The Nerd’s Guide to Finding Your Valentine

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Video Transcript

Ken: What better than two men who have been happily married for a long time to tell you how to get a date for Valentine’s Day? Of course, Ryan Eldridge here with Nerds on Call. And how am I gonna do this, sir?

Ryan: Married guys and a nerd, right?

Ken: Who better?

Ryan: I mean, I know all about the Internet and getting dates is all…whatever, anyway.

Ken: Who better to tell you about dating than two married guys and a nerd? Here we go.

Ryan: So we talk about Tinder. Tinder’s kind of like the modern dating. So MaryAnn found her husband on I don’t know if a lot of viewers know that. But Tinder’s kind of like the new thing, right? And it’s owned by And it’s really more about…originally, it was more about just kinda like the casual hook-up. Like, I’m just looking for a single date and, you know, whatever, let’s see what happens. But now, it’s got 50 million users and 85% of those users are between 18 and 34 so it still skews a little younger. But not so bad, even if you’re, you know, in the older range here.

Ken: You’ve got some company.

Ryan: Yeah. The beautiful thing about Tinder is it uses GPS coordinates, so it only sets you up with people that are close-by. And you could set up your account to decide how far away you want those people to be. And on Tinder, what you do is, once you find someone that you like you can get a match on them, and there’s no unsolicited e-mail. People aren’t gonna just send you a bunch of e-mails and say, “Hey, let’s hook-up” or whatever, unless you’ve already liked them in advance. Does that kinda make sense?

Ken: Yes, absolutely.

Ryan: When you set up your profile, you connect it to Facebook and then you can put in options like, you know, what you do for a living, how much education you’ve had, so setting it up is really easy. And like I said, you can decide what you’re looking for, exactly how far you’re willing to travel and that kind of thing. And the nice thing is it’s so easy to use. You swipe right if you like them, you swipe left if you don’t like them. If you like them and they like you at the same time, it’s considered a match and then you guys can send each other messages.

Ken: Wow.

Ryan: That’s kinda nice, right?

Ken: Okay. All this time we were busy asking people out in person.

Ryan: Or spending hours reading a profile.

Ken: Who’s got time for that now?

Ryan: So if you’re like, “Oh, but I don’t wanna look at a bunch of profiles and read a bunch of information about where they went to school and how many dogs they have and everything. This is all about kind of like, “Well, if I am attracted to them then I’ll kinda hook-up with them, right?

Ken: Right. Because the profile’s all eyes anyway, and you know it.

Ryan: Yeah. So the other thing you can do is, when you do it, you can also see what other connections they have. So you could say, “Oh look, they know Joe from blah, blah, blah,” and you can kinda go, “Oh, I know that person a little bit.” But here’s the thing, is it’s still kind of a hook-up app. It’s not really like a, “Let’s have a long-term relationship” kind of thing. That’s a little more eHarmony style. Men rarely start conversations, so they get matched but then the men don’t really say anything, and so then the woman kinda has to do the one that is. So it can take a lot of time if you’re responding to every message, if you’re trying to be polite and somebody messaged you. But Iowa State University, they did a study and they found some cool ways that you can make your Tinder profile more attractive to the…

Ken: Oh!

Ryan: Oh, look at that.

Ken: Well, that’s a good…if you just put that picture up, yeah, you’re good to go.

Ryan: What they found is you wanna use natural pictures in your profile. If there are a bunch of posed pictures, you know, showing off your abs or whatever, you’re not going to get a lot of response. You want a natural-looking photo. The more perfect you look, the less attractive you are on Tinder because they think you’re untrustworthy. Also, when you do it, you wanna make sure you fill out your profile, kind of say something witty about yourself. And then, of course, you wanna set up your Instagram. Connect it to your Instagram, so that way they can kinda see what you’re like in real life rather than just you’re cultured life or whatever. And then when you finally send a message, make it something witty, something exciting. This is kind of funny, he used a bunch of emojis to connect to somebody. Don’t use a smarmy pick-up line, that’s never gonna work.

Ken: No.

Ryan: And last but not least, they’re setting up a new thing called the Boost where you can take your profile and temporarily boost it on Tinder, and it’ll get ten times more views. That’s in U.K. and Australia right now, but it’ll be out in the U.S. later this year.

Ken: And look at us, we wasted all this time talking to women in person, face-to-face, going out on dates. What a waste of time.

Ryan: Just go like this.

Ken: Just do that.

Ryan: That’s all you gotta do.

Ken: Always good to see you, Ryan. Thanks again.

Ryan: Good to see you.

