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I know I'm not a supermodel, but COME ON
May 16, 2014 9:29 PM   Subscribe

I used OKCupid successfully in my last city, a place in the Midwest with population 300,000. Since moving to NYC a year ago I have had the most dreadful luck with it. OKCupid profile critique and dating hand-wringing and angst inside.

Historically I do well when I meet people in person, and I dated a few people my first year here that I met more organically, but at this point I've hit all the low-hanging fruit (work, existing social groups, friends of friends) and don't really meet new people regularly anymore. I'm not opposed to shaking up my routines and getting involved in some new things; I have had such better luck meeting people the more "natural" way. But I feel like in terms of sheer volume it's going to be hard to meet enough people to find someone I seriously click with enough to start dating someone exclusively anytime soon, and I'd like that to happen within the next two years or so. (I haven't been in a serious relationship in a couple years so I've already done the enjoying being single and just live my life for awhile thing.) So I keep coming back to OKCupid.

Here's the numbers:

For every 100 men I message (and this is not extrapolation, I've really messaged this many):

10% return my message
5% are actually interested in messaging (the other 5% just answer the questions I ask without asking any in return so I assume they aren't really interested. Why people do this I don't know.)
2.5% move to a first date
0% move to a second date

This is a pathetic return and feels like an enormous waste of time.

I receive no messages. Ever. Just the cut-and-pastes.

I'm 30-50 pounds overweight (5'4.5", 156) , and though it never really seemed to hurt me too much before, I can't help but keep coming back to it as the source of my problems here, as not much has really changed about my tone/approach on OKCupid. I've noticed that OKC here has more of a meat market feel to it than in my previous city. Lots of references to being hot or wanting someone hot, everyone has reams of high quality, elaborately staged pictures, the line "I like to take care of myself and want someone who does too" (online dating speak for NO FATTIES) appears often in profiles.

Is this a New York thing or an OKC New York thing - i.e., would I have more luck with a different site? Or am I being naïve in trying to date in this city while I'm chubby? While the idea of someone primarily being attracted to me because of my looks makes me uncomfortable, I'm also realistic about the nature of physical attraction and the state of the local "market." (And I know in New York the odds aren't in my favor.)

I'm linking my OkCupid profile on my Mefi profile page for a critique. I have it on good authority that my pictures suck. I've gone through a number of drastic physical changes over the past couple years, and most photos of me don't actually look like me anymore so I don't have much to work with. I've scrounged up 10 okay ones and put them in order from most to least recent, with the first three taken this month. I'd appreciate some feedback on those too (your yays and nays). (And for those of you who look negatively on such things, I do plan to blur friends' faces when I select final photos. )

I've been pretty ruthless in similar threads, so have at it. Thanks.
posted by unannihilated to Human Relations (102 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
NYC lady okc user here. The only way I recently found anyone on okc was to start looking outside New York and recently started dating a guy in eastern Connecticut.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:37 PM on May 16


I found your self summary a little overwhelming in its neediness...
posted by spunweb at 9:47 PM on May 16 [12 favorites]


The third photo of you is way more flattering than the first two, in my opinion; you look more approachable with your hair down. Maybe if one of the first couple could have you smiling?

I get where you are going with the self-summary, but the first paragraph we read makes it seem like you don't have your shit together...bugs, bed on the floor and beer for breakfast? I get it, it's a joke, but it might be turning people off at least a bit.
posted by charmedimsure at 9:47 PM on May 16 [12 favorites]


I actively met people online for about three years before I met (and married) my partner and probably sent 100s of messages to women over that time. Based on that, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the dynamics of OKC.

With that said...

Your self summary is self-deprecating to the point of a weird desperateness. You are totally someone I'd be interested - educated, quirky, witty, etc. so I don't think that is your problem - you have plenty going for you. Even with that in mind I'd still be hesitant to message you because that introduction makes me worried you may be clingy, needy, or otherwise unstable. The rest of it isn't bad and I would wager isn't a problem. I'd rework the self summary to be more upbeat and "I'm okay with myself". As cliche as it may be, I've found the best introductions/summaries highlight your positives (especially things that are unique) and tells people why they should be interested in you - yours feels like it does the opposite.

Just my $.02; hope that you figure it out and find what you are looking for - best of luck!
posted by _DB_ at 9:49 PM on May 16 [11 favorites]


Your self summary is really off-putting. Be less beggy and needy, and refrain from mentioning filth and bugs.

You mention being fed over and over again. We get it, you want people to give you food. No need to say it 6 different times.

You first photo...your face looks nice but your hair is really unkempt. Your photo comments are funny and cute, and so are you. Just....comb your hair and retake the first photo.
posted by the webmistress at 9:50 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


What do you mean by "just the cut-and-pastes?"

I have no experience with New York City, but I've heard anecdotally that the sex ratio is skewed, making dating for women more difficult than in other places.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 9:50 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Dating in NYC is tough for women - the men have many, many choices including actual supermodels. I concur with EmpressCallipygos about the outside-NYC thing, particularly if you are over 30 and/or not a supermodel.
posted by sunflower16 at 9:51 PM on May 16


What are you trying to do with your profile? Because I look at it and it looks like you are trying to scare off people who aren't worth your time. And, I mean, good on you for that. But it sounds like that might be related to the problem you have here.

- Your first paragraph is about not knowing how to take care of yourself (and drinking in the morning)
- You're concerned that your weight might be an issue but then talk (multiple times) about how much you love to eat anything you can get your hands on and include pictures of you in an eating contest
-You take to very common content-free platitudes ("living life" and "love to laugh") and suggest that people who use them kill themselves rather than messaging you

Maybe these defenses are keeping out some false positives? Also, you should consider dating people with kids.
posted by 256 at 9:52 PM on May 16 [9 favorites]


I don't know why you think this is about how you look--you're very pretty and I love your tights.

Your profile seems very...negative. Your opening paragraph is hilarious but it's also kind of not such a great snapshot of you, even if a lot of it is sarcasm. (But maybe it's not since you go on to mention in almost every section of your profile how you desperately need people to give you food...?)

Do you think this is something you would enjoy looking at for long periods?

This is a weird thing to say/weird way to say it and it sounds self defeating and negative and kind of aggro.

The thing you write about flying, how you can't get the grin off your face? Make more stuff like that. I just...when I go through and read your profile, there's almost nothing that reads like you're actually happy to be writing it or participating in the site. You sound jaded and annoyed and like this whole dating thing is an absolute chore.

If your messages tend to be like that (and, like, I am SUPER sarcastic, so I can totally understand how you could be writing this stuff and have it sound much more hilarious in your head, but sarcasm really doesn't do well over a text-based first impression) then I'm almost certain that the negativity is what's compelling guys not to respond.

It's not how you look. You look fine.
posted by phunniemee at 9:53 PM on May 16 [4 favorites]


You talk a lot about food and wanting someone else to cook/buy/give it to you. It's funny, but also gives off a bit of a "if you date me, you will have to take care of me" vibe which might be off putting for someone not looking for that much "work" in a relationship.

Also the "you should message me if" final part should be cleaned up a bit. Who you are looking for wasn't clear to me.
posted by saradarlin at 9:53 PM on May 16


I don't think it's your weight. For reference, when I was dating on okcupid, I weighed between 240 and 200 pounds (and I'm 5'6"). I did not have the rates you have.

I think the issue is your self-deprecating sense of humor, which is very funny in person, comes off as self-loathing in a dating profile. And self-loathing is extremely unattractive.

Your profile often states things negatively rather than positively. The upshot of your whole first paragraph is "I think it's sexy when a man does something domestic for me" but what it actually communicates is "I am incapable of taking care of myself." (Which is flat out untrue! You are extremely capable!) Ditto all the lines that say, roughly, "I can't stop eating."

I think you might benefit by asking your friends to help describe you; your first instinct is to describe yourself critically. On a dating profile, even the most acerbic wit needs to describe themselves kindly, and with confidence. Your friends might be able to do that more easily than you can yourself.

You are an awesome person. You deserve to come off as an awesome person on your profile.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:54 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Not to threadsit, buuuuuut:

Cut and pastes = "Hey baby what's up"
That is, they are copying and pasting the same generic message to dozens of women without reading the profile.

