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nerdy overthinker needs a highlighter, heart and cold eye
June 21, 2012 11:49 AM   Subscribe

yet another request for feedback on an OkCupid profile. Complex, nerdy overthinker in search of an editor who may be able to help focus an online persona.

I've been on OkC for a few months with middling success (a few message exchanges, four dates with different women) but returns seemed to have been diminishing as of late. I'm happy with how my Q&A has setup my matches, and I'll send out four or so messages a week to new people, but over the past two months it seems that half of those messages will vanish into ether, the other half will result in someone looking at my profile, but none will result in a response.

I have tweaked and revised my profile a few times, but I'm struggling with the quandry of what to keep and what to cut. I look at the wall of text and know that it's overwhelming, but I struggle with feeling like cutting something out might omit a potential connection that someone might spot.

So, I'd like hard-eyed feedback about what works and what doesn't. What feels fake and forced and what feels natural? Or should I just stop thinking about it and just get better photos?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (59 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think you need better photographs. Keep the first photograph of yourself, but remove the others.

You're right when you say that it's a "wall of text" and even though you don't want a potential connection to be missed, I think you are missing several because people are too busy, don't have the energy, or lack interest in reading so much information about one person that they have yet to meet.

A lot of this information can be shared when on a date with someone rather than laying out your life story before you even meet the person. So, my suggestion would be to reduce the word count drastically...
posted by livinglearning at 12:00 PM on June 21, 2012


Photo-wise, my advice here is the same as my advice in every ask.me thread: take out the photo where you're covered in blood. Also put up photos where you're looking away from the camera, as per this page's suggestions.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:01 PM on June 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


Candid, looking away from camera photo needed.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:04 PM on June 21, 2012


I may not be here in a year or two. That's a Kafkaesque situation involving immigration bureaucracy, the economy and my own peripatetic tendencies. I welcome a distraction from that.

This would keep me from messaging you for a long-term relationship. I wouldn't want to be classified as a distraction :(

Also, better pics. Otherwise it seems okay. Maybe cut the first paragraph.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:06 PM on June 21, 2012 [11 favorites]


I look at the wall of text and know that it's overwhelming, but I struggle with feeling like cutting something out might omit a potential connection that someone might spot.

Much too text heavy - write for the web and break the critical points down into short paragraphs or bulleted lists that other users can scan easily.

Text that potential dates have to read laboriously may as well not be there at all.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:09 PM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like the first and last photos -- the others not so much.

Reduce the text -- you don't need to tell everything. And a lot of what you are interested in are probably interests shared by (or at least non-objectionable to) your dating pool. Local food? Biking? The Oxford comma? I don't imagine this differentiates you much at all from 98% of the population in Cambridge/Boston.

Pick a few things you are passionate about and focus on them. Briefly.

What do you want a woman to add to your life besides "distraction?"
posted by pantarei70 at 12:09 PM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Too long for me. I'd never read the whole thing, but things I loved: the part about your laugh having presence - I really liked the description, it made me smile. The what I'm doing with my life - sounded very sincere to me.

Not so good: the length. And the fact that you may or may not be leaving in two years? What's this now? It immediately begs the question of what you're looking for online. Short term dating? Casual sex?
posted by namesarehard at 12:10 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was really digging your profile until I read this:
I may not be here in a year or two. That's a Kafkaesque situation involving immigration bureaucracy, the economy and my own peripatetic tendencies. I welcome a distraction from that.
I don't know what the situation is, but that instantly gave me pause, not in a good way. Save that info for later.

Also, I'd avoid the name dropping (Ira Glass, David Sedaris).

Other than that, I really like your profile. You come across as genuine, interesting and charming.
posted by chara at 12:10 PM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like the pic of you in the snow, I don't like the first pic.

Generally I think your profile is pretty good, but yeah too much text. Try trimming it down to 3 short paragraphs. I also found a few bits a shade creepy, "hot nerd action" and pleasure-seeking are a bit off putting compared to the rest of your message.
posted by lizbunny at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2012


I think your "you should message me if" section should be just one thing. That's your "call to action" -- the bit that convinces people to message you/respond to you.

Also, I agree with the young rope-rider that the immigration situation and/or the way you're presenting it may be turning people off.

In general, cutting things back is better than including more. Any given piece of information is as likely to be a dealbreaker as it is a deal maker. Don't think of it as missing out on connections you might make with people reading your profile; think of it as cutting things that might be deal-breakers if they read them on a profile, but wouldn't matter if you met them in person.
posted by pie ninja at 12:12 PM on June 21, 2012



I may not be here in a year or two. That's a Kafkaesque situation involving immigration bureaucracy, the economy and my own peripatetic tendencies. I welcome a distraction from that.

