As I've mentioned, I've very casually begun to Internet date again, just a little ... and as such, I've been thinking about very important matters, like Why did that one hottie look at my picture three times without ever writing moi a note?
So I decided to write to the peeps at OkCupid (a great free site) to ask for their tips on how to put together a knock-out profile. Here's what Top OkCupid Matchmaker Meghan Beresford (who also happens to be a reader of my blog, and one of my Twitter peeps!) had to say:
PROFILE DO'S AND DON'T'S for THE LADIES
1) DON'T misrepresent your physical appearance. This should be a no brainer, but it doesn't seem to be. Often, women put up pictures that look absolutely nothing like them. So don't succumb to the temptation to submit only your glossiest, hottest photos--or any of the ones that were taken five years ago, when you were twenty-five pounds lighter. False advertising is only going to work against you. So to avoid awkward first meetings--and to increase your chances of meeting a guy who wants to date someone who looks like YOU!--post pics that will give him a sense of the real you.
2) DON'T imply that you're fine with a fling if you're really looking for long-term love. It's much harder to change people than you might think ... and especially hard to change a dude who stats on his Internet profile that he doesn't want anything serious. In your own profile, make it perfectly clear what YOU want, so that you don't, for instance, waste your time with guys who are only looking for fling when what you want is a LTR**. Similarly, don't start dating a dude who only wants something casual with the hopes you can get him to upgrade to a better relationship model in the near future. You'll only be setting yourself up for disappointment, that way.
3) DON'T complain, in your profile, about the messages you receive. We know it's unpleasant to sift through moronic, creepy or dirty messages to find the good ones,** but whining in your profile about message volume or quality is not necessarily going to keep the idiots from contacting you; but there IS a very good chance it will make you seem mean. Saying something like "Apparently, I'm a geek magnet" is a great way to get less mail from both good guys and bad! People shy away from anyone who seems too critical, especially in a dating situation.
(Related: if you are getting a lot of pervy emails ... your pictures may have something to do with it. If the majority of the shots you have up show you making out with your female friends, for example, or hanging out barely clothed, that could be the reason men feel like they have an invitation to talk dirty to you. So, take stock of what vibe you're sending with your email.)
4) DON'T put up a laundry-list your mate requirements. Internet dating isn't Chinese take-out. If you're vegan and only want to date other vegans, it's fine to say that--just state your preferences briefly and politely. (An epic 1500-word paragraph detailing what anyone who contacts you should and shouldn't be is just going to make you sound demanding. Plus, we're all busy people who don't have time to read much more than a few sentences about your fantasy mate! Keep things brief.)
5) DON'T overshare! It's okay if you've been hurt in the past or have trust issues. It really is. But wedging that information into a profile that complete strangers will use to suss out your date-ability is a bad idea. Most people are happy to deal with baggage once they've gotten to know you; they also probably have some extra luggage of their own. But save your pain for people you actually meet up with and develop a rapport with--guys who seem concerned about you, and interested in being serious. (And really, better to save the heavier stuff for the third date, or even the fifth; no need to bust it out straight away!)
What about the DO's, you might be wondering? Well, those are very easy. Simply:
DO be honest about who you are.
DO be gracious.
DO be hopeful.
So ... all rightie, then, ladies, let me know what you think about all this. And dudes, don't think I forgot about you. I'll have some profile tips for you all later in the week. Meantime, what do you think about these DON'Ts? Is there anything that's missing?
* Long-Term Relationship, fyi.
**Note from Maura: Here is an example of an undesirable--albeit hilarious--note, one that I received last night from a young man with a very cute picture who does not seem to be a native English speaker:
"i have 21 years old, i in new york and i looking for a old women to spend a day or night of sex , if are interested send me a email to : [redacted]@gmail.com"
dear everybody who wrote in to say happy birthday: thank you! and i liked hearing those stories about people giving nice guys
a second (and even third) shot ... i've been keeping them in mind this week.
also, to the woman who lost her sister a long time ago: i'm so sorry! and so sorry, too, about how it affected your mother, and
your relationship with her. i'm really glad to hear things are looking up.