Income Infatuation and Online Dating
This is a guest article by Sam, the author of the blog Financial Samurai and the founder of the Yakezie Challenge and Network. He writes a column for Consumerism Commentary every other Tuesday.
There are 14 income selections one must choose on a particular online dating site my friend Craig recently joined. Take a look at these choices: Under $20,000, $20,000-$30,000, $30,000-$40,000, $40,000-$50,000, more $10,000 increments up to $100,000, $100,000-$150,000, $150,000-$250,000, $250,000-$500,000, $500,000-$1,000,000, and finally $1,000,000+. Wow. Talk about getting granular! Do people really need to know within the $10,000 or $50,000 range of how much one makes? Guess so, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many choices!
Craig is 32 years old, six feet tall and works as a project manager in construction. He doesn’t make a lot of money, with a salary averaging about $55,000 a year. That said, with dark brown hair, a nice smile, four-pack abs and a cheerful persona, he should be considered a catch by many women. Yet, Craig has an inferiority complex. $55,000 is only the fifth choice out of 14 from the income list! He often wonders to himself, How am I supposed to compete with the thousands of other single guys in San Francisco who undoubtedly make much more than me? Earning $55,000 in San Francisco is like earning only $25,000 in Houston.
Income infatuation is strong
Women love to say that it doesn’t matter what car a guy drives, how much he makes, or how much he’s worth. Instead, the gracious woman emphasizes personality, charisma, drive, and integrity! Yet, if this were really the case, why don’t surveys ask a guy to rate his charisma trait between 0 and 14 like they ask about income? Why isn’t there more emphasis on the various types of personalities and ambition levels instead of just one word, yes-or-no answers? The reason is women aren’t telling men the entire truth! High quality literature (like Cosmopolitan magazine) prove that there’s a lot more than meets the eye!
I believe everything is rational, and the 14 point income question is there because women demand it to be there, otherwise it wouldn’t be there! If enough ice cream shop customers demanded double fudge peanut butter cup ice cream with swirls of caramel, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’d find a way to get the flavor on the menu.
Don’t take it from a guy
It’s really easy to see things from a guy’s point of view. After all, I am a guy, so what am I supposed to do, pretend I’m a woman and psychoanalyze myself from a woman’s point of view? Maybe, but there is a better way. The better way is to simply ask women about this ridiculous 14 selection income field.
So I asked Jennifer, a professional woman with ten years’ experience in corporate America the following questions: Should Craig lie and say his income is $175,000 to make him seem more desirable? It’s not like his potential date can really verify how much he makes, especially if he takes her somewhere fancy. Or, should Craig be honest and go with the “love me for who I am” option? I expected Jennifer to choose the latter, and she did.
“Craig should be himself and disclose everything with honesty,” Jennifer says. “What happens if they get serious and she discovers he doesn’t make the $175,000, then what? She’ll start wondering what other lies Craig is telling.”
That’s all fine and dandy, but what does it matter if Craig can’t get a date in the first place since no woman wants to date a 32 year old man in San Francisco earning only $55,000 a year? Craig can’t even get in the door. Wouldn’t it be a better strategy to make him seem as desirable as possible, and allow him to bedazzle her with his charming personality and chivalry instead?
Jennifer smirked, and simply said, “Men.”
What’s a guy to do?
Craig has been on this dating website for over a month now but isn’t getting much luck. He gets several “winks” and messages, but he hasn’t been able to successfully get a woman to go on a date with him yet. He went with Jennifer’s advice and chose the $50,000-$60,000 level. Frankly, Craig is depressed by his bad luck and wants to just give up online dating together.
Every time Craig thinks about lying about his income, he hesitates because women continue to tell him they don’t care about income. Yet, online dating is so full of lies. The five-foot one-inch girl says she’s five-foot three. The slightly overweight guy takes a picture of himself in a black shirt in an upward looking photograph and chooses the “athletic” body type. The list of embellishments goes on and on; it’s as if one is disadvantaged if one doesn’t cheat a little.
Readers, what should Craig do? And consider the opposite situation: if Craig were to make millions each year, should he reveal the figure or pretend like he makes much less? I assure you that Craig is a good guy!
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Hiiiii I am Vicky Thakur can I join your company
Like I want dating income money I am man.
Hello, myself Vicky Can I joined your membership
I will tell you that guys _do_ care about the female’s income. I am female and am in the 100-150 bracket (but am in the Bay Area so take it for what it’s worth) and when list my income, the number of messages from men go up.
On the flip side, there have been a few men who were obviously scared away from my success (I own a nice condo in a very nice neighborhood) and when he realized that + my income bracket, he stopped messaging me.
The main reason why I list my income is because I’m a single mother and don’t want to be seen as hunting for a sugar daddy. I also list my income to ensure that the guy knows that I expect a certain lifestyle and yes, I do expect him to earn a certain amount as well. Call it superficial, but I could not date someone who made substantially less than me.
Yeah, that’s superficial! At least you know what you are!
Let’s stop pretending that men are intimidated by women who earn more money. Men are not intimidated. Women just refuse to give them a chance. She earns 75k and her earns 45k. She wouldn’t give him the time of day.
Men don’t approach women who earn more because they know rejection is imminent. Men don’t pull these generalizations out of thin-air.
Even census reports will provide data that proves women are more likely to marry-up in terms of income.
I doubt any women posting on this site are married to a man who earns less money than themselves. I know, I know; you all know many couples in which the wife earns more than the husband. Even if that were true, none of you could provide proof. There are always massive amounts of exceptions on the internet when people can hide behind the convenience of anonymity.
Maybe we should approach women who earn more and give them a chance!
I would sure love a sugar mama! 🙂
Not always true. I was a high wage earner and DH made less. We looked at it as our money met family goals. Perhaps the catagory shouldn’t even be a consideration. Money is nothing in comparison to other attributes. ( fidelity, honesty, compassion, etc) These are the things that make a solid and lasting union.
It’s unforntuante, but yeah some singles do tend to try to cast themselves in the best light as possible even if they have to throw in some white lies. The funny thing is that yes this goes back to the beginning of time, guys are intersted in a womens looks and a women is interested in material security so there is nothing new here 🙂
Honestly, the reason there’s a 50-odd comment debate here is because people love to believe things that aren’t true about the world.