Ken: Nerds on Call here to help us out. It’ll be linked to our site at So much more coming your way on this Monday morning, right after these messages. So it works like this, so you just swipe the thing, right?

Ryan: Yeah.

Our culture is an odd place when it comes to “finding a romantic connection” (I always wanted to use that phrase).

On the one hand, it’s probably never been easier to find a connection. We’re surrounded with online services specifically designed to help single humans find other compatible single humans — and there’s something for everyone — from advanced AI matchmaking algorithms to good old-fashioned pic and profile deals.

heart drawn on paper

On the other hand, it’s almost a case of information overload. Competition between these sites is fierce, and so too, for that matter, is competition between people who are “out there and looking” (there’s another of those overused phrases).

The tricky question, which looms extra large for the singles out there as Valentine’s Day rapidly approaches, is where should a single nerd about town even begin? Here at Nerds Labs we’ve settled on three online resources you can use to solve this dilemma, depending on whether you’re keen to look for a “love connection” (last cliche, I promise) the easy way, the sensible way, or the … ahem … direct way.

The Easy Way

Ideal For: Nerds who are looking to find the most compatible romantic interest as soon as possible, with the least possible unnecessary socializing and wearing of fancy, going-out pants.

You’re going to want to head on over to the Plenty Of Geeks dating website. This website specifically caters to people who identify as being “geeky” or “nerdy”. That is to say, they’re likely to have a slightly oddball interest and are just as likely to be highly tolerant of similar oddball and nerdy proclivities in others.

The site features more than 60,000 new advertisements each month and it has more than 6.5 million members. It’s an active site!

The reason this is likely to make life easier for you is probably pretty self-explanatory: you’re confining your search to people who are far more likely to share your basic world view. To use a kind of blunt analogy, if you’re looking for a vacuum cleaner, why go to a general home appliances department store if there’s a Vac-O-Mart right around the corner?

The bottom line: if you know your ideal Valentine’s match is a nerd just like you, Plenty of Geeks is going to be your easiest way of finding that person.  

The Sensible Way

Ideal For: People who are only quasi-nerdy, aren’t in a huge hurry to meet a romantic interest, and are keen for their dating life to be just one aspect of their social life.

Speaking from direct and personal experience, the nerd currently penning this article can highly recommend if you’re looking for a sensible approach to finding that special someone. Meetup is great precisely because it isn’t a dedicated dating website. It’s more a directory where you can search for people by interests.

Keen on arthouse cinema? There’s a meetup for that. Passionate about cacti? There may well be a Succulent Enthusiasts group near you. You get the idea. Basically, you find something you’re interested in and you go hang out with people who have the same interest. Then all you do is socialize … kind of accidentally/on purpose.

Meetup will really work for you if you’re happy to make new friends and it feels good for your dating life to be just one part of what you do in your spare time. And you know, it kind of takes the pressure off!

After all, there’s a solid school of thought which says the more you relax about finding “that special someone” (I lied before about being done with cliches) the more likely it is to happen.

The “Direct” Way

Ideal For: People who, all things considered, and after extensively reflecting on all known life variables, want to just … how to put this delicately … get it on.

Ahh, the direct way. With 50 million active users who spend an average of 90 minutes per day using it, Tinder is a giant, vibrant, cavorting provocateur’s playground.

Now, it’s probably important to be clear here. Tinder started off as a casual hookup site. But demographics shift in unpredictable directions. Today those who use it tend to be seeking a relationship, but the community has retained a trademark directness. Being straight up about what you’re looking for is celebrated in Tinder; more so than you’re likely to find in more staid dating apps.

The great thing about this app is its regional specificity. Using your phone’s GPS, you can set the app to only find potential matches near your geographical location. This is, of course, a great plus if you’re looking for a relationship.

Tinder will appeal to you if you enjoy that “natural” feeling of responding quickly to an initial connection rather than deliberating endlessly over profiles or getting to know someone through a series of casual social encounters.

On the other hand, being direct can have its downsides! While Tinder has moved on from its casual hook up days, that thread is still there. So if that’s not what you’re looking for, you may need to be a bit thick-skinned at times. Also, the rules of polite communication may not necessarily apply.

If Tinder sounds like it might be for you, you might want to check out our article, Find Your Valentine On Tinder. It offers hard research findings on how to succeed on Tinder and similar sites.

Meeting people romantically has always been hard. We humans with our weirdly big brains and our even weirder cultural norms just don’t seem to be naturally good at figuring out who to be with! What singles do have going for them today though, is a wide range of great online resources. While the chemistry of attraction will always be mysterious, at least your smartphone can give you a solid head start. Good luck out there, single nerds!

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Originally published 02/13/17, updated 02/05/19