What's wrong with my okcupid profile?
October 3, 2011 6:10 PM   Subscribe

I have been using OkCupid for a few weeks with no luck. And I do mean no luck -- meaning, nobody will even talk with me. Is there something wrong with my profile? Something wrong with me?

I opened up an OkCupid profile a few weeks ago. You can see it right here.

I had heard good things about it from others here on Metafilter and elsewhere, so I decided to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised at how many other people in my area share similar interests, personalities, goals and so forth.

One of the neat things about OkC is that it kinda forces you to contact people, almost making it kind of a game ("Contact three new matches to upgrade your profile!" and stuff like that). By my count, I've contacted about 30 close matches in the past few weeks with fairly typical ice breakers like "Hey, I see you like X! I like X too! Isn't it cool when..." etc.

So far I have had exactly two replies, both of them terse "Thank you for your interest" quasi form-letter responses followed by silence.

This kind of bugs me in a way, perhaps because I had higher expectations for myself going into it. My friends tell me that I'm handsome, intelligent, funny, de-lightful to be around and so forth, but apparently 90% to 100% of my matches so far seem to disagree?

This is also bringing up some feelings of inadequacy that I have been nursing most of my life. Growing up, I was the nerdy fat kid and the butt of all classroom jokes. The target of quite a bit of bullying as well. I've lost a lot of weight as I've gotten older and matured a bit more, but those feelings of rejection and self-hatred seem to linger. Could some of that be coming through in my profile somehow? I guess you could say I'm terrified at the idea that I might be sabotaging my own OkC profile.

Here are my questions for the hivemind:

1) Is this a typical OkCupid experience?
2) Is there something glaringly wrong with my profile?
3) Be honest here: Am I ugly? Unattractive? Seriously?
4) Is being "bisexual" off-putting to most women? Am I going to have to lie about myself to have a normal dating life?
5) What am I doing wrong here? What can I do right?

posted by Azazel Fel to Human Relations (105 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I have no real advice about your profile, but there are some good previous askmes about this that have helpful pointers. Also a good one about the perfect opening email.

1) My response rate on OKC is about 10% or less.
4) From what I've read, yes, women are far less likely to contact bisexual men than men are to contact bisexual women. There's OKC trends piece about it that is worth reading. I'm not suggesting you change it, but you should know that bisexual men get less responses from both genders. (I wish I could find the citation of that)

It's a slog, and it can take a long time. Don't be discouraged. Be aware that if you're going for the top 10% of the crowd, so is everyone else.
posted by OrangeDrink at 6:23 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Regarding 2, 3, and 5: You seem pretty good-looking to me (though as a queer woman who generally dates women I'm not your target audience.) I would put up a picture where you're not looking away from the camera quite so much and/or a picture where you're smiling. Other than that, I don't see anything off-putting about your profile.

I tend to appreciate messages that are a tad less formulaic and a little more chatty than just "We both like X!" but it's hard to describe how to write those.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:25 PM on October 3, 2011

I'll show you mine since you showed me yours. And I have about the same level of luck as you.

You're not doing anything "wrong," it's just that I think dating online isn't quite as "zany madcap fun" as some are lead to believe. It's just another way to meet people, is all, and not all of those people are going to click with you. You've only been at it a few weeks -- give it way more time.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2011

You could find better pictures of yourself. Also, I see you want to date women seven years younger than you but only five years older. That's not really fair.
posted by michaelh at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

For most of us standard-issue humans, it takes time. Two weeks is not enough time. Two months may not be enough time.

Patience! Exhibit real patience, and keep sending out missives. That is my prescription.
posted by thejoshu at 6:27 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Actually you're very handsome.

Your examples of dark humor are *really* dark. That tends to make a gal nervous. Might tweak them a bit.

Also, get a friend to take some pics of you in different settings. Outside. Doing something you really like. Smiling.

I actually think most human beings are probably bisexual to some degree. But when a guy puts bisexual on his profile I have a bunch of questions about that that I'm not comfortable asking on a 1st, 2nd or 3rd date. In your part of the country I think it might be hurting you. It might be something you want to bring up later.
posted by bunderful at 6:28 PM on October 3, 2011 [11 favorites]

What have you been saying in your messages? I'll let others give more details, but basically what seems to work ok is to:
a) Say something interesting that you have in common, or really anything else they mention such as a book, movie, food, activity, etc. Give a brief anecdote or something about it.
b) Ask them a question. Generally each message you send should probably have a question for them, since it can be hard on the receiving end to reply without a question.
c) Keep the messages relatively short
d) After exchanging ~2-3 messages or so, ask for an initial coffee or drinks date since dating and relationships occur in real life with body language, tone, chemistry, etc. That first meeting is a pre-date kinda thing.
e) Go on a real date.

Good profile pictures are a pretty big deal, so read the Okcupid Blog on that, and use their picture tool thing.
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 6:29 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

Hmm. First, yes, you would have better luck leaving off bi. It might be ok in san francisco or new york, but not elsewhere. Reveal that fact a bit later on!

Second, you are cute! But you need a better picture. Hire an amateur photographer to take some nice shots, or shell out for a pro.

Third, delete the bit about place crashes. I didn't get it and it seemed weird. I think for your personality (from the little I can tell) you should go for sincere upfront instead of jokey.
posted by yarly at 6:30 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

You could find better pictures of yourself. Also, I see you want to date women seven years younger than you but only five years older. That's not really fair.
posted by michaelh at 6:26 PM on October 3 [mark as best answer] [+] [!]

Oh crap! I totally forgot about this. I don't remember ever setting my preferences to 21-33. Is that some kind of default? I totally dig older guys and gals. Changing it now.
posted by Azazel Fel at 6:30 PM on October 3, 2011

Is being "bisexual" off-putting to most women? Am I going to have to lie about myself to have a normal dating life?

Unfortunately, it probably is. But would you want to be with someone you'd always have to hide that part of yourself from? Would you feel more leaving it out of your profile and bringing it up on an early date? If it were me, I would think that would be harder than letting people self-select at the start.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:33 PM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]

I think you're handsome, too, but those pictures aren't really doing much for you. I'd like to see some of you smiling and of higher quality if possible. Less stagy! :)

I like your profile as well - I think it's quite well done. The "bi" thing, *personally* might make me think twice, but I can't really defend it, it's just, well, it would (straight woman here).

Not that you should change that, be out and who you are, I'm just telling you what I think (and what other women who've done online dating have told me).

Good luck! It's a *total* slog, don't give up hope!
posted by tristeza at 6:33 PM on October 3, 2011

I think bisexual is fairly off-putting to a large number women and gay men alike, actually, at least of the kind who are trying their luck in the traditional online dating scene. You're also in Texas. I don't know how liberal San Antonio is, but I would expect bisexuality to play worse in Texas than in the Bay Area or Portland. Can't really speak to the physical attraction stuff, but I'd say you're something like on the slightly lower end of average? Not really noticeably ugly, but not cute enough that anyone would be into you for looks alone unless you had a specific trait that really appealed to them. I'm mainly attracted to women and I'm really shallow, though. Although maybe you have a really nice body, it's hard to tell.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 6:34 PM on October 3, 2011

I would also leave out the "tell me about yourself" bits (you have that in two places.)
It's kind of a given that you will want to know about someone you contacted, and better to ask them a targeted, relevant question or two in your message. "Tell me about yourself" feels a very tiny bit creepy or desperate or over-interested.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:34 PM on October 3, 2011

I'm a straight guy who has had great luck with OKC.

I don't think you are a bad looking dude but that first picture of you is not flattering. The second one is better but still not fantastic. It's worth the time to take/find better pictures of yourself. Let's be honest, you need to portray yourself pretty well in photos for the online dating thing to work. Just to reiterate, it isn't you it is your photos.

Also, I think it is fine to tailor your profile to the type of person you'd like to meet as long as you understand that this will limit your responses. It really is a numbers game and that's okay, it's how the system works. Don't wait for people to message you, be proactive and message everyone you find interesting. Be friendly and funny. Write the message specifically to them. There are a lot of cool people out there and even if nothing comes of the messages chatting is still fun.
posted by Loto at 6:34 PM on October 3, 2011

The standout thing about your profile is that nothing stands out; it's very bland. No "Whoa, I'd love to ask him about that," or "Crap, could I have anything to do with a person who does X, never mind admits to doing X? Hmm" or even "I had no idea there was an association for that." I read the profile, remembered nothing about you, re-read, still nothing. Third time: the pre-historic humanity interest is interesting, but whaddya wanna do with your history degree?

I don't know if airplane crashes are that funny...? It also makes your "the most private thing" look like you just made it up on the spot.

The first profile photo is perhaps not one to offer with just two. Unflattering unfashionable clothes -- presumably you are at work, where something spiffy would look silly and get in the way -- but can you get a picture of yourself cleaned up a bit? A sloppy picture should come with a "cleans up nicely" picture.

Leaving "children" blank means people may skip you if they are looking for somebody who is reasonably committed one way or the other to having/not having.

