I recently received a request to critique an online dating profile from the PlentyofFish dating site. And though the profile was already fairly decent and well written, there were certainly a number of things in which I would change, or at least test out for comparison purposes. So we are going to go ahead and do a little case study on the profile with that person’s permission of course.
To honor the anonymity of the guy we are critiquing, we’ll simply call him the Jman when referring to him from here on in.
First Impressions of the Dating Profile
At first glance there were three big faux pas that stood out at me:
His picture, the only one on the profile, looked like it was taken from a high school year book. You know the type I’m talking about, all dressed up in a nice suite and tie with the fake stonewashed backdrop. The picture section is one of the most important parts of a person’s profile and if you neglect that then it won’t matter how creative the rest is, lets face it, the first impression of the main profile pic is all the difference in the world between a high click through profile or not even on the market profile.
Scrolling down a bit further, further, further still, and even further down, you begin to realize that this is quite possibly the longest “about me” section that has ever been written. I did a quick check in my word processor and this sucker clocks in at a little over 1,000 words. EEK! Don’t get me wrong it was creative, witty and funny, but your goal with your dating profile is not to write an autobiography, it’s point is to create just enough interest to get her to write a message or at least respond to your initial email message, and that’s it. If you provide too many details about your life, then what is your prospect’s motivation for getting to know you?
In Jman’s profile title line, in his “interests” section and a couple times in his “about me” section he alludes to the following, “I am looking for you,” or some variation. Essentially he is trying to speak to the reader of his profile directly, saying that you, whoever the hell you are, is the one he is looking for. I understand that it’s a bit of a hard sell tactic but it comes off beta-male to me.
Let me explain. If I were to make blanket statements that “you” in general is THE person I am looking for, then what does that say about me? I don’t know you, or any of “you” who are reading my profile, so how the hell would I possibly know that “you,” some random girl or dude or some 45 year old basement dweller is the one for me? It’s like saying, “hey world, I have no standards and I’m willing to settle for any of you jerks no matter how ugly or pathetic you may be.” A man should have standards and know what he wants, so Jman, even if this was not your intention, you need to remove needy wording like this which on a subconscious level is harming your profile.
The Interests Section
Here is one part that confused me, the only thing in the Interests section is the word “you,” which I just ranted about. Other then removing that, a lot of things that are listed in the About Me section should probably be moved up to the Interests section. This will help to shorten up the long-ass About Me section. I’ll point out what I mean as I go through and break-down the rest of the online dating profile next.
Jman’s Online Dating Profile “About Me”
This is long, so I’m going to break it up into chunks, with Jman’s actual profile text quoted and indented, with my remarks following. Let’s take a look:
I am splendifferous, uniquely creative, and dynamic.
There is no need to announce this as it already shows through in your writing. It’s better to show people your good qualities through example and stories than announce it out-right.
I have learned throughout my time some very important life tips that may or may not help you on your journey.
Life tips such as Life Tip #237:
Never lend your fog machine to a guy who wants to set it up near a smoke detector. Or better yet, make sure he uses it improperly to get out of school for an afternoon.
What’s cool about the fact that I own a fog machine, is that for years me and some friends set up a haunted house in my garage every Halloween. Its things like haunted houses in your garage that bring out the ingenuity in people. Power drills make witches stir brew, oscillating fans can make heads spin, and of course, the fog.
That inventiveness carried me into college where I majored in criminal justice and sociology. (I also found some time for some ROTC and to hone my technology prowess)
I’m known in my family as the fixer man, if it has an error, virus or a blank tv screen, I get to be the hero of the day. Superman better watch out!
My friends laugh with me, at least that’s what I think. That is, except for the time I adamantly fought for my idea that sushi was a fish caught off the northern coast of Japan; at that moment I don’t think they were laughing with me because, I wasn’t laughing.
Like most guys in St. Louis, I love the Cardinals. In fact I was at the last game ever at Bush Stadium II.
I have climbed in City Museum, seen the Cathedral Mosaics, the Art Museum and all that makes St. Louis Great.
So what do you think is the best attraction St. Louis has to offer?…
I like that place too. We should go.
I own socks that are more colors than black and white. I know that a brown belt goes with brown shoes and a black belt goes with a ninja. Beyond that, my fashion sense is more than t-shirt and jeans but less than the black tie affair.
I’m unquestionably questionable. Or was that delectably delirious? No no, it was fantastically fanatic.
You know, you’re right, that was charmingly cheesy. (but it was the good cheese, right?)
All of this stuff is brilliant, I love it. Very witty, very entertaining and definitely the core of your profile. It shows that you have a good personality, that you’re adventurous and funny. Also it’s written in a way that doesn’t give away all your life details, it tells some quick stories and witty remarks while keeping an air of mystery and intrigue. Solid stuff.
What I’m doing with my life?
Currently I am on these quests:
— A quest to find the grail.
— A quest to burninate the village.
— A quest to find out if the man who told me I have a plethora has any idea what it means to have a plethora.
— A quest to find you.
— And a quest to find a killer barbecue joint. Happen to know of any around that are as good as Super Smokers?
Really however, I work in safety and regulatory compliance for facility operations in a not-for profit company.
Pretty much my job consists of researching how many ways one can be unsafe on the job and preventing such unsafe from happening.
I’m really good at
Stuff. Completely random stuff.
I can swing dance, but ask me to dance to rap and I stink.
