How to Create a Fantastic Dating Profile

I used to think that creating an online dating profile was about as much fun as writing my obituary, a task I remember hating in high school English class. Then I decided to have fun with it. The process became a lot easier… and actually enjoyable. So, relax, have lunch with me, and let’s talk about developing a fantastic profile.

Before you sit down to write, ask your friends if they are willing to let you read their profiles. It’s helpful to see what others have done (even if you are going to go in an opposite direction). I was lucky and a friend with a great profile shared hers with me.

Every dating site has a slightly different format but they all have a section for your elevator speech. This “About Me” description summarizes you and your ideal partner’s best qualities and strengths. I find it challenging to write – aka brag – about myself. Answering the question section may be time consuming, but it’s easier than writing a personal “all about me and my ideal match” essay.

Humor Rocks

The first profile I wrote, when I was still separated, listed my attributes in a light, humorous way. I tried to put a witty spin on my positives since wit and humor are important to me and it’s something I look for in a partner.

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a comedienne, writing about yourself in this way can be easier than a serious description. Real Life Example: “People tell me I have a calming presence. Not that I put them to sleep…”

I had a harder time describing my ideal mate since I didn’t have much dating experience before my long marriage. I did the best I could at the time. As I began to date and have relationships, I learned more about what I wanted and didn’t want…and these characteristics were added to profile revisions.

Update, Update, Update 

This brings me to a cardinal rule of dating profiles: revise and update them periodically. Think minty fresh! It only makes sense that if you’re sick of reading the same descriptions in the profiles of men you’re matched with, they’re getting bored too. So revamp and revise.

The first major overhaul of my profile came after a period of dealing with a number of online dating hazards including matches younger than my son and scammers/fakes (see future post on the latter issue). I was fed up and decided to channel my annoyance into a humorous new intro to my profile. This riff on young and fake guys brought me more “hits,” including winks, “favorites,” and actual e-mails that led to dates. The guys picked up on my humor and some of them were able to respond in kind.

Put your Best Smile Forward 

I think another factor in the success of my revised profile was the change in my main photo. I’d been using a photo that showed some cleavage. Tasteful…but still – cleavage is cleavage. And my expression was more half-smile than a full-on friendly smile. So I thought, maybe this picture is too intimidating.

I had another picture in my arsenal that I decided to bring front and center. This was a photo my daughter had taken of me in a modest black dress. The big difference, even more than the reduced amount of skin visible, was the huge smile I had on my face. And my expression looked genuine – even though the picture was posed. I kept the cleavage photo but moved it farther down in the gallery.

The photo update, which occurred a couple of days after I revised my profile, triggered a more dramatic surge in interest than the updated text.

My takeaway from this experience:

  • Your photo should look friendly and approachable.
  • Smile.
  • You can include a more flirtatious photo in your gallery, just don’t make it your main picture.

What Not to Do 

Photo don’ts based on real life examples from men. Don’t include a picture of:

  • Your deceased spouse or ex. True example from a widower: photo of him and his wife captioned “Better Times.”
  • An up-the-nose view.
  • You with five other people. Impossible to identify you.
  • You naked (goes without saying).
  • You with your car, your fish, your gun (ok – these are guy things).
  • You in a Santa costume (yes, really).

The Screen Name KathyKink is NOT a Good Idea

And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a good online dating profile name is worth at least 500.

With apologies to Shakespeare, a rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but a woman who calls herself Quietly Shy is not going to quickly fill up her online dance card. So try to come up with something fun, distinctive, and that says “you!”

Avoid the mistakes some men make by using such clever wordsmithing techniques as incorporating body parts or one’s dating history into a screen name.

Here are some real examples of lamentable men’s screen names – slightly altered to protect their identities and reverse-engineered to provide the feminine counterparts (are you with me?):

  • Stackedbroad
  • MylastdateJune2011
  • MatzoballsMom
  • AngelinaJolie’sNiece
  • AloneAgrarian

No Whining 

Let’s return to the issue of creating a fantastic and fresh “About Me” section. My second profile, which mocked young and scamming men, tread dangerously close to whining and bitterness, dating profile no-no’s. I also referenced 2014. Updating was clearly needed!