Yeah, this bit stands out from everything else as really unappealing. It's not something that someone needs to know before they've even met you.

And remove picture 2. You already look quite young.

But don't be discouraged. This profile (to me) comes across as highly dateable, and you actually know how to talk about yourself well.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 12:14 PM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Get rid of all the fluff that could be said about nearly anyone with a conscience. It's like resume padding- just gives the reader nothing to work with. This is what I mean by that:
"I am an honest, open, caring, and generous person"..."I am, at heart, an introvert, but also know the difference between "introverted" and "shy"." (just say Introvert.)
"I'm much more interested in how I help the people that I care about."
"really good at doing what needs to be done"
"giving a shit when it isn't my turn to give a shit "

Other stuff that could go:
"dish out high fives to people hailing taxicabs"... joke, actual weird and off-putting habit, or disdain towards vehicle users? Bluck
Anything having to do with laughing... everyone likes laughing, and I see it mentioned often
Job stuff... boring...
Using the word 'adventure'. be specific or don't mention it at all

Can you improve on the 6 things prompt? These are very generic answers, but if they're honestly important to you then I guess leave them (liking coffee is like, a Cathy-tier joke)

Your private admittance is good but too in-depth. "In the last year amicably left a 7-year relationship" this is the positive part you need them to see. Talking about how you're excited about the future with your ex, not so much

Re-read your 'message me if' section and try to imagine being a woman looking at it. Mixtape one is okay, bad habits might be alright if you tweak it a bit, throw the rest out. Last one's almost desperate.

Pics: Generally good, but remove tagline from fashion picture (compensating much? feeling to it), and the long-hair one- it's excessively overexposed. Good profile pic especially, the caption not so much.

Remember, goal is to keep interaction on the site minimal. Provide a snapshot of your personality, present your best physical features, and give a sampling of interests that may make for 1st date conversation. Profile's the cover letter, conversation is the interview; let the kindness/laughter show through there, and good luck
posted by MangyCarface at 12:16 PM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Personally I love the length and all the details in your profile. I didn't find it to be "wall of text"-like or hard or read, follow, or digest at all. I think most guys have profiles that are way more spare, and I think yours was WAY more appealing. More than anything else, on online dating sites, the quality that makes a guy's profile stand out to me is the quality of the writing. Yours is really good.

I mainly kind of combed through looking for problems. One may be the fact that you're leaving in a year or two. I think many women in your age range are looking to settle down or are already very settled. So, I think they might be thinking, why bother with a guy who's going to be leaving soon, that's a non-starter. I think you should probably just take this out. Bring it up on the first few dates maybe if you see a lot of potential with someone.

The next thing that struck me as a potentially really big problem was this:

A little more than a year ago, I came out of a seven year relationship. It was fun, fantastic and ultimately finite. We never were married, but breaking up wasn't a decision that we took lightly. We did throw a breakup party, just to show our friends that everything was ok. We are still on good terms, and we're both psyched to see what's in the future for us. (but we are emphatically not getting back together again).

As I was reading your profile, I was thinking, "this looks pretty great, I'm really not seeing any huge problems, I wonder what the issue is?" Then I got to this, and I went, ohhhh. I know you note that you are emphatically not getting back together with your ex again. But you still sound REALLY intertwined with her. You're talking about what's in the future "for us." Maybe you meant "each of us, individually and separately," but that line can be taken in a lot of ways. You even say in the next line, "on a less intense note" so I think that there is a part of you that knows this sound pretty freaking intense. And maybe still feels pretty intense for you. I think there are some women who wouldn't be bothered by this. But I think there are probably a lot of other women who are like, wow, I really don't want to get involved in that whole weird dynamic.

Okay. I also think you are a cute guy but I don't think you should use that first picture as your main. It's a kind of odd facial expression. I think you would do REALLY well with a normal, smiling headshot.
posted by cairdeas at 12:21 PM on June 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's not too much text for me. If you're going to china in the fall, what are you looking for in the meantime? I think that may be throwing people off a bit. Remove the bit about your seven year relationship. Maybe make the glacier photo your first photo? Your profile photo is a bit "deer caught in headlights." maybe keep the "6-pack" photo - i hope you're the one on the right cuz that's some great style! Remove the other 2.
posted by foxjacket at 12:22 PM on June 21, 2012


Pick a private thing to admit that doesn't involve your ex. The absolute last thing anyone who potentially wants to date you should have a good grounding in is your previous relationships. Especially if you're still friends. And leave off the celebrity gossip.
posted by griphus at 12:24 PM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Haven't even glanced at the profile, but as per Greg Nog's suggestion, I'd actually go through and read all of the OkTrends posts; they are full of interesting and counter-intuitive insights on photos, the use of language (in your profile & in your messages) and all that.
posted by BleachBypass at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, also, the thing about David Sedaris' boyfriend in Paris makes it sound like you were sexually involved with him. I think that tidbit is leaving some number of women wondering if you're bi. I leave it to you to decide whether you see that as positive, negative or neutral.
posted by cairdeas at 12:30 PM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think there are some women who wouldn't be bothered by [all the ex talk]. But I think there are probably a lot of other women who are like, wow, I really don't want to get involved in that whole weird dynamic.

