Learning Something from Lauren Urasek

The most popular woman on OkCupid on how she gets the attention, and how to be utlra-picky.

I’ve gone on my share of dates with men I’ve met online.

Since I don’t exactly have a spreadsheet of my activity quantifying this is guesswork maybe I’ve gone out with a few dozen over the years. The number of messages, nods, winks or likes over that time has got to be in the high hundreds, if not thousands.

Not too shabby. This may sound like a humble brag of sorts. But it is embarrassingly low compared to Lauren Urasek’s numbers. In just a three-month time span Lauren received 15,000 four- or five-star ratings from men anxious to meet her based on her profile.

Because of this crazy amount of male fawning, she’s been dubbed “The most popular woman on OkCupid,” profiled by New York Magazine and recently she wrote a column about her experiences on the Internet.

First of all, what makes Lauren so special and desired?

She’s an attractive brunette with an edgy look to her. Tattoos aplenty cover her frame. Lauren has piercing blue eyes. Beyond looks, her attitude is carefree and not even slightly reeking of desperation, which seems to make all the difference.

Lauren herself explains that the language in her profile and how she explains herself to men might be the key:

“I don’t write things like ‘I’m living my life to the fullest and I love long
walks on the beach!’ Looking for a man isn’t the most important thing
going on in my life. I think it’s a problem when it is. I’m confident and
secure in who I am without having a partner. I have a strong opinion
and know what I want. I guess I’m refreshing and dudes like that, but,
that’s just my guess.”

More than trying to emulate how OkCupid’s darling portrays herself online, her insights shed a light on the overall practice of online dating. I found myself nodding along as I read about her mixed feelings about dating web sites.

Here’s what Lauren has made me realize:

•   Even being the most popular woman to grace OkCupid doesn’t shield her from rejection or cruddy men. She tells a story of an attractive man who was dreamy. They were having a great date together at a bar. Then suddenly he got the idea to chug five whiskeys in a half hour. Like that, the night turned from one with great potential to a drunken disaster. Been there.

•   Attention from thousands of men does not mean attention from thousands of high-quality winners of men. Plenty of the messages were of the worst sort—requests for naked pictures, degrading come-ons. My guess is no one is immune to this. The cover of the Internet means there will be always be a subset that feels this is OK, plus they won’t get caught or suffer any dire consequences for being gross and inappropriate. It’s just on to the next profile.

•   It doesn’t take flash, lines or outrageous comments to stand out. Of the 15,000 men that have virtually reached out to Lauren, she has let 10 take her out. Those that caught her attention weren’t over-the-top either. They didn’t send “any profoundly amazing messages,” she says. What they did do right was the basics: spell words correctly, not harass her, provided pictures that didn’t seem to be from 15 years ago, had a few things in common with her.

•   The menu of choices takes being picky to a whole new level. Lauren astutely observes that she’s not going on a whole lot of follow-up dates. The promise of choice is just too tempting. If a man hasn’t bowled her over with amazing-ness it’s simply too easy to dismiss him and move on to the next. “Maybe I would choose to go on a second date if I didn’t have new offers every day. That person could be the love of my life if I let the relationship develop further, but I don’t necessarily have a reason to go on a second date if I’m not blown away by the first,” she writes.

When I interviewed a few single men who are, let’s say, excelling online, they made a similar point. With so many other singles out there, it makes you greedy, looking for the next best thing instead of focusing on what’s in front of you.

She might be the hottest thing on OkCupid. But Lauren Urasek, too, struggles online from time to time. This is both comforting and disturbing, I’d say.