For version number three, I substituted 2015 for 2014 and focused on being creative, funny, and positive, without any references to problems with the quality of my matches. It’s been about a month since I posted this new profile and I’ve had some success – but no LTR yet. For my next profile update, I’ll be adding a professional photo, thanks to a tip from a friend about a great Groupon deal.

Contest!

And now, dear readers, I’d like to split the cost of this lunch with one of you…by offering a review of your profile and photos. There are no guarantees that if you act on my suggestions, you’ll get more dates or a relationship. But if you do, please let me know and invite me to the wedding!! The first person to comment on my Facebook post titled Contest wins. You’ll need to friend me first (if you haven’t already), so we can message each other. We can figure out the details at that point.

Until next week – happy dating!

Resources

Ready, Get Set….Go Date

Dear Readers,

Go grab a salad, some nice cornbread, and let’s talk about getting ready to date – either online or in the real, scary world.

Before we take that first bite and since this is the virgin entry of a brand spanking new blog, I want to say hello to you, my readers. You are, I hope, of a certain age and entering singlehood as a widow or divorcee.

Dating, Sex, and Life in your 60s is geared to women who haven’t been on the dating scene in a while. They may be nervous about taking that first step…. or maybe they leaped into dating but would like support and community.

Dating Prep 101:

If you are still thinking about dating, you might wonder if there’s anything you should do to get ready. For me, getting ready to date was all about being confident. I needed to reverse the lack of confidence instilled by a husband with a mid-life crisis who didn’t love me anymore. I had gained weight and didn’t feel good about myself – a double whammy contributing to a lack of energy. So when my husband left, I embarked on a year- long program to lose weight and gain muscle through physical activity.

After graduating from my in-house spa regimen, I felt ready (or somewhat ready) to put myself out there.

Is there anything — physical or behavioral — holding you back? Is there something you’d like to change that can be changed? I’m embracing lots of flaws I can’t do anything about – or can’t afford to change. At the same time, I’m working on being comfortable in large gatherings and asking for what I want. Take stock and decide if there’s something you want to work on.

Remember, this is all about you and your self-confidence…. It’s not about conforming to an idealized personality or body image. Colbie Caillat expresses the latter so well in her song Try.

The point is — you need to feel good about yourself before you start dating. Not only will a confident woman attract men, she will more likely have the strength to engage in the online dating process – from the initial work of writing her profile and evaluating the profiles of prospects to those sometimes awkward get-acquainted phone calls and first dates.

A woman also needs to be in top form in order to handle rejection and to “roll with it” because everyone gets rejected and everyone rejects. Guys have to learn to deal with rejection on a more regular basis…women may need some practice and a strong heart.

As for your equally important mental state, work on developing your interests, your friendships, and a sense of community. This is particularly important if you are retired or semi-retired like me. Joining a gym or engaging in some type of physical activity with other people can help reduce stress and improve both your mental and physical health. Find a book group or a meetup or two; take an art or dance class. If you still work, go to happy hours with colleagues you like.

A strong social network will enrich your life and is essential to happiness. And a happier you will attract more men – which I’m guessing will make you even happier.

In our next post, I’ll talk about creating an online dating profile – including the types of photos to include.

About Me and a Disclaimer:

I’m a 60-something divorced woman with two adult children who is 5 years out of a very long marriage (if you count separation and divorce). I prefer to remain anonymous* (Nadia Alegria Amore is a pseudonym standing for Hope, Fun, and Love).

I hope this blog stands in for your best friend, your sister, or your mother. That said, I am not a psychologist or sex therapist. When a particular topic calls for it, this blog will include interviews with credentialed experts. As a former journalist, I look forward to interviewing authorities who may be able to help us.

I also want to learn from you and I hope we can help each other navigate the dating world and support each other when we’re feeling down.

Last words:

Stay centered, be happy, have hope. I have lived through some shit storms and can tell you that, eventually, the crap will pass, you will meet someone special or the love of your life, or many loves of your life…and finally smell the roses.

-30-