Agreed. I think that's something to take out of your profile and save for a later date.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:31 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fact that you've left the offspring field blank is a huge red flag to me.
posted by TheCavorter at 12:31 PM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some things others have already commented on: Get better photos, edit it to be a little more succinct. For example, you could say the shoe thing was one of only a few superficial fashion things instead of saying "my one and only" and then giving this lengthy correction for accuracy, which kind of comes aross as aspie.

One thing I have not seen mentioned: Why limit yourself to 29-40 year olds? If you opened that up a bit, that would give you a wider potential audience.

Last, I personally was put off by the reference to alcohol in your handle. It strikes me as "lush". If that is not true, either change handles or explain the meaning behind it.
posted by Michele in California at 12:34 PM on June 21, 2012


You need better pictures. In the main shot, you sport a five o'clock shadow, a weird eye thing (not quite not looking at the camera) and, most of all, people may think your idea of fashion involves a white tie and a black shirt if they don't make it to the explanation inside.

Don't mention your ex or, if you do, leave it at "I've had successful LTRs before and enjoy being part of a couple" (if true) or something else like that.

Don't mention your immigration status. People may think you want a green card wife, that you'll be gone after they've spent a year getting to know you, etc.

Do you want people to think that you banged Hugh? That's how it comes across... and worse, that you're showing off about it. Never mind the folks who may conclude that you're bi despite your protestations to the contrary.

All in all, though, I think you come across as a nice, open (albeit wordy) person, and datable.
posted by carmicha at 12:34 PM on June 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great point, TheCavorter. When those fields are left blank, it doesn't come off as, I don't know, an oversight or something. It comes across as wanting to hide basic information about oneself. The income one is normal and appropriate to leave blank or say rather not say. The others should not be blank. It can also come off as being really defensive about things - like I've seen guys leave the height field blank. I have dated guys even shorter than me before so I don't have a thing about that, but I really think it would put me off and make me feel like the guy had a complex about it and weirdness around it.
posted by cairdeas at 12:36 PM on June 21, 2012


Yeah, get rid of the high fiving biker part, the Kafka-immigration part, the part about your ex, and the personality cliches mentioned by MangyCarface.

Better pictures, per a lot of good instructions in this thread.

Thin out the wall of text - about 60% of what you have, ideally.

I would respond to your message though, FWIW. Someone with a command of the English language is always attractive.
posted by guster4lovers at 12:36 PM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked your profile. I liked your interesting photos - it shows a good mix of who you are. I might cut the long hair wedding one. The zombie one makes you particularly interesting (I've attended a couple of zombie events, so I like someone who has no fear of looking undead in public). I like that you like Fluevogs, even though I personally do not, but I bet we could argue aesthetic shoe theory for a few hours.

I get a thinker/explorer vibe off your profile, which is very attractive to me, personally. Maybe a little rambly, but worth the ramble and shows you have depths unexplored. I get that you're throwing a lot at a wall to see what will stick.

I don't get a sense of the sort of person you're looking for, and I suspect you don't have a clear idea yourself. You're coy in your 'You should message me if ...' - none of those things are concrete. The bit about getting out of a 7 year relationship is telling. But I'd send you a ping, sure, if I were in your area. I imagine you'd be very worthwhile to spend time with, even if nothing came of it.

As someone else mentioned - what's your status regarding kids? Have them, want them? That's pretty key for lots of people.
posted by griselda at 12:39 PM on June 21, 2012


I'll send out four or so messages a week to new people, but over the past two months it seems that half of those messages will vanish into ether, the other half will result in someone looking at my profile, but none will result in a response.

This is not really all that far from the norm. I sometimes went a month or so with no bites.

Here are edits you could make that might help.

SELF-SUMMARY: Condense the first, second, and fourth paragraphs into this:

I was born on the far side of the world, and made my way to Boston via a few other countries and cities. I sometimes pine for the metric system and rain forests while I'm here, but I miss fall colors and good ice cream whenever I am away. I still wander a lot, for work and personal curiosity, but I still love coming back here. I savor experiences and stories more than possessions. I am an introvert at heart, but also know the difference between introverted and shy. At a young age, the lyrics, "We were never being boring / because we were never being bored" made a big impression on me, and is the closest thing I have to a life motto.


