Dating apps can be a fickle thing.
Anyone who has ever taken the plunge to set up a Tinder or Bumble profile can attest to the fact that profile tweaking can become all-consuming. Am I trying too hard? Am I not trying hard enough? Does this picture make me look like Steven Seagal or SpongeBob Squarepants?
That’s where dating consultant Meredith Golden comes in.
Since a 2015 Facebook post offering to help friends with their dating profiles received thousands of comments, the former psychotherapist and stay-at-home mom has seen her side hustle blossom into a full-fledged business. Now, through her consulting site SpoonmeetSpoon, Golden is charging clients up to $2,000 on a monthly basis.
“There are a few different packages,” she told Yahoo Finance YFi PM. “And the amount of clients for each level depends on the month.”
Her most costly package, $2,000, not only includes a perfected dating profile, but also Golden’s time spent swiping and chatting with matches. All clients have to do is show up on the dates she coordinates.
“A lot of clients approach me and say, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with my profile, I don’t get any matches,’” she said. “Well, then your profile isn’t very good.”
To fix that, Golden starts with a 20-minute questionnaire to get accustomed with a client’s voice to ensure she can replicate the same mood and tone in conversation with matches. It also helps with re-organizing and perfecting dating app profiles for clients who opt for cheaper packages. A $300 “Perfect Profile” package is purported to get you just that, while a $600 “Dating Diagnosis” also includes a breakdown of where clients are going wrong in their conversations.
To Golden’s credit, as The New York Times notes, her guidance has helped clients find love and navigate what can be a confusing and altogether time consuming ordeal. As someone who has stumbled my own way through Bumble, I was curious to know how my own profile would fare under scrutiny and Golden agreed to let me sample her services.
Does dating app consulting work?
After taking the intake questionnaire and answering questions like “What was your superlative in school?” and “What was your last vacation?” I hit the first speed bump on the dating consultant journey. Most dating apps let you login through Facebook, which meant giving Golden the keys to my dating profiles would also mean giving her the password to my most intimate social media account.
“For everyone who gives me their Facebook info I never encroach,” she said, attempting to ease my distrust. But as my own relationship history has taught me: You can trust no one.
Instead, I opted to give Golden control of my separate Bumble profile, provided a plethora of additional photos for her to include and prepared for the worst.
After a few rounds of back and forth over semantics and rearranging, the perfected profile was complete — and it looked pretty similar to what I started with.
“Your [profile] is good!” she said, as I raced off to swipe before she stopped me. “Typically I advise clients to stay off it on the weekend. It’s not so good to look like you don’t have anything going on on the weekends.”
With that crucial learning in mind, I held off and waited to unleash the slight tweaks Golden implemented, which echoed some of the top tips she gives clients: Avoid group photos, use happy headshots, emphasize the positive. By holding off until the week started, however, I was left with limited time to see how (if at all) Golden’s tweaks boosted my profile’s ability to attract matches. As of the second day, I couldn’t sense a noticeable difference in matches one way or the other compared to my original profile.
Even by asking friends to choose either the before or the after, I was met with differing opinions, which if anything, might be the point. Perhaps the perfect dating profile, like beauty itself, truly lies in the eye of the beholder. And if you can afford to spend the time swiping, or the money to outsource swiping for you, you might just find that special someone who swipes right no matter what your arrangement of photos or factoids may be.