I actually juuuuuust put that new intro up. It's good to know it's not working for people. I actually thought the old one was turning people off more. I'll try to find the text of the old one and stick it in for review as well.
posted by unannihilated at 9:57 PM on May 16


Oh and I just wanted to come back in and say that I don't think your weight is an issue and don't think you need to pretend to be be skinny or hate eating. I was just pointing out that in this question you mention that you think your weight is negatively affecting your dating pool and then go on to make yourself sound like a glutton in your dating profile. That really looks like a defensive firewall.
posted by 256 at 9:58 PM on May 16 [7 favorites]


I think you look catatonic in your first picture. You look unhappy or glum in several others. Can you put in some photos that make you look more fun and approachable? The photos in combination with the text others have mentioned don't give a super positive intro to who you are,
posted by superfille at 10:02 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Wow. I was ready to come in here with a lot of love and support because it's hard to be a single girl in NYC, and I want to do that still, but I am having a hard time because your profile makes you come across as so hostile and maladjusted. It's not your looks -- you are very pretty, though the photos you've chosen are not as flattering or friendly as I think they could be. It's your attitude that is making you undesirable.

Why on earth do you focus so much on what you don't like or how needy you are? It's like you're 100% into self-sabotage and are daring men to treat you otherwise. No, no, man. Talk about what you like. Talk about what you look forward to doing with a partner. Talk about what makes you happy. Do not do this weird self-deprecating/self-loathing schtick anymore because I think as soon as someone sees it they're like, "God, this woman is going to be so mean to me and my friends. Eff that." So much of your profile says, "I have a chip on my shoulder and I take it out on whoever I can." Why?

Additionally, this is sanctimonious and a major turn off: "I get up every day knowing that I'm doing something to help make life for this country's poor better." You're a writer, right? Spin yourself differently here. You don't need to be saccharin or anything -- you just gotta try something other unapproachable and unkind.
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:03 PM on May 16 [25 favorites]


Put up the text of both of the self summaries I've used this year. Also making some edits as people review.
posted by unannihilated at 10:03 PM on May 16


Agree with everyone else that the opening is a little too strong - because it comes first, it influences everything else I read about you afterwards. Since it gives off a needy vibe, it - for example - makes your subsequent mentions of food/feeding a little more...ominous? Something like 'I can't take care of myself/manage things independently', as others have mentioned? I don't doubt that you're being playful, but it creates a general air of defensiveness in your profile. As it is, I'd be afraid that your profile would be more attractive to creepy/predatory terrible-dudes than anyone you'd actually want in your life.

As to how to fix it up: the part that most appealed to me was the section when you're talking about your job. I get a sense, just from that short blurb, that you are passionate and care about social justice and other people and all that good stuff - take your profile more in that direction. Telling people what you're for, rather than what you're against, gives them a much better idea of who you are I think.
posted by obliterati at 10:03 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Your second self-summary is much better, provided the reader can get past the fact that the first two paragraphs are literally DEALBREAKERS & WEDDINGS and make it to the joke.
posted by 256 at 10:09 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I also wanted to say that you don't look chubby whatsoever to me in your photos, so I really don't think weight is a part of this. I DO think NYC is a tough dating market - it doesn't surprise me that you said OKC has more of a meat market feel here than it did in your old city.

Just curious, were you using pretty much the same profile text and photos in your old city? Even if you were, I wouldn't be surprised if you have much less luck with them here because the dating market is probably very different. You're also older now and crossing the big 3-0 seems to be an issue in terms of online dating here.

I've also noticed that I've had zero luck writing to men first. I think most men here like to be the ones to make the first move. Clicking on a guy's profile and waiting to see if he writes has been a better strategy for me. I'm sure lots of people here will yell at me for this, saying that of course if you like a guy's profile that you should feel free to write him first, but my experience (again, in NYC) has been that this is not typically successful.
posted by sunflower16 at 10:10 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


256, that was exactly my thought about the second self-summary and why I changed it.

I used some of the same photos and text but some is new.
posted by unannihilated at 10:11 PM on May 16


According to the BMI scale you are perhaps 10 pounds overweight, less if you have significant muscle weight (say, from doing any kind of regular exercise). You are definitely not "chubby" and it's really sad that NYC is making you feel as if you are. I'm not even saying this in a body positive, "all body shapes can be beautiful" way - although I do believe that's true - you genuinely do not look overweight to me and the numbers suggest that if you are, it's by a tiny amount.

The first paragraph screams "needy and chaotic". Even if you're joking, it's a terrible opener. I would not date someone who talked about clutching at potential dates' shirts, admitted to living in a filthy apartment infested with bugs, not owning a bed (where would we end up if you took me home?), and drinking beer for breakfast. I wouldn't even date someone who thought thought joking about those things was funny. Sorry. It's fine to laugh at your own lack of domesticity but maybe that's a schtick to save for the third date?

The photos are all pretty bad. It's the lighting, mostly, and the lack of smile. You seem a bit standoffish - is that the way you smile when you're really happy? Maybe try catching up with a good friend who can make you laugh and asking them to take some pics that flatter you. You really look quite pretty, but the photos don't do you justice. I would also remove the competitive eating one - if you're encountering a lot of profiles seeking people who care about their health (perhaps as a polite way of ruling out anyone overweight), it seems unwise to raise red flags by showing evidence of yourself binge-eating, even if it was a one-off thing done for a laugh.

A lot of your profile has a sort of frustrated, not-investing-much-in-this tone to it. I can see while you'd feel that way if your experience with online dating has been so crappy, but it might be worth re-editing the wording to come across as a little more open and interested. There are a lot of "I" statements, which - although impossible to eliminate completely when describing oneself - can make you sound a bit self-absorbed when overused. You might consider rephrasing some of them to be more inclusive of other people, particularly your potential dates. At the moment it reads a bit like "THIS IS HOW I AM SO DEAL WITH IT", which is maybe not all that attractive to a person looking for a mature, give-and-take relationship.
posted by embrangled at 10:29 PM on May 16 [12 favorites]


I LOVE what you just did with the "I spend a lot of time thinking about..." section. It softened you on so many levels -- not because being soft is good, but it just took some of the edge off. Really good switch.
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:46 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


"I used OKCupid successfully in my last city, a place in the Midwest with population 300,000. Since moving to NYC a year ago I have had the most dreadful luck with it. "

Welcome to NYC my friend! The city with the most single women in America. This is due largely in part to the dreadful female to male ratio here as opposed to other places. It is also pretty notorious for being a difficult city to make friends in. I've lived in my building for years and I don't know any of my apartment neighbors and this is rather common here in the big apple.

" I've noticed that OKC here has more of a meat market feel to it than in my previous city."

Again- welcome to NYC!

"Is this a New York thing or an OKC New York thing."

It's a NYC thing.

I'm sorry to tell you that you cannot use the same methods you used in the midwest here in NYC and expect the same results. In the midwest people are more grounded and have more realistic expectations about relationships. In the midwest people tend to be more interested in marriage and they get married younger there. Here in good ol' NYC the average age for marriage is 36 which I think is the highest age in the country as far as averages go. People stay single and play the field a lot longer here. Because of the male to female ratio here, men simply have more options and many of them like to take advantage of playing the field with as many of those options as possible. Many women here aren't that different either. I'm not saying these things to discourage you because there are great people out there, but it's likely going to take a little more effort on your part to find them. And that's ok. Just don't let it get to you. I would start with better pictures. I don't find yours to be that bad, but you could look happier in some of them.
posted by manderin at 10:52 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Agreeing with many others here that the self-summaries are off-putting - even though they are clever and funny, I feel like ok cupid is a poor place for this kind of humor. It just doesn't come across. Even if you are making fun of stuff like being needy and dependent, or being desperate to get married, those are still the images you are summoning up in people's minds in connection with who you are. They may get that it's a joke, but still wonder why you felt the need to play around with that idea, especially in the very first thing they read about you, and be left with the feeling that it might be a little bit true after all, or at least leery that it might be. I think positive and genuine would be a better way to go, especially since you're not having much luck with snark.

