"The way I see it, Cape Town is a blessing and a curse because you don't need anyone to make you feel alive, happy or fulfilled. It really is an exercise in sales, where miscalculating your value or the market's interest could cost you in receding hairlines and awkward dates.In my case my avatar was "surfyogi", the adventurous free spirit who is "already in love with life but open to new possibilities". Well travelled and adventurous, surfyogi is a thirtysomething girl who knows what she wants – "I like a passionate, adventurous man who has a great sense of humour" – but keeps herself open to new possibilities – "I am not sure I have an ideal man.She quickly learned that there is more science to cracking this system than people think. Smart profiles use the photo opportunity to show they have fun-loving friends (so not a loser); that they love the great outdoors (cue man carrying a heavy stand-up paddle board into water) and anything that allows you to pick up a heavy item or show your gym biceps is also a winner.
It's hard choosing just one angle for your entire life story. The best profile photographs always cover the basics – sexy, sporty and slightly mysterious.
Surfing photos show physical ability and put you in a bikini, in Europe or at least Durban (this also shows you travel).
What happened next was more difficult: giving a stranger – in my case it was Dating Buzz – permission to launch your personal thoughts and romantic wishes into cyberspace for any site member and their friends to scrutinise with glee or malice.
It's akin to someone posting excerpts of your diary on Facebook only to hope you at least get some "likes". The South African online dating industry is much smaller than its international counterparts. Most sites operate on a "freemium" basis, making it free for members to sign up and browse profiles until they want to contact and message someone, in which case a paid subscription comes into play.
This varies between R80 and R150 a month depending on how many months you commit to.