Friday, August 10, 2007

Why do bad profiles happen to good people?

We all know the saying, "A good man is hard to find." This especially rings true in the online dating world, where in order to find a good man, you first have to find a good profile. However, I am quickly discovering that this, to use another cliché, is "easier said than done." I went through the same process, so I know how hard it is to create a catchy, interesting and informative snapshot that represents the various facets of your personality. I know the temptation to rush through this process to get to the part where you can start checking out potential dates. But trust me, you should not rush this part. There is nothing so off-putting as pulling up a guy's profile only to read: "I'm not really good at describing myself so anything you want to know just ask." Well, call up the circus people and put this guy in a tent! It's the Man With No Personality! (Not to mention the disturbing lack of commas. Perhaps he experienced some kind of comma trauma in his youth? [If I had a band it would totally be named Comma Trauma]). Click. Next.

Besides lack of verbosity, there are so many other common pitfalls that I see appearing again and again. The thing is, for the most part they are completely avoidable. I'd like to take it upon myself as a kind of public service to point out these pitfalls to the many, well-intentioned men out there who, like so many of us, are looking for love, or maybe just a date on Saturday night. So, let's get started, shall we?

Ok, I'm not going to lie; the first thing a girl is going to look at is your picture. It's the first impression she is going to form of you, and this is where the trouble starts. Let me say, and I cannot overstress the importance of this: I want to see pictures of you. That's pictures, plural. One picture tells me nothing by itself; I need others to form a basis of comparison and create a general idea of what you look like. Specifically, I want to see pictures of your face. As many as possible, close up, with no shadows, hats, sunglasses or other obstructions. Now that we have that cleared up, let me be a bit more specific.
  • One more time: I want to see pictures of you; not your dog, not your car, not your sister.
  • I'll reiterate: I want to see pictures of your face. It's great that you love to scuba dive/mountain climb/jump out of planes, but that guy wearing the scuba mask/small smudge on a rock face/spandex-clad figure hurtling through the air could be anyone; just show me your face.
  • I don't want to see pictures of mountains/flowers/buildings. I know you're an aspiring photographer, but please, just show me your face.
  • I know you have friends. Please, no group shots of you with all your buddies. If I can't tell which one you are, it doesn't help me at all.
  • This should go without saying, but I see it all too often. Please, guys, no pictures of you with other girls; I don't care who they are.
  • And another thing; keep your shirt on. And you, there, with your shirt off and your arm around that woman...wait, is that your mother? Just, ew.
  • Oh, and posting a picture of that guy from the OC and trying to pass it off as yourself is not cool. Trust me, I know you're not him. And I'm laughing at you.
Now that we have the picture pitfalls out of the way we can move on to the profile blunders. And while pictures may be the first impression I form of you, the profile is just as important, if not more so. To that end, here are some things to watch out for.
  • About 75% of guys' profile names contain the word Boston in them; there's BostonRob, bostontom75, Bostonguy23, and my personal creative favorite, bostonresident. If you add in different permutations of "Red Sox fan" that percentage jumps to about 85%. Maybe because you're not looking at your competition, you don't realize that every other guy out there had the same bright idea as you. But when I'm scrolling through page after page of Boston Robs and Toms and Guys, they all start to blend together. I know it's hard, but please, use a little bit of creativity.
  • Certain phrases are an automatic turn-off for me. Among them, that you're looking for a "natural beauty," or, "no makeup required." First of all, good luck with that. Even Penelope Cruz needs a little help in the morning (or Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, or Julia Roberts, take your pick - and can I just say, yikes?). Why don't you just stick to fixing cars, or computers, or scuba diving/mountain climbing/jumping out of planes, or whatever it is that you do, and let me worry about my makeup, mmmkay?
  • Another turn-off phrase: You want a woman who is "sexually aware." Look, everyone wants to end up with someone who's good in bed, but you're going to have to play the lotto just like the rest of us. I'm deducing you're a sleazy nymphomaniac who will go out with me and then never call again.
  • I feel like this should go without saying as well, but if you can't write a coherent sentence in English, I'm not interested. I'm talking to the born and bred American guys here; I'll cut a little slack for foreigners, who, in most cases, have a far superior grasp of spelling and grammar than some of you local boys, who seem to think that spelling and punctuation can be bent to your personal whim.
  • Please don't explain why you're here, and especially don't talk about how it's "so weird" that you're online. I know why I'm here, I know why you're here; we're all in the same boat. If you feel awkward about it, maybe you should deal with your own insecurities before you dive into the dating world, online or otherwise.
Ok! So that about does it for this edition of When Bad Profiles Happen to Good People. How about you? What are your profile pet peeves? Or, to put a positive spin on things, what are some good things you've noticed in people's profiles?


  1. ...what type of make up are celebs using and where can i get it?? and a lighting team. i need a lighting team.

  2. Pearls before swine