You don't look fat; New York women must be emaciated if that's how you feel. You do need better pictures, and I agree with people above that your third picture should be your first. I would ditch the hot dog one. I liked most of the rest of the profile - as it was when I first looked at it, I think you're editing it right now, trying to put in positive things it looks like. I'd just advise not taking out every last bit or snark and sarcasm, just don't make that your main thrust.
posted by sumiami at 11:04 PM on May 16


5"4.5 and 156 is not 30-50 pounds overweight. Even so, your appearance is not the issue. I agree with the assessments here - there's something overwhelming about your profile. It's just too much and doesn't seem sincere. I don't really like either or your opening options, but the original is much better than your revision.
posted by Sal and Richard at 11:10 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Hi. I am a lady and I lived in NYC, Austin, and Portland and used OKC in all three cities. NYC was noticeably worse for women. Austin is by farrrrrrrrrr the best for women (I suspect parts of California/LA would be very skewed towards the ladies as well.) Seriously, it's not like I got hotter, it's just that in NYC there are like 1.2 women per man and here there are like 1.3 men per woman.
posted by quincunx at 11:22 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Wait, are you looking to date men or women, or both? You list yourself as bisexual and the profile seems to be geared towards a relationship with a man, as is your askmetafilter question. If that isn't the case, and you are at this time open to men and women, maybe make that a bit more clear.
posted by Sal and Richard at 11:30 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


You're hot and your profile is darkly hilarious, so I can only conclude it's a NYC thing.

There's just something wrong with that town.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 11:30 PM on May 16 [4 favorites]


I'm 30-50 pounds overweight (5'4.5", 156)

Totally not seeing it in your photos. 30-50 pounds compared to what? On the photo front I also I liked photo #3 a lot better than photo #1, I think there's something with they way #1 has caught your eyes focusing at a point off the frame that makes it look strange.

I actually liked the self-summaries (you are trying out an unconventional, funny approach - a trait I would very much go for), but maybe they need some more work - comedy is Hard. (By the way the photo caption about pattern recognition was a solid hit).

Also I will probably be in NYC for a couple of weeks in August. Just sayin'.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:49 PM on May 16


I think self-summary 2 is charming and effective, because it seems to narrow your audience down to people who're commitment-oriented, possibly emotional about weddings, and yet capable of appreciating a surreal joke about it--all good things. I also liked the comment about your username--it made me smile, because it actually was the very first thing I noticed about your profile (I didn't perceptibly judge you for it though). Your photos are non-issues and/or all positive. You seem to have taken the hot dog one down as I've been writing--I don't think it gave the wrong impression, but I might agree that you already have plenty of things that suggest you're down-to-earth and whatnot. On the whole, I think this is a profile you should be proud of and the sort of thing that should reasonably permit you to sour grapes the folks who don't respond.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:39 AM on May 17


I don't have time to provide an in-depth review, but the two things that jumped out as I reviewed your profile are: a) you sound like a lot of fun, and b) you are an attractive woman.
posted by elf27 at 12:40 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I didn't view any of your pictures before looking at the text, so I could give a non-biased review.
Unfortunately, I went to your blog, and that was a little negative, so hopefully I didn't prejudice myself.

In summary general guidelines for rewriting:
* Have at least 4 positive comments for each negative one.
* If you have no opinion on something, leave it out (don't care about movies, don't mention them)
* Lead with a positive, not a negative (or 'compliment sandwich' it)
* Delete all the summaries. Don't keep anything from them.

Instead of summary, I'd put:
I moved to New York a little over a year ago. - Want to meet people - if you want to imply commitment, something like 'I'll know for the rest of my life'
First Para from "I spend my time thinking about".
Then something about how you'd like to find someone to explore with, because you seem into that, from the 'Friday Night' section. Trying new food, seeing how a city has changed over time, and hiking/building exploring.

Can you rearrange those sections? I'd have the "What I'm doing with my life" somewhere in the middle, but not leading with it. See if you can work the info further down if you can't rearrange

Edits:
I'm still looking for really good Mexican (I've tried the Mexican in Sunset Park), and a really good hamburger (yes, I've tried Shake Shack). End Don't bother write that something is average.
See how the first bit has exactly the same meaning, but better tone?

"Musically -I've been pretty stagnant. If anyone can recommend a great independent radio station here, I'm all ears."

"Friday Night" section - delete first two lines.

Most private thing section -
Lead with the planes thing, that's awesome.
At the very least, put the last lecture thing second, or "I never really got why the Last Lecture was so popular (Me and Christopher Hitchens both!). I much preferred a commencement speech David Foster Wallace gave on living consciously: etc.
Puts more of a focus on what you preferred.

