(Dedicated to anyone who’s ever dipped their toe into internet dating waters)
Over the years I’ve been an intermittent user of online dating. Well, I say user, browser is more the correct term. I hardly met anyone from online dating sites, and this was not all down to me being picky, judgemental and anxious when it came to searching for a man. Ok, I am judgemental. I was put off by so many bad profiles. You could be the most wonderful person in the world but if your profile presents you badly you will be swiped left quicker than a greased up penguin on a water slide.
To help avoid tumbleweed on your exciting new dating account I have compiled some handy tips on what not to do for any men setting up a profile.
Your profile picture is important. Most people tick the box for ‘profiles with pic’ in their initial search, so if you haven’t got one then you have eliminated yourself from a big batch of ladies already. We want to see what you look like. No one would walk into a bar blindfolded and start chatting to potential dates, same principle here. So here we go.
Don’t pose in candlelight. If you do it could be assumed that you don’t pay your electricity bill, or that you look hideous in daylight.Or that you are a vampire.
Don’t wear sunglasses. Why are you hiding your eyes? They are the windows to your soul. Is your soul a scary place to peer into? Or maybe you are just boss eyed. There’s nothing wrong with that, but be honest.
Don’t use a dated photo from the seventies or eighties. If you think that’s your best photo, with a mullet/perm and orange polyester flares/turquoise shell suit, then goodness knows what you look like now. Not many women will be willing to take that chance. And if they are, then they are going to be more desperate than you.
Don’t pose in front of a tractor. You’re on a dating site, not featuring in ‘Farmers Weekly’. We like to imagine a man smelling of Joop, not poop.
Don’t post a photo of yourself wearing socks and sandals. This just screams out that you’ve not been near a woman in a while. A long while. An incredibly long while. And that you most likely still live with your mother.
Don’t post a photo of yourself crouched down by a riverbank holding a large brown trout. Again, you are on a dating site, not the letters page of ‘Angling Times’. Not many women will be thrilled with the prospect of you smelling of fish. If they are, you need to track down that specialist site.
Talking of specialist sites, please don’t post photos of yourself head to toe in a red latex gimp suit. If this is your ‘thing’ you’re better off on a site more catered to the fetish world. Side point – Why is it only weirdly shaped people, think human space hopper, that like to wear sprayed on PVC?
Please smile, it’s not a mugshot. You haven’t been arrested. Yet. So many profiles I’ve seen have frowning, miserable or disinterested faces staring back. Who wants to date Mr Angry, Mr Downer, or Mr Constipated?
Don’t post a photo that also has your friends in it. Especially if they are better looking than you. Although, if you think you are being clever by popping on a pic of you with ugly friends to make yourself look good, that could backfire if the ladies viewing think you’re that ugly one. So to avoid confusion all around, just post a photo of yourself alone. Or with a dog. No one will get you mixed up with a dog. But don’t just post a photo of your dog on its own. That’s just weird. Someone wants to potentially date you, not your pet.
Don’t post a photo of yourself drunk. You might think you giving the impression of being a fun party goer but you’re not. You just look like a twat. A drunken twat.
Don’t post a photo of yourself hugging a female. She may well be your sister but when glancing at the photo we won’t know this. We will assume she’s your last girlfriend. This is even worse if your sister is really attractive.We will think we are not pretty enough for you and move on. Sad but true.
Don’t post photos with your children in them. For a start you shouldn’t be putting pics of your children anywhere near a dating site. If you are pictured with your tribe of children it might be seen that you are just looking for a mother for your kids and not a partner for yourself. Maria Von Trapp apply within.
Don’t post up a torso shot of yourself. Yes, it’s lovely if you have an abdomen circa Peter Andre in 1996, but the fact that you don’t show your face indicates that either you look like the elephant man or that you are married. Both thoughts will get a swipe left into the reject pile of no return.
Now you have your profile picture sorted and have captured a lady’s eye, you need to have a good write up about yourself to capture the other bits of the lady that is looking at/scrutinizing you. Different dating sites have various sections and subsections for you to fill in. Please don’t leave blanks or write ‘I’ll fill this in later’. This just tells the reader that you can’t really be bothered and that you are lazy or stupid. None of which are qualities you look for in a new partner. You wouldn’t submit a CV to an employer with just your name on and ‘I’m looking for a job’ scrawled across it would you? If you would, stop reading now, there is no hope for you.
There’s usually a ‘tell us about yourself’ section. This is where you can dazzle the multitude of ladies out there and make yourself the must have date. Don’t be too generic. Make the viewer remember you, for the right reasons. Saying that you like sunsets, kittens and walks along the beach is far too clichéd and doesn’t narrow down things in common with your perfect person. After all, everyone likes that don’t they? You might as well say I love eating, sleeping and breathing. Then two thousand potential daters say ‘ooh I like that too!’ Be more specific. By revealing you like The Walking Dead, non-alcoholic pina coladas and taking photographs of marzipan animals, you might not get two thousand interested people but you will eliminate the people that you wouldn’t get along with. Although a word of caution – if the things you like are a bit too weird (making statues of European landmarks from your ear wax, eating roadkill, liking Coldplay) then maybe not advertise this.
The ‘what are you looking for’ section is slightly trickier. If you’re too specific, ‘I’m looking for a 5’5 tall skinny redhead with long curly hair’ you could be eliminating your perfect partner. A 5’4 tall skinny redhead with long curly hair might skip past you when she could be the one, or it might appear that you are not over your ex and are just searching for a lookalike. On the other hand, if you’re too vague ‘I’m looking for someone with a pulse’, you could seem a little desperate. Aim for something in the middle – ‘I’m looking for a fellow film buff who enjoys both snuggling on the sofa with a hot chocolate and going out and about exploring new places together, armed with a camera and a picnic.’ Set a scene for the lady reading your profile, let them imagine themselves in that scene with you, let them want to be in that scene with you.
Finally, your opening message is important too. You’ve done all the ground work with your amazing profile so you don’t want to sabotage that effort. Don’t go for a one word ‘hi’. While this is better than nothing at all, it’s not very imaginative. If the lady in question has just received twenty messages, you want yours to stand out from the herd. Don’t open with ‘You’re stunning, I would’, ‘You don’t look 40’, ‘Your hair looks nice’, or ‘I think you could be my next wife’. Yes, I have had all of these gems genuinely as a first message. While these were all meant to be complimentary, as an opening message they come across as being a bit creepy. The best opening messages are ones that show you’ve read the other person’s profile. Ask a question too as this is more likely to get a response. ‘Hi, I see you like horror films, my favourite is John Carpenters ‘The Fog’, what’s yours?’ is more likely to get you a reply than just ‘Hi’.
So there you are, a quick guide to setting up your online dating profile and getting one step closer to extra Christmas presents. And wearing your best pants.
Actually, always wear your best pants.