Forgive the sentiment, but, come on – it’s Valentine’s Day

Well, happy Valentine’s Day, one and all! With any luck, you have been inundated this morning and have a recycling bin full of envelopes and enough Valentine’s Day cards to wallpaper the spare room. If not, add this very special Valentine’s wish from me, print it off and pop it on your mantelpiece along with a sloppy wet kiss. xxx

However, it seems that more than half of the country are not looking forward to the day as it only reminds them of the fact that they are single. Well, isn’t that the point? Certainly, dating sites feel the heat on Valentine’s Day, with singles from across the globe desperate to fall in love and share their love, even with complete strangers over the distance of cyberspace.

It’s a great time for bringing couples closer together, too, especially if they’ve not been seeing eye to eye. It’s a white flag day, time for a truce and to just enjoy each others company and remember why it was you got together in the first instance.

But why should this one day have such a pacifying effect on stormy relationships? How come couples who are joined at the hip can fall impossibly even more in love with each other for the day? And why do so many singles who would otherwise not dream of it feel brave enough to part with their hard-earned dough by risking their reputation and possible friendships by declaring their love for some unsuspecting other single on this day more than any other, whether it be way of an e-mail, a card sent incognito or a private message on a dating site?

Despite the objections of those who would rather skulk and pour scorn on the day of lovers, last year love-struck nationals from every country across the globe sent over one billion cards. In the UK alone, we spent £20M, weighing down postmen’s sacks. That’s without taking into account the thousands of roses and other flowers, meals and take-aways, boxes of chocolates other keepsakes and mementos of the most romantic day of the year.

Today is a time for letting the real world run its course without you, for once. Devote yourself to your partner; vie for the love of another who may not yet know the depth of your feelings for them. If you think you are stuck because you do not have a partner and stand no chance of meeting someone in time, there are thousands of single dating site members across the world who would love to share the sentiment of the day with you, even if you cannot be with them physically.

The world of online dating was almost made for just such an occasion. Don’t miss out, be a part of the massive e-love-ution evolution that is Valentine’s Day – you have absolutely nothing to lose and you could, today of all days, find your perfect match in minutes to last you a lifetime.

Kutcher Cougar coup

No wonder he looks like the cat that got the cream. Ashton Kutcher, soon to be ex-husband of Hollywood superstar Demi Moore, has been approached by toy-boy specialist dating site CougarLife.com to head up a high profile media campaign to be broadcast on radio and TV.

The ‘lucrative’ deal will also include personal appearances on behalf of the niche online dating platform by the Two-and-a-half Men star. He may well want to steer clear of the UK dating scene for a while, though, as many British women would seemingly love to get their claws into him, after he scooped the 2011 ‘top cub’ award as their most coveted fantasy toy boy. More than just ‘tickly under there’, then.

Claudia Opdenkelder, the president of the dating site, which caters for experienced women looking to pass their knowledgeable ways in the art of lovemaking down to a younger generation of men, is quick to defend that rite of passage, ‘I don’t think that the age difference played a role…they had a beautiful marriage for over five years and, like many relationships, it came to an end.’

Not exactly a die hard romance, then.

Madge, Kabbalah & Hollywood husbands

Another Hollywood legend, who perhaps considered a guru on toy-boys, show-biz relationships and split-ups is offering Demi continual support and spiritual guidance. Madonna, once married to Sean Penn and Guy Ritchie of Hollywood fame, is sharing her Kabbalah beliefs with Demi, to help her get over Kutcher, sixteen years her junior.

Madge’s message to Demi is to move on, take pride in the fact that she tried to make the marriage work even after it was discovered that Kutcher had been unfaithful and try to find ‘…someone who will fulfil her intellectually and emotionally.’

And it looks like that message is getting through; a last-ditch attempt by Kutcher to get Demi back on side by buying her a £64k sports car didn’t stop her from announcing official divorce proceedings a week later.

Perhaps, though, when Ms Moore does set out on that journey to find her next long-term relationship, she will not be using her 33 year-old soon-to-be ex’s dating site to search for prospects to fill that role.

There is more information, and an insightful definition, of cougars on womensissues.com
…however, as ‘real-life’ examples, perhaps they may want to swap the Moore/Kutcher reference for something more true to life; here’s to you, Mrs Robinson.

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…

Ready to date off-line?

Dating site reviewers are seeing more and more signs that, as busy professionals content themselves with online relationships rather than fit in a ‘real’ love life, many are forgetting to speak the language of love.

As recently reported, one of the biggest errors made by dating site members when approaching a potential new partner is use of incorrect grammar, punctuation and tone. But having a perfect patter in word processor does not necessarily equip you with the tools of the trade when your budding on-screen romance leaves the virtual arena and becomes reality.