Keep the third paragraph intact.

WHAT I'M DOING: Condense to:

I ride my bike around town and dish out high fives to people hailing taxicabs, and there's a penchant for disappearing into Vermont on 24 hour adventures. My nights are occasionally filled with music and dancing and lights and laughter. I write and tell stories.

Nothing else is great. If you want to redo this, mention that you have a job but don't get into the fact that you feel it's ultimately pointless. Don't link to the video and don't say you bury your face in your hands when you see video of yourself.

The fact that you may not be here in a year or two means that no one who wants a long-term relationship is going to want to give you a shot. That sucks, but you need to be honest about this. Better they be equipped to make that decision now than a year from now when they've invested time and emotion in you.

REALLY GOOD AT: This is more or less okay, but punctuate.

FIRST THING PEOPLE NOTICE: Based on this, I would expect to meet a dude whose friends are kind enough to not tell him he has an annoying laugh. Get rid of that, keep the second paragraph.

BOOKS/MOVIES/ETC: First paragraph: Cut out every instance of "yes to" in the first paragraph." Cut the "grew up as a 90s indie kid." Instead, say this as, "Yes to: (all the stuff you listed, separated by commas or periods)." Except for tribal bellydance. Cut that. Trust me on this one.

Second paragraph: Cut everything but favorite writers list.

Third paragraph: This is fine.

Fourth paragraph: See first paragraph.

SIX THINGS: Boring. Come up with six interesting things that convey who you are.

A LOT OF TIME THINKING ABOUT: Cut everything but the first paragraph.

FRIDAY NIGHT: This is fine.

MOST PRIVATE THING: This should be one or two sentences, three at most, and all of what you have right now needs to go. Don't mention the ex. Don't namedrop.

YOU SHOULD MESSAGE ME IF: First is too bog-standard, second and third are fun, fourth makes no sense, fifth is useless. Keep the second and third. Then: Imagine a fun thing you'd like to do - something interesting. Someone should message you if they want to do that. Then imagine something quirky you find attractive (ideally something you've found in a lot of people, otherwise you're shooting yourself in the foot here). List that. They will see it and think, ooh that's me! and they will maybe message you.

Maybe two of those. Your profile right now suggests that what you're looking for is someone with whom you can do the things you like to do. But what do you like in a person? What attracts you?

OTHER THINGS: Axe the zombie photo.

I personally am not into the photo you've picked as your first - the facial expression is kind of a thing, it makes you look like a smug dude of the internet. Are you one of those? No, my merry friend. No, you are not. So get another one, a nice one where you're not looking at the camera - a candid where you're smiling.

Smokes/drinks/drugs: The "Smokes" field seems to be customarily used to represent tobacco. If you smoke cigarettes, fill that out. If you don't, set it to Never. Whenever someone leaves that blank I assume they smoke but they don't want to be ruled out. If you smoke weed, leave the Drugs field blank. That may turn off some people but they're the people you'd lose anyway when they got to the part about warehouse raves.

You drink socially. I don't care if you actually do or not, select the "Socially" option.

Kids and pets: Fill those out. Be honest.

This should help. By dint of being able to form a basic sentence and not sounding like a schmuck or looking like a chud, you're ahead of the game, so get out there and do your thing.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:42 PM on June 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Annnnd last comment from me:

... if there are other bad habits that you'd like to try and break

Between this and the ex thing, I would be worried that you may not be feeling totally whole right now and may be looking for someone to make you their project. This may be not at all how you are feeling but this is just what people might start thinking based on what you wrote. Also, I think most 29-40 year old women are emphatically not looking for someone to fix or mother, and this kind of gives the impression that you might be looking for that.

... you perhaps feel that there's a lot going on here and don't know where to start or if you can keep up; but you won't really know if you don't try.

This comes off as a little arrogant. I think a lot of women aren't interested in trying to keep up with someone who thinks they're ahead of others. They want a partner. So I might revise this to say something more like "even though there's a lot going on here, you can relate to it or think that we have common ground."
posted by cairdeas at 12:46 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was pretty successful on OKCupid in the DC area about a year ago. I was going on 3 dates a week all with different girls and eventually found one where we fell completely head over heels for each other and moved to NH together.

I think OKCupid success=
Awesome pictures.
Great writing of messages.
Awesome pictures.

pictures:
my hair isn't quite this long anymore. the 'gazing at you over my glasses' look? that still happens.
I think this picture is creepy looking and the description makes it come off as dorky but not in a fun way. The rest of your pictures could stay but you should get one of you standing around normally, without sunglasses on, that show what you look like. Smile. Look like you are fun.

messages:
In general, I think most of these posts would be more beneficial if the person posting them also added a sample message they send out to get a feel for how they are contacting people.

