Need some OKCupid coaching for profiles
April 16, 2012 1:03 AM   Subscribe

How important is it to have the perfect OKCupid profile? What might be wrong with mine?

I'm new to OKCupid. Man looking for woman. Shocker!

How important is it to spend infinite time, pulling a Don Draper, crafting the perfect copy for an OKCupid profile - versus... say... using that time to craft the perfect message?

[BTW, yes, I know there are no pictures. This is intentional... for now. I'm still crafting the copy. Also, I don't really live in Alaska.]

What are the biggest mistakes people can make in an OKCupid profile? Did I make any in my profile?

Is it better to have a shorter profile (more mystery!) or a longer profile (data dump)? Is mine considered to be short/long/medium?

What could I do better about my profile (aside from the obvious lack of photos)?

Are and okcupid profiles interchangeable? (with some reshuffling, obviously since match doesn't have those questions.)

posted by veryblue1 to Human Relations (71 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Looks good! Geeky/athletic with an offbeat sense of humor. Pictures are a must as is an accurate location, but you already know that.

Maybe slip something in there about who you are looking for (or not looking for)?

Good luck!
posted by myselfasme at 1:15 AM on April 16, 2012

Disclaimer: I'm not on OKCupid and will never be, although I've been on similar sites in the past.

But here is my two cents worth:

The dead twin brother bit put me off immediately, even if it was a joke.

Too many exclamation marks! There's no need to stun me with your enthusiasm! A profile that is more laid-back is much more appealing to me, personally.

Typo in the 'making people laugh' bit makes me think you bashed it out quickly on your phone, which triggers a how-serious-is-he-about-finding-someone-anyway vibe.

And why on deity-of-choice's green earth would you say you live in Alaska if you don't?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:18 AM on April 16, 2012 [6 favorites]

It reads a little 'trying too hard' to me, with the constant jokes. I'd try the profile as is (with pics), but I'd tweak it a bit to be a little more serious if you don't get the responses you would like.
posted by studioaudience at 1:20 AM on April 16, 2012 [14 favorites]

Yeah, easy on the exclamation marks. You mentioned you were funny twice; you might actually be, but I kinda feel if I were to go out with you, I would feel obligated to laugh just to make you feel better.

Otherwise, I think the blurb about the divorce showed maturity and openness; I don't know if it's necessary to include that in the profile though... maybe in early-stage messaging?
posted by shipsthatburn at 1:31 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

As a guy who used OKCupid with moderate success, to me the number one turnoff was a profile that is dull and lacks personality. Number two is probably one that is full of personality, but the wrong kind of personality, but that's not a bad thing -- it just means they're not a good match. If you really are the type who babbles with jokes, then you might as well own it, because some people will find it charming, and those are the ones who you want to find.

The "looking for new friends" would puzzle me as it's a dating site, and I'd wonder if you want dates, or what. I tend to appreciate people who are explicit about what they are looking for.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:33 AM on April 16, 2012

1. Recent pictures
2. Stop using so many exclamation matks.
3. Answer at least 100 of the silly ok cupid questions...that will get you more visitors and quiver matches.
4. Do not lie about age, height, or build. (Not saying you are...just saying not to do so.)
5. Good on you for being honest about the divorce situation.
6. Make sure you don't use the same username on okc that you use elsewhere.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:35 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

malibustacey9999: " And why on deity-of-choice's green earth would you say you live in Alaska if you don't?"

I think that's just temporary for this question, like how the name is "is my profile good." So you know, when he goes live, we won't connect his account with this question.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:38 AM on April 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I read it a few times and still feel like I don't know much about you beyond 'likes to subject people to non-stop jokes, not all of which are all that amusing.' I would ditch the entire 'self-summary' and re-write with something less breathless, more serious.

Also, too much "etc."

I did like the upfront, cheerful, happy-to-talk-or-not about your current relationship status. You come off well when not forcing jokes.