It’s been scientifically proven that income (or proxy words used in personals like ‘solvency’ and ‘generous’) are among the top three traits women look for. They don’t look for attractiveness in the top three.
Men look for prettiness top. Affluence comes down the list.
I don’t think either sex has the high morale ground because of this. There are strong evolutionary reasons for it all. But it amazes me how people discuss the world they would like to see, not the world that is.
A film like Jerry McGuire sums it up. Can you conceive of a movie where a rich woman falls for the sweet male boy in the post room? I suppose it’ll happen one day, but it’ll be the exception that proves the rule. Rich guys falling for pretty less rich girls is a staple.
Obviously you haven’t heard of cougars. 😉
It may have been this way once, but the tables are quickly turning. I don’t doubt that “social norms” are very hard to break, but it’s a different world out there and I think future studies are going to show that. I wonder if women are looking at income because they want someone who is their equal, not someone they have to “look after”? That adds a different dynamic.
But I whole-heartedly agree that neither sex has the higher moral ground. Online dating is a shallow experience. If you met someone in person, for instance, you’d accept a date (or not) based on things like chemistry and if you’re attracted to that person. Online dating turns the process into shopping from a catalogue.
I don’t see this issue as being directly one of income.
The issue is, in a general way, income is statement about you as a person.
If you can’t hold down a steady job or can’t break a particular income threshold, what’s wrong with you? Poor social skills? Anger management issues? Indifferent? “Just weird?”
Sure, some people are working their way up, in several part time jobs to make ends meet, being careful about their money, looking for a steady “career.”
There are also people who should be making “enough” but piss their money away or bounce around from job to job, burning bridges as they go, never building themselves up.
Good point! I know people who have gone back to school to change careers — then their income isn’t huge because they’re starting out in a new career.
There’s already so much stigma to being single (you’re still single at 35? what’s wrong with you?) I think you’re right about people making the some judgments about money.
I would still rather get to know someone in person. You can’t tell from a profile, really.
Good point about going back to school and starting over.
Single at 35 is a stigma…………. but only if you let it be.
Maybe Craig’s problem isn’t his income but his aptitude in “closing” the deal to get a date… Craig, lookup online dating systems on the Web and start learning the systems that can get you the dates, no matter your income. Enough said… start looking now!
Craig is making a stable living. He has transportation. He also has looks (so you say), so maybe he’s got to be more confident about setting boundaries. What does craig want out of a relationship? What is Craig willing to tolerate? How picky is Craig?
Also, here’s a message to all you upwardly mobile women: I’ve been around some pretty sleazy doctors and lawyers – professionals.
That translates into lots of lonely people. I think both sides of the table have to re-examine their behaviour.
Well, well well. Look what a week can do!
Craig is messenging three women concurrently and one just asked him out for dinner! Hard to say whether it was just giving Craig more time to play around and percolate on the site, or whether his new income of $100,000 has anything to do with it.
Hmmmmm. The discussion is between sushi and sake or ceviche and sangria. Whatcha think ladies? What cuisine and beverage would you like to consume?
Neither. I’d rather a cup of coffee with an honest man rather than sip sake as part of an experiment.
Or rather, what I should have said is that it’s the company that matters, not the food. It doesn’t matter what you serve me — if you lie to me, sooner or later it will all seem like poison anyways.
Sounds good! Also, who’s to say he doesn’t make 100K over the next 12 months as he plans to do some side hustle, and /or get promoted. Should be good!
How do you know it’s his income level that’s stopping him from getting dates? It could be that his profile description is crap. It could also be that his profile picture isn’t close enough to show what he really looks like. Has he been messaging girls or just waiting for them to message him? Does he ask girls questions when he’s messaging them or just end his messages with statements that don’t provoke a response?
Love your article, but there is absolutely no way you can prove that your friend’s lack of luck with the ladies is due to his income level!
Very interesting dilemma … I too would have problems with trying to put a profile up on a dating site that would attract what I am looking for.
Due to the ages of my children, most of my friends are around 7-10 years younger than I. I’m not a ‘cougar’ but most men my age or older do not interest me as I am at a different stage of life than they are (notice I say ‘most’ as you just never know who you’ll meet). I’m interested in men that are around the same age as my friends and their husbands. Many older men would be at the stage of their lives where their children have left home and they are near retirement age and they want to travel etc., where I am on sports fields and dance classes and will be for some years to come.
I would gladly date a man who has children of any age if we’re compatible. My question isn’t one of money … it’s the old ‘should I lie about my age?’ question … if I put my real age in, I have men my father’s age responding, or men who have ‘I’m looking for a partner who I can travel with’ … even though my profile states clearly that I’m not able to do that. I also have men in their 20’s responding … lol … and we all know what that’s about.
I too don’t like the money question on the site’s profiles but there are acutally some out there that don’t allow you to ‘not’ answer and don’t have the NOYB choice …
I don’t know if some sites are better than others but I put a ‘test’ profile on a site with my age 10 years younger and definitely got more responses … but told them up front in our first e-mail that I’d lied about my age …. I also put an ‘unpaid’ profile on e.harmony to see what kinds of matches I would be sent before paying the $40+/month and many or all were from hundreds or even thousands of miles away …
I’m not currently on any sites as many men I’ve talked to simply state that they don’t date women who go on dating sites as they feel they can’t trust them to not be still cruising the sites for ‘something better’ …
A dilemma indeed! What do you think?
Interesting dilemma you present indeed about your age, and getting men your father’s age pinging you! Wow…. what a tough cycle, chicken or the egg if you don’t like much older men.
I say put yourself out there. If you are 40, but feel 35 and look 35 go ahead! A guy isn’t going to crucify you. Focus on finding someone you connect with, and once you do, they won’t care how old you are.
There are some interesting perspectives here. As a male former web dater, I’ll add my own thoughts on this. I consider myself an upper income earner ($100k plus). However, I didn’t want to share that in my profile as I assumed it may attract women focusing on this one attribute rather than many others. Some may classify the type as a “gold digger”, or she may be simply looking to enjoy “upscale” date places. Obviously, different people are looking for different relationships on the dating scene, some casual, some long term, some to marry. If I was looking for an arm candy girl who chose me for my income and a consensual casual arrangement…fine. At my stage, I was seeking a soul mate for long term/marriage who would see me for what I am and not my bank account. I did eventually find her and we were married two years ago, about 3 years after our first date. That being said, I had to go through my fair share of thorns before I found the rose.
