Just for men — a funny — but true, look at what to do and what to avoid when you’re putting yourself out there.
I know, it’s not easy, putting yourself out there. Maybe it’s been a while. Maybe you think you are an old pro at this. Whether you are first dipping that big man toe in the proverbial waters of online dating, or you are already swimming circles around the pool, to get inside the female brain, read this. I promise, you will be editing your profile before you even finish reading number one.
Do not shame online dating! Everyone you are trying to appeal to (at least in this virtual format) is online dating too. Women don’t want to feel like we are the only ones in our fuzzy socks and bathrobes on a Friday night, trolling the internet for hotties. So you, and we, are online dating like the rest of the country. We want to feel hip and wanted, and we want you to have just a little bit of swagger. So, don’t say, “We can lie about how we met,” or “Nothing else has worked for me.”
Reframe! This is an adventure, you’re happy to be here, now go. Do not explain why you are online dating. Nobody wants to hear why you can’t meet someone at the office (we know you tried), and the bar scene isn’t for you (this is code for “I am old”), blah, blah, blah. We get it. We are here, too, remember? Do not explain us to ourselves. Hi, nice to meet ya, is a great start.
Say NOTHING about a glass. Do not say you are a “glass half full” kinda guy because every dating profile on the face of the internet says that. And what kind of dork would say “glass half empty?” (That would actually be refreshing, no pun intended, just for originality’s sake). In fact, avoid cliches all together. Be original! Instead of “glass half full”, say that you know how to make your own silver linings, or you have learned through adversity, or you once saw the actual end of a rainbow, pulled over the car, and sat right under it with your kids (but don’t lie! Only if this is true of course.)
And on that note, don’t tell us you are an “all-around good guy.” We don’t know what that means anymore. If we did, we would be dating him and not on this site. (Smile). Instead, say something interesting and original. Do you own your own bonsai forest? Did you groom your dog last night and then stroll down at the U just to let her show off? Did your dad teach you to make sushi? Do you always roll your little girls socks down for her so the lace shows? Say that.
Don’t flex. Don’t drop hints about your PhD or your car or your 600 thread-count sheets, for Chrissakes. If you are a doctor, mum is the word! BE HUMBLE. Don’t include a picture of your Mercedes, your diploma, or God forbid, your bed! Holy moses. Do NOT, (and I am screaming this) take a picture of your naked upper body in your bathroom mirror. We can see your bathroom! And the toilet seat is up. And in the background, we can see your bed! And it’s a mess. And there’s a picture of your wedding hanging above it. If you have lovely pecs, get a great shot of them in action while you are water skiing or fly fishing or saving a hedgehog from a burning palm tree. That would be a deal maker.
Don’t whine. Good grief, stop whining! Dating sites are not matchmaking services. Understand this. Reread that sentence. I’ll help: Dating sites are not matchmaking services. Dating sites are just virtual bars. Today, in 2015, it’s easier for us to wink at someone virtually instead of in person, because in person would make us feel creepy. Understand that the online dating site you are using is just a bar, just a safe place to wink or say “how you doin?” It doesn’t owe you anything, just like the bar you used to go to didn’t owe you anything (other than the beer you paid for). Especially important, is the women on the site don’t owe you anything at all. They don’t owe you a wink back or an email or to follow through on the date they set up. It’s not very nice, but it’s true, and I think if you understand this, and understand that the service you are subscribing too is just a way to access single people to see if they would like to receive that wink, or not, you will be a happier online dater. There are a lot of whiney, upset, venting online daters. Stop that. If it’s making you angry, stop doing it.
Which brings me to what I’ll call “getting personal.” If you want to get personal on your profile do it like this: “I’m looking specifically for that tall, leggy, witty brunette who was playing Scrabble with her son at Coffee-a-go-go last Saturday, or someone who would do exactly that.” But not like this, “I actually met a woman from this site who weighed 30 pounds more than what her photos showed, drank too much wine and proceeded to tell me TMI about her divorce.” Don’t make us afraid that we will end up as a story on your blog. And your profile is not your blog, by the way.
Care. Women are totally drawn to caring. Care genuinely, about something, and show it. Everyone is a “family man” or “passionate about my kids.” That’s sweet and fine to say but just know that it doesn’t make you stand out. But what else do you care about? Deeply about making your community safer? Passionately about tiny rare cacti? Extraordinarily about the research you are doing on breakthrough alternative to liposuction? Ok, not that one. But something. Show us something matters to you. More than your ATV. Which you might want to take the photos down of. Your dog is cute. We like her. Put yourself in the photo with her. Do not wear her in a front pack in the photo. Or have her tongue in your mouth. Ew.
Be you! There is something that makes you a snowflake. Ask around to see what it is. Maybe you sculpt your mustache into a different topiary shape in the shower. Keep that one to yourself. Maybe you teach kundalini yoga to prisoners, maybe you wrote a song for your mom last Christmas and you wouldn’t mind singing it at a karaoke bar, maybe you know how to do the Texas two-step blindfolded, maybe you make a mean Coq-au-Vin, maybe you have seen every Wes Anderson movie ten times, maybe you host an annual trampoline-a-thon to raise awareness for bladder dysfunction. Ok not the last one. You are you are you and the more you are you and not everyone else, the more we will see you and know if we want to wink back, or not. Good luck!
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Photo: Flickr/Ed Ivanushkin