On the plus side you seem pretty normal and decent and are not setting off any weirdo/creep vibes and if you are looking to meet "pretty normal" you will probably find that; you look like a person most people would be comfortable setting their brother or sister up with.

Most of the "similar users" are coming up as "more adventurous," which reinforced, fairly or not, my knee-jerk that things are too bland. You've probably got something -- nursing? lots of interesting stories, yes? -- use it.

(typo: supervillain)
posted by kmennie at 6:34 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Your pictures are a bit one-note -- like, one is sort of a close-up of your head and the other is sort of....a close-up of your head. Also, your income is listed as $30-40k, which seems really low. Although I live in a pretty expensive city so maybe it's not out of line for San Antonio.
posted by kate blank at 6:34 PM on October 3, 2011

One of the most infuriating things about trying to responding to/sending an email to a cute person on OKC is when they don't have something specific. I'm a funny dude, but it is agonizing to not have a hook. I think your profile is pretty generic, and it doesn't need to be. Lots of comments about enjoying Indie Rock without mentioning a band, talking about enjoying coffeeshops (who doesn't). I'd try to tell a specific story that shows rather than tells that you like these things. Don't be scared into anonymity just because it's the internet. Tell us a story, eh?
posted by OrangeDrink at 6:43 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

here's what I would recommend! (straight dude, some OKC experience a couple years ago)

The basic thing I saw that benefited me most was making sure to include conversation starters. Just things that someone can kick off a conversation with. With that in mind :

- Add more specifics in your interests, especially in the music and movies parts - something that someone can latch on to a little more than "indie rock". maybe just name a couple favorites per genre, avoid the huge impenetrable block of text some people use

- I like the comment above about a picture out with friends, smiling. Ideally if you have pictures of yourself somewhere interesting or cool, where someone can respond with "oh wow, I've never been to the taj mahal, how was it?"

- I got a *lot* of messages from having a specific simple not-serious question in my "you should message me if" section that people could respond to as an ice breaker. mine was about one's favorite Beatle, but "tell me when you think Lost got terrible" or something equally frivolous would work. anything that someone is likely to have some sort of opinion on but the opinion doesn't really matter, it's just getting a conversation started. (though to be fair, i did kind of use it to weed out people that said John...)

Overall, there's definitely nothing *wrong* with your profile, there's just not a lot to make someone go "oh! I need to message THIS dude." but it looks like you've gotten a lot of good advice here and it's definitely improvable.

( Also - i agree with a bunch of people upthread - take out the airplane jokes, that's more of an in-context thing. i like the supervillian joke.)

(( Also also - keep in mind that the 90-100% matches are based on what a computer thinks, i had a lot lot lot of 90% matches that i had zero interest in. robots, you know?))
posted by frankdrebin at 6:43 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

Don't agree with the person who says you're on the low end of average! Plenty cute. That is not a problem. I think most men have a really low response rate. And--I am from San Antonio, am female, was on OKC--I can't imagine bi going over well down there. Now, yes, it will be (basically) fine, at least on paper, with the 10% of the SATX dating pool that you'd meet IRL and think were natural matches. But there is another large swath of good ol' girls who are actually considerably more open-minded than you'd think. They may in practice be OK with bi. But they might be freaked if they saw it in black and white.
posted by skbw at 6:44 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

What kind of messages are you sending?
posted by modernserf at 6:46 PM on October 3, 2011

I'm a straight woman, who's had pretty good luck on OKC, for what it's worth: I would 100% take out the plane crash joke. It made me wince -- and planes crashing into buildings isn't very funny to a lot of people post 9/11 (I say that as someone who jokes about inappropriate stuff a fair amount).

FWIW, you are not at all ugly -- I think you are cutet! -- but both of those pics are, as noted, really same-y. Get some variety in there!

Finally, contacting 30 people in two weeks seems like a lot to me -- not that I think that's bad, as dating is a numbers game, but I wonder if the emails you're sending by this point feel a little Cut and Pasted to the recipient. If I think I'm getting a form letter, I won't respond. I would look at that as much if not more closely than your profile.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 6:49 PM on October 3, 2011

Also consider adding more local references. In a bigger city it would come across as pretentious (I do not give a F if you like City Bakery), but what's the point of a cow town like that if you can't actually talk about what you like doing there? Favorite Mexican food, etc..
posted by skbw at 6:50 PM on October 3, 2011

I bet it's just bad luck, for the most part. You seem like a thoughtful, decent-looking fellow. If I were single you messaged me, I'd reply.

A couple things that jumped out at me: you use a few too many exclamation points, which comes across as overeager. You mention that you love to laugh and have fun, which is the biggest dating-profile cliche ever, because who doesn't? And you say "I'd love to get to know you!" which... you haven't even met me. All of this comes across as sort of cheery and superfriendly and hooray-for-everything, which isn't always attractive. And it's a sort of generic bland enthusiasm: you enjoy learning, hanging out with friends, having conversations, living, going places, doing things, stuff - these don't tell me much about you.

On preview, I completely missed the plane-crash jokes. Those would freak people out, even people who'd snerk at them in person. Considering that's one of your only attempts at humor in your profile, and juxtaposed with your cheerful attitude in the rest of it, that would give me pause.

Both your photos look overexposed and have that "oh shit I don't have any photos of myself" look to them. The second one is better; the first one is awkwardly posed and why is it in a locker room?

Anyway, take out the generic enthusiasm and replace it with just a bit of detail (and do the same in your intro messages). Don't go too dark with the humor. Get someone to take nicer pictures with better lighting. The rest is patience.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:50 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

I had a pretty low response rate on OKC---a handful, at best---until I had one I really clicked with, we have been together since the summer and I think he might be the one. What really helped me make that one important connection was answering a LOT of the questions. He had done so as well and once we made that initial two-liner opening connection (he messaged me, and it was about a TV show I listed in my profile) we realized how much we had in common. That opened up the door to further stuff.

So, although my initial 'hits' were on the low-to-average, somewhat bland side, that site did eventually help me find someone I am really compatible with. It only takes one good match to make you into a success story :)
posted by JoannaC at 6:50 PM on October 3, 2011

They may in practice be OK with bi. But they might be freaked if they saw it in black and white.

I have to agree with this part. It could be hurting your chances. I have actually dated a bi guy and it didn't bother me in the slightest but when I was looking on OKC I immediately skipped over them. I can't explain why, but there you go.

And yeah, you need something specific in your profile. I tend to like the profiles that laugh at themselves a little bit. The "6 things" and "most private thing you'll admit" sections are a good place to add in something a little self-deprecating.
posted by magnetsphere at 6:51 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

1. Sounds about right for a guy. Check the OKC blog for statistics on just how low most response/message ratios are.

2. Your main photo is kind of odd in that you're looking off at something waaay off-screen and/or behind you, rather than connecting with the photographer/viewer. The second is better, but yeah you should have smiling/activity photos if possible.

3. Mention being a medic sooner! It's a very attractive career. And, I completely understand if this is so "you" that you can't imagine changing it, but maybe skip the specific dark-jokes examples?

4. When I was using OKC, I switched my general profile setting to "straight" and talked about the queer thing in one of the blocks ("most private thing", I think) instead. And that's living in Madison, WI.

5. Nothing major. I agree that you're cute, and overall I think it has good ground-work for being a solid profile to the people you'd want to date (ie, not necessarily everyone who has replied here).
posted by teremala at 6:55 PM on October 3, 2011

Wow. Thanks to everyone for all the responses so far. Some great stuff here!

Things I've learned and will be working on:

1) Yeah the dark jokes will have to go. I was trying to be totally honest with my profile (I *do* have an incredibly dark sense of humor.) but I can see how lots of people wouldn't think it's funny. This does concern me, though, since any potential date is going to learn that I have a dark sense of humor *eventually*, right?

2) I need better pictures. My first pic was one of my friends at work saying "Hey, pose like a superhero in the sunlight!" Shazaam. I'll work on something better.

3) I'll try to be less generic. Yeah, I realize now that with the exception of my weird plane-crash jokes, I'm basically setting myself up as "Generic Date #4". One of the things I'm afraid of is that I really *am* too generic and bland to really spice up my profile.

4) The bi thing. This is really difficult for me. It really, really bothers me that I might have to hide an important part of myself to have a happy dating life. I'm going to have to think about this for a while.

5) 30,000 - 40,000 income is normal for San Antonio. The median income for males in this county is about $30,100. I'm solidly middle-class, especially for someone of my generation. (Until I need to visit the ER of course...)
posted by Azazel Fel at 6:56 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm a straight man, so what do I know about what women think of bisexual men? Well, I can't read women's minds, but I have read a lot of women's OKCupid profiles and multiple-choice answers. There are multiple-choice questions about whether you'd date someone bisexual, and many women say no. Many women — even bisexual women! — put "straight men" (as opposed to "bisexual men") in the "looking for" section. (And in case you're wondering, the cities I've lived in when I've used dating sites have been very liberal, with more than 10 times as many women's profiles talking about being a liberal/lefty/Democrat than talking about being a conservative/Republican.) Many women don't seem to think there's any contradiction in perceiving themselves as open-minded and totally accepting of different sexual orientations, but when they're actually faced with the decision of whether to date someone who's attracted to men as well as women, well, somehow they're not so open-minded in practice as they are in theory. (I'm only talking about women and not men since women are the ones you asked about with respect to bisexuality, and because they're the ones whose profiles I look at. I'm sure men have plenty of prejudices too, but that would be another discussion.)

