This section is from articles I wrote on Examiner, as a local dating reporter
Writing the Profile
Are you tired of the roller coaster world of online dating, hitting mainly valleys, and none of the peaks? Could be you have a lackluster profile. You are charming, upbeat, even fun, but your profile doesn’t show it
Many online books promise eye-catching profiles, with expert help being questionable at best. One book advised men to top their profiles with weird, cryptic titles such as: “Where Are My Sunglasses? Oh, Here They Are.” Cheesy pickup lines as catch phrases are bad too. Intelligent women see those and keep moving.
Ask your friends what they like best about you. Tell them you are writing a profile and you’ll be amazed what they come up with. Guys, ask your women friends or sisters who are well aware that the ability to throw a perfect spiral is not dating profile material.
Here are five proven tips for writing an excellent profile.
1. Remember to stay positive. Do not drag out baggage.
2. Embrace your uniqueness; that way you stand out from the crowd.
3. Make sure you include something everyone likes to do, such as eating. If you list pole vaulting, ultra marathons, and geo-caching as your go to items, you will limit your possibilities.
4. Be descriptive. While you don’t have to overwhelm with words, the right word packs more punch as opposed to generalities.
5. Stay current. If your profile includes the latest movie, book, or restaurant you visited, make sure you update it at least once a month. Otherwise, it looks like you are doing nothing. It is a bit like real estate; the updated and newer listings get more looks
Keep in mind, your unique sense of humor or sarcasm may not read well. The reader can’t hear your tone of voice or see your twisted smile to be aware you’re teasing. It is okay to be clever, but don’t try too hard because it shows.
Here is an example of a thought provoking heading: Looking for My Last First Date. The reader has to pause for a moment to understand the person wants a long-term relationship. The moment the reader stops to think, his or her interest is tickled. That’s all you need to gain a second glance.
People, especially women, read the profiles. Don’t dash this off in a hurry because you need to sound intelligent. Check your grammar and spelling so you don’t come off as illiterate.
With the profile out of the way, it is time for the photos. Let’s start with the men. Please don’t dig out the photos from your last golf outing or the office party. Men post pictures of them posing with their buds, and it is hard for a date to figure out who you are. She might also like the way your buddy looks better than you. Who needs the competition?
Women want to see you by yourself to be able to imagine your arm around them. With this is mind, a picture of you and your ex-wife with the ex removed won’t work. Everyone knows that trick and it is as if the ex is still there, lingering in the background.
A recent photo is a must. Think how upset you’d be if you arrived for a first meeting and thought your date's mother showed up because of an outdated photo. People do pick out potential dates on how they look, but don’t make the mistake that they are looking for a model. Many men take their own photos by stretching out an arm or shooting into a bathroom mirror. This is not only unflattering, but also will make women wonder why you have to be so secretive.
Get a friend to help you out with your photo shoot. There are companies in the area that specialize in online dating profile photos. Headshots work well so you’ll want a few. Remember to do body shots too. You want your date to see what you look like. No one wants a date that leaves because you weren’t what she expected based on your photo.
Show the real you. Be active. Make the photos look candid. Any sport you enjoy that has you participating works. A photo with your dog is okay, but not your cats. Women tend to view men with cats as less masculine. If your passion is astronomy, then stand by a telescope.
Finally, avoid any identifying information to avoid the stalker. You may never date her or only date her once. She can get information from staring at your photo, spotting the name of your work, your street name, or the name of your country club. Guys need to be safe too. Remember have fun with the photos; women love men who laugh.
Women, be careful with your photos. Women who post profile photos in skimpy outfits, swimsuits, or lingerie often complain about how the men they meet only want to take them to bed as opposed to taking them out. The basic problem is they sent out the wrong message with their photo. It is hard to think of a woman as long-term relationship material when she’s decked out like an escort.
Your photos attract different types of men. If you want a one-night fling or a party boy, the nasty girl photos will do it for you. If you want a responsible, thoughtful man who’ll remember your birthday and bring you flowers then you need to go a different route. The honest route is best.
Who hasn’t heard a person complain that their online date bore no resemblance to her picture? Posting old pictures, when you were skinnier, younger, and altogether different looking does no one any favors. Many men might not object to a few additional pounds, but they do mind being played by the bait and switch approach. Glamour or boudoir shots that are so photo shopped that they bear no resemblance to the actual person are misleading too. You don’t want to look better than you do right now.
Avoid posting group shots. Most men won’t even try to pick you out of a crowd. It shows you put no effort into your profile. It also smacks of you being a person who can’t be alone. Do you want to send that message?
Online dating is an investment, so make it count. Men want you to post several pictures, including full body shots. Wear flattering outfits that highlight your good features.
Pictures to avoid include: pet photos, pictures with young children or grandchildren, wearing something odd like a sombrero or a clown nose. No poses with other men even if they are your GBF or adult son. Avoid shots of you drinking or eating—these just aren’t attractive poses. It should be obvious that you don’t pose with firearms or any other dangerous weapons. No identifying information such as your name, address, place of work or house number. You definitely don’t want everyone to know how to find you.
Finally, have fun and you’ll look like you’re having fun. Remember a smile can be very sexy, especially accompanied with a twinkle.