I’m sure the men this is aimed at don’t care enough to do any research on online dating profiles. The ones that do care have already cleaned up their profile so that it’s not so offensive. But I can always hope to help a few people.
First, a question for the men. If a woman on a dating site emailed you and gave you constructive criticism about your profile, in an effort to help you out, what would you think? What would your reaction be? I always want to email some of these guys, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t be welcomed, no matter how well-intended it is.
First, let’s talk about pictures.
- Your main picture should be you by yourself, with a shirt on, without sunglasses. I’ll allow you the hat.
- Pictures taken in the mirror are not good. Period. 5 pictures taken in the mirror are even worse. Get a friend to take a picture of you. Set the self-timer on the camera. There are ways around this.
- Unless you are doing something that actually requires your shirt to be off, I don’t want to see you with your shirt off. Acceptable: swimming, playing a sport…that may be it. If it’s obviously a pose, I don’t want to see it. If it is you in your natural element, then by all means, post it. The point is, the picture should tell who you are (a person who enjoys water sports), not what you are (egotistical).
- A few pictures of you in a group of people is fine. If all the pictures are you in a group of people, I have a hard time figuring out which one is you. In fact, you run the risk of me thinking your friend is MUCH cuter, and asking you if he’s available.
- Pictures of you with a woman can be misconstrued as you WITH a woman. Especially if your hand is anywhere near her breasts. Cropping your ex out is also kind of a turn off. I know she’s there. I saw one profile that got around this really well – he put “sister” with an arrow drawn to the woman, and “nephew” with an arrow drawn to a kid. I appreciated that he realized what it might look like otherwise (his girlfriend, his kid). And, it made me giggle – and a man who can make me giggle gets bonus points.
- I don’t want to see pictures of sunsets. I can take a picture of a sunset, too. One or two “pretty” pictures is fine. Twenty is not.
- DO NOT USE ALL CAPS.
- do not forget to use caps and punctuation when appropriate and for god’s sake capitalize the pronoun i
- Proofread!! I can overlook a couple of spelling errors, but more than about 3 and I’m done. I realize Match doesn’t have spell check. There’s a really easy way around this: use MS Word to type out your profile, run spell check, then copy-paste into Match. Even after that – be sure to re-read it and proofread it again.
- Do not start off your profile (or use as your headline), “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” or anything similar. You are essentially saying that only losers use online dating, and therefore implying that I am a loser. Let go of the idea that online dating is for the desperate. That’s obviously not the case anymore.
- Shoot for more than 500 characters in your profile. I would personally like to see more than 1000. I want to know about you. You cannot tell me about you in less than 500 characters. Match allows you 4000. Man up.
- The more information you fill in, the better. I’ll tell you why – if you don’t fill in any of the extra information, and only put the very basics, you are either uninteresting or lazy. Either way, I’m not interested.
- In “Last Read,” do not put “I don’t read.” I’m going to take you at your word and assume you are illiterate. Surely you’ve read something – news on the internet, the feeder at the bottom of CNN or ESPN, the tabloid headlines at the supermarket. A little hint – I’m going to be more likely to forgive some other sins in your profile if you make me laugh with something like, “I just read that John Wayne was an alien! Man, The Enquirer gets the scoop on ALL the good stuff!”
- Do not bring your past pain into your profile. Phrases like “no liars,” “no drama-queens,” and, my favorite, “no baggage,” written in all caps with 5 exclamation points simply scream out that you have baggage. We all do, the only difference is if it’s a backpack, a carryon, or a steamer trunk. Listing them out in this way lets me know that I am going to be compared to your ex from the beginning, and I’m not interested in that.
- I repeat – use punctuation and capitalization correctly, and try to spell most of the words right.
- Show me why you’re interested in me. Show me that you read my profile. You will need more than one sentence to accomplish this.
- Do not give me your phone number or email address in the first email. In fact, don’t give me your phone number at all. After two or three emails, say something like, “I’d love to put a voice to your words. Can we talk on the phone? Give me your number, and I’ll call you.” Or, “I’d love to get to know you more. Can I have your phone number?”
I get that online dating pretty much sucks. You have to dig through a lot of stuff, suffer a lot of rejection, before you get to someone and something good. It can be time consuming and tiring. It can get old really fast. But if you want to impress a girl, you have to put forth the effort.
I say it all the time – your profile is the first impression you make on someone. What do you want that first impression to be?
(As a public service, if you would like me to take a look at your profile, you can email it to me – allthingsdelightful at hotmail. If you’re on Match, you can send me your username, and I will take a look. I will give you honest feedback and advice. I want you to find someone – we all deserve that.)