I’ve been doing a lot of looking around Match.com and OKCupid lately, and I have to say—a lot of the people on there could use some profile lessons.
Now, of course, some of them are just laughably bad. Rebekah recently shared some of the ones she’d come across. I recall one guy on Match.com who said he wasn’t looking for anything serious because he was about to move to New York–really, dude? You can’t just place a Craigslist ad or pick up a girl in a bar? There was another guy on Match whose profile seemed totally normal until the last line, which read, “Some turnoffs: prissy princesses, women who drink beer or drink too much.” … I see how the first and last ones could be turnoffs, but women who drink beer? WTF?
And, of course, this gem of a confession from OKCupid: “I once called my college roommates parents cause he was such a slob, and it worked! he cleaned up!”
Wow. I have so much more respect for you because you have the balls to admit to being a passive-aggressive tattletale.
So there are those. And there are the people who simply don’t seem like my type. But there are also the profiles that aren’t bad so much as trying too hard- like they’re only writing what they think people want to hear. Here’s what a typical straight male online dating profile sounds like:
“I never thought I’d be doing online dating, but I’m really getting tired of the bar scene. I’m a down-to-earth, easygoing guy with a sarcastic sense of humor. I’m very career-driven but also like to relax with a beer watching a Boston sports game with friends on the weekends. I enjoy spending time hiking and experiencing the outdoors and also try to go to the gym as much as I can. Traveling is my passion. My family is wonderful and we’re very close. I’m looking for a girl who is always up for anything and can get dressed up for a night on the town or relax in sweats with me and a movie. If this sounds good to you, drop me a line!”
Now, there’s nothing blatantly wrong with profiles like these. And if you’re genuinely a down-to-earth, sarcastic, career-driven, outdoors-loving, world-traveling, family-worshipping gym rat, well, go ahead and post a profile like that. But girls are going to have a hard time telling you apart from the millions of other down-to-earth, sarcastic, career-driven, outdoors-loving, world-traveling, family-worshipping gym rats attempting to find dates online. And maybe the majority of guys out there (or at least the majority of guys who come up in my searches) really are like that, but I think it’s more likely that they’re just saying what they think we want to hear. So let’s break it down:
-First of all, none of us ever thought we were going to do online dating. We all dreamed of meeting our soul mates in high school, then in college, then at work, then in a meet-cute incident at a bar. (Or at least I did.) So that disclaimer is unnecessary.
-As is the line about “the bar scene.” I’m sure some people do get long-term relationships out of people they meet at bars, but the odds are against you. Frankly, if that was the method you depended upon to meet girls, I have to say that I think a little less of you.
-Career-driven is great. Career-driven is fabulous. But you’ve got to give me more than that. If you just say “career-driven,” you just sound like someone who worships money. You need to tell me why you’re career-driven. Did you start in an entry-level position, enjoyed it, wanted more of a challenge, and worked your way up to manager? Did you decide to go into medicine/education/social work because you’re passionate about curing diseases/teaching the children/righting the wrongs of the world? Do you have goals for the work you do because you love it so much? Is it a career you only sort of like but you can live with it because you know it will finance your future and your children’s future? All of these reasons are great and things I want to know about, but most people just end up settling for “career-driven.” Give me something I can work with!
-“Hiking and exploring the outdoors.” Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this. The thing that amazes me is the sheer number of guys who put this in their profile. In real life, I only rarely hear people talk about going hiking or fishing or camping over the weekends, but a ridiculous number of guys on online dating sites seem to like these things. Are that many guys really into it and I don’t realize it? Or do they just put it in their profile because they think it makes them seem “rugged” and “manly”?
-“I try to go to the gym as much as I can.” Now, here’s one instance where something comes off exactly the opposite of how the guy intended it. If you’re training for a race, fabulous! If you’re raising money for cancer/the dolphins/the Human Fund, even better! If you participate in your office softball team or Social Boston Sports, if you enjoy yoga or spin class so much you can’t miss it, or if you just genuinely get some kind of high off of using a treadmill or pumping iron, that’s all great and you should say so. But if you just make a point of saying how you always go to the gym and how important fitness is to you, I’m going to think that you’re really vain and appearance-focused. You know who else goes to the gym a lot? The Situation and Pauly D. Do you also tan and do laundry after your trips to the gym?
-Same with “I love to travel.” Good Lord. This is a pet peeve of mine not just with online dating, but with life in general. Traveling is not some kind of badge of honor. I am not impressed with your list of countries that you’ve visited. You are not morally superior because you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall of China. All that means is that you’ve had the money and the opportunity to travel to those places. Not all of us have! I do love to travel, as do most people, but I do not give a shit where you’ve been.
-You’re down-to-earth and easygoing, you love your family, you like both going out and staying in. All good things, and I even have some variation on those things in my own profile. But, really, done to death. If you really want to stand out, tell me some story about yourself, or at least get more specific. Is there some occasion where you look forward to seeing your family because you have some kind of yearly ritual? Do you like to make popcorn, drink a PBR, and watch DVR’ed episodes of Modern Family on Friday nights, followed by a Boylston Street pub crawl with your college friends on Saturday, during which you make sure to order a big plate of nachos? THESE are the things I want to know about.
But who knows? Maybe there aren’t really that many guys out there with profiles like these, and this is just my type. Maybe my destiny is to end up with a guy who hikes and loves traveling and going to the gym. If that’s true, at least I know that there are plenty of them.