How to make a good Online Dating ProfileWritten by Kirk, Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 in Dating Columns, Sex & Dating
Let’s not beat around the bush: plenty of us use online dating services. It’s something of the matchmaking of the new world, and thanks to the fact that staying at home and being a loner is easier than ever, it’s almost necessary to find a good partner.
The problem is, online dating services are something of a pain. It’s quite literally a meat market out there, and one little slip up (a bad picture, a stupid profile comment) can ruin your chances of potential love. So what do you do? You learn fast.
So, with no further adieu, utilizing a panel of women and collecting all of the existing “how-to” guides out there for online dating, I present to you a very very comprehensive guide to an online dating profile.
Prelude: Pick where you want to go.
By far one of the first and most important steps is determining where you intend to put yourself online. Generally, such sites break into three groups- top tier pay-to-play dating services (eHarmony, Chemistry, etc), low tier ad supported dating services (OkCupid, Plenty of Fish), and sex dating services (Fling, AdultFriendFinder). Like any good MMORPG, pay-to-play dating sites like eHarmony are much more monitored, structured, and in-depth- whereas ad-supported dating sites such as OkCupid tend to be a general mishmash of fake profiles, genuine matches, and your occasional internet predator. Of course, the sex tier stuff tends to be like a cesspit of stupid and old men- go figure.
When deciding on a site, keep in mind that certain sites appeal to various age groups and demographics (and you can actually profit from this). eHarmony and Chemistry.com tend to be all-encompassing sites that carry a variety of people. Sites like JDate, that cater specifically to Jewish singles, are wonderful for those looking specifically for that group- but, as you can guess, they have a much more limited range of available singles.
It is always best to pick a site that fits your style of dating- certain sites try to match you with a big algorithm (meaning you can’t really browse profiles until they give them to you), whereas others give you unmitigated access to their list of singles and let you message spam away. No matter what you do, however, it is generally a good idea to be on as many sites as you can within reason- there is no law prohibiting you from quickly joining a few free dating sites and filling it with the same info you had on the other sites.
Step 1: Gather pictures.
Most good dating sites allow you to upload photos to your profile- which you should do immediately. Without fail, most (if not all) browsers ignore profiles without photos. That being said, even if you have to steal a buddy’s digital camera for a few hours, get some decent photos and be prepared for the whole world to see them.
Take at least one good photo of your face- preferrably not in the mirror. Even the cheapest cameras today have timer functions, which allow you to take a photo of yourself from afar. Use this function and take one of yourself that encompasses your whole face- just enough where a 100×100 thumbnail will be clear.
If you upload another, do one of your body, but discreetly. Smart users will post pictures of themselves on a trip or something similar- especially if it’s full body. This allows you two things: it shows you actually leave your house (even if you don’t), and it shows your body, for better or for worse.
Avoid Myspace shots, editing, or similar photographic heresy. Your job is not to be an “artist”, it is to show yourself. No photoshopping, no editing, no myspace shots, nothing. Keep your shots clear in their original version and crop if necessary, but avoid making it look like you are trying to hide something- even new internet users can detect it nowadays.
No shots of you doing anything morally questionable. I know it’s tempting to use that awesome shot of you at a bar, but that, unfortunately, screams “alcoholic” to most (paranoid) women. Similarly, no silly shit, like shots of you at a porn shop, strip club, etc etc.
ABSOLUTELY NO SEXUAL/SHOW-OFF SHOTS. I’m serious. No pictures of yourself shirtless, no matter how ripped you are. No flexing. Clearly, penis shots are completely out. These tend to turn off women more than anything else.
Upload at least two shots (if you can), but always less than 5. Posting too many tends to be overkill and redundant- most judge you by the first one or two shots. Posting five is just a bit overdone, unless they are all clearly different and interesting.
Women love a uniform. If you are in the military, try to throw in a shot of you in your dress uniform (or even your BDUs, anything works). If you wear a suit to work, that works just fine. Shots like this do a double whammy of entertaining uniform “fetishes” (more likely than you think) and proving you, you know, actually work.
Pending you don’t absolutely screw up, the photo should work just fine. Good dating sites have approval processes for photos, but those shouldn’t affect you- it just keeps the 10 year olds of the world off the sites.
