How to write an online dating profile

Dear Lisa,

I have been doing the online dating thing for a little while now, but I haven’t had a lot of success getting women to talk to me. I’m pretty sure it has to do with my profile, because it’s not very original. I just don’t know what to say about myself, and what I can think of to say comes off sounding nothing like the real me, or makes me sound like I’m trying to be happier, or smarter, or cooler than I am.

I’d love some hints about what to say and how to say it.

–Bottom of the Pile (♂ )


Dear Bottom of the Pile,

Preparing to write a profile is a lot like preparing for the bar stool cold call; get yourself into a confident frame of mind. Play some music that makes you feel social, do a few pushups, run around your room with your arms in the air like Rocky (it works – check it)

Despite the possible consequences of starting out by shaking my finger at you, here are my three faux pas of profile writing:

  1. Do not justify why you are on a dating site, she is obviously looking at your profile ON A DATING SITE.
  2. Do not say that don’t know what to write.
  3. Do not mention the word drama. No matter what, you sound like a dick.

It is imperative that you are (or at least appear to be) comfortable with where you are at in your life. There is no need to warn her about your cart of baggage and insecurities that you’ve been working through with your therapist. Everybody has insecurities; a woman’s primal instinct is drawn to a man who is secure (and by extension will keep her secure).

And now, what to make sure to include in your online dating profile:

  1. Choose a really good photo (or three). Physical appearance is the most important part of a first impression, and even more so in the online dating world. A good new photo is the best way to reboot your profile. In order of the most important, pick one good headshot, one full body photo of you in your element and one photo where you are having fun with friends or family. Above all, make sure that the photos are clear, in good light and flatter you. There are millions of articles online about taking good profile pictures (and there is nothing wrong with hiring a professional photographer)

  2. Pick a clever pseudonym. Your pseudonym is probably the second thing a woman will notice next to your picture. Make it about something that matters to you. Keep it clean, simple and memorable.
  3. State your intention. Somewhere in all of those lists and check boxes, there should be something that indicates what kind of relationship you want. Give yourself permission to be honest here. There is nothing wrong with how you want to experience love, whether it is through friends first, true love, just intimacy, polyamory or a simple, single rendez-vous, be comfortable with what you are looking for and allow it to be known. People can sense when they are being manipulated or lied to, and if they don’t catch it in your profile, they will on the first date.
  4. Paint a picture. Figure out which of your qualities differentiate you from all of the other fish in the sea, and centre your profile around them. Are you a man who is looking for a woman who doesn’t want children? ‘Focus on how important your relationship with your woman is, and that you want nothing to come between you, not even children.’ Are you a willful woman who has a hot temper? Let men know that you are looking for a man who is ‘seduced by a little bit of fire and can hold you as the red from your hair flushes your face in during your passionate little fits.’ Are you a homebody? ‘Let a woman know that you feel most at home with a hammer in one hand and a to do list in the other; a suit and tie might look nice on other guys, but a tool belt looks good around your hips on a hot sunny day.‘ Whatever you do, play it up.

  5. Show, don’t tell. Write like you speak and according to your personality – allow yourself to be witty, or straight to the point or flow like a slam poet if that’s what you’re into. Tell a little story rather than giving a list of adjectives about yourself. The best way to show your strength of character is to be a little vulnerable – people love to read other people’s diaries right? Have a friend who’s writing you admire take a look at it and help you with the flow. Contact me for phone and skype consults if you want some expert advice.
  6. Stick to a Structure. Keep your profile to the point by using short, well written paragraphs with good paragraph structure (remember 1st year English? topic sentence, a couple of sentences expounding on your topic and the closing sentence). Other formats work too – to do list, poem stanzas, word art – and can be a little more eye catching if you are feeling creative. Use accurate grammar and perfect spelling.
  7. Read it out loud. When you’re done your first draft, read it out loud. What you’ve written should sound as natural as if you were speaking it to her on a video. Adjust as necessary, then ask for a second opinion.

May creative genius overtake you!

– Lisa



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