Smart SpendingSmart Spending

My method for online dating success

You're paying for the service and it's not cheap. Here's how to get your perfect match's attention.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 21, 2011 11:05AM

This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.


It's tough being single. Perhaps that's why Internet dating is now bigger than the porn industry, according to an infographic by Online Schools.


In fact, with 40 million people now taking advantage of online dating in the U.S., it's an industry that's worth just a shade over $1 billion -- and that number is expected to grow to $1.3 billion by 2013.


Considering that six-month subscription fees for online dating sites range from about $12 to $30 a month, and cost much more if you subscribe for a month at a time, it's no wonder a lot of people feel the need to make a love connection as quickly as possible.


How I found true love through a personal ad

While I didn't meet the Honeybee through an online dating service -- after all, the Internet was just getting started back in 1995 -- I did meet her thanks to its humble precursor: the print media personal ad.


Luckily, I can still share it with you today because my wife is a pack rat:

Fit, petite, SW/HF, 27, striking brown eyes/smile, independent, affectionate. Loves hockey, billiards, intelligent conversation. Seeking employed, trustworthy, fit, SWM 28-32, 5’11″+

Considering that I'm only 5 feet 10 inches tall, I technically didn't qualify to answer that ad in the first place. But, after reading it, I immediately dialed up the Honeybee's accompanying voice message anyway. (Yes, she actually wrote down the entire script and saved that too.) Here's what she said:

You've reached Bachelorette #2981 (that was her voice mail number). I'm 27, one-half Mexican (thanks to my mother) and one-half Spanish and Portuguese (thanks to my father). I have long brown hair and striking dark brown eyes … I've never been married and I have no children. I do, however, have a cat and her name is Toulouse. I enjoy sports, water skiing, rollerblading, concerts, dancing, and I love to cook. I'm seeking a very attractive, tall, slim, physically fit, employed man. You must be intelligent, emotionally secure, sensitive, humorous, and above all, honest. Hopefully, you're not carrying any baggage either … Thanks for calling my ad!

Avoid a herd mentality

I want to focus on two key points mentioned in that infographic that are basically common sense:

  • Females in their 20s tend to have many more pursuers than men -- online or elsewhere. And while that may seem like common sense, it's true nevertheless. After placing her ad, the Honeybee had 56 responses in her voice mail inbox. Yes, folks, fifty-six.
  • Men and women who answer personal ads often lie to make themselves appear more attractive to a potential mate. As you'll soon find out, that's not always such a bad thing.

Now, I knew the moment I read the Honeybee's ad that the competition was going to be fierce. So I decided my only hope was to think outside the box. Post continues after video.

I figured most of the guys responding would essentially end up parroting back her previously stated interests or lamely courting her with the same old tired lines. You know, pablum like this:

Hi, my name is Fabio and I love romance, long walks on the beach, beautiful sunsets, long, passionate kisses, cuddling, and watching the "Twilight" trilogy over and over again.

Come on, guys: Do you really think any girl worth her salt is going to fall head over heels for you when more than 50 other potential suitors are making the exact same pitch?


Whether you're male or female, if you want to make an online dating connection you need to set yourself apart from the competition. The best way to do that is to lie -- and lie big.


That's right. Go for the gusto! Get creative. Don't hold back.


The trick is to be so outrageous that the object of your affection knows you're lying, but is so intrigued by your audacious claims that he or she feels compelled to meet you anyway. With a few exceptions, that's pretty much what I did.


In fact, here was the response I left in the Honeybee's voice mailbox. (I know what you're thinking, but I swear she actually wrote this down and kept it too.)

Hello, Bachelorette #2981, this is Bachelor #5683 (um, that spells L-O-V-E on the phone keypad). I'm 31, and 100 percent Italian (thanks to my mom and dad). I'm also an aerospace engineer. I like to travel, and hockey is my favorite sport. On the negative side, I'm an albino with pink eyes and white hair. I'm 4' 6" tall and weigh 489 pounds. Don't worry -- I wear it well. I have a grouchy old Great Dane named Dusty -- and he HATES kitties. On most nights, I like to sit at home on my couch and do nothing but eat Cheetos (the puffed kind). I also have a lot of baggage, but I only pull it out of the closet when I travel.

Needless to say, the Honeybee answered the ad. As an added bonus, I managed to set the bar so low in describing my appearance that, when she finally did lay eyes on me, I'm sure I looked almost as good to her as Brad Pitt.


I said almost.


Regardless, 16 years and two beautiful children later, we're still together -- living happily ever after.


More on Len Penzo dot Com and MSN Money:

Oct 22, 2011 1:45PM
It seems to me that someone who has never engaged in "online dating" should not be giving advice about "online dating."  Published personals ads were an entirely different game.  I am happy for you, and yes certain aspects of a personality will get attention in both worlds, but "online dating" is an entirely different process and mindset.
Oct 24, 2011 8:34PM

After meeting a keeper on I would say MATCH is THE site to use. It's packed with info and easily searched. You also get ice-breakers (generic questions/statements) as an option instead of a rule.


E-harmony IS AWFUL. E-harmony so shallow, you won't even get to talk to someone until 5 contacts later. You only get 2 sentences and a pic to post on E-Harmoney.


Craigslist is where the creepies are. Even for friends/activity buds.


A warm guy Is smiling and posts some intelligent content in his bio.


A smirk or off facial expressioned guy with a short or negative bio will be a prick.


Psychopaths are smiling with intelligent content but he will be so abrasive and critical on the first date, run away fast. 

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.