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.
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.
- 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?):
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.
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!