Keep the last line, it's cute, and says what you are looking for, not what you aren't:
But if you cook for me, not only will I date you, but I may possibly love you forever.

~~~

Now... the pictures.
o_O

You're not overweight - at all? And you weren't really chubby in any of the pictures?
I'm a year younger than you, probably either same weight or more, and no one would describe me as overweight. Might be a hangover of past times?
Ok, I'm guessing the blog was your way of venting about weight loss, or something, but... it was worrying me that it was more than usual weight loss issues with food and body, but, maybe it wasn't.

You're a legit attractive lady, first couple of pics aren't doing you favours.
Grab a camera, take another, smiling, looking into the camera selfie, and delete that first picture entirely.
The marathon picture is good, shows you doing an activity, but put it about 4th down, because it's hard to see and less flattering as a thumbnail (facial features a bit washed out when too small).
At the moment, I would definitely use your THIRD picture as your profile pic.

Hope that helped.
posted by Elysum at 12:50 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Another person saying that it is "darkly hilarious." It does come off a bit like "THIS IS WHO I AM DEAL WITH IT!" But in a good way. I hope you don't rewrite it in generic OKC tone. My favorite self summary was the old one from the midwest. That said, I find it hilarious because I too sometimes put the grocery bags directly into the fridge, so consider if you might be scaring off those people who value cleanliness.
posted by salvia at 12:50 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


So I checked it again and multiple introductions are up. They are all terrible. Scrap all of it write something totally new. That's much lighter, and honest. More in the style of the cell phone on the train story.

What's up there now makes you sound crazy bananas. Good luck.
posted by saradarlin at 1:18 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Hi. So, I went back and read most of your blog. You don't mention any of your awesome bike rides, or cool pics of the city that you take, or quests out to Coney Island, Verrazano Bridge, Battery City, etc. You really don't indicate that you run except in your music section, and you can see it in that marathon pic. Between that and the biking, they're pretty significant hobbies. Biking to work in heels is something totally different, kwim?

I like the latest summary you posted (the one from your old Midwest profile).

You're so very pretty. Your eyes are stunning. Are you not posting pics of you smiling because of your braces? I wasn't able to discern whether or not you still have them from your writing. Definitely switch up to that third pic as your leading profile photo. That new one you used to replace the hotdog contest is very nice.

My only other suggestion is maybe not go all out on 'motherfucker'. I have no problem with profanity, but it may come of as harsh to someone less inclined.

That Louis C.K. clip is one of my favorites. I think about it every time I see the NYC skyline. Also love the Thomas Paine quote.

Good luck on this. I met my husband on Match almost 15 years ago; way before photos were even required. :)

Oh, yeah. One more thing - you are most definitely not overweight!
posted by dancinglamb at 1:34 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


(Male around your age, but taken and on a different continent)

I laughed at the horse joke... but it probably shouldn't be in the opening paragraph. Remember that OKC has a weird summary system that snips parts of those essays when you're browsing for matches, so people might just see the lead-up without the punchline. I also like the 'Batcave' joke :)

Your best pictures are #3 (face shot with your hair down), #5 (city street with umbrella), and especially the last one (flounder), which I really like. #6 (face pic with taller dark-haired friend) and #7 (party pic with two others) are not good at all IMO, cut them - mobile phone cameras rarely produce good photos. The marathon picture is a good picture except that there is something odd about it (depth of field?) that makes it look like you've been cut-pasted into it.

You're good looking and sound fun. Good luck!
posted by Urtylug at 1:41 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Darling, you are hilarious and attractive. I will even do the standard cliche Ask thing here (a bit tounge in cheek but also with some seriousness) and say "therapy" to you because you are not overweight and it makes me really sad that you say you are.

But, the comments above are mostly spot-on with regards to your profile. Work on being just a bit more positive in your intro. I'd say something like "I recently moved to New York for [real reason OR hilarious fake reason] and I've been enjoying biking around the parks, hunting for a great hamburger, and helping make a difference at my new job (but be more specific in this last part)." Then throw in the Batman joke and it's done. The intro doesn't need to be long!

Steer clear of jokes about being desperate, needing to be cared for, and marriage. If you are legitimately looking for that, put something like "I really enjoy being taken care of, particularly in [ways]" in your "looking for" section at the end.

I wish you the best of luck. Also, you may consider looking at match.com in addition to OKC. It's a bit less of a meat market from what I understand.
posted by sockermom at 1:51 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Also do you have a paid account? That might help get your profile seen more, as will frequent use - delete all your questions and answer them again, for example (after you've edited it, of course).
posted by sockermom at 1:56 AM on May 17


You describe yourself as 5'.5", 156 pounds and 30-50 pounds overweight. Meaning you really think you should weigh 106 lbs (126 lbs on the fat side??). I'm your height and when I briefly hit your upper weight (126 pounds) after two weeks in China (strict vegetarian, no control over food options, ate nothing but bok choy and rice for 2 weeks, plus gastroenteritis from bad bottled water), my friends and family worried. If I ever hit your low weight range they would have started planning my funeral. Sure, no body is identical but it sounds like you don't love yourself unless you are rail fucking thin. Which speaks volumes to a stranger who contemplates dating you, whether you say it explicitly or not.
posted by SakuraK at 1:56 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


More is not always better. I'd keep only pics 3, 5, 8 and 10 because the others are either washed out or unflattering. It's enough. Set either the "other face" or the New York one as your main pic.
posted by rhizome at 2:37 AM on May 17


Positive thing; no way are you overweight! You're very attractive, this is in no way your issue. Negative thing; I feel horrible even saying this, but your opening paragraph makes you sound potentially mentally ill - the impression I get is that you live in squalor, are completely unable to feed or take care of yourself and are desperate for someone, anyone, to save you from yourself. It didn't really matter what you said after that, there was no banishing that first absolutely repellant mental image. I would run like the wind before I dated anyone who fit that description.

Now this may be sarcasm, but it in no way translates, sarcasm generally works much better in person. You probably are hilarious in person (other people seem to be getting this, so maybe it's just me) but you don't want people to have to jump hurdles to get to know you. You may have better luck with being more positive and talking about what you can bring to the relationship and less about what you need - which seems to be everything, but particularly food.

I'm not suggesting you bleach all of your personality out of your profile, but if you can, try reading it as if it were someone that you'd never met and imagine if you would like to meet this person.
posted by Jubey at 3:11 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Hey! I think I'm your target market (or something close to it, as a single 30+ male, educated, liberal New Yorker ... I'm even in its "elite, good-looking" list!)

Like many others here, I was surprised at your description of yourself as overweight. You're not as tragic as you make yourself sound. You are pretty. Quite good for a 30+ white American woman. But this this New York, crossroads of the world, and that yardstick isn't what's the default here. You're being measured against global standards, and it's generally recognized that Americans are grossly overweight.

This is also New York, where the rule is you can never be too rich or too thin. This is as true for women as it is for men. It makes sense to me that you saw the drop-off in response moving here. You would be a hot property in the Midwest and less so here.

That said, your pictures could be better. Number 3 is a good one. As the sexist douchebags say, "smile more, honey." I think the idea earlier of getting someone to capture you in an unguarded moment is helpful.

I looked at the others wondering how your were hiding your extra weight. And sad as it is, pictures are 90% of the battle. Take a lesson from this story earlier in the year, about "the worst dating profile in the world." I know most of the guys there aren't in your target demographic, but you already know this is mostly a numbers game (that's why you get those cut-and-pastes).

As for the substance, the written profile: Sarcasm is fine, but verbosity comes off as an impossible list of demands. The profile does sound like "this is who I am, deal with it."

Say less. I know, you want someone to get to know you, not waste their time. This is not the place for it. The less you say, the less reason you have for someone to rule you out. This is a rule for human interaction in general. This holds in advertising. Coca-Cola gives you an idea that it's a drink of happiness. That's enough. It doesn't joke about being made of battery acid and rotting your teeth too.

Get rid of the references to food and marriage. Those are red flags to me. They read sort of passive aggressive. They may be true, but you also veil them in humor to distract from them. These are serious subjects for guys. We are aware of them. Mentioning them sound like escape hatches, joke about marriage and food now, and three years into the relationship, get fat and demand marriage and say I TOLD YOU THIS IS THE WAY I AM.
posted by Borborygmus at 4:05 AM on May 17 [7 favorites]


I'm a woman in nyc, and I echo that it's just harder here. That being said, I'm not surprised that your new profile has limited appeal. You spend the first 3 paragraphs being humorously self-deprecating, and that's 2 too many. It starts out being humorous, and then takes it too far. Keep the first paragraph, and then skip to biking and Thomas Paine.

Also, your last paragraphs are about who you don't want to meet, not who should meet you. That's going to off-putting; people want to feel like you'd appreciate them, not that they don't repel you.

And finally, your photos are not helping. Go for quality over quantity here. Come over sometime and I'll be happy to take one for you!
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:07 AM on May 17


Okay. You can have either the pleas for someone to take care of you OR you can have the horse/wedding joke. You are gorgeous. I would date you. "I hope you didn't think I spelled rudimentary wrong" made me actually lol and the graf about flying made my heart go pitter pat. You are kind of a poet. But I think the kinds of people who would be drawn to a fantastic writer who can't feed herself are probably NOT the kinds of people you, or anyone, want to be dating. Take out the self-loathing "about" section, it is reviled for good reason.

