Kathryn's Blog

Interesting Tidbits about Online Dating

According to a Channel3000.com article, 10% of Internet users report having visited a dating site.  That sounds low to me, even though it means 16,000,000 people.  Of that group, 43% have gone on dates with people they have met on the sites, and 17% reported long-term relationships or marriage with those online dating partners.

According to a new study out of the UK (reported in cellular_news.com), less serious daters (in their terms, love-cheats, two-timers, and commitment-phobes) are twice as likely to use text messaging to arrange first dates.  67% of people looking for a serious relationship used their phones to actually call for that first date.  The same study revealed break-up habits: 30% ended a relationship face-to-face, 22% used distance and the silent treatment, 28% of men and 16% of women ignored their soon-to-be ex, the phone was used by 16%, and 15% used email, 14% text messaging.

Medical research out of the Universities of Callifornia at San Diego and Los Angeles (via an article in the BillingsGazette) of nearly 67,000 Americans between 1989 and 1997 indicates that those who are married live longer.  Divorced or separated people were 27% more likely to die than married folks, and widows and widowers were 39% more likely to die.  Never marrieds were 58% more likely to die than those still married.


True.com’s Criminal Checks Have Holes

True.com has based it’s marketing to singles on background checks and safety for singles.  I’ve written extensively about True.com before.  Robert Well, a convicted child molester and registered sex offender, made it onto True.com under the surveillance radar.  True.com did sue Well and got Well banished from the cyber dating world in the settlement.  (I do wonder how that ban will be enforced?)  But even True.com’s owner Herb Vest admits that his own background checking firm has only about 94% of the USA felony convictions.

This is a good example of the problems when sites offer safety, either directly like True.com or indirectly, like the religious-based sites.  Singles cannot assume that those others on a site, no matter what the site says about screening, are safe.  And in fact, those assurances can create a false sense of safety and encourage singles to relax their vigilance.  Be careful, be suspicious, ask questions. 
From YOur Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Making Luck

Here are two guys who are trying interesting techniques for marketing themselves to women:

Dave Greenberg of Waltham, MA, is circulating fliers offer $1000 to the person who sets him up with the woman he will eventually marry.  Greenberg seems like an okay guy, but has two stipulations that seem to be warding women off: he wants to move to San Diego and will not fly, so wants a partner who will do (or not do) both.

Brian Wolf at http://settleforbrian.com/ has put up his own website with his worst possible photo on the front page.  He candidly has listed his pros and cons.  56,833 people (at my last visit) had viewed the website, he’s gotten lots of supportive emails, and is dating someone now, according to the NPR interview

While both men say they had “no luck” with Internet dating, I am a firm believer that you make your own luck.  And regardless of their lucklessness on the Net, they certainly are making their own luck now.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


We Love Love Stories October 2006!

Savannah is a romantic’s dream, by Myron Powell (52) went over the top with his Sweetheart Esther Watson (44) who he met on Match.com.  Myron was able to convince the staff at the Jepson Center for the Arts to hang a love poem with his proposal to Esther up with the other works of art.  You’ve got to read the whole story here.  She said yes.  Myron and Esther are planning to get married next spring. 

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


The World Is Becoming a Small Town

I grew up in a small town, and remember the relief of going off to college where practically no one know me.  I could create a new “me” apart from my old history.  Then I went to graduate school in New York City, where I really relished the anonymity.  Rarely did I ever see anyone I knew just on the street.  I loved the privacy. 

Computers and the Internet have given a sense of the privacy of big cities, where no one really knows “you” and you can recreate yourself.  Certainly folks do, and dating sites provide plenty of examples of that creativity, some of which stray pretty far from anything based in reality.  But now, we are moving into an era that feels more small town all the time.  A Google of my own name brings up over 11,000 entries, not all me, but it looks like about 2/3’s ARE me.  I am not hard to find.

A recent article from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania discusses privacy and the Internet and warns of the dangers of posting pictures and information that could be available nearly forever, for whomever wanted to take a look.  Take for instance the recent Tom Foley scandal.  Here are a couple of examples from that article of inadvertent exposures:

In early September, a web developer took an apparently real advertisement placed online by a woman looking for a sexual liaison and posted it on the Seattle “casual encounters” section of the Craigslist bulletin board, according to press reports. There were 178 responses to the phony sexual solicitation, many of which included compromising photos. The developer then posted all the responses on a public website, including photos, email addresses and other personal information—where anyone could view them.


Then there was the case of a young woman in Seoul who was on a subway train with her pet dog when the animal relieved itself on the floor. The woman did not clean up the mess, angering other riders, and the woman herself reportedly became surly as tensions escalated. Using a camera phone—at 99%, South Korea has the highest camera-phone penetration in the world—a passenger snapped a picture of the woman and the mess her dog had created. The photo, along with language describing what had happened, was posted online and eventually appeared on many sites. Some viewers were able to identify the woman, who became such a pariah that she dropped out of college and went into hiding.


