Are you a girl or a woman? The language of online dating

Online dating is an increasingly popular way to meet someone, but did you know that how you describe yourself is just as important as the picture you choose?

Internet Dating

Men are more likely to contact women who refer to themselves as “girls” rather than “women”, but women are more likely to contact men who talked about the kind of “woman” they were looking for, rather than the kind of “girl”.

When a woman talks about herself as a girl in her profile, men likely perceive her as being attractive,  fun, carefree, young, easy, and perhaps a little weak and in need of protection. However, a woman referring to herself as a woman may be intimidating to some men. The word “woman” implies independence, self-awareness and strength.


But while it is apparently desirable for grown women to refer to themselves as girls, the reverse is not true. Boy and girl do not have compatible meanings. If a woman says she is looking for a fun loving “boy” in her profile, it would be “creepy.” She would be called a ‘cougar’, and regarded as a predator.

Does this mean that word choice in on line dating profiles is critical to success? I think that depends on what success means to you.  However, I think it is clear that changing “woman” to “girl” in your profile in the hopes of getting more views might be successful but the final outcome might be disappointing. After all, do you want to be dating someone who wants a ‘girl’?  I am a woman and I want to date men who like women.  I don’t want to date a man who fantasizes about “girls”.