GQ’s foolproof guide to online dating
Find your site
You could cast a wide net and sign up for every single dating site. Or you could follow our flowchart and find the one designed to pair you with the woman (or man, or costume-wearing sex slave) of your dreams.—Andrew Richdale
More love and relationships content at The Liberating Side of Being Together.
You're online! Now get over it
It's a little weird at first, trusting a computer algorithm to pair you off. But three weeks (and six dates) from now, you'll realize that online dating is, for better and worse, just like regular dating—and not, sadly, like ordering a pizza online.
Don't be that guy
The Dude Who's Allergic to Shirts
ABOUT HIM: Just a normal guy who sleeps naked and believes the Paleo Diet is "the greatest invention ever since myself. Haha, jk"
SAYS HE'S LOOKING FOR: "A girl who's into sports and being fit."
IS ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR: C cups or bigger.
SAYS HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: "Cookies 'n Cream Promax bars, endorphins, music where the bass drops. "
THE FIRST THING PEOPLE NOTICE ABOUT HIM: "It's so weird—people ALWAYS tell me I look like Jake Gyllenhaal, but I don't see it. You?"
SAYS HIS DEFINING TRAIT IS: "Loyalty."
HIS ACTUAL DEFINING TRAIT: Calls everyone "Son."
SAYS HIS DEEPEST FEAR IS: "Sharks!!!"
HIS ACTUAL DEEPEST FEAR: Seeming gay.
YOU MIGHT BE HIM IF: You've practiced making your pecs bounce.
The feeler of feelings
ABOUT HIM: "I'm a dreamer, plain and simple."
SAYS HE'S LOOKING FOR: "My muse, my Helen of Troy. A woman who wants to stay up all night smoking Gauloises and talking about Keats."
IS ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR: A woman who will listen to him talk all night. While listening to music. That he wrote. About his ex, Heather.
SAYS HE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: "My guitar, summer-weight scarves, Jeff Buckley's last album, my demons."
HIS FIRST MESSAGE: A 1,200-word letter noting his darkest fears ("dying alone") and why he hates Starbucks ("cocky baristas").
YOU MIGHT BE HIM IF: "This is embarrassing, but I sobbed during The Vow" appears in your profile.
ABOUT HIM: "I'm not like all those uptight douches with their snoozy banker jobs and lame date plans."
SAYS HE'S LOOKING FOR: "No more boring girls!"
IS ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR: Anyone.
SAYS HIS MOTTO IS: "I work hard so I can play hard."
WHAT HE ACTUALLY MEANS: "I spend Friday nights doing vodka shots and watching porn until I pass out."
HIS FIRST MESSAGE: "You into mavericks?"
HIS DIRTY SECRET: He's a banker.
YOU MIGHT BE HIM IF: You've ever done a magic trick at a bar.
ABOUT HIM: " 'Suuuuuuup?"
CAREER: "Currently underemployed. Like, WAY underemployed."
SAYS HE'S LOOKING FOR: "A chill girl who likes watching movies and laying low."
IS ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR: A chill girl who likes watching movies and laying low. And who looks like Kate Upton.
FAVORITE MOVIES AND TV SHOWS: Harold & Kumar, Smurfs 3D, David the Gnome, Yo Gabba Gabba!, Cops, The Price Is Right... (Ed note: Remaining 193 redacted for space.)
YOU MIGHT BE HIM IF: You're reading this and thinking, "Whoaaaaaaa, man! That's totally ME!" right now.
Choose a name (you can do better than 'Dave Nutz69')
You can and should be a nice, funny guy when online dating. Just don't be NiceGuyRandy22 or ComicMitch37. Show, don't tell, as a brothel madam maybe said once.
Also, there's a specific place for you to talk up your hobbies, and it's not your handle, ILikeSexnSoccer. Wouldn't this same sentiment—"I enjoy playing soccer in the park, and an active sex life is important to me"—sound less caveman-ish in your actual profile?
A good bet? Your initials and a couple of numbers. Like: JPL64. It's boring, but dating-site handles aren't eligible for the Pulitzer. (And if they were, DingDong 9InchWong would take it every year.) All a username has to convey is "I'm not crazy." Your profile can take it from there.—Lauren Bans
No mirrors allowed
4. SAY IT WITH US: NO MORE BATHROOM SELFIES
Advice from GQ photographer Eric Ray Davidson and Hollywood stylist Ilaria Urbinati on how not to botch profile shots.
DAVIDSON: "A selfie with your dog in the park might work—you look like a real person. Otherwise, it's hard to take a self-portrait, especially in the mirror, without looking like a vain asshole."
2. Up Close-ish and Personal
DAVIDSON: "People need to see your face, but shooting up close with a wide-angle lens makes your nose look bigger. Have whoever's shooting step back just enough to get a three-fourths shot of your body."
3. You Want to Go Gray
URBINATI: "White can wash out in photos, so if you're in shape, a simple well-fitting crew tee or Henley in gray is flattering and effortless. To look more put together, try dark jeans, a slim-collar shirt, and a well-tailored suit jacket in gray—it reads more casual than black, less preppy than navy."
4. When All Else Fails, Raid Facebook
DAVIDSON: "If your pals are on Facebook or Instagram, there's probably some photos of you on there that you like, and you won't look as if you're posing or trying too hard."
Just be yourself(-ish): The art of the profile
Displaying your guts by completing questions like "On a typical Friday night I am..." and "I'm really good at..." will make you feel self-conscious and absurd— and that's normal. Relax, don't overthink it, and remember that what you're putting up is the equivalent of first-date banter. The process is a mild inconvenience, not a confession or a trap, so just chalk it up to the cost of being proactive. Be honest and succinct when describing yourself. This sounds like some type of Yoda koan, but try to talk about what you like, not what you're like. Don't call yourself any of the following: witty, ambitious, down-to-earth, or humble. Mention a few TV shows, movies, bands, and books you enjoy, but take it easy on the esoteric poetry, eight-year-old Bay Area rap lyrics, and the word I. See, your profile isn't meant to make a stranger fall in love with you. Once you're sitting in front of her with the less-than- 15-percent hair loss that she's handicapped your photo for, then you can really get to know each other—as two hormone-leaking, masochistic adults who want so badly to be in love again.—Mary H.K. Choi
Or ignore all of that
You want to say you're an oenophile or fluent in Klingon? Go for it. The beauty of online dating is that it's stocked with people on the ends of the bell curve—the kind you'd never find normally. So let your freak/geek/pedantic-wine-lover flag fly.