How not to die alone in the Internet age

Journalists are on a serious mission to save women from becoming spinsters

By Katie McDonough
Published January 15, 2013 10:31PM (EST)

Women, send your men out of the room. This post is for ladies only!

There is a lot of good advice on how to snag the guy of your dreams who right now is floating around the Internet. I am here to share it with you!

The Wall Street Journal

Amy Webb lived every red-blooded woman's nightmare when, at 30, she still wasn't married. Lucky for Webb, the story has a happy ending. (She gets married.)

But it wasn't easy. After signing up with an Internet dating site and going on a string of disastrous firsts, she set out to crack the ever elusive online dating algorithm. The Date-Vinci Code!

Drawing on her background in data analysis, Webb "reverse engineered" her online profile. She created 10 male archetypes and built their online dating avatars. Then, she tricked 96 women into thinking she was these men to learn everything she could about her "competition."

What did she learn about the perfect online dating profile?

  1. Don't have scary hobbies! I don't care if you have a black belt in karate and you come from a proud family of skilled martial artists. Don't tell men that!
  2. Don't be funny. (This one is pretty much taken care of already.)
  3. Don't mention work unless you have an easy to understand, non-threatening job. (Sorry, Hillary Clinton!)
  4. Don't have curly hair. Seriously. Just don't.

The New York Times

Online dating has killed courtship (maybe), says the Times' Alex Williams. There is no such thing as a date anymore, only Facebook pokes and and dirty text messages and nude Skype sessions. But you can still try to have meaningful contact with men during these difficult times.

  1. Don't overexpose yourself! Having too many dating profiles will "reinforce the hyper-casual approach by greatly expanding the number of potential dates," says Williams. Being less Internet available makes you seem like the precious, limited commodity you are! If you want to lock someone down for the long haul (Spoiler: You do!), you better deactivate at least one dating profile right now.
  2. Everything is flirting! Did a strange man sneeze on you in the subway today? He was probably flirting, says Jessica Massa, founder of dating advice site the Gaggle. “Once women begin recognizing these more ambiguous settings as opportunities for romantic possibility,” she said, “they really start seeing their love lives as much more intriguing and vibrant than they did when they were only judging themselves by how many ‘dates’ they had lined up.”

The Atlantic

Not only has Internet dating killed courtship, it has also killed monogamy. A double homicide! My only advice?

  1. Don't date this one guy named Jacob from Dan Slater's "A Million First Dates." He will never marry you because online dating has ruined his capacity for monogamy. Ruined it! Now he only wants to watch sports, go to concerts and have constant, no-strings sex.

Fast Company

If Webb's reverse-engineered dating algorithm still has you kissing frogs, there is still hope.

  1. Let OKCupid send you on a completely random blind date through their "Crazy Blind Date" app. According to a statement from the company, it will force people "to make their dating decisions based on words and wits rather than abs and, well, other body parts."

And if all else fails?

Sorry, but this is your future.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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