Monday, January 27, 2014

The Dating Profile That Should Never Be

First, a disclosure. I have never been in the dating market.  When I was 16 and again at 19 I was asked out on dates and both felt so awkward and weird that I turned the (two) guys down flat. (Sorry, guys.) I met my husband at 18 (through a chat room) and we dated long distance for a couple years before moving in with each other. Questions of who pays, what to wear, and whether it's tacky to have condoms available (just in case!) have never occurred to me. Fun fact: Outside of baseball, I have no idea what second and third base are.

So when I got the idea to write a little piece for fun, I had to do some research which meant creating accounts on dating sites. (“No, really, honey! Those accounts are for research!”)

This is real advice, guys, from a truly objective viewer of your dating profile. Do yourself and your prospects a favor and please take this advice to heart.

1) No light saber photos.

You think what you’re saying is “I am passionate, I am fearless, I look awesome, and I can afford a replica Qui Gon Jinn light saber.” You see yourself as the natural mate for this woman on the left.

But, what you’re really saying is “you better be prepared to have in-depth discussions on which episodes of Star Wars are best. Oh, and by the way, every time Comic Con comes to town? I’ll be in costume at the convention center.” Also? Chances are the woman who’ll reply to you is not this willowy woman at the left. It’ll be Jabba the Hut’s sister. Which is cool, if that’s how you like to roll. Just be prepared for that.

By the way, this says “light saber” but it applies equally to “hunting rifle and camo” or “phaser and red ensign uniform” or “martial arts uniform and katana sword.” A woman really does love a guy with his own interests. But wait until the second or third date to geek out on them.

2) Is he man’s best friend or man’s best “friend”?

You’re on a dating site. I’m already inferring you’re a little lonely. It’s great you love your dog, cat, alpaca, parakeet, snake, hamster, or chicken. But you need to tone it down a bit. Otherwise, yeah, I am going to wonder just how much you love that pet – and what it’ll mean if that pet doesn’t love me as much as it loves you.

3) Buh-bye to dudeoir shots.

You know what I mean. It’s one of these.

Save the pictures of your cobra and the surrounding jungle terrain for your second wedding anniversary and not before. Until then, let her enjoy the fantasy.

4) Welcome to the gun show.

Research is tough, you know? Pages of pages of clicking through profiles, trying to find something interesting that’d make a good hook for writing. Also, all the pictures of men’s muscular chests and arms. Yes, sir, it was terrible, simply terrible, the things I was exposed to looking at.

But here’s the thing: When a woman puts it all out on display, that’s what people judge her on, right or wrong. Same thing with you, guys. When you put out those fine, fine looking pecs and biceps for me to gaze at … I’m sorry, what was I saying? Anyway, you’re making me think of you physically and not as a dating prospect.

Now, if what you want is a tumble, all the power to you. No judgment here. But don’t be wondering why those relationships don’t pan out. Cover it up and don’t distract the poor ladies – you want them to read your profile.

5) Speaking of your profile…

Be brief. Not “I grew up as a feral child” brief but “I know how to write a succinct sentence” brief.

Be age-appropriate. I’m going to guess that you’re over 18 and seeking over 18-year-old women. (Otherwise the site’s “terms of service” isn’t the only thing you’re violating.) So don’t type like a 14-year-old girl. I don’t know what the word is that describes the female equivalent of “boner killer” but a man uses “@TEOTD” or ”?4U,” my first thought is “WTF?”

Be positive and present. Keep the past the past until it becomes relevant to your present and future. That means no talking about exes, old jobs, current disappointments, or your sinful past. Whoever you get is dating the you of today, not the you of yesteryear.

But… Be honest. There’s a time and a place to share everything. And when that time comes (which, I’d argue is NOT on your dating profile or your first few dates), be honest. If it’s something you don’t feel you can share, just state that. But whatever you do, don’t fib. A relationship is like a bank account and every lie is a withdrawal on goodwill.
6) No photos of other women
I'd like to think this is obvious, but I've seen it more than once so I'll throw it out there. Don't post pictures of other women you've dated. It says "I'm so insecure I have to prove I dated someone cute." Or it says "I'm so hot I was able to date her." Or it says "look! Me with a woman! I'm not gay!" Or it says "this is some girl I palmed five bucks on to take a picture with me." Whatever the reason, don't do it. What it really says is "I'm stupid."

Whether you’re satisfied with first base or hoping to make a home run (see how I looped around back to that?), trust me, these tips are worthwhile coaching. And while I’m not in the market, did I mention I have sisters?

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