Over the weekend, New York Magazine profiled New York City's four most popular OKCupid users — 23-year-old makeup artist Lauren Urasek, 29-year-old real-estate agent James Hawver, 26-year-old artist Kerry Campbell and 24-year-old Thomas McKee. This elite group receives the most messages of anyone out of their respective sexual orientations. In fact, Urasek — who is straight — can receive up to 245 messages in a single week. So what can be learned from these champions of online dating?
New York writer Logan Hill questioned all four on their methodology and they each had individual theories on what works for them. Urasek, being trained in makeup, is a champ at taking a good photo. She also thinks that her varied interests ("hockey, whiskey, swimming in an open ocean, down comforters, astronomy") attract suitors who are drawn to her looks and brains.
"Even if an amazingly attractive girl said something stupid in their profile, she'll still get messages," she told Hill. "So I feel like I'm intelligent and people think I look good, so I guess it's as simple as that?"
Hawver, a straight male who also has a lot of success on Tinder, uses a method that's a little more tricky:
"You ready for the secret?" James asks me. "Not to blow your mind, but it's disgusting …" He picks up his phone. "So, every couple days, I will do this," he says. He opens the Tinder app, but before
I can see the first woman's face, he swipes right: interested. If the woman he likes also swipes right, he has an official match. In short: He never swipes left (not interested).
"I will say yes to every single person," James says. And he never follows up with someone who hasn't already confirmed her interest. On OKCupid, he does the same thing: He gives everyone five stars (and if someone gives him four or fives stars in return, the site will notify him of a match). By doing so, he exposes himself to less risk, an appealing upside to James, who's had two difficult breakups. He's since had thousands of matches—so many that he's had to refine his strategy.
He also lies about his height by one inch.
Kerry Campbell, the most popular OKCupid lesbian in all of New York City, is less about ritual and more about designing a profile that feels right and true to her.
Though her profile, riot_rhythms, is OKCupid's most popular gay-woman's profile, it breaks several unspoken rules: Bathroom selfies are considered cliché, but her page features three such shots snapped with an unflattering tile background. She's a fit cyclist, but there's no full-length body shot to show off her figure. She describes sarcasm as her "second language," but her profile is utterly sincere.
"God, I wouldn't even know how to hack my profile," Campbell tells Hill.
Thomas McKee is OKCupid's most popular gay, male, NYC-based user. He's just shy of 5'6 and describes himself as a "chesty nugget with a great head of hair." According to McKee, success on OKCupid is all about personal "brand." (Thankfully, and surprisingly, he's the only person in the entire article to say so.)
His profile is breezy and clear, peppered with jokes, light references to his Staten Island family, glancing mentions of his professional ambition, and pop references ("beyonce illuminati youtube fan videos"). "I'm going to a website, literally, when I visit your profile, and, odds are, your website is boring," he says. "There's nothing more off-putting than just a block of text. We live in a 140-character world. Easy to digest is what we're going for."
He's also taken advantage of OKCupid's additional focus group-like services to pinpoint his profile's problem areas and improve. The photo that's gotten him the most success is one of him posing with Tyra Banks. Understandable.
Another thing McKee says is important is maintaining an air of exclusivity, which is why he goes out of his way to be labeled on OKCupid as someone who replies "very selectively."
So, judging by these four, it looks like the best roads to OKCupid success are being pretty, liking astronomy, not knowing what you're doing, knowing exactly what you're doing, responding to everybody and responding to nobody. It's that easy!
Unsurprising/depressing final note: both women on the site remarked that a huge chunk of their messages come from total dirtbags. The men did not experience similar problems :(:(:(:(:(:(
Image via Shutterstock.