It’s great you found a rose! How many thorns did you have to go through to find her? Did you never fudge on your online profile once?
This is hilarious. At $100k, you are not an “upper income earner.” You are merely middle class. You will not be attracting “gold diggers” whilst making $100k, my friend, so don’t worry about it. You have to add another zero to worry about it.
How is it hilarious? $100k is in the top 13% income percentile for individuals. He makes more than 85%, yet you scoff at it. More women thinking they are hot stuff and deserve only the upper echelons.
Ok Sam, here it is, your boy Craig hasn’t been getting any real hits on his profile using the truth about his income, and now he is looking to drop off the site all together and try something else… Fine.
Tell him to run this little experement… put his income at the absolute max in his profile… +$1,000,000.00. See if that gets him an hits… yeah it’s a lie, but see where it takes him. He can always shrug it off as a joke later or that he was trying to be funny down the road if things turn serious with anyone. If the fact of the matter is that the girls on the site are screening mostly by income… he has to go where the fish are if he plans on catching any fish.
Just my 2 cents.
Craig’s problem is that he’s trying to date in the Bay Area. This place is a rat race. Many Bay Area women look for the status symbols and moneyed partners. It’s part of Bay Area culture. Women can be extremely picky as well because of the incredible number of single, high-income earning men and tend to come off as closed and standoffish. You can’t blame it all on the females, though, because the men here do treat females – especially those they don’t know – in a highly accosting manor. I’m not from the B.A. originally, and I find women from most other states, or even SoCal, to be much more approachable than in the B.A. My advice to Craig is to move somewhere else. Try San Diego. They’re all about the 6-pack abs down there! You should do well.
San Diego does rock, gotta admit. Go down there for some business on occasion and the women always complain how there are so many hot bodies and hot women to compete with!
Tell Craig that if he played for the other time he’d be overwhelmed with offers. Gay men love a masculine guy with abs and a killer smile. He’d have his pick if he was a switch-hitter … I’m just sayin’
Personally speaking, a women’s income is important to me up to a certain point. Someone earning a good paycheque probably has a good job which means they’re probably educated, ambitious, and intelligent. Of course there are a lot of assumptions here but it is a very coarse filter that I use. I think it also puts some of my “gold digger” fears at ease if I know they’re able to comfortably support themselves.
Don’t sweat it Craig. Any money-hungry *****@! that would turn you down based on your income is not worth crying over. Given this dating site’s obsessive categorization of income though, it may be that those are the only types that use the service. Anyway, there are other ways to meet people and other opportunities so be patient and wait for the right one. Life’s just too short to waste on gold diggers.
Craig should sign up for an online dating site that doesn’t ask how much money you make! Really though, if you met someone in person and knew nothing about them but you click and decide to start dating then you’re not going to know how much each other makes for a while, and by that point it won’t really matter. So for online dating, income shouldn’t be part of the equation.
If Craig really is a good guy, then the dating website he’s using gets a fail for requiring its members to use criteria that skew results!
This article does not surprise me one bit. It reminds me of a thesis that my friend wrote in University. It was titled “Men are not wallets”.
Women like men who have money so that if they break-up with him they can milk him for as much as they can get. Look at Tiger Wood’s ex-wife for example. She had a $20 million pre-nup agreement but it wasn’t enough. She went after $100 million. I don’t blame her though. The laws need to be changed. I’m sure she and her children could live comfortably on much less.
Right, and all men want is a sex toy, brood mare and maid.
Seriously, I thought we were through with the stupid stereotypes. Yeah, there are gold diggers out there, but please don’t assume all women are like that.
Sorry, but it’s not my dream to marry a philandering sex addict for a big pay off. I’ve got a career. I’ve got my own money, and I’m not living in 1950 or 1850.
I’m from the future.
Men still don’t care about women’s status, accomplishments, travels, or material wealth.
Still true that women are, in fact, slight variations of a hive mind.
Want a good man, don’t be an over-educated career snob with a travel addiction and codependency on your dog. Or hold out forever and expect to replace your dog-BF about every 10 years and annoy your coworkers with you instagram foodie selfies until your 70.
Also, if you are married, you don’t think you’ve settled, but I bet he does.
Yep. That’s my financial plan. Marry a wealthy man and take him for all he’s worth. Because that happens ALL THE TIME, especially to women like me who aren’t as young, thin or as pretty as Mrs. Woods.
Get a grip.
You are right. I should not stereotype women like that. Only some women are like that and it’s not like men are always in relationships for the right reasons either. I guess my comments only apply to some women (and men too).
These days, why not just save up and pay a woman to have your child?
It’ll save on a lot of stress, including a messy divorce and an ex-wife who tries to deny access to your kids and turn them against you.
I guess that’s one advantage we have. Much easier for us to become single parents.
I honestly think that women are getting married later and divorcing more often because we’re financially independent and we don’t need a man to support us. We don’t have to settle because we need financial security, nor do we have to stay in a bad relationship because the man is the sole breadwinner.
Completely agree. The 20 year olds are experiencing an income shift where the women are expecting to be higher earners than men. I’ve heard them speak of men as the new “ball and chain.”
What a great opportunity for a sociological experiement. Craig could post two identical profiles, with the only difference being income, and see what he gets for response. Take it a step further and actually date the respondents to the different ads and see if he finds disctinctions between the women who respond.
Be interesting to see if he gets any duplicates–women who respond to both ads.
How would that be possible? If the ads contain pictures, won’t women figure out something’s wrong? That would be a pretty big red flag for me, and I wouldn’t respond to either!
I would not give the information. Maybe some women will pass you by – but they’re doing that anyways. Regardless, a dating site doesn’t need to know how much money I make. (I’m not even comfortable filling in that question when opening an investment account.)
“Everything is rational” can be a good rule of thumb. But on the other hand, whenever I’ve gotten a peek into a process that seemed mysterious and cool (e.g. “how do they know what the hot trends will be next year?”), more often than not turns out to be mundane and often arbitrary (“they just make them up?!?!”)
I’m getting sick of people saying “women say they want this, but they really want this…” as if we’re liars or something. The problem is that people approach online dating like picking out a new TV or piece of furniture from a catalogue. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way! I honestly believe that you can’t truly know what you want until you spend some time with people. However, there’s such a deluge of profiles that you have to use ridiculous criteria to eliminate some.
