We met online. We had great ‘chat chemistry’. But the swipe on him was accidental. Oops! As superficial as it may sound (and online dating is all about the superficial, trust me), he wasn’t the kind of guy I normally go for.
He was scruffy. A short and burly, tattooed guy who says “kiff” instead of “cool”. The opposite of my usual tall, strait-laced, athletic type. But his wit, as sharp as a tack. Now, that’s attractive.
Before agreeing to go on a date with him, I thought about this one classic episode of Sex and the City: Carrie dates a guy she wouldn’t normally go out with. One of those syrupy sweet, nice guys.
“I was trying him on, to see if he fit,” she said. Sadly, he didn’t.
On dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, we tend to swipe on the most attractive people in the vain hope that we’ll get a good ‘deal’.
“I always try to trade up,” says my friend Phumlani about his own personal online dating strategy.
We aim to ‘get’ those people we consider to be out of our league. But with this strategy, we are just shooting ourselves in the foot from the get-go if we hope the date will grow into a relationship. Really, this is more of an instant gratification ego boost rather than a basis for a successful relationship with someone.
It’s hard to get away from the ego rush, however, as the entire process of dating apps is dependent on physical appearance – especially when you consider that most apps are constantly updated to upload more pics – yet very seldom would you be encouraged to revise your profile info.
Research suggests that most people tend to couple up more long-term with people they consider to be close to their own assessment of attractiveness and desirability. That is, in real life we rarely go for people we see as ‘way hotter’ than ourselves.
And another recent study found that women have been proven to be happier with men they deem less attractive than themselves.
The men attempt to correct the ‘imbalance’ by overcompensating by means of chores, sexual favours and gifts. Thus, the women tend to feel more appreciated in the relationship. Whereas in cases where the women considered their partners as much more attractive than themselves, they were found to be less happy.
So why not follow this logic right from the start?
Many of us date the same kind of people repeatedly. With a similar result. "Our romantic relationships and partnerships are, apart from our family of origin, the most potent psychological forces in our lives most of the time,” says clinical psychologist, Samuel Waumsley.
And if these relationships are bad, it has an almost all-consuming negative effect on our daily lives.
We date guys who are the opposite of our dads, or the exact same. Pisces? Done. That’s who my zodiac sign says I should date! All in. What about ‘trying on’ guys that are different from our idea of our ‘perfect man’?
And this doesn’t just go for attractiveness. The danger in dating very similar people over and over is we keep choosing the wrong men.
The previous ones didn’t work out, yet we cling to the idea that the next one will be different. Same type, different day. Ultimately, we adapt ourselves to this ‘type’ we have convinced ourselves we prefer.
So, lets flip that sucker from the get-go when swiping, not just in terms of attractiveness, but also date differently.
It might surprise you to learn there is someone “kiff” out there that is completely unexpectedly wonderful and fits into your life just effortlessly.