Despite everything I just said, I'm a firm believer in being yourself in the dating world, even if this reduces your initial chances of scheduling first dates. If you cover up who you really are, it's just going to come out later on, possibly after you've fallen in love with someone who turns out not to be accepting of you. Might as well do the filtering at the beginning. Personally, even though I'm not bisexual, when I see that a woman on OKCupid says she wouldn't date a bisexual man, I lose interest in her just like I'd lose interest in someone whose profile said she doesn't date blacks even though I'm not black. (In fact, I would argue that the sexual-orientation bias is even worse than the racial bias.)

We're not able to see which women you're choosing to message. I believe you that you're choosing fairly strong matches, but since I can't see them specifically, I can't know if you're making the best choices. You might want to re-examine how you're choosing whom to message. I don't have enough information to be able to make any judgment about this.

I've start skipping over almost anyone's profile that doesn't say "Never" under "Drugs." When I see that someone has filled out the "Smokes" and "Drinks" sections (with whatever answers) but left "Drugs" as "—" I instantly think: "So in other words, you use drugs but you're not going to admit it." I have no idea if anyone else has this reaction; just my opinion.

I know you're average height since the profile says 5'9", but the angle of the first photo makes you look short.

Consider leaving your income blank. Yours is a bit below average. If you leave it blank, most people probably either won't notice or will assume you have natural privacy concerns with publicizing your income.

Maybe I'm too literal-minded, but I can't help wondering: if there's a different song for every minute of the day, isn't that a big problem since most songs are longer than one minute?

I disagree with the commenter who said you seem bland overall. I don't think you seem bland. I think you seem like a passionate person who has a lot of interests. But again, I'm not your target audience. I do think your photos are rather bland and inert. If you'd keep just one with a similar expression but add another that has a different expression and is a bit more energetic or active, that might be an improvement.

Good luck, and realize that sometimes you just get unlucky.
posted by John Cohen at 6:58 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Calling yourself a 'man about town' is a little affected. Sounds like you wear fedoras. And take out the "tell me about yourself!" bits; a little overeager. I personally don't think the dark humor is a problem, but it clashes with the straightforwardness and do-goodery-ness (and that's not a bad thing!) in other parts.

Your profile comes across as very "open". Again, not a bad thing, but it's also not bad to retain a little mystery. Give them a "hook" to ask you about, but for gods sake make it subtle. Nothing worse than an obvious hook.
posted by supercres at 7:05 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I will answer almost anyone, no matter how mismatched we seem *unless* their message to me was patently stupid, or seemed like a generic cut-and-paste they have sent to every woman on the site.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 7:05 PM on October 3, 2011

I like your profile just fine, and I'd think it would attract some fun and eccentric girls (like me, if I wasn't attached!). The one thing that would put me off is your photos. For me, VELCRO + SNEAKERS = NO.

Bi-sexual : no problem.
Dark humor : love it. "Airplanes crashing into pilot schools make me laugh." Me too!

I think you're not getting responses because that's just kinda how it goes for most guys on there. The BF tells me that when he was on OKCupid, he would spend lots of time crafting a message to someone, and hardly got even a terse"Thanks" in reply. Most of the time, it was just radio silence. Take new photos and keep fishing.
posted by HopperFan at 7:06 PM on October 3, 2011

4) The bi thing. This is really difficult for me. It really, really bothers me that I might have to hide an important part of myself to have a happy dating life. I'm going to have to think about this for a while.

I don't think you should hide yourself, either, but if you really, really want to up your chances, think about it like this: a lot of people are going to search for their idea of Mr. Perfect. So, they may look for gay men or straight men but not immediately take interest in bi men. However, any of those same might go on a date with you, have instant chemistry, and no longer care about your bisexuality. Because, honestly, they never really did. Their shopping lists were just a little too specific before.
posted by katillathehun at 7:07 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

I posted before I saw your follow-up where you said:

The bi thing. This is really difficult for me. It really, really bothers me that I might have to hide an important part of myself to have a happy dating life.

I know other people will say just to put "straight" to maximize your chances. You could even create two separate profiles, one with "straight" and one with "gay" (though it violates OKCupid's terms of use to have two profiles). But given what you said in the follow-up, I would emphasize my previous comment even more and say: please, don't hide who you are. Be completely honest and let the chips fall where they may. Do this even if it's a deal-killer for half the women you message. Would you want to be in a relationship that's predicated on the fact that you're unable to have an honest conversation about who you are? Even if you message 10 people in a row who all delete your emails because of the bisexual thing, that isn't going to ruin your life, and the 11th person you message might be the perfect fit who likes or at least doesn't mind that you're bisexual.

Everyone knows the biggest pitfall of online dating is that profiles are misleading. Don't be part of the problem. Online dating works best when everyone is upfront and honest.
posted by John Cohen at 7:07 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]

A lot of people have mentioned your photos, so I thought I'd link to two OK Cupid blog posts about profile photos and how they relate to messaging rates on the site:

The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures

Don't Be Ugly by Accident!

Also, as many have said, the plane crash jokes aren't the best. You can say something like "I have a dark sense of humor" so that your future prospects are prepared for it when it happens, but that kind of thing might make me think twice about messaging you.
posted by k8lin at 7:07 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Don't think of it as hiding who you are if you don't disclose being bi. You're just chosing when to disclose it, instead of being obligated to do it at the point when the internet dating machine tells you you have to. I'm sure you don't tell the cute girl you just ran into in the cafe that you are bi, right? You probably wait until you k.ow her better.
posted by mrs. sock at 7:08 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

4) Is being "bisexual" off-putting to most women? Am I going to have to lie about myself to have a normal dating life?

It's not off-putting to me--but then, I'm a bisexual woman. Maybe you need to find one of those. Personally, I would never lie about it, since it is a big part of who I am. It's gonna come out sooner or later, and you don't want to waste your time on someone who's not compatible with who you really are.
posted by sugarbomb at 7:09 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

1) Yeah the dark jokes will have to go. I was trying to be totally honest with my profile (I *do* have an incredibly dark sense of humor.) but I can see how lots of people wouldn't think it's funny. This does concern me, though, since any potential date is going to learn that I have a dark sense of humor *eventually*, right?

Absolutely - but hopefully after she has some solid evidence that you are a softy for kittens and volunteer for the Red Cross - or whatever.

3).... One of the things I'm afraid of is that I really *am* too generic and bland to really spice up my profile.

I'm sure that's not true. Details can change generic to interesting. "I like to hang out and do regular stuff" is meh. "Today I was doing the laundry and began to wonder - why do we separate the whites from the colors? Rise up, my fabric bretheren! My socks are pink, now, but I feel gloriously united..." Sharing your unique perspective on life is likely all the spice you need.

4) The bi thing. This is really difficult for me. It really, really bothers me that I might have to hide an important part of myself to have a happy dating life. I'm going to have to think about this for a while.

If you are going to lead with it, maybe explain what it means to you and to someone you date in your profile. Not in too much detail, but give it some context.
posted by bunderful at 7:09 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Under the "looking for" section at the bottom, your profile says you're looking for "guys and girls who like bisexual guys." Since guys came first in that sentence, if I (a woman) were scoping you out, I'd probably pass, thinking you were more interested in meeting men. Are you? If you're more interested in using OKCupid to meet women, I'd change the wording around.

Also, the airplane crash jokes fell really flat and would've been a turnoff, but that's just me. Maybe I'm too touchy and that's what you're trying to screen for!

Finally, yes - I think you could use better pictures. They're just not super flattering. And that's not at all a critique of you - hell, I have pictures that make me look smokin' hot (thanks, soft lighting!) and others that make me look like The Horseface of Doom. Some are meant for OKCupid and some are meant to be burned and shuddered over.
posted by pecanpies at 7:11 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would say that there is unfortunately bias against bi men in the dating world, even on a reasonably accepting site like OKC. But I maintain that it is absolutely worth screening out people who will be put off by it from the get go. This is an advantage (and a challenge) of online dating - you can do this screening before you decide to meet someone and get your hormones involved and then you find out that it's a dealbreaker for them. There are women (hi!) who have absolutely no problem dating bi men.

I'm glad to hear that you're working on better pictures, because I thought those were okay, but definitely not as flattering as they could be.

I was giggling at your airplane jokes, but that's about all I had to latch on to in your profile to form an opinion about. I also think you've got some major mood shifts in your profile. You don't want to be relentlessly chipper, or ceaselessly dark, but you go enthusiasm!, sick jokes, enthusiasm!, deep thoughts on mortality - it's a bit much. Personally, I like someone who doesn't seem like they're trying to keep me in stitches, or educate me or even win me over.