Idunno-- when I signed up for OKC the first time, I had a profile that was a lot like that section, just a huge rant of "sarcastic" self-loathing bile. Then I deleted it and wrote up something reasonable. I have friends who've done this too-- it's almost like a ritual purge of all the fear and insecurity that get brought up when you're putting yourself out there for intimacy. Purge all of that fear and self-doubt and irony and misery out onto the profile, then delete it. Good luck.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 5:46 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


*stretches* Whew, wow, good morning. I woke up to some really great responses. Just great. Some of these are very insightful.

Just hopping in to say a few things:
1. Dancinglamb has it. I'm not smiling in the recent pics because I have braces. I'm not self-conscious about them, but I don't think they photograph well at all and they're coming off in a few months anyway.
2. The third picture was actually my profile picture for maybe a month or so, as was the one with me with the umbrella, some of the others...I switch them around a lot. It never makes a difference.
3. I wear a size 10, and even when I weighed 142 I still wore a size 8. Going down to 106 pounds is probably stretching it, but I'm definitely not svelte and the predominant trend here is to be trim. I do have a bit of a weight complex, but I also think if you've lived here or been here you'd understand what I mean.

I didn't realize I was coming across as so negative and caustic or down on myself or unable to take care of myself or any of that. Yikes, certainly not the intent. I have bigger issues with pessimism, negativity and self-esteem that I'll always have to work on so it's so good to know this is coming off wrong. But I also enjoy that type of humor and people who expect a sunshine-y domestic goddess will be disappointed. I think some of you get where I was trying to go, though, you're right, a dating site is probably not the place to do it, and I was probably going overboard. Mostly it was just me trying to put a pinch of authenticity in my profile and trying not to write yet another generic profile about how much I love exploring the city and laughing and breathing air that makes me want to punch myself in the face.

Glad I posted! Keep it coming!
posted by unannihilated at 6:12 AM on May 17


I think some of you get where I was trying to go, though, you're right, a dating site is probably not the place to do it, and I was probably going overboard. Mostly it was just me trying to put a pinch of authenticity in my profile and trying not to write yet another generic profile about how much I love exploring the city and laughing and breathing air that makes me want to punch myself in the face.

Here's the thing - for most people, dating's ideally going to be fun and not just the thing you have to do until you get to the wedding scene you outline. It's not generic to give people a sense of a few things that make you happy or excite you if they're your things.

The general feeling that I get is you're well-educated but underpaid, you don't care much about your house or planning for the future, and you want someone to save you from your current condition. That's a lot to take on in about a minute.

In your profile, there are bits and pieces where you strike a balance - your typical Friday night is perfect, as is your "I spent a lot of time thinking about" - but it's very much weighed down by a feeling I get reading this that dating you is going to be hard. A little dark humour, sarcasm, and misanthrope can be enticing - but this comes off as a little bitter.

Your physical features are not a barrier - I would personally lead with this photo as it's kind of warm and inviting. Your smile in the flounder one is fantastic. If I showed up having seen that smile, braces that come off in a couple of months would be entirely irrelevant.
posted by rutabega at 6:36 AM on May 17


30-50 lbs overweight? No, just no. As someone who has hung out with you recently I can say this is simply not true. You look awesome and I know my girlfriend agrees.
posted by mlis at 6:48 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I went to bed thinking about this profile and I woke up and it is so much better, to the extent that it kind of makes my heart sing. I am going to do an edit for you now and it is premised on the most useful thing anyone ever told me about OKCupid profiles, which is that smart people always start out writing 15% too much. I'm going to do a lot of cut and pasting - I hope that's okay. Let us know what kind of changes you see...my guess is that they will be overwhelming. I hope you invite us all to the wedding - I can't wait to see the horse reveal.

My self summary

My television is so ghetto I have to listen to the Steelers' game on the radio while I watch it on TV.

My philosophy on life is summed up well by Thomas Paine: "The world is my country, all my mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."

I bicycle to work in high heel boots. I once took one of those pole dancing classes that try and teach you to be sexy while you exercise. Mostly I just wanted to yell "To the Batcave!" and slide down from the top of the pole.

What I'm doing with my life

I work in social policy research, in particular research on programs and policies to alleviate poverty in the United States. I strongly believe that we need to know what works to do that, even if it's not what my side of the aisle has been espousing. I work with an amazing group of smart and funny people who make work interesting.

I also write on the side for fun and am currently looking into ways to make it part of (or all of) my career.

I’m really good at

Remembering faces and feeling awkward about it. If I see a girl at Costco I went to second grade with should I say hello?

The first things people usually notice about me

I hope it's not that you think I spelled "rudimentary" wrong. The phrase was one letter over the limit so I had to cut a letter.

Favorites...

No changes.

Six Things

No changes.

I spend a lot of time thinking about

A sentence from an article about how local landmarks in Ghostbusters have changed since the filming encapsulates why I feel so discombobulated by my experiences: "The New York of 1983 is very different from the post-Giuliani city of today – it feels dangerous, gritty, dirty, tough, angry, and exciting. It seems like a struggle just to cross the street."

I guess in the 1,325,734 times I watched this movie during childhood I somehow absorbed that.

P.S. Here's the article. It's neat: http://www.scoutingny.com/new-york-youve-changed-ghostbusters-part-1/.

On a typical Friday night I am

Things I've done with some of my recent weekends: gone to Detroit to bike and poke around old buildings, hung out with friends drinking at a bar, hiked in upstate New York, cooked bad food with a friend and watched Doctor Who, walked around Manhattan for a few hours. .

The most private thing I'm willing to admit

Hey. I know this is only our first date, but as you get older, you start to know what things are negotiable and which are not. So let's just get this dealbreaker out of the way right now.

I know I want to get married one day. Not live together for a long time but be married. I don't think much about weddings - not my thing - but there is one thing I daydream about.

I'd like it if the photographer took a picture of you as you saw me in my wedding dress for the first time, to catch your reaction. My back would be toward the camera, my face obscured by the folds of my veil. You would be emotional, of course, maybe even crying.

And then I'd like a second photograph, but this time my face is turned toward the camera, and I'm wearing a horse head mask. IT TURNS OUT I WAS A HORSE THIS WHOLE TIME.

I really need you to be into this idea.

You should message me if

If you're the type of person who goes to the same restaurant every week and orders the same meal every time, we don't have the same approach to life.

But if you cook for me, not only will I date you, but I may possibly love you forever.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 6:54 AM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Your edits are excellent. You are clearly an intelligent, playful, and good person, and your profile is really starting to gel in so many ways. Good luck. You deserve a wonderful partner and I know you'l find one.
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:26 AM on May 17


where is the okc profile? I don't see it anywhere on your profile page, just the blog.
posted by sweetkid at 7:43 AM on May 17


Here's my 2 cents (female, 35, used OKC in Toronto, found my (male) partner).

Pictures:
1. I don't love this one - your mouth looks really tense. I'd remove.
2. I'd take this one out - you look kind of bored and the lighting's not great.
3. Is good; I'd retake with combed hair.

I like the rest, but I'd take out the group shots. I'd move up San Diego (maybe even use as your profile pic, even if you're wearing sunglasses) and the flounder shot. Move Coney Island to the bottom (or remove).

Self-Summary: the Midwest one is way better. #1 comes across as needy as everyone said, and I find #2 strange. I feel like it could appeal to a certain person, but I don't think you'd get a lot of responses with it. Just depends on if you want to find someone who would get that, or if you want to have lots of responses.

First things people notice: Maybe take out the first paragraph? I find it distracts from the next two paragraphs, which are really good.

The rest is great! I saw the previous version of the "you should message me if" and your revision is much better.
posted by foxjacket at 7:45 AM on May 17


I like what pretentious illiterate did to reorganize your material. It's already good but I think the concision and reordering make it better.

If you are concerned about your weight (which I wouldn't be, but if you are) and if you wanna talk about food (which I think can be a good hook for people reading your profile to suggest dinner dates), maybe also mention somewhere about how you're training for a half-marathon or whatever it is you're doing, I forget exactly.

Obviously I'm not your target demographic but I think everything except the super-negative self-summaries makes you sound really great. I especially love the line about Ron Swanson and I don't even watch Parks and Rec.

It may be harder to find guys in NYC but you don't really want to date someone who's all "the only important thing is that my date has to be hot" anyway. I think remembering that while not making the first part of your profile quite so self-deprecating is a good balance. Bah, OKC.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:47 AM on May 17


[Link is the pink icon in the profile, under "Also On".]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:47 AM on May 17


"I'm Ron Swanson looking for a Leslie Knope. But you bring the mustache," is an amazing line.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:51 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


The expression "That's so ghetto" rubs me the wrong way, particularly when used by white American people. (Call me humorless.) Take it out, please.
posted by hush at 7:55 AM on May 17 [22 favorites]


I like pretentious illiterate's edit except I still think the horse joke could scare people. In "the most private thing" I'd either keep what you had or move "[once in a while] when I get home from the grocery store I just shove all the bags in the refrigerator [rather than] put anything away" down there.
posted by salvia at 8:00 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


salvia, I agree, and yet...in NYC especially, is there anyone you want to scare away *more* than dudes who are so marriage-talk-shy that they can't take any references to a wedding, even when done in service of a hilarious joke?