These both point to the real publicness of both public and private behavior.  Do not assume that lies or bad behavior will go unreported and/or unpunished. 

As with small towns, where everyone knowing everything established strong social controls on behavior, new ways of finding out what you don’t want revealed (or tracking down what you DO reveal and wish you hadn’t) are coming out every day.  The good part is that creates pressure for good behavior—truthfulness, kindness, and politeness.  The bad part is that misstep can easily be discovered and plastered all over creation.  Literally. 

So be careful with your online behavior.  Don’t do or say anything you would not want anyone anywhere to know about.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Want to Win a Range Rover?

In my continuing campaign to get those folks who are interested in “just sex” off the mainline dating sites, onlinebootycall (I’ve written about them before) is having a contest and giving away a 2006 Range Rover as first prize.  This is what you have to do to win:

Members with the most referrals who sign-up from September 1 through November 30, will win; there will be three winners. First prize will drive away with the 2006 Supercharged Range Rover; second prize will bring home $5,000.00 in cash; and third will revel in $2500.00.

I could use a new vehicle, but I’m not even going to try on this one.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


More on Truth Telling

Gawd, I can’t shut up.  Particularly about lying.  Here’s another piece I wrote for Mark over at OnlinePersonalsWatch.  This was in response to Mark’s posting of an article in the New York Post about singles doing background checks on potential dates:

While I am not a great fan of the New York Post and the rather edgy (nasty?) tone of this article, it’s another slant on the whole topic of lying that generated such great comments yesterday to Mark’s post “It’s NOT OK to Lie in Your Profile” http://onlinepersonalswatch.typepad.com/news/2006/09/users_its_not_o.html

I predicted more of what the Post article describes for Yahoo! Personals “What’s ahead for romance and relationships in 2006?” that has been posted since late last year. Here’s what I wrote:

“We are going to see a real trend making it standard that online daters officially establish their identity on the Internet while also keeping anonymity,” says Kathryn Lord. “We are already seeing sites pop up that appeal to the fears of singles (like one which does criminal background checks and prohibits married people from signing up) and another, where people can report positively or negatively, about the accuracy of a date’s online presentation. Sites are also appearing that help you verify your own identity for others to see. Soon it will become as odd to see a profile without a verified identity as it now is to see a profile without a photo.”

In line with our concerns about lying, it’s good to keep in mind that the Internet is just a big collection of people sitting and typing away on their computers. We all have a part of the whole, and if we want to have a safe, honest tool that we can depend on, we all have to do our part to make it that way. Every lie we tell or distortion we allow or encourage or let slip by adds to the unsafety of the whole process. Be truthful and up front and encourage others to do the same. Know that others may find out what you wish could stay hidden, and be prepared to tell your secrets yourself, rather than have someone important find out on their own.

I wrote my book “Find a Sweetheart Soon!” (http://www.yourlovetripplanner.com/) for singles who I observed undermining themselves in their efforts to find love. Chapter 13 deals face on with “How do I tell him about ...?” and “What needs to be told?” Just as I advocate proactive dating, I also advocate proactive honesty. The parts of your life which you may not be proud of are as much a part of you as your height and age. You need to come to terms with it all to be able to explain it to another. Or you will hover on the sidelines.

Kathryn Lord
Your Romance Coach


On Truth Telling

If you are one of my regular readers, you know what a stickler I am for singles always being truthful in their profiles and online communications.  Mark Brook who writes OnlinePersonalsWatch (and does a real service for Internet daters) started a lively interchange on his blog a few days ago.  Mark’s position is like mine: Never lie.  It’s just not worth it.  And don’t tolerate it in others.

I couldn’t help but jump into the fray, and did, with two lengthy entries: The first was a reference back to my own blog posting here dated 9/26/2006.  Not content to leave well enough alone, I added another piece:

Further comment:

We all need to remember that we (and others) are constantly telling others about ourselves all the time—They (and we) have only to be willing to listen. What does it say about us if we lie? Or excuse lying? Or encourage it?

Particularly when we are working with folks who are trying to establish life-long loving and trusting relationships, we need to have an acute awareness of the process of relationship building and the establishment of trust. What does it say about us if we encourage, accept, or excuse behavior that is counter-productive to what people say they want? These people are single for a reason, and MAYBE one of those reasons is that there is a major disconnect between who they are and who they say they are.

What’s wrong with being 61 and looking 55? Say it and be proud. When your date says you don’t look 61, smile confidently, because you know it is true. You will not have to squirm and wonder when they are going to find out the truth.