Upshot: Your profile as it is isn't compelling enough to make me want to message you first, but if wrote me a message that indicated that you'd read my profile and had something interesting to say about it, I'd write you back.
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:11 PM on October 3, 2011

Don't think of it as hiding who you are if you don't disclose being bi. You're just chosing when to disclose it, instead of being obligated to do it at the point when the internet dating machine tells you you have to.

Actually, if you look at how the OKCupid profiles are set up, this isn't really an option. Sexual orientation is a required field and the only choices are "straight," "bisexual," and "gay." While someone who's, say 99% straight might have no problem putting "straight" and not bothering to point out their slight bisexual side, the OP has made it clear that he isn't such a marginal case.
posted by John Cohen at 7:11 PM on October 3, 2011

OP, you wish to meet men as well as women, right? Or do you only want to meet women?

Either way I don't think you should remove that you are bisexual. Obviously it's important to you to have it out there. If it limits your dating pool, so what? You're not (I assume) trying to get MANY responses. You're trying to get THE response.
posted by pupstocks at 7:12 PM on October 3, 2011


I can't believe you noticed this. *dies*

Note to self: Don't wear shitty velcro work-shoes in profile pictures...
posted by Azazel Fel at 7:14 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, seconding the poster above who suggested putting something random/funny/clever(ish) in the "you should message me if..." section. I used OKC a long, long time ago and that's where nearly all of my responses came from. It gives people an easy, low pressure jumping off point. You could also use that section in other people's profiles as inspiration when messaging them.
posted by pecanpies at 7:15 PM on October 3, 2011

OP, you wish to meet men as well as women, right? Or do you only want to meet women?

I should expand on this a bit more. If I had to put a "number" on it, I would say that I'm 55% gay and 45% straight. That doesn't even make any sense, I know. But thats what happens when you quantify sexuality, I guess.

I used to identify completely as "gay" just because it was easier to do so, but found that I couldn't ignore the fact that I'm also attracted to women. I'm masculine, so I can pass myself off as "straight" in a straight relationship but it would never be completely honest. I will always be attracted to both men and women in almost equal measure, I think.

I've messaged about equal numbers of men and women during this time as well.
posted by Azazel Fel at 7:19 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm an unemployed, average looking dude and I had a pretty high response rate on OKC this summer -- probably around 40-50% responded to my first message, I had lots of women messaging me first, and I went on an average of one first date a week for a few months.

The most important things I found were:

1) Choose the women you message carefully. Be realistic about who's in your league look-wise, and find ones who share interests with you (you obviously already do this, but make sure you're being realistic).

2) You have to give people conversational "ins", both in your profile and in your messages. The first thing people read at the top of my profile is that I like bike rides, beaches and dive bars. Most of the messages I got from women were offers to do one of those activities together sometime. In your messages do the same thing: "oh, you like rock climbing? I know this great place, I could totally show it to you sometime". Activities are more important than interests, because when you first start dating you need activities to plan around to keep things going.

Here's my profile (logged in members only, creepos). I'm certainly no casanova, but what I have there definitely worked for me even though I've cooled off on the online dating scene the last couple months.
posted by auto-correct at 7:20 PM on October 3, 2011

Don't remove that you're bisexual. You want men and women who are cool with that, and I think some people might not take it great five dates in. They might, they might not.
posted by sweetkid at 7:20 PM on October 3, 2011

This "Airplanes crashing into pilot schools make me laugh. Airplanes crashing into mime schools make me smile. When I was a kid I wanted to be a supervillian and now that I'm an adult I've learned to enjoy the next best thing: being a government contractor"

agreed some of it is funny but frankly not that funny.

I met my fiance online on Okcupid so it is not a total loss.
posted by pakora1 at 7:23 PM on October 3, 2011

I know nothing about online dating or these types of sites/profiles, but the first thing I noticed was "perpetual college student." My brother-in-law is a perpetual college student - meaning he can't get a job so he's a "perpetual college student" and keeps racking up the student loan debt. College student - good, "perpetual" though seems like a red flag to me. But since I'm out of touch with a lot of stuff, maybe in the real world "perpetual college students" are a good thing.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:29 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yes, I think unfortunately being bi is off-putting to a lot of women, for specific reasons.

Sadly, a lot of women are going to be concerned with one or more of the following:

1. That you are promiscuous
2. That you will have issues with monogamy
3. That you have or are at higher risk for STDs.
4. That she won't be able to trust you around your male friends.

I think if you put something in your profile about being a highly monogamous person who is not into casual sex, and you removed "short-term dating" in the "Looking For" section, it would make a difference. I also think it's unfair, you shouldn't have to, and you *don't* have to, but it would make a difference.
posted by Ashley801 at 7:29 PM on October 3, 2011 [10 favorites]

Eye contact with the camera will go a long way. Makes people feel like they know you and that they can trust you.
posted by beyond_pink at 7:29 PM on October 3, 2011

(Just to add a couple of data points - queer woman who dates guys here, upper end of your age range. Why not lead with the close-up picture? My tastes may be odd, but you look quite...well, quite in the close-up but the distance shot just looks average on the front page and rather odd in full view - seriously, it's not doing you any favors, makes you look very short-legged. How about one not in sports clothes and in front of lockers?

Your profile seems rather muted to me - I don't get a strong sense of your character. Why do you like Le Guin? What do you really care about? I feel like you have some personality but it's not shining through - very anodyne-seeming. What about the medic stuff? Why/how did you end up there? Etc, etc.

If you're cool with visibly queer women, IME a lot of us like bi guys, although "queer" is what the hip kids say now, at least around here. "Bi" seems rather old-fashioned.
posted by Frowner at 7:30 PM on October 3, 2011

I read over your profile with my ancient OKC experience. I think you should take out the bi bit, but frankly because it comes across as desperate. If you were to email me, I'd be interested in just about everything until I got to that part, at which point I'd think you just want to get laid. By anyone. Please.

Which is fine. Some people use OKC just for NSA random hook ups. But maybe that's not what you're going for, or maybe that's not what the people you emailed are looking for. And I do think that when you start to meet people, they will be receptive to your sexuality if your personalities are a match.

Also, it's only been two weeks. Keep taking the quizzes to start focusing. If I recall correctly, there are plenty of questions that deal with sexuality and your responses will filter out those of either gender who are so inclined towards you. That way you'll know who you're looking for, but it won't be right on your profile.

I met some awesome guys on OKC, one of whom I found out later was bi, and that was fine by me. But I wound up with the guy from match, so ymmv. :)
posted by motsque at 7:31 PM on October 3, 2011

Dude, you need better pictures. The first one: t-shirt tucked into your pants? You look like you're in the military. What do you wear in regular life? Wear that. Also, look at the camera! Seriously. The sideways look comes across as posed and awkward. Looking into the camera and really smiling is immediately going to make you look more friendly and attractive.

Also, be more specific about your interests. Learning and indie rock and whatever don't excite anybody, by themselves. List your favorite band of the moment, or the class you're taking right now that's most interesting to you, or your favorite place to see community theater. Specifics give people something to grab onto.

I think the most engaging way to approach an OK Cupid profile is to treat it as a snapshot of who you are right now, not a generic all-encompassing thing that needs to sum up everything about you. What would you be talking to a prospective guy/lady about on a date? What are specific things you like to do that you could do together on a date? Mention those things, not "I like music and fun and learning!" You and the rest of the planet, dude.

Also, even though the bi thing might turn away some people, it sounds like it's an important enough part of who you are that you should leave it. If you were bisexual as in "I might sleep with a dude someday if I thought he was hot," I'd say put straight, but it sounds like you're basically 50/50 and want to meet people of both sexes, so I say leave it.
posted by MadamM at 7:33 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Just briefly:
Try to cut down on the length by about 20%. I won't read the full thing if it doesn't hook me in the beginning or if it's too long.

Remember that a profile is really a sales bitch. You come off a bit too enthusiastic, which makes it seem like you're trying too hard. That's not to say you should hide who you are, but more that you should tailor it to highlight the most important/desireable parts of your personality. People don't need to know everything right away.

Don't put your income. I read something that said the majority of men pad their income. For me, it doesn't matter what a guy puts, I think he's lying.

Pictures. Good ones. You're profile pic is good and you are attractive. The full body one is a weird angle. Also try to have a group shot in there.

The bi thing - it's an important part of who you are. Leave it, or make two separate profiles and focus one on men and one on women.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:37 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, I don't think I would start with that perpetual student line if I were you. If I were looking for dates on this website I would probably move on right then and there because fair or not, my first thought would be "flaneur." The mental image I get is someone who is dicking around aimlessly for years and can't get it together. But that's not who you are! You are supporting yourself on a very respectable salary with a very respectable job. If you mention you're a student, mention it in the same breath as your job.
posted by Ashley801 at 7:39 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Airplanes crashing into pilot schools make me laugh. Airplanes crashing into mime schools make me smile.

Other than the above statement, I see nothing wrong with your profile. I would not contact you based on that one statement alone.
posted by JujuB at 7:46 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Keep the bi in! Remember, you only want to date people who are okay with who you are, bisexuality and all. And ideally, people to whom queerness is a turn-ON (and there are a lot of us out there!) .

