Love by numbers

Chinese dating fair yens for compassion

It was hardly a surprise that the numbers attending a recent dating fair in Shanghai exceeded all expectations, given that there are 180 million eligible singles living in the country as a whole.

The two day LoveExpo event, which had 10,000 tickets available for each day, attracted almost twice the amount over the weekend, with 18,500 present on the Saturday and an estimated 20,000 on the Sunday. The queues to gain access to the event were so long, any pretence of the festival turning into a love-in were soon dissipated, as angry mothers and hopeful and curious romantics threatened to petition The Mayor of Shanghai over the farcical arrangements.


Instead of waiting to enter the venue, organised by 40 of Shanghai’s dating agencies, many of the attendees took to pinning less-than romantic posters more like snippets of online dating profiles anywhere that they thought may be visible to a potential long-term partner.

With the expected number of surplus men in China expected to reach 24 million by the year 2020, it is little wonder that the practise of vetting potential son-in-laws is so rife.

There is an assumed responsibility in the country for the groom to buy their bride a new matrimonial home. With the average salary in the capital £5,000 per annum and the cost of a new home running at over £500,000, it seems that available brides will be hankered for by those on top salaries, with those single men at the lower end of the earning scale left with slim pickings.

In fact, only 38% of single women would even consider a ‘naked’ marriage, whereby a house and car wasn’t included in the deal. Compare that to UK dating, where the consensus of online dating site users is that they are just happy if their potential partner has a job; you can see the constraints that hold back free love in this pressure-oven of a city.

As a result, even if those bachelors were unable to attend the dating exhibition due to the heavy work commitments that living in Shanghai endows, their mothers went in their place to act as go-betweens. One hopeful 23 year-old single woman had between 20-30 mothers of bachelors approach her with their sons’ phone numbers

It does make you wonder how many women get left behind when it comes to dating in China, but one 27 year old explained how she was considered an old maid to still be unmarried. Having travelled 500km to attend the event in the hope of finding a long-term relationship, however, she would still not concede to accepting anyone, with her focus purely in men who could house any potential future marriage.

Another 61 year old woman, who attended the event behind her 34 year old daughters back, explained that her daughter would never use a dating agency and if she did happen to fall in love with someone beneath her standing, the family unit would “…step in and make sure she snapped out of it.”

So, unless you were one of the 5,000 couples who tied the knot in Shanghai on ‘Singles Day’, so called because of the numerical configuration of 11/11/11, you may have missed your chance with in the numbers game, unless you have several 0’s every month in your pay-cheque, that is…

Your body speaks volumes

Why learning body language can help on dating sites

Humans are not alone as a species in the animal kingdom possessing the ability to transmit messages of love without uttering a word. Far from it, we are perhaps one of the worst. Having developed our linguistic skills to such an extent as we have and being able to connect over vast distances whilst remaining invisible to the correspondent, we have become heavily reliant upon taking people at their word. Especially on social media and dating sites, where building a relationship based on trust in the other is imperative to making the transaction work.

But, in the world of online dating, how can our comprehension of body language help us sort the wheat from the chaff?

We have already looked at patterns in dating site profiles which help detect the fraudulent from the trustworthy using the way their portray themselves. Another way to digest information using textual content is when utilising the ‘live chat’ feature; if there is a long break between messages that doesn’t contain page after page of declaration of their undying love thereater, instead the next just contains a ‘yes, I know’ following your last post, then they’re obviously into something, or someone, which interests them more.

Yes, people get called away, but if your online partner does value your feelings, they will let you know they’ve been distracted from the dating site to allow you, likewise, to take a break.

If we do become interested in developing the relationship with a potential partner further than purely the online dating platform of our choice, we can always suggest a one-to-one on video-cam before arranging to meet off-line.

This is probably a good idea, in any case, just to ensure that your target dating prospect is who they say they are before you let your feelings take over and arrange a blind liaison.

Once they have agreed to a dating tête-à-tête via live video streaming, you can truly test the waters.