The people I know who met their husband or wife online went out on a lot of first dates and were at the online dating thing for a while. You can’t expect success in the first few months!
Best of luck to Craig.
Nobody thinks women are liars, it’s just that people in general (men as well as women) simply don’t know what they want until it’s presented in context. Thus, women often SAY they want one thing but their behavior says the opposite. It’s very common and the scientific literature is very conclusive on this subject. You should never ask a man for relationship advice about dating men and vice versa. We will probably give you wrong answers. Women do the same.
What’s interesting is that women want guys they feel can provide for them and bring them security, (using the cues of height and income), while also wanting a man who will accommodate their desire to be career-oriented (which I think it is great to be). You put the two together and it often causes conflict when it comes to marriage and family. There would be a lot less conflict about where to live and whose career takes precedence if these women would marry guys who were content not to have high career aspirations or jobs with lots of responsibility. That doesn’t seem to happen very often.
Wanting physical attributes is fine. Wanting money is fine. Asking for both makes it harder to find a good person because a lot of great people get filtered out of consideration. This is why I think men are easier to please overall.
Sigh. Why does the man have to be the initiator in the year 2010?
Also, I could have sworn I read some comments about women not caring about income, and enjoying personality etc, but needs for the guy to be taller than her. Huh? Is this not inconsistent thinking?
Wow, you’re tough. So now we aren’t allowed to care about income or physical attributes without running the risk of seeming shallow? I’m 5’2″ and yes, I prefer the guy to be taller than me. Mostly that’s not too exclusive!
Income and physical attributes are too entirely different things, not inconsistent at all. I can support myself so income is not much of an issue as long as the guy earns a living wage. On the other hand, physically I prefer a guy to be taller than me and height/weight proportional. Men probably don’t care so much about the height but I suspect most men would agree on the weight.
It’s your huge generalization that I have a problem with. Saying all (or even most) women want someone with a large income is the same as saying all (or even most) older men want a 20-year-old girl with big boobs (something you hear single, middle aged women say a lot). Neither statement is true. Some women care a lot about income and some older men want a 20-year-old with big boobs. Both represent a pretty shallow outlook and neither is very complimentary.
If you’re really this cynical your friend might want to look elsewhere for help! 🙂
The guy doesn’t have to be the initiator. Both men and women should contact whomever they want.
One guy did tell me that he knew there were more women than men on the site we were using, so he knew he had they advantage and he could have his pick of anyone.
Somehow, I didn’t think that was a good thing 🙂
Poor Craig! I did the online “dating” thing a while ago and I have no desire to wade back in. I think people have offered up a lot of good suggestions as to how to make sure that his profile presents him as an attractive dating candidate. I throw in my two cents:
It may be 2010, but as far as these sites go, guys need to be proactive. It’s very much a “man/initiator, woman/recipient” mentality. He should not wait for women to contact him, he needs to contact them.
When contacting prospective “dates,” he should briefly introduce himself via email and let them know specifically what in their profile caught his eye and made him think they’d be a potential match. (Hint: “You have a great rack” probably won’t win anyone over. Make it more like, “I noticed you enjoy hiking. Have you hiked up at Los Liones? I was up there two weeks ago–it’s a gorgeous view.” Or “I see you’re also a fan of [insert author/director/actor/TV show here]. Have you seen/read his/her latest? What did you think?”)
Remember the term “online dating” is a misnomer. You “meet” online, the actual dating is supposed to take place in person. Don’t carry on a back-and-forth email conversation for an extended period of time. Set up an in-person coffee date ASAP after initial contact. Don’t wait for her to suggest meeting–as stated earlier, be proactive. If you just carry on an email conversation and wait for her to suggest meeting, you come off looking wishy-washy–even if your intent was to be respectful of her feelings.
And if women are screening him out due to income considerations, he should consider himself lucky and move on.
Nobody asked me, but…after ten years of online dating, I’m of the belief that if you allow your financial situation ALONE to define you, women will pick up on that and click “next.” Most sites give you the option to select “prefer not to say.” I always did so and found in my own experience it that the absence of that tidbit seemed to have little to do with who answered my emails or sent emails in response to my profile.
In the end, what you say in your profile is a pretty faithful reflection of your character. Whether you can get away with “creative truth” regarding your income or not…we should not lose sight of the fact that we are the decisions we make: even the “trivial” ones like whether or not to speak the truth in our profiles. I advise women who read my book and my blog to be honest. Men should do the same. Not because you might get caught in a lie and they (women) will know you for what you are…but because YOU will know you for what you are. And no, before someone asks…I come no closer to perfection with regard to truthfulness than most, so I get the pressures you feel.
But really…do you want a woman for a night or for a lifetime who measures you by your income?
I’ll bite too, though I agree with most of SimplyForties points!
What gets my attention:
– guys who obviously have it together. They’ve got a stable job, maybe a home of their own, they can cook for themselves, they volunteer, friends and family are a priority. (I’m not looking to be anyone’s mom or housekeeper — I want to be a partner.)
– similar interests and values.
– an attractive face with a nice smile.
What turns me away:
– pictures that are all about the guy’s looks, body or toys. Contrary to what guys think, a topless photo isn’t a turn-on for those of who are looking for more than a boy toy.
– poor communication skills. I also hate when guys say “I don’t know what to write, but here it goes” or “I hate writing about myself, but…” We’re all in the same boat, deal with it.
– lack of information. We need more than a few lines to go on! When I don’t see much info, I think a guy is just there to shop around.
– someone who doesn’t take care of themselves.
– they talk about their sexual needs/preferences.
– political and religious rants.
– prejudiced comments and slurs against minorities or people with disabilities. (Yes, I’ve seen a few of those!)
Another guy here to agree with you, Sam. Of course, I’d be honest about it, because I wound’t want to be with a woman who is that shallow. But, I know that they always talk about what doesn’t matter and then dismiss a guy for not having what “doesn’t matter”!
Okay, I’ll bite!
1. Be open, be honest. You can’t tailor your profile to what every woman is looking for because you don’t know what she’s looking for. Include what you like to do in your off time, what you’ve read recently and enjoyed (if you’re a reader), volunteer activities, etc. The only way you can find a good fit is to be honest about yourself.