And I absolutely agree with Eric Resner: Other people’s searches should not be your concern at all. If someone finds you, it’s a bonus. Do your own work and your own picking. You are much more likely to get what you want.

Kathryn Lord, Your Romance Coach


About Guys Looking for Russian Brides

If you are interested in what kinds of men use dating sites to find Russian brides, with lots of facts and figures.

Here is a little of what the article has to say:

Country-wise, most paying members are from United States, with United Kingdom holding sizable second, which is no surprise as those countries are also the leaders by the number of registered users. Other countries in top 10 include: Australia, Canada, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, France, New Zealand, and South Africa. Turkey, which is number 3 for the number of users registered on ElenasModels.com website, didn’t make it into the top 10 by the number of paying users, as well as Italy and Spain (number 6 and 10 respectively by the number of registered users); Norway, New Zealand and South Africa replaced them in the top 10. Apparently, hot-blooded European Southerners prefer looking while men from distant and cooler countries are jumping into action.

The average age of paying members seeking Russian ‘mail order brides’ is 42.9 years vs. 37.8 years for non-paying members, with only 5.1% of paying members being under 30 years old compared to 21.1% for non-paying members. Under-30 men do not appear particularly serious about marrying someone halfway around the world.

From Your Romance Coach,
Kathryn Lord


Internet Dating as Studied by MIT

I published the following piece in my most recent enewsletter *eMAIL to eMATE* October 1, 2006.  It is too full of interesting info to let it pass unnoticed on my blog.  Here goes:

We really know that Internet dating has made it solidly when
academics start studying it. What could be more impressive that
MIT’s Sloan School of Management? Gunter J. Hitsch, Ali
Hortacsu, and Dan Ariely have written “What Makes You Click?—
Mate Preferences and Matching Outcomes in Online Dating,” a
working paper on their study.

At 62 pages long, almost half of which are graphs and charts,
this is not an easy read. And there are formulas: here’s a short
example—Um(m,w)>- vm(m) (not written here exactly right, but
you get the idea).

Lucky you: I’ve managed to digest most of it and pull out what is
really interesting, so here goes. Keep in mind, this study is
reporting on singles’ actual data and behavior—this is not as
things “should be,” but as things “really are.”

The authors used data supplied by an Internet dating company for
22,000 users in the Boston and San Diego area. While they did
not have access to the actual identities of the users, the
researchers did have just about everything else: Profiles,
photos, and preference data, as well as records of who browsed
who, when and if contact was made and reciprocated or not, and if
a meeting was requested or planned. Yikes.

Here are some of the conclusions they reached from their well-
massaged data:

Motivation for using the dating service: Singles interested in a
long term relationship generated the most activity. While 36% of
men and 39% of women declared that a relationship was what they
were looking for, 55% of all emails sent by men were from this
group, and 52% of all emails sent by women. Those “just
looking/curious” (26% of men, 27% of women) did 22% of the
mailing (men) and 21% (women). Only a small percentage of the
email generated was from those seeking casual relationships
or sex: 3.6% for men and 2.8% for women.

The authors thought it was likely that those who indicated they
were “just looking” were actually seriously looking, and
therefore the percentage of emails generated by people looking
seriously was closer to 75%.

Kathryn’s comments: You can probably assume, at least on the
mainstream sites like Match.com and Yahoo! Personals, that
nowadays, most folks posting are seriously looking for a
relationship. Sites like AdultFriendFinder.com have siphoned off
most of those just looking for sex, and AshelyMadison.com and the
like have gotten noticed by married folks looking to cheat.

Demographics: Men dominated the site in both cities: 54.7% in
Boston. 56.1% in San Diego. Age concentration was in the 26-35
year old range. 2/3’s were never married (sounds right, given the
age concentration). Education and income levels were slightly
higher than national averages, but about right for Internet
users. The authors conclude that “during recent years, online
dating has become an accepted and widespread means of partner

Reported physical characteristics: I love this part.

The site asked users to rate their looks on a subjective scale:
19% of men and 24% of women rated themselves having “very good
looks.” 49% of men and 48% of women described themselves as
“above average.” 29% of men and 26% of women described
themselves as “looking like anyone else walking down the street.”
Less that 1% declared themselves “less than average looks.” That
means that 78% of the men and 74% of the women were above average
looking, which is either statistically impossible, or the dating
site attracted only the most attractive people. We do like to
think of ourselves as above average, don’t we?

Women reported they weighed less than the national averages: 6
lbs. less in the 20-29 age group, 18 lbs less in the 30-39 group,
and 20 lbs. less in the 40-49 age group. Either these women
dieted before going on the site or are fibbing. Men reported
weights slightly higher than the national averages.