The first thing to look out for is eye contact. If it’s a direct lie they’re telling you, they will look away. If your partner is playing you up, their glance will head sideways; penetrating gazes deep into your soul indicate they do want you to go on that date with them.

And do not rule out ‘instinct’; there is a lot to be said for the old adage ‘like with like’, and your gut will give you an indication if the single you are looking at is dating material.

Hand gestures, too, play a high role. If your online partner is gesturing frequently, they are getting into your conversation, therefore expressing a wish to allow you closer to them. If they are playing with their hair or rubbing their fingers, well, just ask away.

And lastly, the smile. A genuine broad beam will set your date at rest; if it is forced, you may be giving the signal you want the date to end there and then. Or that you are expected to smile in a situation that doesn’t make you easy enough to do so.

So, arm yourself with these weapons and, next time you’re up on web-cam, you could save yourself a whole lot of time and effort in a wasted liaison.

Dating sites insight to true romance

what does your online dating profile say about you?

According to research by scientists at facebook, of all places, dating sites are invaluable resources for gathering ‘true to life’ data, which is otherwise undocumented.

The researchers have used a selection of the larger dating sites to collate information to study aspects of our personalities that relate to the triggers that fire us up for romance. Other than census information, there are few other places such motivators can be assessed, so almost 600 million dating site hits in one month is a huge pool of data from which to draw specimens to examine.

From the answers provided by the analysis of the matchmaking sites involved, the National Science Foundation funded survey are looking to find the answer to the question that has confounded scientists, romantics and philosophers for centuries: why do we fall in love?

There were several key areas examined to determine what makes online daters tick. The categories were chosen specifically to provide insight into what motivators encourage an initial response, positive or negative, and how relationships either blossomed or fizzled out thereafter.

Amongst many of the other results that the number-crunches have uncovered were traits indicating preferences shown by large sectors of the dating site community towards ‘like’ sectors. It seems that, if the same question is asked by one single to another of similar political or race backgrounds, their answer will be much more positive than to others on the dating site from opposing sectors.

One of the more humorous discoveries, although the individual dating site members may not see the funny side, is that a lot of people would rather admit to being fat than admitting their political preference.

It is unlikely that the members will ever know that they have contributed to the research. This is not so much an invasion of privacy as that statement suggests.

Of the 1,000,000 profiles used for dissecting, which is why the grant from the N.S.F. was so necessary, some of them were dating site members who volunteered their information, but many were incognito profiles donated by the matchmaking and singles sites who agreed to take part in the information-gathering part of the program.

In tomorrow’s part two of this report, we will look at truths, lies and deceit and how the scientists learned to decide between the two. Also interesting are the figures relating to sexual preference and the percentages of each category who meet via an online dating facility.

And there is also a lot more bigotry unveiled than you would perhaps expect in these more enlightened times.

So, I’m just off to politically-correct my profile, before Big Brother frog-marches me off to the lab for further diagnosis…

Dating Site Dilemma…part two

Not only is it key, when using an online dating facility, to know what you’re looking for in a partner, it is essential that the ‘matchmaking’ site(s) of your choice actually can do just that: matchmake.

As you set out on the long, arduous journey of finding that special one online you will have to face enough tough decisions, if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, without the headache or time-consuming necessity of having to fill in your profile across the myriad sites on the internet purporting to deliver your life-long partner in just a few clicks.

Believe that last statement at your peril, by the way. Yes, you can get your profile up and running by using the method we’re going to look at in …part three, and you probably could get a date on your first visit to your new dating site.

But, as we touched on in yesterday’s article, funnily enough entitled Dating site dilemma…part one (you’d never have guessed, would you?), putting in the groundwork to build a systematic approach to each and every dating site you encounter will not only help you maximise swift access to prospective partners awaiting you on the menu, but also help you recognise, pretty much instantly, whether the site is going to deliver you results.

Take this very site, for instance. At present, we are merely your toe-hold into groundbreaking news and events relative to helping you have as much success, and fun!, whilst looking for love online.