You need better photos. I look at yours, and I think 'this guy might be hot in real life, but on the internet his head just looks too big'.

"Perpetual college student" - this makes you sound like someone who can't figure out what to do with himself.

"I like to learn and I'd love to get to know you!" - Kinda creepy. No, you'd love to get to know someone who seems interesting to you! Not any woman who happens by! So tone this down a notch.
posted by Eshkol at 7:46 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

I married a dude I met on OKCupid! Here's my advice:

Yes, definitely get better pictures, preferably none with awkward closeups of your face (seriously no one is getting that close to your face immediately), and none where your pants are tucked in and you are wearing velcro shoes! WHAT!? You want pictures of you being normal, not being a ham, because we don't know you yet and can't tell the difference.

Agree with those who said to take the planes-crashing-into-buildings jokes out. Those are not OK. Hell, you can put some babies-on-spikes references in there instead, because that's a funny thing said by funny people which you can enjoy and not be a weirdo.

I'm a bi lady, so I'm probably biased here, but I think you are fine to leave that part in. Do you want to be with someone who'd rather be with you as the straight guy than the bi guy? NO. I listed myself as bi, and I found someone who was happy dating and marrying someone who was bi.

You seem like a good guy, but I agree that your profile puts a lot out there and doesn't leave a lot for a lady (or a dude) to ask about. My husband mentioned in his OKC profile that he was a brain scientist (or something like that) and said, "But don't ask me about it because I'll talk your ear off." Um, obviously the first thing I did was ask him about it. And I don't remember him mentioning this anywhere else in his profile, either.

Example: Perpetual college student, geek, cynic and man-about-town. I love going out, meeting new people and seeing new things. I love coffee, dinner What does this mean? What kind of food do you like eating for dinner?, road trips, shopping (window and otherwise). I like video games and have eclectic tastes in music Give examples, but not here!(my iPod is a horrific mash-up of every known and unknown genre). I like to learn and I'd love to get to know you!

I like to laugh and to make people laugh. I'm told that I have a dark and ironic but silly sense of humor. Airplanes crashing into pilot schools make me laugh. Airplanes crashing into mime schools make me smile. When I was a kid I wanted to be a supervillian and now that I'm an adult I've learned to enjoy the next best thing: being a government contractor. This makes it seem like what you are doing is wrong. Government contractors have a bad reputation!

I love art, art criticism and film. Give examples of the things you like, don't just say you like "art" and "film". I'm fascinated by pre-historic humanity -- the people that we "were" for 2 million years before we started writing things down.

I dissected your first section for you. If it's bolded, I think it should go. If there's no explanation, it's probably just too general or weird to mention.

Give specifics; people need conversation starters. There really isn't a different song for every minute in the day. Tell us a few of your favorites bands, movies, books, and TV shows, even if they're bound to change in a few months or a year. Be significantly less eager about "getting to know you!" It comes off as desperate. Don't say "I think about the future" in the Things I spend a lot of time thinking about category. You don't have to crack a joke, but a pseudo-funny but true answer is great. I think I might have put "what I want for dinner" in mine. True!

When I'm not at work, I'll be studying, going out with friends to dinner or coffee, reading a good book or otherwise seeking out entertainment.

You don't have a typical Friday night? Say what you'd LOVE to be doing on a Friday night instead. I think I put "beer tasting" and my husband put "watching TV". We magically made it work.

You like to go out and have fun and/or you enjoy interesting conversations!

This probably applies to everyone! Again, be more specific. I think this is a great place to have a little fun, and where a lot of people look, even if they don't read your whole profile.

Good luck!
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:47 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Gay dude here. Delete that first full-length photo. Everything about it is awkward.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:51 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

This blog has some fairly detailed discussions about ways to make your profile pop. They're mostly aimed at men trying to pick up women, but are at least thought-provoking.

(Disclaimer: I don't actually know her beyond a couple of, yes, OKCupid messages, and once she facebook friended me she stopped speaking to me, which was very odd, but I can't bring myself to totally hate her blog.)
posted by restless_nomad at 7:52 PM on October 3, 2011

OKC user here. All I can tell you is that the elaboration on the black humor bit would have sent me right away. So you know the context, I'm in a wheelchair and I get LOTS of messages from people who want to fuck me because I can't walk, or whatever the hell. So now I am very into looking for 'watch out' signs.
posted by angrycat at 7:54 PM on October 3, 2011

This does concern me, though, since any potential date is going to learn that I have a dark sense of humor *eventually*, right?

Yeah, but a dark joke made with a twinkle in your eye when you're having a nice evening comes off SO differently than a dark joke made on the internet. Remember, you're choosing to share that particular trait about yourself, so you're saying it's prominent and important. After 9/11, I would question whether someone who chooses to make a joke about airplanes crashing into buildings, when they're trying to be attractive to strangers, isn't a bit off. I'm not saying you are a bit off, just that it comes across strangely as a first impression.

Also, like everyone's saying, better pictures. The assumption with online dating, I think, is that the pictures you put up are pretty well the most flattering pictures that have ever been taken of you. So you should look as good as possible in them, as well as casual and happy.

Not sure about the bi thing - if someone really isn't cool with that, then you're probably wasting your time with them. Maybe leave it in, even if it lessens your date pool.
posted by Dasein at 7:55 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

- The plane crash jokes kind of freaked me out, and felt like a bit of a red flag - that you might actually be a socially unaware psycho. Just get rid of them, there's certain kinds of humour that don't play well in writing or with people you don't know.
- As others have mentioned, get better pictures. Read the okcupid blog about it that a bunch of people have mentioned, plus this other one, and test a whole bunch of photos using My Best Face.
- Leave the income box blank. (you're a student so nobody will expect you to make a lot of money, but theres no reason to put it in black and white.)
- And definitely follow others advice to add in one or two things that will provoke conversation - either via your photos (of you doing something interesting), or via your profile.

And finally: overall, i think your profile is fine, and your photos aren't terrible. So, i'm wondering: are you contacting women who are realistic targets? Like, would you expect them to possibly be interested if you met them at a party, or are you messaging women who would probably be "out of your league" if you met in real life? Remember that online dating is just a way to meet people, and it doesn't magically remove the barriers and expectations of dating just because you're introducing yourself on a website.
posted by Kololo at 7:57 PM on October 3, 2011

A lot of great responses so far. Thanks everybody.

I'd like to respond to this specifically (since it has been raised at least twice in this thread and kinda stood out at me):

So, i'm wondering: are you contacting women who are realistic targets? Like, would you expect them to possibly be interested if you met them at a party, or are you messaging women who would probably be "out of your league" if you met in real life? Remember that online dating is just a way to meet people, and it doesn't magically remove the barriers and expectations of dating just because you're introducing yourself on a website.

In all honesty, I have no idea what my "league" looks like, either male or female. I like to think that I'm very open and accepting of all shapes, sizes, "looks" and have friends (and lovers in the past) who span every possible spectrum. I guess if you're asking me "Who are the sorts of people who would be willing to fuck you?" -- I have no clue.

Maybe that's part of my problem?
posted by Azazel Fel at 8:03 PM on October 3, 2011

As I'm digesting more of these responses, it strikes me that my main problem may be that I'm just socially clueless.
posted by Azazel Fel at 8:09 PM on October 3, 2011

As I'm digesting more of these responses, it strikes me that my main problem may be that I'm just socially clueless.

Please don't take our responses to mean that - you've asked for a dissection of what might be wrong with your profile, so you've gotten that. As lots of people have mentioned, if they just came across your profile under normal circumstances that your profile would be that its fine. But you asked for nitpicking so you're getting it! :)

No reason to take this as a whole evaluation of you and your social skills! It's just an evaluation of a written profile. Don't stress yourself out by turning it into more!

(This thread actually makes me want to start my own thread asking for feedback of my OkC profile. All this advice seems so useful!)
posted by Kololo at 8:18 PM on October 3, 2011 [8 favorites]

I think there's a lot of good advice above. My two cents: Spell "Isaac" right. And don't be too hard on yourself - things take time.
posted by beandip at 8:22 PM on October 3, 2011

1. The airplane joke. It's funny but it's a second or third date sort of thing.

2. Smile.

3. Don't say you like to laugh. Everyone likes to laugh. Say you like to make people laugh.

4. Talk a little more about who you are instead of what you're into. You are not your interests. As it is, you sound kind of boring. Are you boring? No, you are not. You are interesting. Be interesting. Make some jokes, but not ones which are over the line.

5. All of the authors you mentioned are genre authors. This is like saying you're really into music and then only listing ska bands. Diversify your portfolio, mein freund.

6. As mentioned above, leave the income box blank. I don't even know why the site has that as a field.

7. That full-length photo is awful awful awful. There is nothing good about it. And here is free advice: If you routinely tuck in your tee-shirts, stop that shit right now. Never tuck in anything without a collar if it's being worn by itself. There may be a chiming-in of people who tuck in their tee-shirts who will say this is okay to do, but it is not okay to do. Untuck. Smile. Get sneakers with laces. Take another photo. Ideally one in which you're having a good time and there's a camera there.