2. It’s going to be different for everyone (that’s why you have to be honest about yourself). For me – first off I look for good grammar and good spelling (looking for a good communicator), sincerity as opposed to braggadocio, interests that align with my own. On a more surface level I check height (don’t want him to be shorter than me), religion, political affiliation and his answers to the smoking/drinking questions.
3. Pictures of your stuff! Don’t care about your cars, boats, houses, planes, motorcycles, etc. (your dog is okay!). Smarmy interests like “walking in the rain”, using your profile as a place to rag on previous dating experiences, insincerity (anyone who has spent any time online dating can tell). Too much talking about your ex, good or bad.
Good luck to your friend!
May I ask a favor of women and online dating veterans?
* What do you wish did more of in their online profiles and activities?
* What are the top 2 things you look for?
* What do you wish guys did less of bc it really annoys or is a turnoff?
Men definitely care about looks and we admit it. Women care about income, career, confidence, height, looks, etc., etc… but they SAY they want a nice guy with a sense of humor. My stand-up joke on that is that if women really want a guy with a sense of humor then why aren’t the hottest female supermodels dating the funniest male comedians? And it’s ironic that on average, women are starting to earn more than men because they are more likely to be college graduates. I think that now that women in society can provide for themselves, they are becoming picky about looks just like men always have been. Yet many of them still want the guy to pay on the first date.
I’ve done fine on the dating market and I’ve learned a lot from this David D’Angelo guy. You have to take his advice with a grain of salt, but the key is to appear confident, never appear desperate and be slightly cocky but funny. Good looks and height are very important though too. I’ve read interesting research that the most important thing a guy can be to be considered attractive by a woman is to be tall.
Men lie on profiles about their height. Women lie about their weight. I’ve come across many women who have sent photos from “four years and 30 pounds ago.”
Oh man, hilarious comment! I don’t think I can respond bc the women on here will crucify me. I’d like to just be on standby and observe if u don’t mind 🙂
lol. I’m inclined to agree. Many women are financially independent, so there’s less pressure to settle down (for financial reasons, anyway) or to stay in bad relationships or marriages.
The “nice guy with a sense of humour” never made much sense to me either. I haven’t met a guy yet who completely lacked a sense of humour or didn’t know how to be nice to a woman on date. There’s so much more to it than that.
Funny you should mention weight. I’ve never lied about it, but when I was online dating guys were constantly asking me if my picture was current and if I was still that thin. The answers to both questions were yes, but the fact that they asked meant that I crossed them off my list! Thanks for assuming I’m a liar!
Your buddy has a few options:
1) He can get a date the same way everyone did before online dating services. Somehow our parents’ generation and most of our generation have been able to connect with someone without the internet.
2) There are plenty of web dating services that don’t ask your income, right? Why not use those?
I agree with not lying. If it’s the only way he landed the date to begin with, it’s just wasting his and her time. It will end badly.
These questions about income are great for companies that collect personal information and sell to other companies, which undoubtedly happens with dating sites, especially the lesser-known sites. As far as finding a mate online, most people, men and women, judge someone’s income by appearances when they meet, this just creates a shortcut, and could be more accurate than guessing if people don’t lie.
Perhaps Craig should just look for someone in his own income range. If he lies, any woman who eventually meets him through the site will not be interested in a long-term relationship — not because he doesn’t make enough money, but because he lied.
Women do care more about income then men. That has been supported by studies. (ref:
*”What Makes you Click? Mate Preferences and Matching Outcomes in Online Dating” by G. Hitsch, A. Hortaçsu, and D. Ariely) Thats not meant to bash women. The opposite here is that men care a lot more about looks which means we’re shallow.
Also, nobody is saying that women care more about income than anything else or that this is why Craig is not getting dates. Income is a lower priority than some other things. Craigs height may be helping him more than his income is hurting him. Everything else equal, a 5’6″ guy who makes $225k would get less responses than 6′ tall Craig with his $55k.
Craig should not expect that he’ll get lots of dates within 1 month via a single online dating service. If its any consolation to Craig you can tell him that I make >$100k and it took me over 2 years of trying on 2 online dating sites before I find my current wife. I went through 100’s of matches and only had a handful of dates. I got more scam emails from people overseas with broken English than actual dates.
There are a vast number of reasons why you might cross someone off your list. Maybe Craig is being too picky? Maybe Craig has other traits (overweight, smoker, religious preferences, ethnicity, likes country music) that are getting him crossed off the list by women. Now I don’t know Craig so I don’t know if any of this is true, but its all possible. And if this stuff is accurate: “Craig has an inferiority complex.” … “Craig is depressed by his bad luck and wants to just give up online dating together.” It could also be that Craigs lack of success is more due to his attitude and state of mind than his income.
Keep trying, have patience.
Wow, thanks for putting things in perspective Jim! I’m glad things turned out well after two years of trying! Why do you think not one woman on this thread has admitted or agreed that income is one of many important factors in finding a mate?
Um, because it’s not a factor for us? 🙂 Why don’t you ask us instead of asking someone else to make assumptions about how we’re thinking?
Okay, perhaps I can’t speak for the other ladies here, but I didn’t look at income. Actually, I can’t even remember if the sites I tried listed income at all.
If I’m honest, if I were to see income listed now, there are two ways it would influence me. First, I don’t know that I would go for guys who were very low earners. It’s not the number per se, but I’m an ambitious woman and I think it would be hard for me to have a partner who wasn’t goal-oriented or self-motivated. I also don’t think I’d chase after men who were making a lot of money — I’m not a material girl and I want a partner who has a good work-life balance, not a lot of money or stuff.
However, while it would influence my actions, I wouldn’t dismiss any guy whose values and interests I shared.
Provided he isn’t shorter than I am 😉
Beth, the main reason they don’t ask you directly is that people have a demonstrated inability to predict in advance what will be important to them. In many cases, they aren’t even aware of it at all. This applies to both men and women. In layman’s terms, just because a woman SAYS income isn’t a factor for them doesn’t mean it’s not true, even if she honestly believes it. This is very well supported in the scientific literature. If you want to know what really matters to people, you experiment. You don’t ask, because they will give you incorrect answers.
I was responding to Sam’s question about why women on this thread haven’t mentioned income, actually.