However, as and when this site is officially launched, it will serve a much greater purpose. In the background, the ‘tech-guys’ are performing all manner of research, based on market information, algorithms, trends and new applications (oh, it’s so above my head it’s got snow on it; alas, I am only the writer), dating.org.uk will bring you the best dating sites, based on those equations. But in order for those results to be relevant, they have to be measured.

Looking for your soul-mate, your intended, or even just a shoulder to cry on should receive its due care and attention on your part, if you are to achieve whatever target you set yourself.

However, until such time has passed whereby we can absolutely guarantee you that selection of the top online dating pages every time you load our site (which will be soon, promise), here we go with a simple, classic Blue Peter-style How-to-work-your-dating-site guide, in Dating site dilemma…part three

Dating site dilemma…part three

Welcome back to the final piece of the jigsaw, which will hopefuly help you find an online dating partner with the least amount of fuss and greatest amount of efficiency, whenever the fancy takes you to go looking for love online.

One of the avantages of browsing technology that has helped us to navigate more swiftly than in days of yore is the ‘auto-fill’ option. As most dating sites require you to fill in similar information, do take the time before you start searching for love online to fill in this ‘under-the-hood’ tool with up-to-date information; your personals will be dangling before prospects in no time.

Do, however, take note of adult dating sites asking for credit-card details and the related implications, especially when registering for free dating sites.

Done? Okay, back to you browser, your window to a whole array of internet dating sites.

Next, we are going to create a new folder on your ‘bookmarks’ ribbon to keep tabs on your favourite dating sites. If you’re not sure how, here are links to four of the provider’s instructions on how to bookmark using their service:

Do that for this series, first, so you always have your how-to guide to hand, and then you can start ‘bookmarking’ your favourite dating sites, and keep adding them to the same folder.

If you are a little more technically gifted, you can also create a stack in ‘delicious’, where you can group all of your personals sites, write your own tags and comment on each one; even share them with fellow ‘web-site collectors’, if you so desire.

Another good tactic is to have your ‘other information’ typed (and saved!) on a document so you can simply copy and paste that detail once you complete the more specific areas of your online dating profile. If you take the time to do this ‘off-line’, you can hone, polish and tweak it, whether you have access to the internet, or not. Then just upload the details, next time you’re logged on.

Talking of tweaking – if, like me, you’re in between life stages, you may want to change certain snippets of your dating profile to target a particular dating community. If I was registering on a 40+ site (for seniors, allegedly), the fact that I go surfing may not win as many admirers as my penchant for writing; on a 20’s+ site, I may choose to reverse the tactic.

And the final stage is scoring (isn’t that what we set out to do [ooh-er!]?).

This applies to both your potential partner and the dating websites you’re assessing.  For this, create your own scale, using the key aspects that you look for in a dating community or website; this could be:

  • forum/chatroom availability/response
  • web-cam
  • paid upgrades
  • age-sensitive zones
  • feedback, updates and other correspondence

Then, prioritise those aspects and score each website, accordingly.  This will provide you with a very accurate ‘report’ of how good each dating site is.  Match that with your perfect partner profile from …part one and the know-how from …part two and you really are ready to go!

Online dating cite

We take it pretty much as read that, if you’re married, it is perhaps inadvisable to be using a dating site, paid, free or otherwise. Unless of course, it’s a swinger’s site and you’re trying to spice things up a little.

However, if you’re looking online for love and your marital partner is unaware, you are perhaps putting the knot into the noose with which you will eventually hang yourself.

It is becoming an acceptable face of court proceedings to hand over single posts or web-page transcripts from social media platforms or online dating sites in supporting evidence of innocence or guilt, one way or the other. This practise applies particularly for insurance claims or divorces, the latter usually where one half of the couple is accused of contacting singles on dating sites, which obviously has implications.

Especially if the correspondent on an internet-based dating site is later named in divorce the application. At all times, it is key for members of any online dating agency or other type of social media that, unless you are paying for a totally discreet or adult dating service, you are posting into the public domain, where this information is accessible to anyone who has an internet connection and search engine.