Step 2: Write.
The next(and hopefully most important) part of your profile will be what you actually write- while your photos are the door to your profile, the actual words are their reason for staying there. Even moreso than questions, you can mess this part up badly- so naturally, this section will be considerably longer.
The main theory in writing your profile is simple: sell yourself. Like a prostitute. You need to be as appealing as humanly possible- your personal tastes aside. The idea, in short, is to dump as much information about yourself as possible in a concise form, but to still be attractive at the end of the day. And yes, this is nearly impossible.
Instead of ranting about what you SHOULD do, let me provide an example, and some ideas behind my behavior. Your typical well written profile looks something like this:
I’m just a nerdy guy looking for a sweet girl(1)! I’ve lived in [City] for 3 years, and I’m always on the lookout for someone new to meet(2). My friends describe me as a “serious yet fun” guy(3), and I’m always up for (activity)(4). Currently, I am a (Position) for (Employer), and in my free time, I (activity), (activity), and (activity)(5). Feel free to message me- I’d always love to meet new friends!
1- You know those one-liners everyone hates? You’ll probably have to come up with one, so make it slightly (but not totally) self-insulting. That is to say, parody yourself. Seem fun.
2- Already offer the opportunity to meet, or chat, or something.
3- Prove you have friends, and use something positive. NEVER use the words “random”, “crazy”, “stupid”, or other stuff that reminds you of a middle-schooler. You may genuinely have a random personality, this is not the time to point that out.
4- Name a generally safe activity, i.e. “a cup of coffee at Starbucks” or something. It makes resulting discussions easier. Always pick somewhere safe, never like “come over to my house and spoon while we watch American Psycho“, it creeps people out.
5- List off some of your hobbies. “Music” is not a hobby, nor is “Movies”. Generally, the best thing to do is mix one geeky (disturbing) hobby (i.e. “Watching magical girl anime naked”) with two normal hobbies, like “running” and “reading”. This is where you can set yourself apart- hell, if you read WellCultured, you could even claim you have an interest in Fashion.
Yes, I know the above paragraph is rather boring, but the idea here is made clear: let people know about you in a concise way. Keep your information brief and entertaining- leave enough to justify someone contacting you, but avoid giving them so much information they don’t bother contacting you before making a decision.
Most sites have their own way of structuring profiles, so it is incredibly difficult to give any specific advice: however, thanks to lots of experience (and advice from women), I can tell you what to do- and what NOT to do:
DO NOT do the following:
- Post lists or otherwise flood your profile. Information is wonderful, excessive information is poison to the mind. If asked to list your favorite movies/music, keep it to five or less. Any more is ridiculous.
- Act depressed/whiny. Too many profiles start off with “no girl wants me” or “I know no-one will read this, but…”. Avoid it.
- Include poetry, stories, song lyrics, etc. This goes along with flooding your profile, but it tends to be even worse. Poetry is best left to the masters, probably not you.
- Act arrogant. Girls hate arrogance as much as they do uncertainty.
- Refer to sex, drinking, or the like. Trust me, no-one will believe your “best skill” is sex.
- Talk about money, politics, or religion. It’s crude. You can mention your political/religious affiliation, but don’t preach.
DO the following:
- Edit often. Try to keep yourself fresh and new, even if it means removing/adding info. Hell, keep your “favorites” list updated if you must.
- Promote your unique qualities. There is an advantage to being unique, so abuse it if you can. If you’re doing something out of the ordinary (such as abstaining from alcohol in certain religions, not having sex before marriage, etc), you will find more girls. I’m not kidding.
- Write clearly. Avoid using big words to seem impressive. Write for the common woman.
- Expect little response. No matter how perfect your profile is, don’t expect a flood of responses.
Step 3: Profit!
Hopefully, by constructinga solid profile, you should have a good basis to find more women. Unfortunately, presumably being male, you aren’t going to have an easy time- in fact, your profile will only be useful AFTER you contact most girls (most girls just join and wait for people to contact them). Still, it’s an essential part of your search- so you can’t skimp on it, as needless as it may seem.
In the future, to flesh out the detail with photos, I’ll be creating a slideshow of both good and bad photos from dating sites- keep your eyes peeled!