Given that your newfound online love agrees to meet up, following a glittering array of compliments you have bedazzled them with in Verdana, Courier New or Arial Narrow, whichever font is the barrel from which your love-bullets are fired, your date is not going to be impressed if you turn up at the restaurant with a Kindle.

No sirree – it is time to put away the keypad, and let your body do the talking. If you have forgotten how to construct a sentence in the language of love, here are a few prompts to help you give the ‘backspace’ button a rest.

positivity

o assuming that your date has gone to exceptional lengths to look as stunning as possible, you should immediately tell them so. If their first impression of you is being awestruck as they approach, and not either looking at your watch or answering your mobile, then you’re off on the right foot.

focus

o when arranging that first date, take a while beforehand to predict any eventualities that may interrupt it. If your date can only make it on a certain day, and that’s either your duvet-day or 5-a-side night, make sure your usual crowd are informed. Your date must remain the centre of attention, the whole time.

responsibility

o if you are the gentleman of the party, remember your social graces. Do open doors for your lady, pull out the chair (practise if you’re rusty!) at the dining table and, distance permitting, do ensure she gets home safely. If you’re the lady, do insist on buying a drink, even if he insists on paying the bill; not only will it endow an air of independence, but also reinforces your positivity.

tokens

o memories are great, but after a first date, it is imperative to prolong that bond until the next time you meet, either on a second date or back on your dating website. Take along a little something that is very ‘you’; if all has gone well after the date, slip it into their hand (careful!) as a keepsake.

connectivity

o there is nothing as reassuring as physical contact – even the deftest of strokes, gently clasped hand or a fingertip on the elbow as you whisper your first sweet nothing! Be extremely cautious in assessing this situation beforehand – you do not want to come across as being too forward – however, if there is a good enough rapport, handled correctly, that first contact can overcome psychological barriers.

So, there we have it. Parlez-vous les mots d’amour, mes amies? Oui, bien. À demain, adieu. x

Remote chance of romance

With so many UK dating sites to choose from, and seemingly more springing up every week, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the entire nation was looking for love on line.

Somewhat surprisingly, a recent survey suggests that some online agencies are reporting more members nowadays are quite content to let ‘digital dating’ be the extent of the relationship.

So just what is it enticing the populous to prefer virtual dating over physically meeting other dating site members with whom they’ve invested time building a rapport?

The first and foremost criteria for this type of remote correspondence is a free dating website membership.  Many singles serious about finding love on line may be deterred from using free adult internet services, whether an apprehension is justified or not. However, if your intention from the outset is purely for social interaction, this type of medium can be more than adequate.

Whether you are looking for a genuine romance or not, it is still worth looking out for the key facts that are the building blocks of good internet-based contact sites.

A book should never be judged by its cover, they say, although there are a few giveaway signs to help a new member determine more dubious dating sites from the better ones.

If there is an obvious amount of tender, loving care gone into the external, visible user interface, then it is also likely that the mechanics ‘under the hood’ are running smoothly, too.

Another instantly recognisable feature that can help determine the quality of any online dating service is its accessibility.  How well plotted is the navigation in the sitemap? Do the links all take you to the pages you expect to land on when you click on them? If they all run smoothly, then that’s a sure sign that an amount of investment has gone into bringing you a dating service that you are going to reccomend.

Word of mouth still plays a huge part in any online dating service’s success, especially those will low-cost membership fees. A lot of their revenue comes from sponsorship and ‘click-through’ advertising, so it is important to have as many people directed to the site through social media platforms, as the budget for other types of advertising may not be as extensive as the larger dating sites who we see advertising on television on a daily basis.

With the speed of communication at the fastest we have ever known it, any slight against a website’s reputation can potentially be around the globe in minutes; the long-term damage to that business can be fatal – a fact that genuine business owners are only too aware of.

The other major to look out for when choosing a new adult dating site is the membership, both the size and if upgrades are offered.  Most internet dating services offer a forum or chat-room. If, on the face of a website, an agency is claiming that you are able to ‘chat free to hundreds of other singles online, now’, and you get to an under-populated forum or see an ‘online figure now’ disparate to the membership suggested, then alarm bells should start ringing.

If the chat-rooms do have plenty of live threads, and replies are posted in quick succession, why not get in there and check out if any of the members have upgraded, and whether the cost was relative to the extra services? You may save yourself both time and outlay by taking this precaution, first.

The report suggested that there are over 5 million registered members of UK dating sites. If you are just out to date online, you should have no problem finding someone looking for the exact same relationship.  However, do remember that all dating web-sites love a success story, even if you think you stand more chance of winning the lottery that finding love on line.

You never know, the next time, it could be you…!