It's no secret my boyfriend and I met through Match.com. While I didn't go on a lot of dates through online sites, I looked at a metric fuckton of profiles. The boyfriend DID do his share of dating through those sites. And, between the two of us and a few of our friends who've done the same, we would like to share our collective experience with you to help you get the most out of your online dating experience.
Make sure the reader can see your face, including your smile and your hair. If you're a dude and all of your shots include you wearing a hat, you're hiding your bald head. Own your bald head. And your fucked up teeth. Smile for the camera.
Use a photo that's larger than a thumbnail. Most of the folks on these sites are over the age of 25 and need to be able to see what you look like. Use a full-size photo.
Don't post pictures of yourself with people of the opposite gender unless you specify that it's your uncle, brother, dad, child, or ex, in which case, THAT'S JUST WEIRD.
Post recent photos, and try to stick to photos of you with relatively the same hair color or style so the viewer isn't confused about whether or not all of the photos are actually you.
The glory days shots are nice, but we're all older and fatter. Get over it.
Skip the shots of your cat. Oh, and the one of the side of K2 where we can't see anything but the speck you claim is you, but we can't actually tell, and quite frankly don't care.
Skip the pictures where you obviously crop out or blur out your ex. If you can't find somebody with a camera to take your picture, get a tripod or use your phone. A couple of Myspace-esque shots are far better than that tasteless option.
We see what you did there. Buy a camera.
Include a full-body shot that's FLATTERING. I don't care if you're 350lb, you can find a shot that doesn't make you look like you hate yourself.
Post pictures showing your personality. Don't just talk about who you are in your profile, show it in your photos.
For example, I like puppets.
Don't be afraid to look sexy, assuming you like the sex. Both genders will be drawn in by a sexy photo or two, but don't go overboard. If you're showing a lot of cleavage, you can probably skip the Daisy Dukes. Boys, that goes for you, too.
This is TOO MUCH SEXY. Rein it in.
Everybody thinks they have a great sense of humor. Seriously. Find me a person who will admit they don't. Skip stating the obvious.
Tell the reader something unique, something the don't expect to read, something they haven't read in EVERY OTHER PROFILE.
Better yet, show, don't tell. If you have a great sense of humor, because YOU ALL DO, be funny when you write. Be witty. If you have a sarcastic streak, let it show in your writing. If you're a nerd, romantic, a sports enthusiast, show it in your writing by sharing that side of yourself. BE WHO YOU ARE.
If you aren't honest in your profile, you aren't going to have an honest relationship with the people you meet.
Don't tell them you like to cook, tell them WHAT you like to cook, how you cook, where you learned to cook, what inspires you to cook. Would you cook for your date? Do you like cooking together with somebody? Post a picture of yourself cooking.
You like spending time with your family? Really? Do you have any pictures? What do you like to do with them? Give us some details. Do you have an annual family reunion where Uncle Fred makes a mean batch of sangria and you all have a 3-legged race and tell stories around a bonfire until the sun comes up? Hell if I know, it's your family.
What I do know is that EVERYBODY KAYAKS. EVERYBODY CAMPS. EVERYBODY GOES TO BURNING MAN. Well, in the Bay Area, anyway.
For the love of all the is HOLY and spell-checkable, look for typos and grammatical errors in your profile before you post that shit. If you suck at doing that for yourself, have a friend or family member help you.
Set yourself apart.
And say something about WHAT YOU WANT. For fuck's sake, you're on a dating site looking for somebody to date, possibly more. I would hope you have some idea about what you do and don't want. Tell people. This is your chance. Get that list of demands out there. Want a guy with a pulse and a penis? Say that. Looking for something more? You better make that known, or trust me, that's all that will show up in your inbox. Dicktures a plenty.
This leads to the next important section.
DON'T RELY ON ALGORITHMS:
Don't expect the site you're signed up with to do all of the work. You need to do some of it, too. What matches on paper might not match in person. Give it the ol' manual flip-through once in a while. Pour yourself a big glass of chianti and start looking at all of those profiles you wouldn't normally give a second glance. There might be a gem in there.
Do a search for your competition. Are you posting a similar number of pictures? Are you presenting a unique profile that will set you apart, yet still be true to who you are?
Don't do the same exact search every time you look. Broaden your horizons. Be willing to date widows/widowers (we can be younger than you think) or people who don't state an income. Maybe they don't want to deal with gold diggers. Now, I wouldn't suggest dating people who camp, but that's just me. You might be willing to make that kind of concession. It's about knowing your boundaries and limitations.
Now get out there and get on it, kids.