Searching Online: A/S/L Flexibility

By: Samantha Eng, Copy Cutie

Online dating has dramatically evolved, from casual chat room meetings where a simple “A/S/L?” accomplished the basics to detailed profiles, in-depth surveys and sections dedicated to preferences helping us narrow down the vast world of online dating. But to keep it simple, we’re bringing you a three-part series that will help you understand the search, your preferences and what they mean to you and to who you’re looking for.

While A/S/L — that’s the age/sex/location phrased used during AOL chat room days — might’ve worked in the past, online dating is now a completely different playing field. While sexual preference and location are concretes that fall under dating must-haves, age, height and body type should be more flexible parameters.

Take it from one of your favorite vertically advanced Copy Cuties (ahem, me) — height does matter. Unfortunately there isn’t an online dating gremlin helping me out, measuring the tall tales of height — or age and body type.

According to an article in The New York Times, 81 percent of people misrepresent their height, weight or age in their profiles. Men tend to round up about their towering stature while women round down about their lengthy legs. Similarly, women shave off a few pounds while men bulk up when describing their body type.

But it makes us wonder, what exactly is ‘curvy’ and ‘stocky,’ and who came up with these definitions anyway?

Which brings us to an even bigger question: Why do people fib about height and weight? 

The simple answer: Because it’s a little white lie.

In truth, everything comes down to perception. Subconsciously, the adjustment in height and weight are flexible preferences that online daters alter to appeal to the type of person they’re hoping to attract. With statistics like “A 5’4” woman gets 60 more contacts each year than a six footer” (according to an OkCupid study), one can see why.

Luckily, after the initial meet, it’ll be pretty evident that 6’2” blue is really 5’10,” with his excuse being that he needed alliteration for his username.

However, unlike height and weight, age is a number that can’t be claimed inaccurate due to ignorance — unless you’re my friend Greg, who completely forgot how old he was for a good hour (seriously). Unless a blatant white lie from the beginning, most sites request a full birthday upon initial sign up and will update it accordingly. A lack of profile update to acknowledge the recently passed birthday is the biggest error you’re going to get in the age category nowadays!

Needless to say, a little flexibility goes a long way! But compromising is something else entirely. Once you’ve determined your non-negotiables, it’s time to enact a method in searching according to them strategically … and become a little search gremlin of your own!