I agree that we often don’t know what we’re looking for until we’re actually with people. However, I also know myself well enough to know that it’s not the number that matters so much as a person’s values. I’m a saver and not big into material things. If a guy is going to blow through all his cash and have a hug debt, that’s not going to work for me no matter how much or how little he earns.
“I’m an ambitious woman and I think it would be hard for me to have a partner who wasn’t goal-oriented or self-motivated”
You aren’t chasing the money. But with your stated priorities the kind of guys you’re looking for are likely to have decent incomes. I wouldn’t be surprised if you also consider education level important to some degree. You’re not looking for high income. You’re looking for men with traits that often correlate to higher income.
Good point! But I disagree on the education point. I’m a bit of a smarty pants, I confess, but it’s interests and intelligence that make the difference. I have friends who don’t have much post-secondary education with whom I can talk for hours, and I know Ph.Ds with whom it’s difficult to talk about anything other than academia.
The truth is that I really hate online dating. I can say whatever I want about what I want, but the truth is I won’t really know until I meet the right person. I’ve dated guys that had all the qualities I think I’m looking for — and that was how I learned that chemistry is a necessity too!
Ever women is different and undoubtedly some honestly don’t care about income. Many consider it at least indirectly. They don’t want to date a “loser” without a good job. That crosses off many low income men without explicitly filtering based on income. Many women like Beth look for traits in men “ambitious” etc. that skews their search to the higher income men.
I think Craig should leave it as is. If you change the income answer, and he gets more hits, then that isn’t really encouraging either – it means he may be attracting women who care a bit too much about money. Plus, if you change it, you’re lying. Lying as the basis of a potential relationship sucks, and makes you look creepy.
He should do a temporary experiment though – maybe raise it for a few days and see if it picks up (if he connects with someone this way though, and makes a real connection, he needs to straight-up tell the truth and say he’s doing it as an experiment, or whatever). If it doesn’t, then it’s not the income that’s the problem and he can stop worrying about it. It could be photos, or the way the profile is written, or the site’s pool of people, or any number of other issues. If it DOES pick up, then now he knows – and maybe he should pick another site that puts more emphasis on other factors.
I think we’re going to do a little experimenting and raise it up for a couple weeks. Perhaps we’ll revisit in the next post! Whatcha think?
Hi… I think that the topic of this article is amazing… And my question is, why would the main guy (who earns 55 000 a year) does not say something like NO CHILDREN, I mean, I would probably be concerned if the guy has that money, but has to pay child support and other stuff, yet if he did not have a family of his own, then, that should not be an issue… Not like other issues. I mean, uys with more money usually attract women who are interested on the money, and therefore will very likely seduce them and all that stuff… Guys with money tend to cheat more than the average guy, usually they do not have so much time to spend on dates or just hanging around family and friends… I would much, much rather date him than the first 5 guys of any list, based upon this factors, and many others such as: guys who make that kind of money usually put a lot of hard work for it, and therefore would be a better lead by example role father for my kids, and he would probably be a bit more conscious about so many other stuff that I would probably like him more than the other guys… Of course, I have not met him, or even know if this character is real, but, if he was, I would like to ask him several questions, not involving money before I decide if he is a good catch…
Not one politician would be elected if he told the truth. And they do get elected. Not all dates should be expected to end in a long term relationship!!!!! Hell … lie … have a few dates … have some fun … and who knows … he might luck out and find a woman like Dexter’s sister and have some real fun!!!
Lol, nice! He can pretend he’s James Bond!
I’m coming from a different place in life than some of the other readers: I’m 52 and have already raised my kid so I’m not looking to build a family. I’d be looking for a partner, not a meal ticket.
If I were looking on these sites, what the guy has written about himself is what would grab my attention. If it’s sufficiently interesting then I’d go out for coffee with him. Conventional “good” looks matter less to me than a lively mind and a kind heart.
Salary? None of my business unless somewhere down the road we talked about merging households.
At that point, yes, I would want both of us to pull a current credit report in each other’s presence. No matter how much I liked someone, I wouldn’t want to be blindsided by $100,000 in undisclosed debt after I’d moved in. It would make me wonder what else he had kept from me — especially if the report showed defaulted debts and maxed-out credit cards. That would make it an issue of values: I couldn’t respect someone who routinely walked away from his or her responsibilities.
But it’s a moot point for me: I’m not looking. 🙂
Is the question required? If not, leaving it blank would be the best course of action. In general, a person won’t hold a negative attribute against somebody if it’s not listed at all. By listing it, he’s only drawing negative attention to himself. There’s no need to lie about it, just check the “I’d rather not say” button. Women will respect his privacy. I’ve done a ton of online dating in the past, and I can safely say he won’t be losing out by leaving income blank.
What makes you so sure people are even looking at the income number? I wouldn’t. My advice: if Craig wants to meet the kind of women who care about (prioritize, even) how much he makes, then he should inflate his income. If he doesn’t care to go out with those kinds of folks, can’t he leave it blank or look elsewhere?
Funny you say that the income question is on there because women want it. I don’t remember getting the questionnaire that asked what I wanted, must have missed that one! Income is only incrementally of value. If a man is 55 years old and making $10,000 – 20,000 a year (at least prior to the economic crash) that tells me that he’s got some issues and I’m not sure I want to take those on. He doesn’t need to support me so anything above about $40,000 or so and I no longer care about his income.
There are so many criteria on the date sites that I can’t imagine how you are able to draw the conclusion that your friend’s lack of dates is due to his income. Maybe he’s got some issues in other areas.
Finally, no lying. No matter how wonderful he may be, if he lies, then at some point his prospective partner will know he’s a liar and that’s never a good thing. In spite of what you may think, not everyone on dating sites lie!
I agree. When I was online dating, I stopped seeing a guy who lied to me about his height and his education. I figured if he lied to get something as minor as a coffee date, what else is he going to lie about?
I also felt it showed a lack of respect too — a lack of self respect as well as a lack of respect for the people he wanted to meet. We all have insecurities, but I don’t want to be with someone who thinks I’m so shallow that I wouldn’t give him the time of day unless he lied to meet some standards he assumes I have.
You love sparking a bit of controvery don’tcha? lol.
As a guy though, even I agree that it’s not right to lie about his income, especially when it’s 3 times the amount he actually makes. Sounds like nothing but a hot mess down the road.