"Thus, I only want to surround myself with awesome people, in awesome places, doing awesome things" made me question the stated interest in "... helping others."

You're 'really good at' making people laugh, and 'the first things people usually notice about me: that I'm pretty funny' are...I mean, the knee-jerk is 'no.' There are too many unfunny jokes, and telling us twice how hilarious you are is at least one, possibly two, too many times to tell us. If you're that much of a laff riot we'll get it from reading the profile, which is right now not that funny, and which shouldn't be a non-stop joke anyway.

Maybe throw out some slightly more personal stuff? The profile sometimes comes off as artificially upbeat and it leaves one wondering what you are like when you are serious.

(I would say it's medium; the length is fine)
posted by kmennie at 1:56 AM on April 16, 2012 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Since we both like lists…

A) Dead brother corporate mine opening turned me off from reading it, and I'm a dude.

B) You seem to be play-acting the whole thing 'geeky… geeky… cool teammates' and it comes off as trying a bit too hard.

C) Your ego comes across perhaps more inflated than you intended. "I've never had trouble finding a job, I have these patents, I make people laugh… I… I… I…"

D) I love shows that make you laugh, make you think, are daring, or are outright original in some way. This was a strange moment, for after all of the I's that came across, I literally thought the "you" here meant "me", which it didn't. It's the royal you, of everyone. It was disappointing because it seemed like a break from the "I Show" to be about the reader, but then it wasn't.

E) Putting your target person as #3 on the list after yourself and the number 1? It's odd. It seems like a joke but also looks really awkward there.

F) Word analysis:
• "I" 35 times
• "my" 15 times
• "you" 10 times
• "I'd" 9 times

"I": 59, "you": 10.

G) How do each of the following make you feel? (rhetorical question).

I hope it's clear the conclusion that I'm trying to get across. I don't write a lot of online dating profiles but I do write professionally -- go me! You get a lot of good advice on Metafilter, I find this community really supportive, and I enjoy reading it.


H) You've done well at starting to describe yourself, and we're interested to hear more. I don't write many online dating profiles, but I do have a strong eye for content. This forum is a great place to get feedback, and that we're both here means we have similar interests.
posted by nickrussell at 2:05 AM on April 16, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I agree with kmennie. The part in italics is the most endearing because it rings the most true. You're showing an openness and trusting people to like you for who you are, which is attractive. Again, not sure if it's necessary, but that's definitely the tone to shoot for.

Also seconding the note about knowing what you are looking for. If you're quirky or have a unique perspective, feel free to be yourself, but really be yourself, not some sales pitch of yourself, and even then expect a lot of non-responses. (I know a guy who wrote his whole profile in a Platonic dialogue. He didn't get many replies but ended up loving one of them.) Alternatively you could tone it down a bit, connect with whoever comes along, and let the dates decide. Both attitudes work if you come at it authentically. Good luck!
posted by vecchio at 2:16 AM on April 16, 2012

I agree with what's been said above, but would like to add that after the first four questions you come off as really interesting and fun. The first four (apart from nr. 2) need rewriting, though, they sound overly stand up comedian-y or sales pitch-y.

The enthusiasm in "I really really like lists" amuses me. Perhaps you could write one of the answers as a list, to prove it?
posted by Omnomnom at 2:54 AM on April 16, 2012

It may be all the exclamation points, but it may also just be that you're separated. Many women are not going to go for that, no matter how well you phrase it.