8. "I practically grew up with Issac Asimov." The sort of person you're trying to attract would notice immediately that you are saying you practically grew up with an author whose name you can't spell. It's Isaac. Fix that.

These should help, and then you will get messages. The bi thing, I don't know. Some women are turned off by that. Fuck 'em. If you say you're straight then you're lying and you don't have to misrepresent yourself to get dates. It'll come. Just relax and give it time.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:28 PM on October 3, 2011 [10 favorites]

Imagine you're browsing a dating site looking for the perfect, or close to perfect someone. You're going to browse a lot of profiles and sort the from best to worst, and send emails to the people near the "best" end of the list.

"best" and "worst" qualities are going to vary by person. That's fine, people have a variety of preferences. Smoking weed could easily be either a "best" or worst" quality depending on who's reading the profile.

The problem is that your profile doesn't have many "best" qualities *regardless* of who's reading the profile.

You can't live without:
1) My car
2) Friends
3) History books
4) Good food
5) Exercise/Working out
6) The Interwebs

Except for "history books", what internet dater *doesn't* like those things?

You are looking for:
Guys and girls who like bi guys
Ages 21-38
Near me
For new friends, long-term dating, short-term dating, activity partners

You're goo at:
Your job. That's nice and all, but no one's going to jump off the couch with excitement over that.

That's the least specific list in the world. Who' going to read that and think, "oh, he'd really like someone like me!"

Your photo makes you look average looking. You're average height, average build, average salary, like average pets.

You can score right up there around "average" for a whole lot of people reading your profile. But people don't respond to "average" profiles, they respond to the ones at the "best" end of the spectrum.

You don't need to be "best" for everyone, just a few really good matches (just one, if things go great). Being average for 10,000 people will get you zero responses. Being the best for ten people will get you ten responses. Make your profile a lot more specific.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:44 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

This is a weird one for me to chime in on - I was simply going to simply say "Hey, just plain Medic sounds sexier than "Perpetual college student, geek, cynic and man-about-town" and leave.

I mean, I'm a forty-two year old mommy on the sofa in my pjs watching crap tv and waiting for the dryer to buzz, and clicked through out of sheer nosiness. While I think you're handsome enough and have a decent profile (though that is the first time I've ever even glimpsed one) - I'd also say that it reads "under-employed and screwing around in school, spends too much time on teh interwebs snarking and nobody really knows what a man-about-town is. Sell yourself better - you say you like to write and think about characters. Yes, your photos could be better, the joke is iffy and it's a little breathless - but there's all good advice above.

But then I scrolled down, and also noticed something. While I'm sure that all of the other similar users are as nice as you or me or everyone above and aren't even any better or worse looking - they all have rather awkward profile images too. You're not in good company visually, and I don't know how someone skews that.

Last thing I noticed:

The six things I could never do without

1) My car (Really? Is it that awesome? Does it need to be first? It sounds so high school. It sounds like you're one of those guys out there waxing his Civic. I'd guess otherwise, but I'm pretty sure, based on your profile, that you're not sporting a a flat black shaved nosed and decked chopped and channeled Shoebox Ford)
2) Friends (Not a bad answer. Can't it be first?)
3) History books
4) Good food
5) Exercise/Working out
6) The Interwebs
posted by peagood at 8:46 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was simply going to simply say "Hey, just plain Medic sounds sexier than "Perpetual college student, geek, cynic and man-about-town" and leave.

Yes! Medic is sexy. It makes me think of someone smart, capable and good who does important things and helps people.

The line peagood pulled makes me think of a drifter and wanker who doesn't do much and I might have to mommy, or who is still being supported by his actual mommy.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:05 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I didn't see the part about you being a medic. Do you wear a uniform (I think I might spy it in the corner of the full body shot)? Post a picture of yourself wearing it, stat! Everyone loves a man in uniform.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:08 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]

uniform is good, also maybe a pic of you outside/in better lighting. Also smiling.
posted by sweetkid at 9:09 PM on October 3, 2011

Straight woman here. I have never used online dating, and am not single.

1) The airplane joke puts me off immediately. It seems inappropriate - something that might be OK in an established relationship, but definitely not OK as a first impression.
2) Saying that you're a cynic makes me think that you wouldn't be a lot of fun to hang around with, that you would be a downer.
3) When you say perpetual college student, I think "Will not finish things he starts." I agree with the above posters that you should just say you're a medic.
4)Saying that you would like to get to know me 2x sort of comes off as desperation.

Hopefully this is constructive, I don't mean to be hurtful!
posted by Logic Sheep at 9:11 PM on October 3, 2011

I've made some preliminary changes to my profile to reflect some of the advice that I've been given. Thanks everybody! It will take a while to incorporate all of this (great) advice, but I'll get it done, eventually.

None of the advice that I've been given is hurtful. It's just forced me to think about some things that maybe I didn't want to think about before. Specifically, how socially aware I am and, frankly, how bland my life must seem to an outsider.

I'm willing to admit that I'm bland (liking "indie rock" is actually about as specific as I can get. I like the sound but don't know many bands off hand) so maybe this has given me impetus to make myself more ... noticeable? Unique? And that's a whole new AskMeFi question itself...

Thanks everybody.
posted by Azazel Fel at 9:35 PM on October 3, 2011

OkCupid had, for a while, a map tool that would show you how well you fit with local culture, and where you would be most likely to meet your match. I moved from Philadelphia, where I had pages and pages of 90%+ matches to choose from... and I was a bus/train ride away from DC and NY which both were fertile grounds for finding my "type."

Then I moved home to Houston. And while I had always known that my personality was not the prevailing one here on the Gulf Coast, it was shocking to see the difference in culture expressed as numbers on OkCupid. I had only a handful of 90%+ matches to chose from. I think I might have dated them all. It didn't work out. Bah.

Beyond that, it's important to remember that OkCupid has an interesting self-selection thing going on. It is peopled by users who may or may not actually be interested in dating. Remember: it's cheap to join. A few minutes of your time, and you're "putting yourself out there." With such low buy-in, users are more selective, and also less concerned with what they might eventually find through the site. If they get a couple dates out of it or maybe make a friend or hear about a band they've never heard of: instant net gain.

Ultimately, I migrated over to Match.com. I reckoned that I was more likely to find someone who was marriage-minded, or at least eager to invest in the potential of a serious relationship, if I was searching among folks who were willing to pony up $30/month or whatever it cost. I was right. The crowd was noticeably older and eager. But unfortunately, the crowd was largely of the same incompatible cultural demographic that resulted in so few good match options over on OkCupid.

But all it takes is one! And just as I was about to close my account down, admit defeat, and join a convent, I got an email from a tall-dark-and-handsome smartypants with a fascinating story, a sense of chivalry and an interest in cultivating a long-term relationship. Jackpot!

Anyway, that was the long way of saying that this might just not be the forum for you. By all means, incorporate the suggestions that folks here have. But in the end, if your response rate doesn't improve, don't lose sleep over it.
posted by jph at 9:49 PM on October 3, 2011

I'm going to be straight up (as much as a gay guy can be) -- you need different pictures.

Take as many pictures of yourself smiling and looking into the camera. (Preferably, get someone to take them of you). Of those pictures, ask a friend which he/she thinks looks most flattering.

A good thing to aim for might be one face pic, one full-length, one out-with-friends, and one "action" (hiking? driving? swimming? eating? throwing a stick to a dog? Doesn't matter.) If you can combine a couple of those categories into one picture, all the better. (I think 3 pictures is just about ideal.)
posted by lewedswiver at 9:54 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah the photos are a little serial-killerish (sorry). But you're cute and would like great with some better ones. Oooh, I think you would look nice in a plaid button down and well-fitting jeans.

I actually thought the airplane jokes were kinda lame, like my dad's version of dark humor (sorry, again). But I guess everyone else thinks they're awful, so I learned something about myself today (thank you!).

Also -- sorry to go really nerdy and nitpicky on you -- but homo sapiens has only been around for ~200,000 years, not 2 million.

Good luck!
posted by imalaowai at 10:06 PM on October 3, 2011

Yeah, please don't take away from this that you're socially unaware or anything. The last thing anyone here would want to do is send you into a spiral of despair. Encouragement!
posted by OrangeDrink at 10:11 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Has anyone mentioned your username yet?

Start a new profile with a diffierent name. I can interpret "Here_Take_This" in a few ways, and none of them are flattering. It sounds like the "take my wife... please!" joke, it sounds passive, it sounds vaguely aggressive... none of which I'm sure you intended.

Seems like you're working with good material! Polish the presentation to a high shine and you'll be laughing.
posted by TangoCharlie at 10:19 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, actually, I did want to touch on that -- when I read your profile I thought you seemed like a really nice, fun, 'normal' (not scary or weird or awkward or any of that) guy. Consider all of this as constructive criticism to help you shine, not 'criticism' criticism of who you are.
posted by imalaowai at 10:20 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, take your photos with more of a zoom lens. Say, 50mm and up. Your first photo looks like it was taken with a wide angle lens, which has the effect of making your head look enormous and your legs super-short. Plus, there are few cues in the background to help it read properly and put everything in context.