As a current consumer of online dating profiles, I can attest that a man’s words have significantly more weight than a man’s income. Interesting, funny, smart writing is the first himt that I might find him interesting; an attractive set of pictures is next, and if I look at his income, it will be in the context of what he has written: a medium income but lots of toys (motorcycles, sound systems and the like) tells me our values don’t match, whereas even a low income with “minimalist lifestyle, value experiences over possessions, only work part-time so I can spend more time traveling” tell me I’ve found someone worth pursuing.
Mostly, I want to know that I’m dealing with an adult who can delay gratification long enough to reap bigger rewards.
Got it. So you suggest Craig write more about himself in his profile to give a woman a better sense of who he is. Put more humor and personality into it yes?
On the flip side, if he had a 500k income, would u be even more utopia to get to know him ?
I would never want to fill out how much I earn because I think it is a private matter and I would only disclose it to those I can trust. So I would not want complete strangers knowing my income.
@Beth, for the survey, just ask the next man you see be it a stranger, bf, or husband and ask whether they care about women’s income when dating. Bet not 9 out of 10! Let me know end of the day your results! 🙂
Sam, I think your writing and your outlook would be a whole lot better if you had some training in research methodology. Frankly, I can’t think of a less effective way to get good data. Asking people on the street or asking your friends does make for good anecdotes, but it’s a pretty limited and usually biased sample.
For instance, most men and women I know don’t care about income. However, I know that’s a reflection on my social circle and the place and culture where I live (especially since I’m not American). I could stand on the street for a week and get answers, but the opinions I would get don’t represent everyone — just a limited sample that’s influenced by many geographic and demographic factors. (Not to mention the fact that people are more likely to be honest in anonymous surveys rather than face to face contact).
Okay, that sounded really critical and I apologize for that. I’m a researcher — it’s in my nature to question sources and to argue with logical fallacies like “I’m right because you can’t prove I’m wrong.” I genuinely do feel that we’re better writers when we can see beyond our own personal experience.
No problem. Criticism is healthy! Besides, I’m right :p
Shall we talk about why there is such granularity in the income questionnaire? Remember, these online dating sites are a business first.
lol. I enjoy sparring with you 🙂
Momentum; Where’s he headed? I’m old and retired so I know nothing about today’s dating games or online services (I’m not even allowed to look) but I remember the start of my 42 year marriage. USAF, Germany, $697/month $300 in rent – lots of mac & cheese. But I was on my way up not stagnant or moving backwards. He needs to get off of the computer and outside with the ladies and friends. I met my wife while visiting her brother but there’s always churches, other organizations, grocery stores etc. Let those pheromones Cindy likes, do their thing!
A good point you make there! He’s in his early 30s already tho, so I would say his earnings/career momentum is somewhat like a soft stream.
I don’t understand why you are assuming that someone who is physically attractive would only be rejected because of his income. As a veteran of on-line dating, I can tell you that limited education, limited interests (sports! cars!, etc.), and lack of basic writing skills* (grammar, spelling, proper capitalization) are far more detrimental than a middle-class income. I suggest looking at the profile as a whole for problems.
My thought exactly, Daisy! I might glance at income when on an online dating site, but it’s pretty much my last consideration. Look at the whole profile, not just the one piece of data.
Agreed! I find this blog is sometimes too quick to blame women. Obviously Craig is perfect, so it must be those awful shallow women who are the problem!
Okay, I’m being sarcastic here. On a more serious note, I agree that there are many reasons why people reject a profile. It’s tempting to look for reasons, but the fact is we never really know. I agree with the suggestions that Craig rethink his profile, and perhaps find another site to try instead.
Totally agree! It’s as though income and hotness are the only two variables. Consider the possibility that this guy is dumb as a stump and that’s what is standing in his way. Or maybe his come-on lines are offensive or full of cheese. Maybe he hasn’t picked up a book any time in the last year and doesn’t know the difference between “you’re” and “your”.
Please share more of why you would t ping a guy online as a veteran online dating user! A the negatives you mention he does not have. Perhaps he’s just being impatient, that’s all.
Why do you think the website asks for such detail on his income
🙂 LOL. Sam, you crack me up.
It kind of sounds like Craig opted for one of those cheapy websites like match.com. One of my best friends met her husband online, but they met through a better site – eharmony.com I think? Anyways, I think the better sites ask more questions about your personality. I’ve heard match.com is more of a meat market and people aren’t always on there looking for real relationships. So, there’s that.
Also, to be honest, I would initially be a little hesitant about a guy that made the equivalent of $25,000, as you say. However, I wouldn’t completely shun them. If we connected and vibed online, then I’d still go for it. I often tell people that I could care less whether my fiance makes $20K or $100K, just as long as he’s happy. Not to get too deep, but faith and love will carry you through life even if you make minimum wage at the grocery store.
In my opinion, he’ll want to stay honest in order to snag the right girl. Couldn’t he also consider just making his income private? Strangers don’t really need to know that, do they? Craig’s soulmate will not care that he makes $55K if it makes him happy. On the flip side, if he lied about his income, he might just attact a bunch of golddiggers.
Craig is just in the chicken or the egg scenario he feels due to his low income. He doesn’t feel like he’s being given a chance so he’s frustrated. He has filled out over 100 personality questions already!
I for one never look at the income, even if it is given, and try to judge the person on their other attributes. For me, as a dater, I want a man who loves his job more than a man who makes money at his job. His happiness in his career out-values the income (to me).
And if he can’t get a woman on this site then he’s doing something else wrong. It isn’t about the salary, because there are plenty of women like m in the world. He’s not being open, he’s not posting good pictures, he’s not giving them good convo in the email. I don’t know what Craig is doing that he isn’t getting dates – but I’m confidence that it is not just about income.
Just wanted to add something… FM, why do you assume the question is there because women demand it be there? Hasn’t it occurred to you that women have to fill out that question too? I doubt many men who earn over $150,000 would be looking for women who earn $40,000 or less.
Think about it.
A valid question and point Beth! It’s bc most men really don’t care about a woman’s income, hence the income category is irrelevant. Men focus on attractiveness and hints of personality online. Feel free to do a survey!
lol. But didn’t you say there’s a difference between what women say they want and what they actually want? (i.e. they say income doesn’t matter, but clearly it does?) I wonder if the same thing would happen if we surveyed men? I don’t think many men or women would admit to saying that income is a priority for them, so we’d never get accurate answers.
