As it is easy to change the photographs that we post in order to market ourselves on dating sites, I decided to swap mine for radically different ones, to see what happened. My pictures thus far had not shown any cleavage. They were what I would call Girl Next Door Grown Up – I’m fond of a chunky sweater, a long, full skirt and boots – and what my pal Jack calls “50-year-old headmistress of a progressive girls’ school”. Jack has his detractors but he can be relied on not to gild the lily, and sometimes I need that inability to lily-gild.
So I hunted through my camera files and found the perfect thing. It was taken at a black-tie do five years ago, and features a silky black frock with a plunging neckline, smoky eyes, scarlet lips, a bit of a come-get-me expression and lighting so flattering as to render me unrecognisable. Bingo. I went to one of the sites, posted the photograph, and sat back and waited. In seconds, men were clicking on the photograph to look at my profile page and – more to the point, I suspect – to look at that photograph at full size. My visitor numbers immediately shot up and began to accelerate in a crazy way. “You’ll get a lot of attention if you do this,” Jack had said, and he was right.
Intrigued, I went to another dating site and changed the photograph from the sweater shot to the cleavage one. I’d been getting about 10 views a week, but when I went back half an hour later I’d already had 63. Messages began to arrive that said, in short, in ways both innocuous and presumptuous, that they liked the new me. Among the approving responses there were explicit descriptions of what some of them were doing with the picture and many invitations to Skype-sex. I didn’t get dates, though. No lunch offers. No offers of non-legover meetings.
I wondered what response I would get if I signed up at a new website and used this as the only photograph. So that’s what I did: I joined a free dating site, and got 27 responses in 24 hours. I was fresh meat for the waiting wolves. None of the wolves’ messages were conversational and none talked to me as a person. Perhaps I had removed the need to talk to me as a person by appearing to set the agenda myself.
Date: Apr 11 2015
Writer: Stella Grey
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