I think someone linked to an OKC post about these issues early in this thread. Good tips!

(And nthing the sentiment that none of this is criticism of you, just how to best represent yourself in the limited window that OKC provides you)
posted by TangoCharlie at 10:26 PM on October 3, 2011

The two things that stand out for me are the username (I agree with TangoCharlie that it's... not flattering) and the "+10 awesome points" bit which would honestly probably me make me skip over your profile because it kinda makes me think I'd always be being tested on my knowledge of obscure stuff you like.
posted by lwb at 12:44 AM on October 4, 2011

The immediate thing I noticed is that you say you are planning to study abroad soon. If I were looking for a medium to long-term relationship, that would put me off. What's the point in getting together with someone who is about to leave the country?

So I think you need to expect a lower response rate than average with that in there. Maybe take it out if you aren't 100% sure you'll be going. (Unless it's a deliberate attempt to weed out people interested in longer term stuff).
posted by lollusc at 1:06 AM on October 4, 2011

It's the bisexual thing. Most women aren't going to go for that.
posted by joannemullen at 1:24 AM on October 4, 2011

Not sure if anyone asked already, but how often do the girls you write end up visiting your profile? And do you have your account set so people aren't able to visit your page without being logged in? Otherwise, some might try to visit pages after logging off so they aren't in the visitor lists.

I would guess that if they're visiting and not responding, it's more likely the profile. If they're not visiting, then the message probably didn't inspire them to visit at all.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:14 AM on October 4, 2011

As a straight woman who is put off by the bi line, I feel like I need to expand.

I've dated bi men before, so it isn't about needing to stay in the closet. But growing up in a suburb of Houston, bisexuality was generally a pitstop. For the girls it was something to try before settling down, and for boys it was testing the waters before coming out.

I've seen too many guys try the queer lifestyle, and decide they weren't ready for the commitment of always being shit on by society. I can't really blame them, but I also don't want to date them. I have enough hang-ups without worrying that they'll leave me for some guy if and when society stops treating homosexuals like lepers.

Now that I'm in San Francisco, I do feel secure in the knowledge that when a guy tells me he likes women, that means he actually likes women. But it's still enough of a mixed message that I'm not going to invest a lot of time on a guy during low stakes online dating. On a first or second date, I'm going to be willing and comfortable enough to dig into your bisexual identity and determine whether it's something I'm comfortable with.

At the profile stage, it's not even a first date. The stakes are below low.

Another thing: if you're really messaging every woman who seems remotely into indie rock, stop. Not every girl will kiss and tell, but I have gossiped with my friends about online dating, and it's always a dealbreaker when I find out that my friend and I have gotten a similar message from the same guy in the same week. While dating is a numbers game, it feels less like a date and more like a job application when I realize both my friend and I are up for the same gig.

(I am unsure if this is a gender thing, or the difference between looking for a relationship vs fling. I've noticed that my gay friends do not have this hang up, but it's a small sample size)

As for your content: It sounds like a guy who doesn't know what's good about himself. I feel like I could take your profile and apply it to any mid twenty something who's struggling to figure out what he wants in life. And while most twenty somethings are trying to figure out what they want in life, it's not an especially attractive quality. I don't want to date a sexy medic and have him suddenly leave to central america looking for some sort of eat pray love revelation. I want to have a decent idea of what I'm getting into.
posted by politikitty at 2:17 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I did find the airplane jokes funny, but then I have a weird and twisted sense of humour.

But yeah, nthing take it out until they can meet you in person and get a feel for you as a person and not just someone who laughs at plane crashes. It's funnier and more acceptable once you know someone. (It's great watching my boyfriend go from polite to slowly ramping up the humour to completely inappropriate when he meets someone new)
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:54 AM on October 4, 2011

Second-nthing the specific airplane crash thing; elsewhere you asked about whether people shouldn't know you have a dark sense of humor; yes, that bit is fair to mention, but an example may put people off. A few other people have focused on the pics; they didn't look unattractive, but you looked a little...frowny, like you were mad at something.

The two things that stand out for me are the username (I agree with TangoCharlie that it's... not flattering) and the "+10 awesome points" bit which would honestly probably me make me skip over your profile because it kinda makes me think I'd always be being tested on my knowledge of obscure stuff you like.

On the other hand, the "+10 awesome points" is something I'd like as it's kind of a tiny nerdspeak quip, and I look for those. This may be a "your mileage may vary" thing.

Heh; it just took me a few minutes to figure out why so many random people were visiting my profile, and then I realized "hey, wait, mefites!" Heh. (If anyone has any thoughts on mine, memail me? Thanks.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:23 AM on October 4, 2011

Agree with John Cohen and others. I think it would be fine to not disclose any sexual orientation, but that's not an option on a dating site like it is in real life. But I really wouldn't lie about it-- not because you owe it to anyone else, but because it's corrosive to opt in to self-marginalization like that. Besides, it's ultimately a better use of your time to meet one awesome person instead of ten shitty people.
posted by threeants at 6:09 AM on October 4, 2011

Here’s some comments after seeing the front page of your profile (one caveat – this is probably the second or third time I’ve been on a dating page ever):

1. pictures. As many people said, they don’t do you any favours. The one on your front page chops off your head (your head is intact on the photo page, but still, top lopped off at a first glance), then, you and your surroundings are completely leeched of colour, and you’re looking elsewhere. Also, at no time is a top-tilted photo flattering to its subject. The nearest part – in your case the upper half – looks too big, the parts further from the lense look squat. Try pictures (bust and full body) in warm lighting, which highlight the flesh-tones of your skin, without shine, in an inspiring ambiente (café, since you talk about them, outdoors, even something relatively plain, but which does not detract from you or leech you of colour, or point towards the fact that you have no awareness of your surroundings, or no visual sense at all, or that you are lacking in friends who could take good pictures of you and/or advise you on which photo is best.

2. I don’t agree you come across as bland. Quite the contrary – you seem to have so much stuff going on that I cannot quite see how I would fit in. You hope to be off to South America next summer? Your life is pretty full-up what with studying (medical school, I assume, final years, is it, basically, a slaughter-house with little time even for shaving, right?), meeting friends, working out, being fascinated with all manner of things etc. So, where exactly do I fit in? Will you squeeze me in between exams and friends and expanding your horizons? Your life just seems to be so satisfying and full and planned out that it seems to me I would be inevitably fifth fiddle. Don’t want that.
I’m not sure how you could reword to create the impression of someone whose life is full BUT who would also have enough energy and enthusiasm to pour into a relationship. And, to complicate matters, suggest this without coming across as overeager, as others have mentioned above (you must have either amended that, or it is on other parts of your profile, cause to me your front page looks like it could be part of your application as a boy-scout, there is, to my eyes, hardly anything romantic there)

3. 6 things I could never do without. Only two of these (Italian food and shopping) are not either solitary or irrelevant for a romantic partner (friends is really good, but can be very un-romantic if you don’t balance it with “something for which a lover is a first choice”). Could you include something where a potential partner could go “Yes, I’d love to do this with my lover!”

4. The whole medic – studying – history major etc. situation is a bit confusing. I don’t know if you are already a medic who is also doing another degree, or a history graduate who is now studying medicine, or what. Maybe this is just me. It is also possible that highlighting this two degrees thing is very intimidating. What can I with my one degree bring to someone so hard-working and accomplished? Especially if you keep in mind point 2. above.

5. You enumerate a lot of likes and interests and qualifications in your profile, but they are all somewhat in the abstract. There is little sensuousness here. Maybe introduce it somewhere – you don’t have to go overboard, but, for instance, you could elaborate on “Italian food” – say, well-cooked bla, bla, bla with a glass of red wine and good music? Or I love history – imagining what other people’s day-to-day lives were like before bla, bla, or, I found a letter written by xyz to her lover who was travelling the high seas, and which reached him three years later – all of this reminding me how amazing it is that I can write this, click a button, and have anyone read it anywhere in the world the next second. Whatever, anything that makes you sound more present in the world and less abstract.

6. Your first paragraph is quite generic. You have “medic” and “S. Antonio” as you-specific, but the remainder is indeed bland (as opposed to the whole lot of your first page). Make at least one of those things more personal and specific: “I love going out , be it for a quick coffee, or a couple of rounds with friends, to the local buffalo museum or for impromptu white-water rafting adventures followed by campfires”. Your next couple of sentences are somewhere along the right track, but still a bit general. Draw on your memories of such outings to paint a little scene – something someone could do with you. Or something that is very characteristic of you. Or some such. As it stands now, this paragraph plus your pic. are, indeed, a bit uninspiring and don’t do you justice at all.

Good luck! Get a good picture, you sound rather interesting and cool.
posted by miorita at 6:59 AM on October 4, 2011

1) Too much "love." The word is in your profile six times, twice in the first three sentences. It adds up to feeling off, like some form of desperation or at least a muddling of what "love" means, which is not a great impression to build in people thinking about dating. Knock that back to one or two uses tops, and only use it to represent a true superlative (if you're not talking about the emotion itself).

