A female journalist/digital media strategist's wry account of how she used mathematics, data analysis and spreadsheets to find the love of her life.
Time was running out for 30-something Webb, who desperately wanted to get married and start a family. So she followed the advice of friends and family and tried online dating "to cast a very wide net" and find "the perfect man." Unfortunately, her computer matches were less than inspiring. Some blatantly misrepresented themselves; others were bores, dorks, egotists, mooches, sex fiends or married men on the make. Webb finally realized that she wasn't getting better responses for two reasons: her own lack of specificity about what she wanted in a potential spouse and the absence of a personal system to help her determine which matches would make good dates. She developed a list of 72 desirable characteristics, which she then boiled down to 25, ranked and numerically weighted according to importance. Webb then went to work revamping her online profile in order to get the most responses from the best possible matches for her. To get the data she needed to do this, she created several profiles for fictional men with the characteristics she sought. All of the females who responded seemed shallow, but Webb also saw that they were among the most popular with the most attractive and successful men. Then she had a flash of insight: Regardless of their real-world accomplishments, "these women were approachable [and] seemed easy to date.” Armed with this knowledge, the author recreated her online image to market herself as "the sexy-girl-next-door" rather than a competitive, neurosis-stricken workaholic. Ultimately, she got her man, "a storybook wedding" and the longed-for child. But some readers may wonder how the things Webb "discovers" about successful dating through her research could have eluded her in the first place.
Pleasant, geeky fun.