Clearly I am no online dating expert. FKGuy and I met as counselors at summer camp before our senior year of college. That last year consisted of long distance phone calls (with actual, corded telephones that were attached to a wall), and a lot of traveling. There was no internet. These days, my friends have different experiences.
Although we have several friends who have met on JDate and Match.com, and their spouses are wonderful people and good matches for them, the whole process seems exhausting. While out to dinner at Seven Fish last night, one friend was lamenting the enormity of the task at hand. “Here,” she said, thrusting her phone into my hands, as I was mid-bite, “Look at some of these profiles and tell me who is even remotely interesting!” It was appalling. Honestly, I could not believe people would write this stuff, and expect to get dates out of it.
I scrolled through the list of people JDate thought were a good match for her, and there were two (out of about 60) that seemed promising. (I made her swear to keep me updated if the guy with The Smiths poster in his photo works out. Yes, this is a 40-something man with a poster of an alt band from the 80’s in his photo. And it was, by far, the best of the bunch.)
So, a few tips for your profile, from a self-proclaimed non-expert. (But I do know people, and I am fairly judgmental, and I can tell right away who seems like a jackass.)
- Only post pictures of yourself. I know it is hard, you are a social being and have photos with friends. But this is not your friends dating profile, so potential partners don’t need to see their pics. If it all works out, they can meet your friends later. (My friend is guilty of this one.) And if you don’t have any good pictures, go get one of those god-awful selfie sticks and start snapping away.
- To that end, do not post pictures of yourself wearing a backwards baseball hat. You’re not 12 years old, and it doesn’t make you look cool. It makes you look like an ass. And if you are, in fact, 12, you should go back to meeting people at school, not on the internet.
- Use a reasonable online handle. OK, so you don’t want to use your whole name, but while a name like John72 is a bit vanilla, it is better than, say, BetterThanSeinfeld, in which case it will seem like you’re a pompous ass, which you probably are. Pass.
- Don’t post how much money you make. Seriously. There are a few reasons for this: You’ll probably lie and a potential partner will eventually find out you’re a liar. Why start here? And more importantly, it is a completely unnecessary bit of information in your public dating profile.
The goal of an online dating profile is to make people want to meet you in person. There are many things someone can say that would directly work against that goal. Here are some actual quotes, from JDate. Please, I beg you, do not say anything close to these comments if you have any prayer of meeting someone online.
“Wanna help me spend my millions?” (See point 3 above.)
“I get it if you’re normally attracted to guys that are taller but let’s get real for a minute…we all know how that’s worked out for you so far.” (Insulting people while overcompensating for your own height issues is not the way to go. Really.)
“I’m a hopeless romantic.” (“Hopeless” is a bad choice of words when looking for a potential romantic partner. Just saying.)
“I also love to cooking” (Have a friend proofread your profile before you post it, please.)
“I am a down to earth guy” (If you are, actually, down to earth, it should be obvious, and does not need to be a bullet point in your profile.)
“Coffee beans regard me as a minor and dangerous deity in their religious rituals.” (WHAT???)
“I know karate. My best fighting technique is lying on the ground in the fetal position and screaming, “Please don’t hit me!”. I haven’t lost a fight yet.” (Yes, I get that you’re being sarcastic. No, it is not the least bit appealing. To anyone.)
“I always look forward to unplugging on nights and weekends. You certainly won’t find me addicted to my blackberry.” (It is 2016. Why on earth do you still have a Blackberry??? And just how long has this profile been active? Have you not updated it since 2010?)
I know that it is not easy to put yourself out there. Then you have bloggers like me, and friends of friends mocking your profile. Frankly, I don’t know how anyone does it. After ten minutes of perusing my friend’s potential matches, I was exhausted, and I was looking for someone else. I cannot imagine the emotional toll it takes to actually do this for yourself. I never knew just how bad it is, and now that I have had a glimpse I am beginning to get it. More power to you if you actually stick it out and meet people. (And even more power to you if you bother to write a compelling profile.) Share your own online dating horror – or success – stories in the comments below.