In my five-part article “Looking for Yukon Love Online” published here in June and July 2014, I outlined my experience as a 50+ man investigating the online dating scene in Yukon. Based on my observations, I provided some suggestions about tailoring online dating profiles and described my initial inconclusive success in the whole affair.

That article was written several months before it was actually published. Since then, people have provided other perspectives on the subject that I would like to share. I have also had new insights and experiences.

I had suggested that there was really no reason not to include a photo in your online dating profile because it serves to differentiate your profile from others so that someone can easily find you again without relying on cryptic usernames. However, one woman decided against a photo because she didn’t want her teenagers to be teased by their friends although that wasn’t a problem for the single mother of a younger child. Yet another woman who deals with a cross-section of Yukoners as part of her job didn’t want her clients to link her professional work with her personal life through her photo.

A woman who didn’t post her own photo was quite glad that some men had posted theirs. She recognized the ex-partner of a friend and was able to deflect his impassioned entreaties to avoid an ongoing sordid situation. The same woman received a request from another man to send her photo; she did, but received the reply that she was “not what he was looking for.” She laughed: obviously not what she was looking for either!

One woman (terse narrative but no photo) told me that when she joined the site, she received a flurry of lewd messages but not much since. Another noted that most Yukon men she met online were smokers, bikers, or hunters, all of which were definite turnoffs for her.

A woman who has been exploring online dating for years observed that some men she corresponded with signed their actual first names. Because the rest invariably turned out to be jerks, she indicated very clearly in her profile that she would only correspond with men who signed their names. This earned her caustic condemnations from men who proved her point by not signing their names. She was looking for guys who were more refined but was taken aback by the high proportion (she claimed 98% based on a large sample size) who were not.

One What’s Up reader wanted to know if my dating site was Yukon specific. There are sites to cater to every demographic and relationship type imaginable, and they all let you search geographically, e.g., within 50 km of Whitehorse, but I don’t know of one that is Yukon only. I am using Plenty of Fish (pof.com) where the basic functions are free and the add-ons they want you to pay for aren’t essential.

There are other sites where it’s free to post your profile and view the profiles of others, but you have to pay a subscription just to contact someone. I hesitated to sign up (at least $100 to start) when I saw that many of the Yukon women’s profiles had no details or seemed to be repeats from the free site. (Sorry, I didn’t check out the guys.) People complained that even when they paid the subscription and contacted someone, that person couldn’t respond unless they had paid too. In short, the possibilities looked promising but the actual selection was much smaller.

Most sites have ways to keep you interested and get you to pay. One keeps tempting me with the Yukon women who are apparently gazing longingly at my profile… I could contact them if I paid! It’s been through all the Yukon women several times, has worked through Smithers and Terrace, and is now trying to match me with women in Princes George and Rupert. Just to be helpful, it keeps rounding out the age range to provide more contacts, but it’s always the same short list that turns up: mostly repeats from the free site or almost-blank profiles with no photos, probably women who haven’t paid either.

Dating sites let you search on much more than just location and age. One criterion that I had initially left unrestricted (i.e., no preference in the search) was “body type.” I wondered if I was being too judgemental if I decided not to consider women in the “few extra pounds” and “big and beautiful” categories. I’m looking for someone with whom I can share a broad range of activities, and much of what I enjoy is somewhat strenuous and outdoors. Sure, I also enjoy theatre, music, photography, dining, travelling, and cuddling, but that’s not enough. I need to be outdoors actively doing things, ideally with someone else and preferably without motors, guns, or dead fish.

One woman thought that online dating tended to breed an obsession with statistics: how tall, what age, how heavy. She opined that people didn’t worry so much about all that in the good old days when first contact used to be in person. So, do you think I’m being too picky about the body type thing?

Next week, Charles describes the online women he actually met in person.