I had a lot of success with messages similar to:
"Hey there,

How's your week going? I'm up to ::insert stuff here::.

Oh you did, like, blah, etc. ::insert nice really short anecdotal story relating to that thing::

Talk to you later,
Zephyr
"

Clean up the bits of your profile text others said above but I wouldn't put too much time into adding to it.

Good luck man.
posted by zephyr_words at 12:47 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like to cook and bake, and I love cooking for friends. I read cookbooks like they're nonfiction essays. I have a copy of the Larousse Gastronomique that is used for settling arguments.

I would keep that first sentence, merge it with the previous paragraph (about food), and delete the rest. The first sentence does the job of making it clear that you like to cook. The next two sentences don't add to that, except in making it seem like you take a weirdly serious and argumentative approach to something that should be fun. (I realize you might be being facetious there — but people will read between the lines of any statement in a dating profile.)

[You should message me if] ... if there are other bad habits that you'd like to try and break

I would delete this. Seems like a weird suggestion that you could be someone's therapist and help them quit smoking or something, and that's not what dating should be about.

I may not be here in a year or two. That's a Kafkaesque situation involving immigration bureaucracy, the economy and my own peripatetic tendencies. I welcome a distraction from that.

Well, which is it? Are you being victimized by a Kafkaesque bureaucracy, or are you just roaming around as you please (i.e. peripatetic tendencies)? It's fine to admit you might not stay in town for the long term, but I would be a little more direct about this. (Of course, this information will turn off some people, but that's not necessarily a bad thing — you want to filter out people who aren't willing to date you.)

In general, go through the profile and consider deleting anything that seems to be straining to be clever. Only say things in the profile that you would actually want to say to your date in person shortly after meeting her.

Do you really not have any answers to whether you smoke, drink, do drugs, have kids, plan to have kids, have pets, or have opinions about pets? I'll bet you do have answers to at least some of these questions. Why not answer them so your potential dates can take this into consideration?
posted by John Cohen at 12:48 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I read "I may not be here in a year or two" as you having either a suicide plan or a terminal illness - if you mean "I may not be in the U.S. in a year or two," write that instead. (I did continue reading and saw the immigration thing, but the first line was immensely off-putting.)
posted by meggan at 1:07 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think your profile is pretty decent. Here are a few changes I personally would make, but I think these are a matter of taste and personality rather than real flaws. I'm a guy in roughly the same age range as you, so this is based on my experience in tweaking my profile.

1. I'd put less descriptions under the pictures. For some reason having a lot of text under each picture just strikes me as trying a tiny bit too hard. Maybe try to describe each one in a few words or no words at all. For example, the hiking one - I'd just put "Patagonia" underneath it. Take out the shot at guys who post six pack abs. Yes, there are guys who do that, but making fun of them feels a little smug.

2. Remove any picture with blood, wounds, etc. We've all evolved to be a bit put off by the sight of blood, even if we know it's in jest.

3. Don't describe yourself as "nerdy" in your profile. It puts a knot in people's stomachs, even people who are "nerd positive". It makes people wonder if you're the good kind of nerd (sharp and well-read) or the bad kind (slovenly and without social skills). Your writing style alone - the fact that you use complete, grammatically correct sentences, will be enough to signal to anyone reading that you're smart and educated - rely on that instead of self-describing as nerdy.

4. Your description of your career. . .that's how 99% of people feel about their jobs I think. Yet, on an online dating site people want to hear that you're enthusiastic about your job, not just "meh" about it. If I were you I'd leave out any description of your job and let people ask about it if they're genuinely interested.

5. "My laugh has presence" - I think that line is really great. Well written. A+

6. This is so nitpicky, but under "Six things I could never do without". . .a bicycle. There's something that just sounds too formal about bicycle over "bike" or "cycle". I don't know why. When I think bicycle I think 6 year olds and training wheels.

7. Your description of past relationship - I think this was pretty good. I wish more people would do this on OKC because there really isn't any predefined way to say what that history is. I like the line "It was fun, fantastic and ultimately finite.". But. . .I would take out the stuff about the breakup party and the rest of the paragraph. I think people reading it would wonder how close you still are to your ex, especially since you seem to make a big deal of saying you're not getting back together again.