The practise of submitting this type of ‘evidence’, however, was taken to a whole new level in the US recently when a judge not only asked for evidence supporting claims of interaction with an online dating community but also requested the user names & passwords of the soon-to-be divorced couple in order to ascertain the depth of usage and how much it reflected on the case as a whole.

It transpires that, once the wife learned of her husbands intentions to use pages submitted to her preferred dating site, she called her friend, asking her to access the account and delete ‘certain’ correspondence.
Having gotten wind of this, the husband’s solicitor had private words with the judge, who placed an injunction on the accounts, summoned the access information, and passed the id’s and passwords on to the opposing solicitors.

The only caveat the judge issued regarding restriction of usage on the respective media and dating sites was that neither party should post whilst under the hood of the other’s account, pretending to be them.

This case does question privacy and terms of usage issued by some sites, forbidding you to share your user information with any third party. But you have to face facts – marriage, or any committed relationship, brings with it responsibility, even legalities.

So if you are hitched, don’t want to get ditched, some insights to sites, may lead to court cites!

Dating site dilemma…part one

It’s official, then – I’m a senior! That’s what I discovered when I entered the phrase ‘dating site’ into ye olde Google search bar, anyway.

I can’t recall what the excerpt said – in my haste, shock, fright, take your pick, it went something along the lines of ‘Senior dating – your source for all 40+ dating’.

Okay, I only just sneak into that bracket by a mere thirteen months, but ready to join the blue rinse brigade? Not while I’ve still got my own teeth!

It did, however, remind me of a key aspect that everyone should consider when choosing a selection of dating sites; well, that was after three cigarettes and a double Jameson helped me get over the shock that members of the mature dating set may be considering me ‘fair game’.

And that question is: what do you want from a dating site?

Okay, back to the search (shivers). If you query ‘find love on line’ or ‘internet dating agency’ you will find hundreds, nay thousands, of agencies claiming to be the best or offering the widest choice of free singles…
…you get the message.

But how do you know that they know what you want? There is no easy answer. Here’s my advice, for what it’s worth, if you’re new to online dating and are looking for a pointer or two where to find your perfect match online of the 5.2 million registered online dating accounts in the UK, alone. Yep – where’s that haystack; we’re going needle-hunting?!

You can go at it head-down into the haystack and you may be lucky enough to get pricked on your first attempt, end of story, never need a dating site again. And well done to you if you do, but that is a 2.6 million to one shot, if you assume a fifty-fifty split male/female, minus a few who are perhaps still undecided (but there will be specialist dating communities for the latter, so you should be safe).

You have to look at finding your perfect partner as a long-term investment. If someone asked you to surrender the rest of your life against a specific profile because of the character’s beautiful blue eyes, would you? Yeah, you’d be surprised; people do.

But, generally speaking, singles using dating sites are looking for more than one positive aspect before throwing themselves onto their knees in supplication. In other words, to come up with a mix that’s attractive, you must filter out potential risks; okay, it might not be a perfect brew, but you have made your investment a safer bet than just going in gung-ho because of a perfect pair of peepers.

Okay – that’s enough theory for today.

When you come back tomorrow, I want you to have made a list of positives and negatives. About the dating site you’re looking for and the potential partner.

For the site, at this stage, just decide whether you’re looking for free or paid and whether you’re looking to target a specific age-range.

For your potential partner, you can be a little more specific. Again, if age is a consideration, put that down. Other things can include distance, income, incumbent family, occupation. Different characteristics rate more highly than others for everyone, so only you can judge which go where in priority.

Apply these filters, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow with my thoughts on how to apply them online to help you narrow your search for the perfect internet date!

Dating site to the rescue

Calls for internet access levels on schools’ browers to be increased may soon be voiced, despite one teenage girl’s registration on a dating site via her homework laptop lead to her discovery after going missing.