posted by pretentious illiterate at 8:02 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


The edits are great!
posted by amaire at 8:04 AM on May 17


Going down to 106 pounds is probably stretching it, but I'm definitely not svelte and the predominant trend here is to be trim. I do have a bit of a weight complex, but I also think if you've lived here or been here you'd understand what I mean.

It's true--10 lbs overweight anywhere else in the US is 30 lbs overweight for NYC. I was openly mocked by strangers for being unfathomably fat when I was a whopping 120 lbs there.

Your profile is amazing. It's NYC that sucks.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:33 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I think you should delete all the pictures except the flounder picture. None of the other pictures are as good.
posted by yarly at 8:53 AM on May 17


Re: the old NYC self-summary (#2), the problem is that we don't get to the punchline until the end of the 4th paragraph. I suspect that 80% of people doing your average internet-skimming thing wouldn't even get to the joke (I almost missed it myself!), and instead would be scared away by the creepy wedding-photo lead-up. Even if they did stick it out through the horse joke, it's an odd thing to start out the self-summary with, because what does it tell us about you? That you have contempt for weddings? That you secretly long to get married, but are defensively joking about it? Either one can be true, fine, but those aren't necessarily things I'd pick as the most important thing that makes you dateable-- which is what you'd expect to see at the front of a dating profile.

Many of the edits are good, but looking at it from the standpoint of someone shopping for dates, the profile still feels a little... scattered? Hard to take in? I feel like this is mostly fun stuff to read, but I don't necessarily get a good sense of what you have to offer as a partner, and in a marketing context (which, let's face it, this is-- nobody's getting to know the depths of your soul from an OKCupid profile, at this stage, they're just making an entirely self-centered decision as to which of 3 people would be more fun to grab coffee with) it's important to have a compact, memorable take-home message.

Here's an exercise: could you maybe try making a short little ranked list for yourself of what you think are your most irresistibly dateable qualities (1. Easygoing, 2. fun and spontaneous, 3. Adventurous and open 4. Well-educated and thoughtful...), then work through the profile to make sure that (a) each of those qualities is clearly established at some point, (b) the most desirable qualities are the ones established first, right up front in the profile, and (c) most "noisy" info that doesn't establish one of those qualities gets weeded out? It's great to use your own unique (and super clever and witty!) voice to express these things, but you occasionally get carried away with the writing in a way that doesn't necessarily enhance the underlying message.
posted by Bardolph at 8:56 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Agree with Bardolph! I think you need to rewrite the intro again, because skimming the first paragraph just makes you seem creepy.

I would start again completely from scratch, and aim to be conversational instead of gimmicky/jokey at all. It's good to have some humor and quirk, but the ratio of quirk to sincerity has to be much, much smaller.

Grab a cup of coffee, start again, and just be *sincere.*
posted by yarly at 9:00 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I don't know how long you have had a OKCupid account, but it's possible that statements like this:
My retirement plan consists of figuring I'll be dead by then. I procrastinate like a motherfucker.
...or this:
32 year-old professional female seeks significant other to keep her from starving to death and languishing in her own filth.
...may have resonated better with potential mates in the Midwest, compared to the slightly more prissy, fashion-conscious NYC crowd. I find that while looking like you have a job makes you seem more put-together in the Midwest, it is more or less optional, whereas on the east coast slovenliness is less tolerated as a lifestyle choice.
posted by deathpanels at 9:04 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I find that while looking like you have a job makes you seem more put-together in the Midwest, it is more or less optional, whereas on the east coast slovenliness is less tolerated as a lifestyle choice.

It's strange you say this, because my experience on the site has been that the people in New York tend to skew heavily toward these artist/writer/actor/vague creative types (with some finance people thrown in) whereas most of the people on the site in my Midwest city were all solidly in the "real job" category - I dated engineers, doctors, IT people. Another reason I was kind of thrown for a loop about weirder stuff working there but not here.
posted by unannihilated at 9:14 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


The third picture ("This is also my face"), the umbrella picture, and the Brooklyn Bridge picture are the best. The other ones are unflattering.

I didn't like any of the self-summaries, but the least bad one was the Midwest one. I get why the horse joke is supposed to be funny, but I personally didn't find it that funny (so maybe in that sense it works in filtering out people with the wrong sense of humor). The worst one was the NYC one about clutching at shirts and weeping. Maybe don't bring up the need for a potential date to do domestic things for you and keep you from "languishing in [your] own filth" in the first paragraph? I get that it's a self-deprecating joke and (hopefully) not an actual demand, but you could sum up your entire self-summary in one sentence: I'm messy. Which is not a lot to go off of.

The strongest part of your profile is the favorite food, books, movies, the part about what you do on weekends, and the part about your job. Those gave me the best sense of what you're actually like. The rest felt like filler. Unlike other commenters I wasn't turned off by the talk about food, but I am a big foodie.
posted by pravit at 9:18 AM on May 17


I was turned off by the word ghetto. It isn't kind.
posted by k8t at 9:23 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


"10 lbs overweight anywhere else in the US is 30 lbs overweight for NYC"

As someone upthread mentioned, the 10 lbs are an objective number according to the Body Mass Index and based on the OP's height and weight. The BMI is a global standard, it was invented by a Belgian mathematician.

OP, to me you don't look overweight in your pictures. But I can see that your weight fluctuates a bit, so maybe attach dates to your pics so people know which ones are current. I also don't think that braces need to be hidden. They actually show that you take care of your body and are investing in self improvement for reasons of health and appearance.

I would cut several of your pics: #1 stare-into-the-distance, #7 sweaty-people-out-dancing (it's really unflattering) and #8 From-the-Brooklyn-Bridge (because it seems like you lost weight since then). I think the other pics can stay, even if some of them might be not great in terms of lightning, but they show your whole figure and a range of interesting activities. Just add a new, good face pic where you smile.
posted by travelwithcats at 9:31 AM on May 17


NYC here. I met my spouse in a class that I took, after years of doing the online dating thing and never finding anyone who shared my interests for real.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:33 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


my experience on the site has been that the people in New York tend to skew heavily toward these artist/writer/actor/vague creative types (with some finance people thrown in) whereas most of the people on the site in my Midwest city were all solidly in the "real job" category - I dated engineers, doctors, IT people. Another reason I was kind of thrown for a loop about weirder stuff working there but not here.

Actually, to me, what you've pointed out here just screams one of the big differences between dating in NYC and dating in the Midwest. This is obviously a generalization, but: NYC is full of artistic/creative/weird types who crave "real job" stability, and the Midwest is full of "real job" types who crave more artistic/creative/weird excitement in their lives.

It's easier to see this if you focus less on what a given person wears to work and more on what's going on inside his/her head.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 9:49 AM on May 17


As a dude formerly in your target demographic of New York OKC daters, I looked at your profile and found some of the profile critiques in this thread surprisingly merciless. So I thought I'd chime in mostly just to vote that your profile and pictures are attractive and funny and good and you don't necessarily have as much to worry about as some of the answers here are suggesting; I think a lot of it is just adjusting to the slightly harrowing nature of the numbers game, and getting used to going on a lot of first dates that don't result in second dates.

I do think you're running into a Midwest-NYC code-switching issue — but it's not with the looks/weight/gender differences in the NYC dating scene, it's with the way the two cultures deal with self-deprecation. In the New York context it's much less important to signal that you don't take yourself too seriously, and it's much more important to signal that you are self-confident and know you're hot shit. It's probably a matter of a pretty slight shift in tone, but whatever you can do to move the humor away from Tall Poppy Syndrome or even jokey self-pity will definitely be a help.
posted by RogerB at 9:54 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


As someone upthread mentioned, the 10 lbs are an objective number according to the Body Mass Index and based on the OP's height and weight. The BMI is a global standard, it was invented by a Belgian mathematician.

Well okay, someone tell EVERY PERSON IN NYC, because what we are saying is they have not gotten that memo.

Objective isn't important here: the OP feels self-conscious because she lives in a culture that works very hard to make her feel self-conscious for not being significantly UNDERweight. In the Midwest we have billboards that do that; in NYC it's actually the bartender who's serving you a drink.

I'm not telling the OP "well NYC is shitty, better develop an eating disorder." I'm telling her, "you're not crazy, NYC does have a fucking issue and needs to get over itself, but meantime, don't take it so personally."
posted by like_a_friend at 10:00 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


[Friendly reminder, please don't get into a debate with other commenters, and definitely let's not get into a debate over the validity of BMI. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:06 AM on May 17


It's not your weight at all. I have had a ton of success dating in NYC while being literally obese. It's really, really not that. I don't presume to know what it is, but it's not your weight.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:12 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Yes, dating in NYC is harder that other places. Be patient, it's a numbers game.

YOU ARE NOT FAT. Really. Don't let the anorexia of others make you think that is a good look. So many, many studies have been done on this -- most men do not find 'rail thin = sexy' to be a true statement.

Not every guy in NYC is looking to date a model. Lots of them are looking for an interesting, genuine person they can have fun with.