8. You should contact me if. . .section: Oxford comma stuff - I know what that is, but I think you're going to draw blank stares even from a large swath of OKCupid. Any references to grammar, punctuation in a profile makes me feel unsettled, like the person might be a bit too pedantic for my tastes, but that's a personal preference thing. I'd take it out. The last two sentences in that section really don't make much sense to me. I'm not quite sure what you're trying to get at there.
posted by minorcadence at 1:11 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am going to suggest you drop your entire profile and on the summary section just say "I am going to see David Sedaris in X City on X day. I would like to meet an athletic, inimitable woman to join me for the day. Of course, I'll have to meet you before this so please like cocktails and not be a vegetarian."
posted by parmanparman at 1:13 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not actually a bad profile overall. The biggest thing would be that you don't say anything about what you are looking for, as someone else mentioned. Someone to have fun with before you leave in a year? Someone who might want to move with you? A rebound fling or a new long term relationship? Would you like them to come camping with you, or be up for a trip to China?

That said, here are all my minor nitpicks:

- I would get rid of the whole second paragraph, except for moving the second line about 'experiences/possessions' to end the first paragraph.

- I like the lyrics and would consider putting that as the first paragraph, not sure there.

- Penchants do not exist in the ether. You have a penchant.

- 'My nights are occasionally filled with music and dancing and lights and laughter. ' No way, I like stuff too! Scrap it, way too generic.

- It sounds like you like all the music you've ever heard of - is that what you're trying to say?

- Your reading taste does not 'phase through' anything. It may 'cycle through' or 'go through phases [including]'.

- Agreed that the line about David Sedaris' boyfriend sounds like you slept with him, and the last line about 'so much going on here' sounds arrogant.

- Get rid of the duplicate 'if's in your 'message me if' section. (I assume from your comment about Oxford commas that you are at least a slight streak of pedantry, or are interested in people who do).


If the long haired photo is more than a year old, I would get rid of it, because you do look very young in it and I can't tell if it's just a different expression or it's actually 12 years ago (and no date makes me assume 12 years ago and you just don't have any other photos to put up). If it is recent, put a date (month/year) on it like you did for the other. Old photos are annoying.
posted by jacalata at 1:14 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am going to suggest you drop your entire profile and on the summary section just say "I am going to see David Sedaris in X City on X day. I would like to meet an athletic, inimitable woman to join me for the day. Of course, I'll have to meet you before this so please like cocktails and not be a vegetarian."

I know what you mean, but I don't think this is possible on OKCupid. There is a character minimum.
posted by John Cohen at 1:15 PM on June 21, 2012


I know you are looking for constructive criticism and I am the farthest things from an expert in this arena, but I really liked your profile a lot. I know I am going against the grain here, but I think your high fives are super charming. If you did this to me with a big smile and a loud "HIGH FIVE", it would make my day a little brighter. Yes, some of the pictures (i.e. the one with blood) need replacing.

Only two things put me off...that you are leaving soon and that you seem really intertwined with your ex. The leaving soon, by itself, would make me not want to pursue anything with you if I was looking for a long term commitment. The ex discussion is probably just worded poorly, but it definitely makes you wonder how enmeshed you two still are.

On preview, what cairdeas said.
posted by murrey at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2012


The first thing that struck me was the username, and its suggestion that you are either a binge drinker or a whiskey snob. Someone above suggested explaining it in the text, but if I were in your target audience, I wouldn't even bother opening the page.
posted by whatzit at 1:34 PM on June 21, 2012


I am going to suggest you drop your entire profile and on the summary section just say "I am going to see David Sedaris in X City on X day. I would like to meet an athletic, inimitable woman to join me for the day. Of course, I'll have to meet you before this so please like cocktails and not be a vegetarian. I work in software and though I've traveled the world twice over and can tell you about meals in some of the best cities in the world, I realized I never got to see anything else or spend my time with anyone else. I can imagine lots of reasons to get out of the office, but I am looking for one more."
posted by parmanparman at 1:41 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


You look totally cute, but that first picture is not good. Try one where you're smiling!
posted by stoneandstar at 1:47 PM on June 21, 2012


I am going to suggest you drop your entire profile and on the summary section just say "I am going to see David Sedaris in X City on X day. I would like to meet an athletic, inimitable woman to join me for the day. Of course, I'll have to meet you before this so please like cocktails and not be a vegetarian. I work in software and though I've traveled the world twice over and can tell you about meals in some of the best cities in the world, I realized I never got to see anything else or spend my time with anyone else. I can imagine lots of reasons to get out of the office, but I am looking for one more."

