In case you are not blessed by the Raya gods, similar rules apply to Bumble. And Hinge. And JDate. And Christian Mingle. And even the Sears of dating that is Tinder.
This Christmas, I had my very own miracle. I got accepted to Raya, i.e. the Mecca of online dating apps, where regular folks get the opportunity to mingle with (mostly Instagram-slash-D-list) celebrities via a (highly-exclusive-slash-ambiguous) selection process. For the two months that I waited for this joyous event, I consoled myself by thinking that this mass hit of a blog was preventing me from being instantly accepted. “Its fine” I would tell myself, “they just don’t want me writing a tell-all about my potential tryst with Adrian Grenier” (don’t get your panties in a bunch, haven’t spotted him yet!) As it turned out, my delayed acceptance had nothing to do with my potential threat to the Raya codes of discretion, as much as it did with my general low ranking on their looks + cool factor-based criteria list… Because, the minute they ran out of models, they accepted me! The Promise Land of all dating apps finally parted its magical gates and granted me entry! Nothing had ever felt so great.
And so, the better part of my Holiday weekend was spent binging on peppermint bark whilst watching collages of beautiful humans rotate on my iPhone screen, all whilst eating more peppermint bark to process the fact that there is an entire breed of homo-sapiens walking this earth with a grossly unfair genetic advantage, men and women included. Meaning that for every perfectly chiseled, man-bunned photographer, there is a model who gives Emily Radwanski a run for her belfie.. And they all happen to be on Raya. Four days, 300 slideshows, and 60 matches later (since the women are pre-screened, I imagine the guys just swipe right without looking), I feel like I have been given a crash course in self-marketing from the worlds finest Instagram celebrities, which I’m about to share with you! To avoid getting kicked off (a feat I would not survive), I will have to demonstrate on myself.
To start, you must remember that, just like in fashion, an eclectic, high-low mix is key. Hence, you must strive to attain a perfect balance of sexy vs. cool shots, starting with…
As I mentioned, most guys go for quantity over quality, preferring to max out their matches and filter through later. (I would rate follow-through at around 20%.) Hence, the main picture is often their sole deciding factor, which means that it has be good. Personally, I chose this one because my friend Caroline spent a good few hours Photoshopping it and because I’m wearing Dries and because I look like a balance of happy and mysterious (ha!) and approachable. And even sane, which I’m not.
Now that you have lured him in, it’s time for…
The Exotic Travel Pic
What it is: A picture of you somewhere outside of the Western Hemisphere, preferably next to a World Wonder or in an exotic setting such as a desert or a tropical rain forest. For bonus points, try to include an rare wildlife species in their natural habitat – monkeys, lions and any other safari finds are excellent choices. Elephants are really trending at the moment, so if you can find one, more Raya Power to you!
What it means: I’m interesting and exotic and curious. I care about more than just my personal perfection, (which is already a done deal). I care about LIFE! I care about the WORLD!
To continue on the curated lifestyle momentum, let’s introduce..
What it is: You, next to a piece of art, practically being art.
What it means: I’m erudite and evolved and have an appreciation for the finer things in life. My weekends are spent gallery-hopping and I will know my sh*t if you take me to Art Basel.
Approachable, well-traveled and artistic? Now, time for some oomph! Bring in…
The Close-Up Selfie
What it is: A close up shot of your face, preferably frozen mid-pout. For extra poutiness, layer FaceTune and Instagram effects in abundance.
What it means: I’m not a Monet! I’m a Courbet! I look hot up close! IRL! Without makeup! When we wake up side by side and you look into my eyes in the morning light!
Ok, now back to personality. Introducing..
What it is: You, making a funny face, doing something funny, generally looking like you’re having a blast in life.
What it means: I’m fun and cool and just way, way better than your lingerie model ex who took herself too seriously. I’m active and DTH, your friends will love me and so will you!
Speaking of friends, time to show him that good things come in packages. Throw in…
The hot #girlsquad
What it is: You and your hottest ladies, squading it up à la T-Swift!
What it means: I’m secure enough to surround myself with other hot b*tches. Also, your friends will benefit from this union. Also, if this doesn’t work out, you will have options.
Ok, let’s give him a moment to process everything he has learned. For this, you will need..
The Random Scenery
What it is: A picture of something random and pretty and inspirational.
What it means: I’m more than just hot. I’m also deep.
And now, time for the pièce de résistance…
What it is: A picture of your butt. I don’t have one, which must be costing me major Raya points. My friends volunteered to take one over the weekend, but I couldn’t be bothered due to the mid-peppermint bark binge. And yet, every other chick on Raya has one, so pick up a Belfie stick and get going! (P.S. Somebody, somewhere, is banking on this business idea, because they are actually SOLD OUT!)
What it means: I do my Lululemon justice.
Ok now that he’s truly sold, time to get serious. Starting with…
The Event Pic
What it is: You at an event, looking civilized.
What it means: In the case that you want to take me to your D-list movie screening, I will know how to fix my hair, contour my face, and borrow a YSL gown from my fancy friend. I am presentable to parents and know how to dance without tripping over my Gianvito Rossis.
Speaking of parenting, you will need…
The Maternal Pic
What it is: Picture of you, holding a child, looking like the cool mom you will one day be, sans baby weight. Important to borrow a cute baby – men are very visual!
What it says: Procreating with me is the best idea you’ve had all day!
And, as he contemplates your life together, throw in…
What it is: A picture of you curled up in a Level IV yoga pretzel, perched somewhere on a cliff, looking like a Lululemon ad of serenity and peace.
What it means: I’ve been doing yoga since I first started emulating Madonna and you better believe it shows in my flexibility. In every way. Also, I will look excellent in 20 years. Also, I know how to mediate, which means I won’t stab you with a kitchen knife when you come home at 5am smelling like a bottle of Yamazaki.
Once again I fail you. But my other friend with Photoshop skills didn’t!
Hurrah! Now, time for the icing on the cake: the soundtrack. I probably lost points with my Fleetwood Mac cheesiness, as most people tend to go in the cool, Burning Man, word-less direction.. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that nobody really cares, as long as your belfie game is up to par!
P.S. Did you guys know that January 1st is the busiest dating app day of the year, which means that you have exactly 4 days to step it up?! With these words of encouragement, I leave you. Happy Raya-ing! And Bumbling! And Christian Mingling! And Tindering!