Take out the photo after the 'pattern recognition' one. Not flattering.

It's fine that you struggle with self-confidence and negativity. It is not, however, a good strategy to advertise that fact so blatantly in a dating profile. you don't have to write it like you are some super saccharine 'domestic goddess' as you put it, but to me that section says, "Needy, does not have her shit together. Also possibly has not washed her sheets in a month" which is probably not what you are going for :) Well-adjusted guys do not usually date someone they need to rescue from starving to death in her own filth. I know (I hope?) you meant that as a joke, but that is really not an image you want potential dates having in their mind.

Lots of it is really good, and funny. Pretentious Illiterate has a great rewrite, but I actually like the second self-summary you have up there.

And maybe develop some better habits, or at least clean up your place and buy some real food before you bring a date home? I don't know many people who would come to an apartment like you described and be like "wow, this is totally the woman I want to see walking down the isle wearing a horse head mask" :)
posted by ananci at 10:21 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Also, it seems like from your profile that you're a republican who works in anti-poverty research? That is a difficult needle to thread. There are plenty of people here who would date a fat person but not a Republican. If you're not a republican you should fix the "my side of the aisle" part. Even if you are a republican you should take that out. Even the rich people I know who work in highly remunerative industries here are not repulicans, or simply do not admit it in polite company.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:32 AM on May 17 [10 favorites]


OK, so I'm a bit confused here. New York is a big place. Like, a really big place. There are a lot of kinds of people in it. And this applies to New York social networks too. For me it doesn't skew artists/actors/Brooklynites so much as geeks/writers/people I literally know in real life. I'm sure other people get models/dancers/fake profiles. Probably because I answer the questions differently. You really have to look at it both as "what am I like"? but "what kind of person do I want to be shown"? Think of it like you're one of those corporate data-mining jobs (but sentient, I guess; also I totally realize how much it sucks to approach dating this way, but tech has done this to the world) and think: "Does this question add a piece of information that fits the kind of guy I want to meet?"

Specifically: I don't know whether it's your weight or not. You are definitely not 50 pounds overweight. (I'm 5'2 and when I weighed 106 it was before puberty.) I would not describe you as "overweight" but "average." (As in, you might want to change your body type to Average - people like you and I are literally the people it exists for.) Even in New York. Because while the creative-but-not-actually-creative-ways-to-say-"no fatties" guys definitely exist (have you run into the guy who's like "message me if you like pizza but not if you look like you like pizza?" Charming, by which I mean he can get hit by the Q train out of Midwood full of people who actually like pizza and it would be a charmed day) there is a way to mostly get rid of them. There are a couple of questions that are like "Is weight a dealbreaker"? and "Can overweight people still be sexy"? Answer them accordingly, set them Mandatory (or whatever the site just changed it to), hide them if you want, and let the algorithm do the work for you.

Other things:

- I'd get rid of the photo with the really washed-out lighting, get rid of the flounder (it's not flattering at all, and the flounder doesn't even look like a flounder so much as a pail of slimy dirt), get rid of the first one and make the third your main photo.`

- Offputting things, for me: the bit about house-cleaning (I am also not A Clean Person, so I get it, but almost everyone I encounter says in the questions they couldn't date someone messy), the "ghetto" bit. The horse joke is fine to me but maybe in a less wedding- or long-term relationship-centric focus? (Like, maybe meeting friends for the first time? 'Hi guys, this is Unannihilated,' that sort of thing.)

- This is going to sound like an insult but it's not: Consider dating people who live in New Jersey or upstate New York. The queue, so to speak, is much shorter, the train is actually not that bad (and they might have a car), and it might be something about the different "feel" of the place. I don't think it's a coincidence that my longest relationships from here are people who live there.
posted by dekathelon at 10:46 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I don't have an OKC account so I can not make edits to your profile, but I did want to format the two links for you.

This link explains how to do it.

a commencement speech David Foster Wallace gave on living consciously

Louis CK puts it much more humorously
posted by mlis at 11:07 AM on May 17


Also, there are mefites who will take photos of you to use in your profile. Volunteer MeFite Portrait Photographers.
posted by mlis at 11:17 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Ok, I just read some of your blog, and I hate to do this to you because it is not really answering your question, but I feel like it addresses the underlying issue here that you want to find someone to date and you want it to work.

I'm going to have to present you with the official AskMe card of 'please go to therapy'.

The most attractive dating profile in the world isn't going to get you anywhere if you are lugging this quantity of self-image baggage into a new relationship. If a healthy, long-term relationship is something you want, get thee to a cognitive behavioral therapist post haste and hash out some of this negative self-talk and mental abuse.

The most attractive quality any of us will ever possess is self-confidence. You don't have that right now (that's ok! You can work on this!). It shows in your OKC profile, and it shows on your blog. It also shows, I am very sure, when you meet these guys for your first date.

By all means, fix your profile. But if you don't want that to be a lot of wasted effort and an endless string of no-second-date-hell, please do yourself a favor and work on yourself too.

PS - Why are you not mentioning this marathon thing on your profile! It is interesting and cool!
posted by ananci at 11:57 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


You're not fat, but you do need better pictures. I live in LA and I get the insane body standards thing, but even by NY standards, you're not fat.

But here's my kind of merciless critique: Do you actually think you're a funny person and that it's important for your online dating profile to reflect that? I didn't think your profile was funny. I thought it seemed very try-hard and made me cringe.

Throw in a few jokes, but being sincere and straightforward wouldn't kill you.

But as always, take this with a grain of salt. I wouldn't date you, but someone thinks you're funny and insightful and will message you. Tomato tomahto.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 12:53 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Totally not your looks. You're cute. I'd change out the first photo, though. Something smiley. I especially like the flounder picture, you look fun and adorable in that one. I'd change your profile to be more positive and confident. Write it on a day when you feel especially pleased to be you and you will be able to sell your best qualities better.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:38 PM on May 17


Apologies in advance for some complete amateur-hour psychology on my part. In a little while I'm going to return some bowling shoes to the bowling alley because I got drunk last night and hopped in a cab while still wearing them, so if this is all off the mark you can imagine me doing that and get some revenge satisfaction.

The third photo, which is also your face, is hot. Ditch the rest, even the other two recent ones, but especially the older ones. Find someone to take some flattering full body shots that aren't out of date.

New Yorkers probably do think you're chubby, and they can go fuck themselves. That said, I wouldn't describe your body type as 'Fit' in the details section. That doesn't mean you aren't fit, and doesn't mean you aren't attractive--you are and you are--but I don't think your photos match people's expectations for how 'fit' is coded, and the mismatch between your self description and the reality will be a red flag for some.

You've gotten some good advice in this thread, but without any changes I would ask you out if, I were single, based on this profile even as it stands (or stood). So I'm wondering what else is going on that you *never* get to a second date. I'd also never live in NYC if I could possibly help it, and I found myself wondering what brought you to the city. It was probably your career? But then there's this...

I work in social policy research, in particular research on programs and policies to alleviate poverty in the United States. I strongly believe that we need to know what works to do that, even if it's not what my side of the aisle has been espousing.

This needs a rewrite to show more of your strength, passion, and commitment. You strongly believe that 'we' need to know 'what works' to 'do that', but your reader has to fill in the 'we', the 'what works', and what it is that is to be done, and that doesn't mesh with the passion expressed in the first part of the second sentence--I tried to rewrite it, but I wasn't very confident that I understood what you meant well enough to do that.

Even the first sentence is a little wishy-washy, and I can imagine you saying it in sort of a flat bored tone and now I'm wondering whether the city and the job are not working out in practice as well as they did in theory...maybe you're not happy with that decision and it's coming through on your dates? But you still have an intellectual commitment to the city and career that isn't necessarily meshing with your feelings. The biggest difference between NYC and Pittsburgh from a dating perspective might be your overall happiness and confidence level.

Ok, amateur hour over, off to return these shoes...
posted by Kwine at 1:40 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


This is going to sound like an insult but it's not: Consider dating people who live in New Jersey or upstate New York.

I'm going to broaden this out a bit: consider dating people who are from the New York area. This could be someone who lives upstate or in Jersey, or someone who grew up and lives in Queens, or someone from Long Island who lives in Brooklyn.

My reasoning for this is that people who move to NYC largely did so for a reason. They came here because they want the best of everything - or what they perceive to be - and they want to date supermodels. Or, they came here because they want to play the field in their 30s and that's not socially acceptable back home. Point is, NYC transplants are a self-selecting group and, I think, more likely to exhibit some of the behaviors that can make dating here so difficult. They consciously chose a certain kind of life.

People who were born and raised here, though, are basically like everyone else. Some will be overly picky or unwilling to commit, but most just want to meet a cool, fun, person to date, and many actually want seriously relationships. I have a lot of friends who are from here and 30-ish, most are in serious relationships or want to be in one, and none are expecting to date supermodels.
