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Survey of Online Dating Profiles Offers a Window into the Souls of the Lonely

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For online dating companies, the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day can be nothing short of a gold mine. After all, there are only so many boxes of chocolates, pink cards, and bouquets of roses that one bachelor or bachelorette can see before becoming overwhelmed by a gnawing sensation of doom that is a life of perpetual frozen pizzas and third wheels.

But online dating provides more than just big money for companies and the shot at love for singles. It also offers armchair sociologists a rare statistical window into the strategic, and often deceitful, souls of the lonely.

Recently, R. Luke DuBois, a Manhattan-based artist, peeked through that window and turned his findings into an exhibit currently on display at the Bitforms Gallery in Chelsea.

DuBois signed up for 21 different dating sites and analyzed the most commonly used words in dating profiles. WNYC reports:

New York City’s most frequently used online dating word, for example, is 'Now'—confirming just about every Type A stereotype of our town's inhabitants. (In Chicago, incidentally, it’s 'Always'. And in L.A., 'Acting.') For big cities, DuBois was able to break the data down further, narrowing down the most frequently used online dating words to individual zip codes.

'Meatballs', 'Booger' and 'Erasmus' are big in Staten Island. 'Sexist' pops up in Queens (in Breezy Point, to be exact)—as does 'Atonement,' 'PhD' and 'XXX.' In some cases, neighborhoods fit their stereotypes ('Publishing,' 'Obnoxious' and 'Baby' all appear for Park Slope); other times they do not ('Yeats' is popular in the vicinity of Sheepshead Bay). The bizarre trifecta of 'Hustler,' 'PMS' and 'Swelling' is in the Bronx—while Manhattan is home to high-end living words such as 'Finance,' 'Luxury' and 'Brunch.' Most interestingly, the word 'Ganja' is popular in WNYC’s West SoHo zip code (leading me to wonder what the heck is going on at the office after hours).

You can check out DuBois’s findings here.

In my neck of the woods in Brooklyn, the most commonly used words are “Perverted Hipster Psychologist Dude.” Which, I guess, seems about right.

But, of course, online dating profiles aren’t exactly known for their accurate representations of the truth. Fake and inactive profiles continue to aggravate users, some of whom even feel compelled to take sites to court., which brought in $38.1 million for IAC last year, is now facing a federal lawsuit alleging that more than half of its profiles are either fake or totally inactive. The complaint also says that Match tries to get members to renew subscriptions by sending them messages from fake users.

The Dallas Morning News reports that plaintiffs are seeking “unspecified damages and repayment of subscription fees.”

But as DuBois’s maps make clear, fake or not, online dating profiles never cease to fascinate.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.