Just to give you one meager data point, OP, I would probably reply to a message you wrote me, even with the things I think are flaws -- I might even message you myself. I would not reply to someone whose profile consisted of the above. I actually find it rather off-putting. But, that's just me.
posted by cairdeas at 2:06 PM on June 21, 2012


I really liked your profile! I did internet dating* awhile ago and yours is the kind of profile I would have responded to. Except. Get rid of that stuff about your ex. That would be a huge red flag for me (and most other women I know). I don't want to hear about your ex before we've even spoken. If you feel you must mention a past relationship, just say something about getting out of a long-term relationship a year ago, etc., etc. It is long and you might want to edit it down a bit, but I found it intelligent and witty.

Your initial profile picture isn't terrible, but I think one with a smile or at least a softer look on your face would be great. I think the other pictures are fine, the Zombie Santa one would have made me smile, but I'm weird. So, consider that it might be a bit much for some people.

*I met my partner and we're on the track to marriage and babies! Good luck!
posted by Aquifer at 2:41 PM on June 21, 2012


I liked your profile a lot, but I agree with cairdeas' suggestions (and I think song lyrics are usually a mistake, they are never as meaningful to other people).
posted by grueandbleen at 3:29 PM on June 21, 2012


I liked your story slam! lose the "bury your face in your hands" wrt seeing yourself on video.
Your story slam isn't perfect and that is perfect. *

I'm in agreement with losing the 2nd paragraph, eclipsing the story of your ex....and the name dropping wasn't a positive. Ira Glass and Sedaris' bf?? many incorrectly gender-preference Glass as gay, so the whole name-drop thing is confusing.

"whiskey priest" and your high-fiving the cab hailer come off as callow. perhaps it's just me.

*the Slam shows who you are; it's near perfection and obviously practiced. iow you put time and a concentrated effort not only into presenting yourself but also into pursuing chosen experiences (the ride itself.) oh, also the Slam shows you in action so lose the pics people have mentioned above.
posted by Twist at 3:46 PM on June 21, 2012


As others have said, if you contacted my profile I would respond.
I would not contact your profile.
~~please excuse my phrasing here~~ Your profile's too involved with itself.

The simple invitation to an event (Sedaris thing after meeting previously for coffee/a drink), as suggested by parmanparman, would be greatly appealing to me.
Figure out how you'd screen the ones you invite for coffee who are not as attractive as their profiles, voilà, you've got a great date.
posted by Twist at 4:15 PM on June 21, 2012


tl;dr

Seriously, my first thought was "this guy is going to talk about himself a lot" or "what are we going to talk about? He's already told me everything in his profile." Leave some mystery. Talk about the kinds of things you want to do with the other person. That gives me some idea of what I'm in for. My husband wanted someone to go on road trips and go camping. That instantly told me quite a bit about him.
posted by desjardins at 5:14 PM on June 21, 2012


Oh, and I agree the username would be a major strike against you. My last boyfriend was an alcoholic, so no way would I take that risk.
posted by desjardins at 5:16 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like your profile. I would like more pics where you are smiling but the pictures you have are pretty good. It's a little on the long side, but that's not a dealbreaker by any means. The reasons that I would not respond to you are:

I may not be here in a year or two.

am now planning a trip to China in the fall

So basically, you won't be around. Unless I was looking for summer fling I definitely would not want to even start something with someone who will be gone in two months and may not be able to come back/stay here permanently due to immigration issues.

This is a very big problem for me, and probably for anyone who is looking for something meaningful. Which is a shame, because you seem like a cool guy that I would otherwise like to get to know.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:17 PM on June 21, 2012


if there are other bad habits that you'd like to try and break

*record scratches*

Are you kinky? Because you absolutely must say this or you will waste a bunch of people's time.
posted by desjardins at 5:23 PM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whats with the wierd photos that everyone seems to think they should post? Why is it because it is Okcupid that you need to try harder to look "cool" or to somehow show that you are not "normal" Drop the silly attempts at trying to be something instead of yourself. Is this how you appear at home/work in daily life?

Just be you and someone out there will appreciate that. All these attempts to appear pseudo intellectual/ultra cool or whatever is really not necessary. Whatever happened to keep things as they are, be self confident in yourself and the rest will fall in place.
posted by pakora1 at 5:24 PM on June 21, 2012


Your preferred age range could be a turn-off for some, eight years younger but only three older?
posted by 6550 at 7:38 PM on June 21, 2012


Seconding the age range, that is the very first thing I check, and asymmetrical age ranges make me click away immediately.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:14 PM on June 21, 2012


Are you actually a priest? The first thing that caught me was the name + the thumbnail photo of you with a black shirt and a white tie. It looks like a priest outfit when in thumbnail form. Immediate "no", don't want to date a priest. That's creepy.
posted by jmd97 at 8:18 PM on June 21, 2012


Are you actually a priest? The first thing that caught me was the name + the thumbnail photo of you with a black shirt and a white tie. It looks like a priest outfit when in thumbnail form. Immediate "no", don't want to date a priest. That's creepy.

