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By Nicholas Velotta for Andrew Christian

With over 60 percent of same-sex couples meeting online, having an attractive online dating profile isn’t just favorable, it’s a necessity for many guys trying to meet Mister Right (or Mister Right Now).

The current landscape of internet dating, and especially gay internet dating, has put a lot of pressure on men entering the dating pool to be, or appear to be, perfect online. Highlight the wrong traits, select the wrong picture, use sloppy grammar and a potential connection could be passed up. I’m not dealing in hypotheticals here: user data from some of the most popular dating sites has been analyzed by statisticians, psychologists, and sociologists—like me—to dissect how people behave in apps and dating sites. And, although it’s not an exact science (attraction and love never are), there are some easy ways to increase the attention your profile gets online…

Looking away from the camera

When men use profile pictures where they look off into the distance, away from the camera’s lens, they get higher attractiveness ratings than men who look directly into the camera.

Pose with (cute) animals

This one seems like common knowledge: exploiting the cuteness of animals is a great way to get more attention online.

Be in the middle of group photos

There is a social psychological concept known as the “center stage effect” which finds that viewers attribute more favorable qualities to the people in the middle of a group photo. So, cozy up with some amigos and show all those online daters how popular and likable you are!

Show off those muscles

Yes, it is true: men who show somebody online tend to be rated as more attractive than men who do not. Find your favorite (app appropriate) body part and showcase it in a photo or two.

Know your audience

We use profile pictures to help determine users’ motives for being on a site. So, if you’re looking for a one-night stand, it may help grab the attention of other users who want a one-night triste if you emphasize physical attributes. If you want a serious relationship, use your profile photos to highlight personality traits or hobbies you like.

Are you polarizing? Find out!

This one is a little more complicated so bear with me. Attractive people are able to be sorted into two broad categories online: universally attractive people and polarizing people. Universally attractive guys get “fuck me” eyes from almost everyone; they’re traditionally attractive (think Brad Pitt, Ryan Reynolds, Zac Efron types). Polarizing people, on the other hand, have distinct physical attributes that make them extremely attractive to some online daters but not others; these guys are unconventionally attractive (think Adam Driver, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adrien Brody types). Research from OkCupid has found that polarizing people actually get more messages online than universally attractive people. This is likely because users know polarizing guys are a more “niche” type and therefore users think they have a better chance at getting a message back from a polarizing guy than a universally attractive guy. If you know that you’re looks are polarizing, highlight them! Big nose? Show it off! Insane cheek bones? Let us see them! Don’t shy away from your unconventional looks online.

Catchy usernames

Moving beyond the profile picture, you should also spend time thinking about your username (if you’re given the option to have one). Having an intelligent, funny username is a major plus for your profile. Not only will it help you stand out, it gives users a chance to see a snippet of personality before they read your “About Me” section.

Use the 70:30 ratio

There’s an art to writing a good “About Me” or “Bio” section. You don’t want to come off as too self-absorbed, and yet you still need to tell users about yourself and what you’re looking for online. A good rule of thumb is to spend 70 percent of the space discussing yourself (personality traits, hobbies, career/job, favorite books, movies, etc.) and use the remaining 30 percent discussing what you’re looking for in a potential match.

Emphasize non-social activities

But what should you write about yourself in the aforementioned 70 percent? There’s some research showing that users respond most to intellectual, solitary personality traits and tasks (such as reading) as opposed to social, party-oriented traits. But don’t lie about yourself…if you’re a party animal, don’t hide it. Just let users know the other facets of your personality that may be more intellectual.

Emphasize physical activities

Male users also respond well to profiles that discuss physicality: Do you exercise? Hike? Camp? Paddle board? Play sports? You don’t have to be a gym rat to advertise some aspect of your physicality online.

Take advantage of in-app features

If an app allows you to integrate your social media (like Instagram or Spotify), USE IT! Some new data claims that Tinder users who take advantage of the in-app Spotify feature receive 84 percent more matches.

Want to learn more about online dating behavior and psychology or find the sources for the data I used in this article? Check out the chapter I co-authored with Dr. Pepper Schwartz here.

Nicholas Velotta is a sex and relationship researcher and writer located out of the University of Washington in Seattle.

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*** Andrew Christian Inc. does not claim rights to any images posted in this blog post. If you find your picture here and would like to have it credited or removed please email [email protected]

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