Otherwise, I think you should adapt CoCo Chanel's rule for accessories: before you publish your profile, go back and remove half the jokes and witticisms and quirks. Follow the same rule before sending emails.
posted by yarly at 3:10 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and the problem with the movie jokes is that it comes very first in your profile. You need to start out with sincerity.
posted by yarly at 3:12 AM on April 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

(sorry for the triple post) ... I think I would also be put off by the last part on "awesomeness." Coming after the part on divorce it makes me wonder, did you divorce because your wife was not "awesome" enough? Most people don't regard themselves as awesome, so it is a kinda high bar for you to suggest that your dates must be awesome - it would put me off to think that I could not just be normal and instead would have to be constanly awesome for you to like me.
posted by yarly at 3:18 AM on April 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

I would rewrite most of this, honestly. It's pushing so hard on the coolness factor that I don't have any idea which parts of it are sincere and which are just trying to impress people. Don't worry so much about a funny, "interesting" profile, just say who you are and what you're looking for.
posted by xingcat at 4:06 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm female (tho admittedly not your typical online dating demographic), and I found the whole thing pretty off-turning.

A lot of what you wrote is filler material and doesn't tell me anything about yourself (other than you're trying to be funny). You like shoes and the number 1? Come on. Same about the whole of "I spend a lot of time thinking about" spiel. It's a standup pitch, and it's not honest (I very much doubt you actually lie in bed thinking about Bieber the Canadian terrorist).

I wouldn't actually read past the self-summary to be completely honest. You've just wasted 100 words, and all I've learnt about you is that you know the plots of some movies. (And sorry, I didn't find it funny either.)

I think the only reason I may contact you is cuz I'd want to know more about the geeky stuff you've worked on that I may have used. Tho I think I'd appreciate if you were more specific about that too. The whole profile seems like a guessing game. Why can't you say what industry you're in? Why can't you even say which team sport you play?

There you go, just my 2 cents.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 4:11 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

I agree that the whole first section should be actually about you, and not just a joke. When I was on OK Cupid I liked profiles that really let me get a feel for the now-husband's profile was sincere and informative. Put a little bit more of yourself out there, instead of just joking.
posted by christinetheslp at 4:37 AM on April 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

You are trying way too hard.

Get rid of all the gimmicks. Read through what you wrote, and ask yourself, "is this me, or is nts an ego-focused sales pitch for how I see myself?" if the latter, nix it.

Remember that your profile needs to be honest and interesting, but only enough that you start chatting with someone. You aren't supposed to beconstructing a persona to date here, but rather, just explaining who you are.
posted by ellF at 4:41 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's a lot of good stuff going on in your profile. You're positive and upbeat and you can spell. (Using "I" a lot is not necessarily bad - OKC published an article a while back saying that men who use "I" more are less likely to be lying).

If I were reading your profile I'd come away with the idea that you are funny and smart and have patents, but I wouldn't really have any sense of you beyond that, and I would struggle to think of what to say to you in an opening email. So put more of *yourself* in there. And don't explain to people that you're funny. Let them figure it out.

I know you're being cautious about making yourself identifiable, but something like this: "I play on a team sport with my cool teammates." would be so much more interesting if you told us what sport it is. Vagueness is blah. Details give people something to respond to. Telling us how you really feel about it, instead of just that your teammates are cool, would give people something to connect to, something to respond to. So -- more personal detail.

I like that you're upfront about the divorce.

I agree with comments above that you can dial back on the intensity a notch or two.
posted by bunderful at 4:48 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

" that I seem to know way too much about way too many things"

I would take this out. People hate know it alls, it's a cliche, and it sounds arrogant.
posted by jayder at 4:56 AM on April 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

I have to agree with the others who say this is off putting. Your constant attempts at humor gave me very little understanding of who you actually are or why I would want to date you. I would be fearful that a date with you would be like a comedy act requiring a two drink minimum. Look, I love to laugh and be with funny people, but when a person can't turn their humor off (as your profile mostly suggests), it is exhausting and not terribly fun or enriching.

I would also drop the "awesomes". Describe instead what would make your day, a date, or your life fulfilled. Awesome is just too vague and lacks seriousness as well.

I would rather start over with a tone similar to what you wrote about your separation. That language was thoughtful and endearing. If you can match that tone throughout, I think you will have more success.
posted by murrey at 5:01 AM on April 16, 2012 [7 favorites]

Other posters have covered most of my thoughts, but there are a couple of things specific to the way OKCupid operates which you might not be aware of.