I also thought you were a priest in that photo. If you are, you should probably clarify that front and center, and if you aren't you should probably be using another photo.
posted by Forktine at 8:25 PM on June 21, 2012


FYI to all - 'whiskey priest' is the name of a bar in Boston. I am assuming that the name references that, and that most Boston locals would also think so.
posted by jacalata at 10:13 PM on June 21, 2012


IN CONTRADICTION, the things that I liked best about your profile are the things that other people think you should axe:
--I like that it is long and written in full sentences instead of bullet points
--I love "came for the academia, stayed for the hot nerd action"
--I really like that picture of you laughing with the bloodstained zombieface, it is the most-fun looking picture of you and also it shows that you are a little weird.

Whether you should keep these elements depends on what kind of person you want to attract. If you want to attract loquacious, nerdy weirdoes (or their admirers) you may be on the right track.

THAT SAID, if I were your editor I would chop
--every sentence that begins with "I am." Show, don't tell, etc.
--the "thinking about the future" section. What do you mean?
--The asymmetrical age range
--the final sentence, you perhaps feel that there's a lot going on here and don't know where to start or if you can keep up; but you won't really know if you don't try -- it reads condescending, especially since you haven't yet met the reader.
posted by feets at 10:38 PM on June 21, 2012


Hasn't anybody here read Graham Greene?

"Whiskey priest" is the name given to the main character, a alcoholic priest on the run in Mexico, in the famous Greene novel "The Power and the Glory." The priest is not a bad man, but he is guilt-ridden, conflicted, and the father of an out-of-wedlock child. He does not come to a particularly enviable end, though in his waning days he is shown to have some integrity.

The bar in Boston is most likely named after the character, though the term is sometimes used independent of the book.

For me, as a reader, my first thought upon seeing that OP had appropriated the name was that he was a reader, too. My second thought was that he must be Catholic. YMMV.
posted by Violet Blue at 12:33 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hasn't anybody here read Graham Greene?
As a voracious reader who has read (and apparently since forgotten) Graham Greene, this would not have even occurred to me. Inside jokes can be cool but this one would have put me off (for the boozy implications and the possible Catholicism, though the profile notes elsewhere that he is agnostic).
posted by whatzit at 5:09 AM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The main character has abandoned his wife and child, so there might be that too.
posted by ersatz at 6:52 AM on June 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Some of these criticisms are super picky and subjective (there's nothing wrong with the word bicycle; to me, using the word "cycling" instead would be a red flag to me). I am a 39-year-old straight female OKC user in Massachusetts, and I liked your profile. I do agree that the stuff about still being entwined with your ex, and about not being around in two years, are both red flags. (If you are trying to hint that you'd stick around if you met the right person, that's not coming across; it sounds like you're looking to waste some time enjoyably for a few months while you decide to do whatever it is you're looking to do, partner be damned.) It's great to be friends with an ex but I don't want to feel like I have to compete with her before I even meet you, you know?

I liked your photos, though I agree, lose the bloody one and shorten the descriptions to just place/event and rough date. I didn't mind the asymmetry of your age range -- that's pretty average. At least you're not only looking for younger (oh, the profiles I've seen...).
posted by chowflap at 8:33 AM on June 22, 2012


Here are some of my thoughts:

I think you should change your main picture to one in which you are smiling. It irks me when men aren't smiling in their main picture. My first impression is that they are unhappy. I like the santa v. zombie picture (but not for your main picture) since it makes me think you have a sense of humor (which is lacking in the rest of your profile).

I didn't catch the "Whiskey Priest" reference and I don't think a lot of people will catch it. It also sounds like the Whiskey Priest character isn't someone who I would want to date and I don't think many women would want to date that character.

You mention bicycles twice. You can't live without a bicycle? It sounds immature and I assume you can't afford a car and that's a turn off.

I would also bump up the maximum age. Even if you wouldn't necessarily want to go out with a woman a lot older than you, I often won't write to men who won't date women much older than them even if I fit their age requirements.

Also, ask a question somewhere in your profile. It can be something as simple as, "You have an awesome book recommendation." That would give me something with which to start a message. Otherwise, I would be at a loss to figure out how to start the conversation with you.

I would also get rid of this part:

... you perhaps feel that there's a lot going on here and don't know where to start or if you can keep up; but you won't really know if you don't try.

---I don't understand what that means. To me, it sounds like dating you will require a lot of work and I feel tired just reading this statement.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:16 PM on June 22, 2012


To me, it reads too much like a monologue, less like a pithy summary. Compress.
posted by ead at 8:18 PM on June 22, 2012


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