Declarative variables of self-description have a long-standing tradition in matchmaking media. With the advent of online dating platforms and their brand positioning, the volume and semantics of variables vary greatly across apps. However, a variable landscape across multiple platforms, providing an in-depth understanding of the dating structure offered to users, has hitherto been absent in the literature. In this study, more than 300 declarative variables from 22 Anglophone and Francophone dating apps are examined. A mixed-method research design is used, combining hierarchical classification with an interview analysis of nine founders and developers in the industry. We present a new typology of variables in nine categories and a classification of dating apps, which highlights a double mimetic-distinctive mechanism in the variable definition and reflects the dating market. From the interviews, we extract three main factors concerning the economic and sociotechnical framework of coding practices, the actors’ personal experience, and the development methodologies including user traces that influence this mechanism. This work, which to our knowledge is the most extensive thus far on dating app declarative variables, provides a new perspective on the analysis of the intersection between developers and users of online dating, which is mediated through variables, among other components.