I personally think the income question is stupid. I for one am looking for someone who has similar goals — like spending wisely and saving a lot. I don’t care if someone earns a ton of money or not — it’s how they manage it and how they balance work and life that’s important.
Yep, women, not so much men! If guys fudge a little on what they want, it’s on how important physical attraction is and certain body parts, but definitely not income!
Where’s your survey? 😉 How come I have to have proof and you don’t?
There are a lot of studies that demonstrate the difference between men and women in terms of what attracts them, as well as the evolutionary pressures that lead to them. Sperm Wars by Robin Baker is fantastic one, and a great read with some racy scenarios. Mating Mind by Geoffrey Miller and Red Queen by Matt Ridley are also great and all based on the science of attraction. I hear other good ones (that I’d like to read) are David Buss’ The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating and Why Women Have Sex.
All of the evidence points to it being true that women are largely attracted to status, including money, and men are largely attracted to physical features. Evolutionarily speaking, this makes clear sense. Natural selection inherently means whomever has genes that help them reproduce the most successfully over the long run (i.e., children grow up and have more children) pass on those helpful genes and become a greater percentage of the population. Those with genes that don’t help so much in that goal become a smaller percentage and get wiped out of the gene pool.
Females of any species by definition invest more in having children, even if just the gestation period. That means they have to be choosier. They’ll want to be with men who have good genes for health, for sure, but also who can provide the most resources during pregnancy and child-rearing. Those resources include protection and food. Status within a group also acts as a proxy as high status males have more resources available. Hence power and money are natural attractors.
For men, maximum success wasn’t with being choosy. Their investment could be as little as a couple of minutes and then move on. Not to make men sound bad, but for them it would have been about the total number of women and, given the choice, the healthiest and most fertile women, and preferably with no other children (by other men) to take away effort on this child. Hence youth, clean smooth skin, and other fertility proxies are attractors. (To make men sound a little better, sticking around to help raise a child or children could “pay off” in success moreso than the total number of women, so a mixtures of dominant strategies can exist.)
It’s a fascinating topic with a lot more detail than provided here. But in general, It’s not so surprising that women are largely (but not only) attracted to money and status and men less so. Attraction is a reaction, not a conscious choice, so of course people will tend to report differently what they think will attract them than what actually does.
I agree with FS. Guys want attractiveness over all else. Now please don’t read that’s the only thing. Many things are important but don’t pretend that one isn’t number 1 for most guys or right up there near the top. Money is usually pretty low for most guys. Ever see a guy have a problem asking out the girl who is running the cash register at McDonalds if she is cute?
Women want security above all else. That can come in many forms but it is a primary concern. Many other things are important too but security is very high. That can come through money, commitment, protection, etc, but in the modern world, money is a primary way to gauge security. That’s not to say choices are often made that wouldn’t be primarily on security but that could be because the woman already feels fairly secure herself or has lowered her expectations due to lack of success or whatever it might be.
But generally and instinctually, Men start out with looks and women start out with security. Disagree? Observe those around you. And exceptions don’t disprove the rule, just cause Demi Moore is a cougar with a boy toy doesn’t change the fact that it’s usually the 50 year old professional man with the 25 year old trophy woman than the other way around. He wants her for her looks and what they say about him. She wants him for his money and power and what they say about her.
Very well put! Love the Mcdonald’s example. Heck ya a guy would ask out the hot girl at the cash register, even in their 20s and beyond. I can’t see a woman doing the same for a man.
It sounds to me like the guy needs to (I’m sorry) aim a little lower. If he’s telling the truth about his income, which I think he should, and still not getting any dates, then he’s aiming too high. Women *do* want money. A more attractive woman will look for a higher-paid man, just because she can. We women have a good reason for that. Should we get serious and get pregnant the father of that child needs to be able to provide! It’s hardwired into us. We want money, but it’s not a vanity thing. It’s a survival thing. Also, how much a man makes indicates how committed a worker he is, often, so it’s (sometimes) a good gauge of character. Of course, I’m married to a guy who doesn’t make a lot of money, and I married him for love, so I guess I’m no expert on this stuff. Maybe if Craig got off the internet and got out in the real world where his pheromones could be sensed, he’d have better luck. 😉
I would find another site 🙂 Obviously, income is important on this one. If you’re at a disadvantage in one field, move to another.
Lying is definitely not the way to go. Even if you come clean on the first date, lying screams insecurity and that’s definitely a turn off (not to mention a big trust issue).
On the flip side, it’s a sad fact that many guys are intimidated by women who earn more money and are higher up the corporate ladder than they are (or if they have white collar jobs while the guy has a blue collar job). Craig sounds like a nice guy, but I wonder if some women are avoiding him because they’re afraid of him rejecting them — not the other way around.
I agree with changing sites. I think you can find out information about the distribution of incomes on a site in much the same way this post found out information about the gender and educational distribution:
Great points today Sam. I completely agree with your take as well, although it’s probably because I’m a guy. I think that women want to say that stuff like that doesnt matter, and I am tempted to agree with them, but I just cant. I think it may matter up to a point…for instance, they are probably not going to be able to overlook a very low salary (like under 30k in the bay area, say) but once you get above a certain level of comfortability (say, 75k) making more probably isnt going to matter until you’re making an ungodly amount of money.
You should do a test case on this dating site. Put up a few pictures of yourself on 2 different accounts, make everything the same but the incomes different. See which one gets more responses.
Hi Jeff, in the follow up post I mention that Craig was able to go on several dates. But it’s unclear due to his higher stated income, or just reaching out more and such.
He went on a date just the other night and was actually really disappointed b/c the woman was at least 15 pounds heavier than the picture in her profile, which also was from years ago. He felt cheated… but is it possible for a woman to feel the same cheated feeling if she discovers he only makes 55-60K instead of 100k? hmm
I think anyone is going to feel cheated when they realize the other person misrepresented themselves.
I hope Craig remembers this feeling as he continues to lie to women.
I think that it is a disrepect to a man`s dignity if a woman asks for his income in a dating website. Those b*** aren´t just for you. Let them go, y take them out when I find them on my dating online account.