I’m a 30-something, single, straight male with a decent job, the ability to dress myself, some social graces and worldliness, a liking for kids, and the desire to “settle down” and begin the next adventure of my life. This, in theory, means that I’m the sort of man that women in their late 20s to late 30s join dating sites like OKCupid.com to meet.
Yeah, it’s a weird thought for me too.
I’ve been on and off the site for several years, and had several relationships with women I’ve met through it. As such, after helping my roommate with her own profile, I’ve been asked to put together some tips on what we look for–and don’t look for.
It’s Ladies Night on SpaceToast.net.
It’s Only a Marketing Piece
Write enough to distinguish yourself. You’re the product. Give us a reason to remember you. You don’t get to post a three line profile and then complain that guys only write, “Hey girl heeey!” You love [local sports team], [popular band], travel, and your family? Great. Your prince will not be able to read your mind; weren’t you paying attention to Frozen?
Don’t write a novel. Respect your reader’s time and attention. There’s always more to know about you; that’s what chatting and meeting up is for. This is a marketing piece, and not in the sense of a McKinley-era broadsheet ad. Too much too fast too soon is overwhelming and impossible to keep straight.
Keep It Positive
Negativity suggests more down deeper. Keep it light. You won’t always be feeling that way, but who does? Remember: it’s marketing. If you can’t keep it positive for a few short paragraphs, it’s possible you’re not ready for the dating scene right now. You may get a lot of crap messages from guys, but complaining about them isn’t going to make those sorts of guys stop. Sorry they exist, but there’s nothing we can do about them either. Just hit delete and move on.
Take a risk. You may be nervous about online dating, in which case there’s a tendency to strike an ironic tone. Trust yourself a little more. Display some warmth. It won’t attract the wrong people, any more than being standoffish will attract the right ones. If you’ve been on for a long time and dealt with every sort of jerk the internet can throw at you, you still need to take that risk: Remember that we’re not all like that. Ignore the haters. Keep your head high.
Don’t be proud of your sarcasm. At the end of the day, sarcasm is a defense mechanism. It’s the opposite of taking a risk. It’s used to keep your feelings buried behind a facade. Sarcasm is often useful in life, but beware of drawing too much attention to it. All you’re saying is that you–the real you–is locked deep in this fortress, and good luck battling your way in on one Continue.
Don’t complain about your exes. Explicitly or implicitly, it doesn’t paint you as someone who’s moved on. We’ve all got scars. We’ve all been there. You don’t want to be hindered by our baggage any more than we enjoy the prospect of having to hire the Argonauts to navigate the unbecalmed seas of your past. “And if you’re some partly-functioning alcoholic? do. not. bother. messaging me!” doesn’t screen out real alcoholics, but it does tell us you picked a real Mr. Toad and stayed on his wild ride far longer than any girl with your brains should have.
Men and Women Are Attracted to Different Things
We don’t care about your self confidence. (And that’s okay.) Here’s the simplest useful model of basically straight male/female attraction. Make a list, in order, of the traits you find most attractive. Swap the order of physical attractiveness and self-confidence. Done. That’s the list of what we care the most about. Our desire for you has virtually nothing to do with your self-confidence; we decide what a person is worth, male or female. Can you find a man without self-confidence desirable though? No, but the wasted musician body or beer gut is pretty well negotiable. In case you haven’t noticed how much we preen in our profile photos (bare chest laydeez!), it’s as counterintuitive to us the other way around as it is to you.
Include at least one solo picture. Selfies are totally okay. We believe that you have friends. Don’t make us study Set Theory and dust off a Guess Who board just to figure out which one you are. There’s something quantumly strange about a woman who can only appear in photos with other people.
Hint at a real vulnerability. It’s possible your inner 12 year old still wants us to be unassailably rom-com perfect, but we don’t want you to be like that. (What would we even talk about?) At some point OKCupid did away with the question, “What’s the most personal thing you’re willing to admit?” It’s true an annoyingly high percentage of women punted on it (“Then it wouldn’t be personal lol right????”) but it was a good prompt because it nudged you to admit to a fault. A profile is barely-disguised braggadocio no matter what (see above: marketing) but coming across too perfect merely makes you look narcissistic.
Overused on OKC
Travelly travel travel travel travel! I get it. You like to see the world. But you need to hear this: If seeing ever more of the world implicitly made one a better person, I’d hate to see where some of you started. I’ve done enough of it myself to notice something people don’t like to talk about: it’s a total hookup scene. The guys you imagine seeing the world with are mostly into it for that reason. There’s something subtly corrosive about becoming too involved. When spinning the globe and going somewhere else becomes the solution to life’s unmet desires, how can one succeed in a real relationship, with a real person, day after day after day after day…? Broaden your horizons, but remember that some of life’s important adventures start by stepping out your door, and some start by crying over a hand holding yours.
Ducky wips? What are you in middle school? (Yes? Crap, now I have to wipe my hard drive again…) I told you selfies are okay, but act your age, not your Korean size.
Fuck your cat. Yes, I said it. I’m sure your pussy is very pretty, but there’s a place for that on the side of your profile. If it’s all over your pictures and you can’t stop writing about the damn thing you might as well just get one of those little rolling carts and a “Cat Lady in Training” tee shirt. Will three dozen be enough? Real cat ladies can’t count them.
And For the Guys
Don’t write “Hey girl heeey!”
No one wants to see your chest, penis or vehicle. No, not even together.