When fourteen year-old Hanna Snider disappeared in Sorrento, Maine earlier this week, it was only through the dating site membership on her hard-drive and browsing history that her discovery at a boy’s home in Thomaston was effected so swiftly.

There is only so much protection any school can provide to control what their students access online, even if they do adhere to the CIPA* guidelines to the letter. As it stands, in order for schools and libraries to qualify for certain funding, they have to ensure browsing filters recommended under The Children’s Internet Protection Act are installed and implemented. However, once the student gets home, there are no such governance implications. If there are any limits, they are those imposed by the parents, not any school board.

This is where the onus really passes back to social media platforms and online dating sites to vet sign-ups with more scrutiny. Questions have got to be asked, ‘How did a minor manage to become a member of an internet-based dating community? and ‘What levels of control can social media platforms, singles dating sites, parents and schools enforce to limit minors access, and volumes of contacts once registered, thereon?

In circumstances such as Miss Snider’s, where potentially hundreds of contacts may need to be searched through in case of disappearance, critical time may be lost with so many individuals, be they schoolmates, social media buddies or potential partners on a contact site.
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RSU 24, Maine’s appointed regional schoolboard, is aware of the importance of computer safety and its incorporation into the curriculuum, and beyond. As such, it stresses to its pupils’ parents to keep tabs on what they are browsing whilst using the internet at home, especially the more adult contact service or online dating agencies, where the filters applied in the classroom cannot be enforced.

With apps being developed which double-check registrations, and pressure being applied from all areas of society regarding accessibility and exposure on multiple levels of the internet, it could be time that internet dating sites set the precedent by introducing more stringent sign-up methods.

Why not join the e-love-ution evolution?

Social Media – love it or hate it, it is undeniably here.  To stay.Long before our lives were dominated by the facebooks and Twitters of this world, even way back to the dawn of Friends Reunited (remember them), there were online datingsites.Once upon a time, when you had to unplug your phone to obtain a dial-up connection to even access the internet, if you accidentally let slip that you’d spent the previous evening checking out your perfect match on an adult meeting site, that comment would be followed by a look of suspicion, nay, disgust.  From the very look in your co-respondent’s eyes you could deduce them summoning, in their mind’s eye, visions of long overcoats, thick bifocals and park benches.

And to top it off, when you attempted to return to your ‘seedy little stomping ground’, after waiting for fifteen minutes to re-connect via dial-up, you were apt to find a nasty little virus had crippled your 64kb of RAM via a pop-up ad, thus requiring a trip to PC World and praying that the ‘tech-guys’ didn’t check your cache and discover what you’d been up to.

By the frosty reception when you returned, some seven days later, you knew that you’d been sussed.

Thankfully, looking for love on line no longer has this stigma attached and is, like bingo, one of the en vogue ways to spend your browsing time.  In fact, if you have not frequented at least one free online dating agency, your peers will probably emphatically encourage you to do so.

Yeah, Bingo – what next?  Cougar dating sites?  Enough said…

So, what has happened to bring online personal sites out of the gutter, well, into your gutter, technically speaking?

A recent report dispels some of the myths that diehards still see haunting the world of online matchmaking and offers some explanation as to how finding your perfect partner on line is suddenly the fashionable thing to do.

In a nutshell, social media has broke down many of the barriers inherent to meeting people on line.  A friend may have recommended you join them on their site; before you know it, you’re conversing with their friends, either ‘following’ them, actually ‘liking’ them or joining ‘circles’ of other online users with similar interests to yours, including dating forums and chat rooms.

It seems only natural, then, that this online relationship is taken a stage further.  Whereas, previously, you may be talking very much on a one to one basis, there is definitely more of a community feel nowadays, offering a greater sense of protection, than in years gone by.

Especially with greater verification methods, such as tru.ly’s new app, currently in beta in the US, which draws on government records to avoid any falsification of dating profile information.

Expectations are also different; even though online dating accounts for a larger proportion of marriages than ever, such sites are often used for casual relationships, too.

So, what’s stopping you?  Join the e-love-ution evolution – before all the good ones become extinct!