Our next lesson in building a great online dating profile is:
Don’t skimp on the word count.
This one is tough because some sites do limit how many words/characters you can have in a profile, but that just means that you have to make your words count. It is not “clever” or “compelling” to say something like, “I don’t know what to write in these damn things, just ask me if you want to know something.” In fact, it’s an immediate turn-off for most people because that implies that your level of self-awareness is close to nil. What you’re really saying there is that you are scared of being yourself because you think that no one will like you.
Here’s a secret about potential relationships: No matter how weird you are, there is always someone willing to accept you. The big trick is whether or not you accept yourself. (We’ll get into this more when we talk about Being Honest.)
So, lay it all out there. If you like competitive hot dog eating, write it out. You’ve submitted navel-gazing as an Olympic sport? List it. You like pina coladas and walks in the rain? … okay, you might want to save that for later since folks might just think you’re being cheesy, even if you really do like that. But definitely mention that you are single/married/poly/bi/straight/curious, and definitely-twice mention that you are way into scifi/horror/rom-coms/action/fantasy movies, and definitely-thrice mention that you are interested in bottle caps/comic/movies/books/race cars/Transformers/physics/medicine/fried foods, etc. What makes you tick? What kinds of conversations do you have? What are you looking for – Ms/Mr Right, or Ms/Mr Right-Now, or something in between?
On most sites, there are section cues. Pay attention to them. “What I’m Doing With My Life” is where you discuss your profession and school, not where you discuss your favorite hobby of synchronized badminton ballet. (That’s a Self-Summary statement.) And responding to “The First Thing People Notice About Me” with, “I don’t know, I’ll ask them,” is a cop-out and a very old, bad joke. Again, this is an exercise in self-awareness. Think about the questions, imagine if someone were talking to you on the phone or at an interview. How would you answer them? As long as you’re not filling in four hours with, “Um… I don’t know… I guess… um… I could… um… maybe they… um…”, write it down and share it.
And if you can manage it, be funny and/or clever. I can’t count the profiles I’ve messaged just because the writing was superb and humorous. Never underestimate the power of making someone laugh. Sure, you might not be a great match in bed, but when you appreciate someone’s humor and they appreciate yours, you might just get a great friend out of it.
For those that freeze up at the idea of writing an essay, try this: write it like you would say it. Pretend that you’re answering these questions to a close friend, and just type out what you would say to them.
Friend: “So, what are you up to these days, Georgie?”
You: “Well, I finally decided to take that job at the airport selling mannequin busts. It’s head-and-shoulders above what I was doing before.”
Friend: “I heard you were back on the dating scene. How’s that going?”
You: “After the Great Lasagna Explosion of ’11, I’ve decided that Italian women aren’t really for me. What would be awesome is to find a nice little Chinese lady to settle down with. Wait… potstickers aren’t naturally volatile, are they?”
See? That’s much more organic (as in, easy to write and to read) than something like:
“I work with dummies and would like to get married and have dinner that doesn’t blow up.”
Don’t be afraid to share it with your friends. If they give you guff for being an on online site (assuming you’re not in the “clandestine” category), they’re probably secretly waiting to see how well it works for you.