2) Better pictures. Connect with emotion through them, even if the emotion is an eyebrow raised in wry acknowledgement of the vanity of the endeavor. That, and not making people wonder if you've got moobs.

3) Do separate profiles for men and women, even if it means alternating over time on one account.
posted by NortonDC at 7:28 AM on October 4, 2011

(liking "indie rock" is actually about as specific as I can get. I like the sound but don't know many bands off hand)

Well, if you do like it, get into some specific bands; then you can specifically mention them, which could lead to a conversation (what did you think of their last album? have you seen them live?). I've used online dating enough that I now just gloss over references like "indie rock," which has become so commonplace it's like saying "I like music." It isn't a negative, but it isn't much of a positive. Liking music is fine, but so do most people, so that becomes a wash -- whereas if I know you share my love of the Beatles or Regina Spektor or Mozart, then we can have a conversation about it.
posted by John Cohen at 7:58 AM on October 4, 2011

There's NOTHING wrong with you. While it can't be blamed solely on OKC, I will say that men far outweigh the women on the site and because of this, a very certain few women get tons of messages that they never respond to. So unless you just completely sweep them off their feet with your words, it may be best to let them come to you. I guess it's also possible you're messaging men. Unfortunately I don't have the specifics for bi/gay men on the site.

I feel like I need to have the "pep talk" I give to my single female friends:

There's nothing wrong with you, you will meet someone someday when you're ready to settle down that loves you for exactly who you are!

There's a forum on OKCupid that's only available by Googling "OKC Forums". Check it out. They can also give you advice on what's "wrong" with your profile... there's even a section called "Success-Fail"... which is mostly bitching about bad dates and people that don't message you back. But seriously. You haven't been on there long. Just be patient and give it some time!!! Good luck to you...
posted by camylanded at 8:09 AM on October 4, 2011

On the bi note, I'll let you know what I did. I noticed that there were people who weren't passing my filters precisely because I checked the bisexual box. Yet despite the fact that they hadn't clicked the appropriate box. they actually had no problem with that. So I clicked "straight" even though it felt like lying, then added an explanatory note in my profile stating that I'm bi, and what that means to me right now (ie more attracted to men, but not gonna lie about having had relationships with women.) So far, it's worked, and not felt like too much of a copout to me.

It also cut WAY down on men looking for someone to go to sleep with them and their girlfriend, which I had a major problem with before. As a man, YMMV with that I'd guess.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 8:40 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is what I noticed when I looked at your profile: Your clothing.

The t-shirt, pants and boots would be a turn off for me. The tshirt is passable, but instead of cargo pants (is that what they are?) and boots, you should do jeans and a nice sneaker. Or a dressier outfit. Plus, I hate tucked in tshirts (reminds me of my father in law).

Redo your pics with new clothing, look at the camera and smile!
posted by Sweetmag at 9:22 AM on October 4, 2011

i remember reading a mefi thread where someone said as soon as they changed their profile to describe exactly who they are and what they are looking for that they found the right person. so my first piece of advice is to not change the bi-sexual thing, but i will tell you honestly that would turn off a lot of women (i can only speak from female perspective). The picture thing - yes, get (1) better pictures, hopefully of you smiling or looking somewhat happy (that is if you are) (2) more pictures - the more information the better, however only if they are good pictures. online dating never worked for me fwiw and i found my current squeeze an old fashioned way, meeting at a bar.
posted by BlueMartini7 at 11:11 AM on October 4, 2011

Another thing that occurred to me is that some women might be put off by seeing that you are bi because they think you might be more feminine or feminine-acting than other guys. I hesitate to even say that because it feels like enforcing things that I think are stupid and wrong, but I mention it because I do think it's one of the things that might be going on here.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:43 AM on October 4, 2011

Lady here. About the bisexual thing - I'm married so it's kind of hard to get into the dating mindset, but bisexual has associations of non-monogamy for me. I've only ever know two bisexual fellas and neither were doing monogamy. And, I would venture that for most people (myself included), it means a primary orientation accompanied by the desire to experiment with the other sex. That's the association I have, and I think many other women share that idea, whether we're right or wrong.

Now, I would encourage you not to remove the bisexual thing - it's who you are, right? But stress elsewhere that you're seeking a monogamous relationship. Were I seeking, I would find a bisexual dude pretty intriguing. I also think it's kind of hot. Your willingness to put it out there shows confidence, too. BUT, I would want to know that if we started dating seriously, you wouldn't be out there experimenting with other guys at the same time, or you wouldn't be needing to go sow some wild oats before you were able to commit.
posted by kitcat at 11:56 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

1) Is this a typical OkCupid experience?

Unfortunately, yes. In addition to what others have said about the male/female ratio on OKC there is a psychological aspect of choice on the internet. I think that, to the women on these dating websites, there can seem like a limitless supply of men. So anyone who displays 1% of something distasteful is rejected at the very beginning. I think this can be seen in some of the comments from women above. In contrast, in real life, if you pass a "good enough" criteria you can continue to see someone and further a relationship.
posted by cupcake1337 at 11:58 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

The photos and the "bi" identification are what's doing it. If you're genuinely searching for / open to both sexes then I think you should definitely keep the bisexuality identifier there. If you're only searching for one sex or would prefer one sex I would switch to the appropriate identifer for that sex and then note further down in your profile that you're actually bisexual.

On photos, I would study carefully the OKCupid blog links above re the photos that do best. Both photos seem awkward and forced, I think with the right clothing and a sense of calm and confidence to your expression you could be quite attractive.

You seem like a pleasant, gentle, curious person in your writeup -- disagree with others who said you seemed bland. But the final "you should email me if..." does seem a touch bland. Think more positively, if you had choice what kind of person would you really want? What would be the fantasy person who would come into your life? Then write it around an invitation to such a person. Then you would have more of a tone of someone with options who was looking for an adventure.
posted by zipadee at 2:19 PM on October 4, 2011

Here's my profile (logged in members only, creepos). I'm certainly no casanova, but what I have there definitely worked for me even though I've cooled off on the online dating scene the last couple months.

Auto-correct's profile is completely rocking and an example of how to do a great online profile -- it mingles relaxed and exciting in the perfect way. But the thing about online profiles is that everyone had to learn to strike that note for their own personality, you can't imitate someone else.

Plus, he's 6'4", an advantage that other men really can't copy.
posted by zipadee at 2:22 PM on October 4, 2011

I think there's a lot of list, and not so much explanation.

You like dinner at restaurants, diners and dives? So that leaves not liking food trucks? Chains? You talk about loving non-fiction, and then rattle off a list of eight fiction writers. All of which would be on the list of any nerd.

I feel like the best profiles quickly distill the person into a caricature and then elaborate on the quirks that set them apart. "I'm your typical sci fi dork who grew up with too much Asimov, and occasionally enjoys community theater"

Personally, you come across as kinda a peter pan hipster. You don't seem interested in growing up. You don't post anything about what you want out of life, or who you want in your life. It's not enough to know that you'd like to hear my life story. Do you want a fwb, are you looking for a relationship? What does that relationship look like in your head? Nights in watching cartoons, or crazy fun adventures?
posted by politikitty at 6:19 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm in your age range and would be potentially dating you if I weren't married. I wouldn't respond to your profile and here's why:

If you are a medic, in San Antonio (Army medic training capital) and have that short hair cut, I'm assuming that you are military (but soon to be out?). If so, post pictures of yourself in uniform and talk a bit about your military experience. I'd wonder why you aren't being clear about your military experience. Are you ashamed of it?

If you aren't military, you could be confusing people. I'd specify what type of medic you are.

The short hair combined with the balding factor makes you look older than you are. Combined with talk of being a student, I'd worry that you'd be one of those guys who tries to act like he's 20 when he's 30. If I were you, I'd go completely bald, which I think would make you look younger, closer to your actual age.

Say if you want children or not. A lot of women in your age range know if they do or if they don't. If they do, they don't want to waste their time with men who don't.

Also, although I'm a bisexual woman and like bisexual men, I had a lot of negative experience experience with bisexual men on okcupid so I'm automatically wary of them. I'm monogamous and all of the openly bisexual men I met very much weren't. If I were a bisexual man searching for women on okcupid, I'd mark myself as straight, and then clarify in my profile. I changed my profile from bisexual to straight since I was tired of all the people harassing me for threesomes, even though I made it very clear in my profile that I wasn't interested in that.
posted by avagoyle at 11:29 AM on October 6, 2011

If so, post pictures of yourself in uniform and talk a bit about your military experience. I'd wonder why you aren't being clear about your military experience.
Are you ashamed of it?

until very recently being openly bi in the military would be grounds to be kicked out. also, explicitly saying he was in the military would make it a lot easier for his bosses to see his profile. do you list what company you work for and the department you're in? probably not, since some things in your dating profile would not be appropriate to share with work colleagues.
posted by cupcake1337 at 10:09 AM on October 7, 2011

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