posted by breakin' the law at 2:14 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Actually, I want to reiterate what I said above, but more succinctly (I have nothing against transplants): NYC is where ambitious people go. People who move to NYC from other places likely came here to fulfill some kind of ambition, and that ambition (if it can be called that) often carries over into their dating lives. People who are from NYC, however, are not self-selecting in that way, and will largely exhibit the same range of behaviors as people from anywhere else.
posted by breakin' the law at 2:19 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


OK now I have read your blog, and rather than thinking you need therapy, I actually... think my brother is your soulmate? But he isn't in NYC and might be too young for you (but not really...)
posted by like_a_friend at 3:18 PM on May 17


It's not your weight at all. I have had a ton of success dating in NYC while being literally obese. It's really, really not that. I don't presume to know what it is, but it's not your weight.

young rope-rider: Was any of the dating on OKCupid?
posted by unannihilated at 6:39 PM on May 17


And mlis, thank you for the information on formatting links and the volunteer photographers! Didn't know about either of those two things.
posted by unannihilated at 6:43 PM on May 17


No, although I had a profile that got quite a lot of messages, I never really bothered with it. Apparently it was quite funny. Either way, you're not fat and NYCers don't think you're fat.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:48 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I have to say I'm bewildered by people saying New Yorkers will shame you if you're not underweight. That's not true in my experience at all (bartenders have way more to do than comment on your weight).

Also agreed with all those saying that based on your posted height weight stats and your pictures you're not "fat." I think you can even go ahead and list yourself as fit. It sounds like you're working toward some long distance running goals (which is great, regardless of where it gets you with dating) which is a hell of a lot more than a lot of guys I know, who would describe their exercise habits as "lift beer to mouth" (seriously, the number of guys who think this is a hilars joke...not funny). I know plenty of people your height and weight who people genuinely think are stunning. Personally, I'm a bit shorter and lighter than you but as a long time New Yorker, people make fun of me for working out a lot and eating kale and sunflower seeds and worrying about my health and weight. True, I think the ideal here (like everywhere) is the woman who eats whatever she wants and stays super thin, but that's not realistic for most of us and I think (hope) as we all get into our 30s that reality starts settling in.

I do think your summary and a lot of the text in your profile is off putting and sort of odd. Like ablazingsaddle I'm not sure if being funny is what you're trying to put across or not, but I don't think the summary or other self deprecating humor you've got in there is very funny. I think in person, your personality might well be very funny, but it doesn't come off that way in text.

I think one thing that's important in online dating in general and New York particularly is that you need to look like you have your shit together. I think talking about how messy you are won't do. Seriously, I am sort of naturally very messy and bad at domestic things and have to have to-do lists and scheduled professional cleanings and things to manage myself, so I understand, but people who are thinking about dating will not want to see so much real estate on your profile about what a slob you are.

I think the bit about not having much experience in airplanes so every time you fly you feel like it's a great time to be alive is adorable and I think people will really like that. Can you use that as a kernel and expand on it?

I'd also expand on the Friday night question, and talk more about the stuff you like to do. It seems like interesting stuff, don't downplay it.

Overall your question and profile spoke to me because you're obviously a very smart and interesting and attractive person who seems to be seeing herself as so much less (30-50 pounds overweight is just wildly wrong, for example). So I think you've got some good raw material to work from.

I think the thing that's not coming across is that you need to realize that writing an OKC profile is not really the same thing as being yourself in real life. For example, for the "Six things I could never do without" I always want to answer, "well, air, these certain prescription medications I need…" but while that's true, it's really boring and a weird way to answer the question. The question isn't "what do I need so I don't die" even though it seems that way. All the questions are sort of a template to get you to write some things that will click with someone else, either because you wrote them a message or you stumbled on their profile.
posted by sweetkid at 8:27 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


So basically what you're all saying is I wrote the online dating equivalent of this:

Back at the job interview...

Smithers: What would each of you say is your worst quality?
Man 1: Well, I am a workaholic.
Man 2: I push myself too hard.
Homer: Well, it takes me a long time to learn anything,
I'm kind of a goof-off...
Smithers: Okay, that'll do.
Homer: ... a little stuff starts disappearing from the workplace...
Smithers: That's enough!

-- The Simpsons

:-)
posted by unannihilated at 8:37 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Love the new pics! I think the ice cream one is even better than the pattern recognition one. Better resolution, you look happy, and well, collar bones (what could be bad when you've got ice cream *and* collar bones?). :)
posted by dancinglamb at 10:41 PM on May 17


Agreed, the new pics are a lot better. You seem much friendlier and more approachable!
posted by travelwithcats at 4:07 AM on May 18


In the picture of you at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon you may want to edit that photo so it hides your bib number.
posted by hush at 8:00 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who doesn't like any selfie-angle pics, especially for the all-important profile pic? I'd pick one that shows your face at a more natural angle.
posted by yarly at 9:15 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


I looked at your profile and I don't feel like I know anything about you other than you want to get married, and that your house has spiders and you are planning on dying before you retire.

You seem like you're probably a pretty funny lady, but a lot of your jokes seem like the kind of thing I would joke with my girlfriends about (similarly, "but I already have a drink, do you think he wants to buy me mozarella sticks?" not the kind of stuff I would say to someone on a blind date, which is essentially the way I view an online dating profile.
posted by inertia at 4:29 PM on May 18


But here's my kind of merciless critique: Do you actually think you're a funny person and that it's important for your online dating profile to reflect that? I didn't think your profile was funny. I thought it seemed very try-hard and made me cringe.

For what it's worth, the joke about the horse head made me laugh. It would be better in the "most private thing" section, as it was recommended above, so that there aren't two paragraphs about a wedding (that can be taken out of context too) from the get go.

As for why people reply and don't ask you questions is because many people are terrible at written conversation. I don't think how much you weigh is an issue either. To me your profile reads like the profile of someone who hasn't found their writing voice on the page, but who would likely be quite interesting in person. Maybe trim your profile a bit too.

I'm almost* in your target group and I'd have messaged you if only because of that horse joke. Good luck.

*ended up staying in London

posted by ersatz at 1:31 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


Just thought I'd post an update to this -

I rewrote my profile to make it more positive and illustrate that I do indeed have my shit together. I took out all the food references. I took out all the attempts at humor. I put up (what I thought were) nice photos, all recent ones of me smiling taken by other people. It has made...no difference. No one answers my messages (which I have also reworked to make relentlessly upbeat), and the only people who message me are. just. terrible. (Not me being picky terrible. Legit terrible.) I'm not even getting any first dates. My self-esteem is in shreds - I feel hideous, and foolish for even thinking someone might want me. I give up. I would try to drop some weight, but it seems so hopeless (Can 30 pounds really make that much difference? And do I want it to?) I can't bring myself to care.

I give the fuck up.

Thanks for trying. Good luck, future people who reference this question.
posted by unannihilated at 5:10 AM on October 6


YOU'RE not hideous - it's NEW YORK DATING that is hideous. I get the same "ohmigod this guy's a jerk" messages (actually, now I don't because I have a filter on that screens out people who don't match me above a certain percentage - it's AWESOME), and a lot of the guys who I write to don't write back. Even after I see they've looked at me.

It's just the way it is. It's nothing to do with you, it's just that there are way more single women in NYC than men and so it's slim pickin's.

I'm finding, though, that it happens in waves - I just got a pleasant enough email from a guy who approached ME first, and so far so good. But before then, it was nothin' for months.

Again, YOU are fine. YOU are not hideous. It's just that New York dating SUCKS TOTAL ASS.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:35 AM on October 6


You know, I keep hearing that, and it makes sense, but most people I know here aren't single.
posted by unannihilated at 9:06 AM on October 6


most people I know here aren't single.

....I am.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:22 AM on October 6


You know, I keep hearing that, and it makes sense, but most people I know here aren't single.

me too! most of my friends aren't single and they met people here in NYC.

Please don't internalize the "slim pickins" dating advice, it will make life horrible. Of course that doesn't mean that there is actually something wrong with you, but I think it is actually kind of toxic how much we're asked to suck up perfectly normal feelings that there must be something we need to "fix" and instead focus on a completely uncontrollable thing - that there are lots of single women and NYC dating is bad because of that. In my experience, "men in NYC are terrible and could just choose anyone so why me" blah blah just made me depressed and helped me discount a lot of cool things dudes in my life were doing because I just assumed they were playing a game or being passive about wanting to dump me or or or.

Maybe try a service that's not OKC? Like Match or something? Or try the in person events OKC is doing? Some of those look fun.
posted by sweetkid at 10:08 AM on October 6


There's no way your profile is the sole reason for the poor response rate--it's probably not even the main reason, because I don't see anything wrong with it. Maybe you're in some unlucky OKCupid test group--who knows? There's only so much you can control here, and while we can sympathize with your situation, you should try not to catastrophize. Maybe let your friends in the area know that "FYI OKCupid in Brooklyn seems like a tough way to meet someone, LOL," and consider whether you have time for hobbies that would put you into more contact with people who might be available.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:15 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


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