When a woman searches for men in her area the search results will, for each man, display the first paragraph or so from a random section of his profile. This means that you should write each section thinking about what impression it might give of you when viewed in isolation and particularly how it might look if it were truncated.

For this reason I would rewrite your first section. It doesn't say anything about you as a person and the punchline's most likely going to get cut off anyway. I'd also add an additional paragraph at the start of the final section. Your honesty there is great, but you probably don't want that to be the first thing people see.

You also don't need to complete every single section. The randomisation function means you're better off leaving sections blank than presenting weak content.

And answer as many of the match questions as you can. A lot of women will auto-block messages from guys who haven't answered enough questions.
posted by the latin mouse at 5:12 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I agree with everyone saying that the dead brother joke falls flat, and having it as the very first sentence of the profile sets everything else up for failure. For a split second I was thinking "holy crap, how traumatic to lose a twin" and then "if he has to mention it immediately, he's probably got some serious unresolved issues." Realizing it was a joke made me feel a little cheated.

Some of the other stuff, going roughly in order of my reading your profile:

- You brag without providing any useful information. "There's really a good chance you've used something I've worked on" and "Never did I think I'd have a patent" come off as smug, and I have zero idea what you actually do. You're trying to get dates, not interviews.

- Also, "I work on geeky stuff" is incredibly vague, especially considering the near-meaninglessness of the word "geek" these days. "Geek" means anything from "Yeah, I have an iPhone and a blog" to "I collect crap that looks like TARDISes" to "I love to discuss number theory and am mystified when people don't understand/aren't interested." Are you a web developer, electrical engineer, product designer, "social media guru"? Are you keeping it vague because you don't like to give too much information, or because you think the audience won't understand? You don't have to be super-specific or explain the details of your job, just give us a general direction.

- If I were going through a printed copy of your profile with a red pen, I'd circle the word "MBA" and write "Douchebag??" in the margin. Sorry, guy, I know you aren't. There's some anti-MBA prejudice among the non-MBA set, which is a lot of OKCupid users. No one good is going to turn you down for having an MBA, of course, but they may assume you're a workaholic, or blandly corporate, or overly ambitious, or something like that, and you're going to have to prove you have a life and personality outside of work.

- A lot of your bullet points end with a cheery summary about how Life's Too Short! and Fun Is Important! It's not necessary, and it gets a little repetitive and starts to ring false after a while.

- You mention typography and design, and that's the first thing in your profile so far that I'd be inclined to start a conversation about. It's specific and something I have opinions about, too! But it's buried. More hooks like this, please.

- Panda Express is not exactly what I'd call a "great restaurant." You might want to put a "yeah, I like the occasional Americanized fast-food chain, nothing wrong with that" sort of thing in there. Otherwise it seems like more evidence of corporate blandness (and possibly not-quite-getting-it-ness).

- Also, you don't mention books. I usually don't pay much attention to the books/movies/music part of the profile, but you do read for pleasure occasionally, right? Even if it's just The Hunger Girl with the Twilight Dragon and you only thought it was okay, mention something.

- The next three sections are jokey and seem a little rushed.

- I really like the part about your liking Sbarro. It gives you a little bit of background and introduces just a teensy bit of self-deprecation. This is the first thing you've written where your personality starts to come across. Also, I'm starting to forgive you for Panda Express.

- I also really appreciate that you mention the amicable divorce thing up front.

- The "I want to do awesome things" summary, combined with a lot of the exclamationy stuff up above, makes me think you're one of those people who's interested in Really Living To The Fullest in this sort of life-coachy way. Those kinds of people can be hard to live up to, and I sometimes feel like they're judging me if I just want to sit on the couch instead of racking up experiences every moment of free time.

