, whatever choice was a good choice.

It had become a pleasant routine. On his way to work he used to go through the various profiles of the girls that the application showed him: thumb on the screen, music in his ears. At every match, that is every time his profile was considered interesting by a girl, Frederick immediately wrote the same standard message and waited.

The numbers were remarkable. He sent about fifty messages a day to multiply the possibilities. He scored an average of ten matches per day. And he ended up in bed with a couple of girls, one every two to three days. His friends did not understand how he did it, they thought that this “second job” was too tiring and even destabilizing: continuous appointments, selfies on Instagram, images selected for each specific girl met on a particular app.

Still, the explosion of smartphones had coincided with the explosion of his sex life. Frederick knew well that he was addicted to apps for his relationships, and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to have longer lasting relationships.

Frederick was not alone. Millions of women and men around the world increasingly relied on the relative ease of “takeaway relationships”. Hit-and-run connections which, however, still could grow quite different. At the end of the second decade of the new century such relationships, born online, were more than a third of the total in northern Europe.

In addition to the apps, there were dating sites for all tastes, romantic and refined, only for married people like the notorious Ashley Madison, hard, soft and “all fruits”.

For shy girls and or mature and very brisk women. For remote sadomasochistic relationships, in which the dominant ordered every detail of the day to the submissive. The dominant controlled the submissive through sensors applied to his private parts. She could send photos and other evidence of her betrayals to make him suffer. She could include platonic relationships, relationships oriented towards distance meditation and multiple relationships.

Some apps required the compilation of very detailed forms to increase the chances of matches through extremely detailed profiling. Others were dedicated only to particular subgroups, for example; Peruvian immigrants in Dallas, Bangladeshis in Berlin, second generation Pakistanis in East London, Malians in the north-eastern suburbs of Paris and so on. To use some of these apps you had to pay, others were completely for free, or at least in part. Everyone needed a certain apprenticeship. It was necessary to follow the rules, learn to show the right information for obtaining the desired result: a chat with a stranger in a bar or a night of sex.

The Japanese were specialized in paid services to hire the ideal friend. Tinder had launched the social version of the famous app, Tinder Social obviously, to help people organize their evenings in groups of two to four.

Beyond the considerations of taste, it was clear that all aspects of our life had now been digitized: on the Internet you could buy anything, thanks to the Net you could spread your professional profile, you got work, you got in the car with strangers for a short or long trip, you went on holiday to the house of people met thanks to the mediation of the screens.

The conversations were an uninterrupted flow of ever faster and shorter interactions, dotted with standard emoticons. The widespread perception was that the Internet had invaded every aspect of our lives: why not accept that it also invaded our relationships, and that it took care of it.

To Understand

In the frenzy of a world in which we are asked to “live it up”, establishing a relationship can prove to be a very difficult undertaking. Even an occasional meeting can be impossible, especially if you are shy and don’t have a lot of self-confidence. On the other hand, consumerism has also infiltrated our interpersonal relationships.

One of the dating system goals, to create appointments, use the information provided by the user to create profiles and from there establish the “match”. Algorithms create possible correspondence listings with profiles of other users. This means that apps tend to make us meet people who say they meet the requirements that we have explicitly stated to seek.

This characteristic of “algorithmic correspondence” is based on rules that select, from among the users, the ones most suitable to meet each other. These algorithms are based on a precise, if not explicit, assumption: that we know what we are looking for. Which may be true, but it can also be absolutely false.

The people we meet without the mediation of an algorithm have not been pre-selected, however, we are affected by elements that we are not well able to define. Therefore it is not certain that knowing in advance someone’s tastes and preferences is an essential ingredient for establishing a connection.

Good Practice

Girls and boys, men and women, straight and homo, who loves this and who hates that… we are not all the same. We are all different, fortunately. Good practice depends on what we want to achieve, and who we are. Some suggestions are similar for everyone, others clearly differentiated.

In general, if you have decided to try, we will not be the moralists. Prohibition does not belong to us, foresight does. So we have collected some indications to keep in mind:

  • Every time you sign up for an online dating site or dating app, a lot of contacts will follow. Many people are just hunting. Selection is fundamental, it may seem brutal, but some selection criteria are needed: photos, origin, age and interests, would be the first filters.
  • Many people are just looking for adventures. And yet it may happen that you find a soul mate. Whoever you are and whoever you have a first date with, think about your safety. Meet in a public place, tell trusted friends where you are, and occasionally send a message to confirm that everything is OK.
  • No to hot photos. Either they are superfluous or they are tacky or they give a wrong idea: either useless, or harmful.
  • Don’t enter too detailed information on your profile. Adult dating apps or sites are for-profit businesses: it’s best they don’t know your profession, where you live and what your phone number is.
  • Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, leave.
  • It can happen that someone is pretending to be someone else. She or he could really be as they appear in their photos, but it is also possible that they are not. Beware of disappointments.
  • You are not a loser. You are only using one more way to find a soul mate. Or just to have some fun. Remember, however, that exaggerating is always risky. Consuming relationships as if they are snacks can become a pathology.

The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Manager Speaks

Your nickname is a fundamental element. The chances of having a meeting in real life increase if your chosen nickname is “playful“ enough. Your nickname should recall physical characteristics for women (such as the classic “blonde”) or personality for men (as “cultured”).

It is especially good if… your nickname initial falls in the first half of the alphabet.

What makes an “A” more fascinating than an “Z”? Simple: search engine rules. Often, in fact, the results of a search are sorted alphabetically, and those who end up at the bottom of the list have less chance of being noticed.

Also, according to some scientific studies, names beginning with first letters of the alphabet are associated with better economic status and higher education levels. Economic status and higher education levels are, in some way, a measure of success.

The why of the alphabet determining your success is far from clear. But studies are ongoing.

A sample can be found in the research published on Evidence Based Medicine