Coloring inside the lines is a skill I have.
I can cook.
I can sing the lyrics to songs after only hearing them once or twice.
I am also really good at remembering that little thing you told me you liked and making sure that it pops up at a time to completely surprise you.
The first things people usually notice about me
People notice me? Sweet. My cool glasses make it hard to miss me. Add that to the fact my height is 6’2” and I stand out like the candy salesman at a dental convention.
My favorite books, movies, music, and food
One awesome job I once had was being a Wedding and Prom DJ, so my musical tastes are very eclectic. (I am also not ashamed to say I know the cupid shuffle and electric slide, also would be more than willing to teach you)
For example, my iPod has 2415 songs on it.
And the last 10 songs that were played:
Fleetwood Mac — Tell Me Lies
Jay Z / Linkin Park — 99 Problems/Points of Authority
Smiling Face — James Taylor
Revolution — The Beatles
You Belong With Me — Taylor Swift
Black Mercedes — One Block Radius
We Will Become Silhouettes — Postal Service
Gotta be Sombody — Nickelback
Geek in the Pink — Jason Mraz
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go — Wam!
I would also like to shamelessly plug the new Micheal Buble CD, Crazy Love; I think he’s a pretty good artist.
I eat anything that doesn’t move on the plate, but have a special love in my heart for barbecue, huevos rancheros and a good amaretto and coke.
The six things I could never do without
A broken in pair of tennis shoes.
This section is a bit of a problem because it’s following your best material and starts to get boring with all the different lists. I’d chop out this entire section, take some of the things in these lists and stick them in your Interests section… but not all of them. Pick and choose the best and quirky things you like, maybe 6-10 things in this section to put in the Interests, for example: Eclectic Music, Pants, Cooking, Swing Dancing, etc. It’s OK to generalize as that leaves more room for intrigue. Also, sometimes listing specific things will be cause enough to disqualify you from some people’s dating pools.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
You. In a totally creepy stalker-ish way. I mean, wait, I think about puppies!
The most private thing I’m willing to admit here
I once had a roommate put Habenero sauce in my mouth whilst I was napping with my mouth open.
I know you are joking around here but absolutely get rid of the part about being a creepy stalker. The last thing you want to do on an online dating site is to put the thought into a girl’s mind the possibility that you could be a creepy stalker. In a world where the worst thing you can be defined as by a woman on the Internet, “Creepy Stalker” takes the cake, so don’t even plant the seed in her mind, no matter how witty you think your writing is.
In fact, the better thing to do is pull the old switcheroo and call her the creepy stalker (in a playful way of course) when you message her. This puts her on the defensive and removes the idea that you could be a creeper.
You should message me if:
*You think Budweiser, Ribs, Toasted Ravioli and Gooey Butter Cake is a good dinner (and you know the commonality between those items).
*Laying out a blanket in a field and gazing out at the stars seems like a neat thing to do.
*Flopping on a couch watching a movie, visiting a local restaurant, going to a professional sporting event, or dancing in the moonlight pique your interest.
*You love life and have fun!
*My uniquely creative personality hasn’t made you crazy yet.
Better yet, you should message me because you’re awesome and that’s what awesome people do.
So press the button above that says wink, or maybe that other one that says message, and see what happens!
This last part is a good example of a “call to action” and is an important piece to anyone’s online dating profile. There probably isn’t any need to change this.
The First Date Section
For starters a first date would have to include you and me. Probably food and an activity of some sort, one of your choosing.
After that, we’ll see where it goes.
Personally, I don’t think the first date section is usually a big deal and try to keep it really general and simple. What the Jman has here is ok, but would change it up a bit. First, you don’t need that first sentence, it’s implied that two people are required for a date and that word “you” is used again; remember my above rant? Next, don’t imply that she is the one choosing the details of the date, you are the man, you are responsible for coming up with a cool date, don’t leave her the burden of figuring out the date, and thus don’t imply it in this section. A simple sentence or two that says something like going out for a coffee and a light lunch ought to be enough.
Recommended Online Dating Profile Revisions
First thing get rid of that year book picture and replace it with the following three pictures:
A profile shot where you are not looking directly into the camera, but slightly off to the side, not smiling but with a “pondering the meaning of life” look. Recent research by OkCupid shows that for men this is the best look. I believe the reason that it works is because it is non-confrontational, though it’s just a theory right now.
Then have one picture that shows your full body height, perhaps one where you are standing around with your friends. The reason I say this, is because Jman is 6’2″!!! He has the height advantage and he might as well make sure he uses that advantage.
The third and final picture should be something that is going to peak interest and make the viewer ask a question about it. This would be taken in the context of doing something out of the ordinary. It doesn’t have to be a clear shot of you or show any great detail, it’s whole purpose is to hook the viewer and make them ask questions, no captions necessary, the picture should speak for itself. For example, in my own personal online profile, I have a picture of me swinging on a rope off of a cliff into a raging river, which gets me a lot of messages asking about it.
Next thing would be edit down the “About Me” section of your dating profile following the advice I gave above. It definitely needs to be shorter and will probably hook girls better by leaving out details. Sometimes the trick to writing a great profile is not how much one puts into it, but how much one can leave out and still convey attraction.
I think with the above picture changes and the witty profile text that gets left in, the Jman should have a much more solid online dating profile, have an increase in response rates and hopefully hook more high quality ladies into dates.