Now that I’ve reluctantly dipped my toe into the internet dating pool, my biggest frustration is that I don’t get to see the profiles of other women. I can’t assess my “competition”. Why am I being passed over? Does my profile stand out too much? Not enough?
And should you be highly specific in your profile, therefore weeding out a lot of people that would be a bad match and thus not wasting your time, or should you be more general, thus drawing in more people, and having to weed them out yourself on the first date, but allowing for a lot more benefit of the doubt? I can see arguments for and against both sides, but I’ve chosen to be specific in my profile.
What I have had the opportunity to do is view about a thousand profiles for men, so I think I can speak with a little authority about them. So what follows are things that have become obvious to me in a short period of time.
Profile do’s and don’ts
- Don’t lie. If you’re using a photo that was taken 20 years ago, or have gained 200 pounds, or are bragging about a Mercedes that you don’t own, or say you don’t smoke when you do, or say that your kids are grown and out of the house when actually you have a set of 8 year old twins who still live with you, the truth is going to come out when you meet. Where does that get you?
- Proofread your profile. You could be the smartest man in the world, but if your profile is full of spelling errors or grammar issues, you’re going to look like a dummy. If writing isn’t your strong suit, have a friend proofread it for you.
- DON’T USE SHOUTY CAPITALS!!!
- Choose your profile name carefully. If you call yourself something like “TurboStud4you” many women, who would like to be thought of as more than a sex toy, will pass you by.
- The majority of women on these sites are looking for more than sex. They’re looking for companionship. So talk about what you like to do for fun. If all you talk about is sex, many of us will pass you by, assuming you’re only interested in that one act. If your profile indicates that you’re not really interested in getting to know us as people, we’ll look for someone who is. If that really is your only interest, save us all a lot of time and just go straight to a prostitute.
- Include a picture. Many of us won’t even look at profiles without pictures. If you can’t tell if there’s potential for chemistry, you’ll move on to a profile that does provide that information, and there are plenty of those out there, believe me.
- Don’t leave huge sections of your profile blank. For example, if you leave the “What I’m looking for in a woman” section blank, then I won’t respond to you, because I have no idea if I would be what you’re looking for. There are plenty of other profiles out there that will give me this information. Don’t make me guess.
- Don’t make demands. State preferences. No one likes to be bossed around.
- Be original. Many of these dating sites will provide you with profile examples. They’re not meant to be cut and pasted into your profile. I’m amazed at how many profiles are identical, word for word. I skip those. I want some sign that you’ve given this process some thought.
- Don’t say you’re a nice guy. Every profile says that. Instead, give examples. “I volunteer at the local animal shelter” makes ME conclude that you’re a nice guy, and that seems more genuine.
- Also include candid shots of you out and about, doing what you like to do. It’s nice to provide context. Try to avoid including photos of you looking like a serial killer, and don’t include pictures of you intoxicated unless that’s your usual state. Ask a friend for photo feedback if necessary.
- I understand the instinct to lead with a photo of you in a suit and tie or a tuxedo, but if you wouldn’t mind a woman who prefers to be more casual, that could put her off. On the other hand, if your lead picture is you in a wife-beater, that will put off women who may occasionally like to dress up. (Which of course is fine if you aren’t interested in that type, but otherwise…)
- Tread lightly when discussing fitness. I appreciate that I’ve yet to see the word “fat” in a profile, but many men say they want a woman who is fit. That’s fine. It’s honest. But you have to realize that many women have warped body images, so you may think a woman is fit, but she may not, and will therefore not respond to you, so you’ll have missed out on an opportunity to meet someone wonderful. Perhaps a better way of saying it would be, “I would like someone who would enjoy riding a bike 4 times a week,” or something to that effect.
- And if you are yourself fit but would be willing to date someone who is slightly less fit, don’t emphasize your fitness so much. I, for one, skip the fitness talkers, for fear of rejection. Just show your fitness in your photo and leave it at that, unless you really do want to eliminate certain body types.
- If you’re into sports (for example) but would be okay with someone who isn’t, then don’t make sports the primary focus of your profile.
- Don’t make your profile only about what you want. You’ll look selfish. Also make it about who you are and what you have to offer.
If you haven’t figured this out already, you will in short order: There are a lot of crazies and bottom feeders and scammers on these sites. You will hopefully be contacted by a lot of people, and make contact with a lot. There is a way to navigate past the crazies. Here’s a little contact etiquette.
- If someone takes the time to send you a personalized message which shows they’ve obviously read your profile and have specific questions or comments, give them a courtesy of a response, even if it’s only, “Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately I don’t think we’d be a good match, but good luck on your search!”
- If someone sends you a generalized flirt, respond or don’t, it’s up to you. They’re testing the waters.
- If someone contacts you from out of state, they’re most likely a scammer, or using the shotgun method. (If they contact a hundred men, one is bound to respond.) I strongly encourage you to blow these off.
- If someone sends you a very generic message in chat, such as, “Hey, cutie! How are you doing today?” they are DEFINITELY using the shotgun method. Block them.
- For the love of God, DO NOT send unsolicited photos of your body parts. (If you need to be told that, you probably need more help than this blogger can give you.)
- If you read a profile and think you want to meet that person, don’t send a message right off the bat that says let’s meet. Talk for a while back and forth on the message forum before suggesting a meeting. That way you can get some sense of each other first, and the woman will not feel like you’re desperate or simply playing a serial dater numbers game.
- If you read a profile, are interested, but don’t make contact, don’t be surprised if the woman doesn’t contact you. She’ll assume you’re just a “looky-loo” and have decided you’re not interested. Go ahead, reach out!
- Do NOT put anything in your profile that even hints at your work or home location, your full name, where you can be found at any specific time, or outside contact info. Don’t even provide this in messages. Not unless you want to risk coming home to find a rabbit boiling in a pot on your stove.
- Always meet in a neutral public place at first, like a coffee shop. Don’t reveal your address.
- Tell someone where you’re going, how long you plan to be gone, and who you’re meeting.
- Encourage the woman to follow these safety guidelines as well. She’ll appreciate your concern.
We’re living in a cyber world. Internet dating has become ubiquitous. Many people have success stories. But as with anything, you’ll get as much out of the experience as you put into it. Good luck!