Men’s reported heights were 1.3 inches above national average,
women’s 1 inch above average.

Kathryn’s comments: Buyer beware! when it comes to an
individual’s self-description of attractiveness and physical
attributes. People have a real tendency to distort or downright
lie. Or maybe they really believe that they are “above average,”
whether you do or not. To do your part, NEVER LIE! It’s big
trouble. See my recent blog posting.

Fascinating tidbits: 71% of men’s and 56% of women’s first
emails did not receive a reply. Men are much more receptive to
first email contacts than women are. The average man can expect
35% of the average women to respond, where the average woman can
expect 60% of the men she contacts to respond. The more
attractive men and women are less likely to respond (are
“pickier”). The least attractive are more likely to write back,
two or three times more likely.

First contacts are usually made by men. Women receive an average
of 11.4 first emails, and men got 2.3. 56.4% of all men in the
sample did not get any first emails at all, with 21.1% of women
never being approached the first time.

Kathryn’ comments: This absolutely validates what I have been
telling my women clients: Men like it when you email them
first!!! Do the picking yourself. You’ll be much more likely to
get what you want!!! And remember, a 30% response rate to first
emails is GOOD!

Guys, if you want the contacts from women, be interested in a
long-term relationship. Men are penalized and receive less
emails if they indicate that they want a casual relationship or
“just sex.” Women however receive 17% MORE first contacts if
they are looking for casual or sex.

Looks: Not surprisingly, the better looking folks got the most
emails. Interestingly, men in the top 5% got about twice as many
contacts from women as the next 5%. The researchers called this
the “superstar effect” and did not observe it with men’s contacts
of women.

Photos count—and I would add, good photos count even more.
Women with photos got at least twice as many emails, and men got
60% more.

Women like tall men: men 6’3” to 6’4” got 65% more emails than
men 5’7” to 5’8”. Women are increasingly penalized the taller
they get.

Men prefer skinny women. Really skinny women. The researchers
used body mass index (BMI) which adjusts weight for height. The
most preferred BMI by women in men is 27. According to the
American Heart Association, a BMI of 27 for men is slightly
overweight. Men however tended to prefer women with a BMI of
about 17, which is considered underweight and corresponds to the
figure of a super model. Women tend to feel they look their best
between BMI’s of 20 and 22. 50 year old women at the 50% of
BMI’s would be about 27.

Hair: Men with red hair had a moderate penalty, while women with
“salt and pepper” hair had a large penalty. Men with “long curly
hair” got 18% less email than men with medium straight hair.

Kathryn’s comments: The ideal guy? 6’3” tall, very attractive,
slightly overweight, with medium length straight brown hair. The
ideal woman? Be between 5’3” and 5’8”, very attractive,
emaciated (How can that thin be attractive??? It would hurt if
you bumped into them.), and have long, straight, blonde hair.
What’s new about that?

Of course, only 15% of men are over six feet tall. And only
around 10% of women have a BMI of 17 or under. (Want to
calculate your BMI and see where you stand compared with other
men or women? Go here. ) Less that 2% of the world population has

blonde hair. Those stats cut out lots and lots of perfectly lovely people.

Are you sure you want to do that?

Tidbit: You can tell the difference between natural and dyed
blonde hair by exposing it to ultraviolet light (bleached hair
will glow, while natural blonde hair will not).

Income: Income strongly effects the dating success of men, while
only having a slight effect for women. In general, the higher a
man’s income, the more first emails he got.

Education and occupations: Women seem to prefer men with similar
educational backgrounds. They also preferred lawyers, fire
fighters, military, and health related professions. Women’s
occupations and education had little influence on first email
results. In fact, most women’s professions did not do as well as

Ethnicity: Overall, 38% of women and 18% of men stated they
preferred mates of their own ethnicity. 49% of Caucasian women
and 22% of Caucasian men preferred Caucasian mates. But only 30%
of black women and 8% of black men stated a preference for the
same ethnicity. The researchers also found that even when the
individual stated that ethnicity did not matter, they behaved as
if it did, showing same ethnicity preference in their email

Kathryn’s comments: Guys, if you can make more money, you can
catch up to other men who may be taller or better looking. The
researchers were actually able to figure out that a man at the
bottom in the looks category could make up for that with an
additional income (on TOP of the assumed $62,500 average) of
$186,000. A man 5’6” tall needs to make $175,000 MORE that
$62,500 to compete equally with a guy 6 feet tall (assuming
everything else being equal). Ethnicity is the most expensive
catch-up: for equal success with a white woman, an African-
American man needs $154,000, Hispanic men $77,000, and Asian men

Women cannot compensate for looks or ethnicity with higher
income. It’s mostly about looks. Sigh.



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