To sum up: less jokiness, less bragging, less cheeriness, more of you.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:13 AM on April 16, 2012 [10 favorites]

I would like to address another point, namely: 'crafting the perfect message'. Do not even think about writing messages with the idea that you are 'crafting' something. Would you agonize for hours over what to say to, for example, a friend-of-a-friend you'd just been introduced to? Or would you just say hi and talk about something you've noticed recently and ask them a question about themselves?

If I think someone has spent a significant amount of time writing and rewriting a super long message to me, I will worry that he has invested too much in the idea of me before I've even spoken to him.

Here is my rule of thumb when messaging guys: comment about something in their profile that we have in common. Question about something in their profile that I'm curious about. That's it! 2 or 3 sentences. This is way way better than 5 paragraphs... and it allows you the time to message lots and lots of people, which you should also be doing. Send a message and then forget you sent it until you hear back.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:43 AM on April 16, 2012 [5 favorites]

To sum up: less jokiness, less bragging, less cheeriness, more of you.

This. Now, clearly I'm not the right demographic, but I walked away from this with not much sense of who you are and what you are looking for. Almost all of it is super generic -- what does "awesome people, in awesome places, doing awesome things" actually mean, for example?

I'd suggest rewriting with no exclamation marks and no "etc"s, and with actual detail and information, as others here have said. Don't write for everyone -- write for your actual audience, the woman or women you are attracted to and are hoping will respond to your profile.

But I'd also read through some of the posts on the OK Cupid Blog, where they parse through information about what works and what doesn't in one's profile and messaging. They have mountains of data, and they have extracted some really interesting lessons from it.
posted by Forktine at 5:49 AM on April 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

You don't need a perfect profile. You also don't need a perfect message. You just need an ok profile and ok messages that give a sense of who you are and what you find cool about the person you're messaging.

If who you really are -- all the time -- is this exhaustingly upbeat, maybe low-content guy, you should keep your profile as is because ultimately you want someone who's into you. But like everyone else, I found those aspects off-putting.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:05 AM on April 16, 2012

I like it except for the first section. Too much time and effort for a not-great joke.

Also it might help not to say you're funny, just be funny.

Lots of guys think they are funnier than they are and it can get tedious and "I'm funny, here is proof from a boss/coworker" makes me think you're less funny than you think. That TOTALLY MIGHT NOT BE TRUE. You might be really funny, but saying so gives off the opposite impression.

Good luck!
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:06 AM on April 16, 2012

I agree with all the above suggestions to focus more on sincerity over jokiness. I am amazed and delighted to report that I, World's Biggest Online Dating Skeptic, met my husband on OKCupid. His profile was refreshingly straightforward, and that plus his adorable profile photo prompted me to message him. His profile wasn't too long, but it was well-written and full of practical information about things he enjoys doing (so I knew we'd have no trouble finding something to do on our dates), obligatory cultural "likes," and just enough personal information to provide a filter (he has kids, so sharing that eliminated women who wouldn't want to date anyone with kids, for example) without disclosing too much. I think a lot of women find oversharing off-putting in a public forum, so try to strike a balance: equal parts sincerity, pragmatism, personality. Good luck!
posted by little mouth at 6:08 AM on April 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

As a female in your target demographic, I'd be a little put off by your requested age range: willing to go 11 years down but only 5 up. Maybe that's just the now-over-30 fear in me talking though.

I also would find it a little long, and prefer to message guys who leave something to the imagination. Cut it to half that length, and it's intriguing. Super long, and it seems you're trying too hard.

I actually like your jokey first section. I also think you were funny but maybe a little too subtle when ending your favourites lists with jokey 'wrong' answers (I assume that was the point of adding Panda Express, Rebecca Black, etc.)

Good luck!
posted by Pomo at 6:10 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

One thing I think you should keep in mind is that there is no such thing as the "perfect" OKCupid profile.

Your profile does not indicate that you are good at "keeping it real" because you come off as putting on a show for the reader.

Your section about books/movies/etc is actually gives the reader some insight into who you are. As others have said, what team sport do you play? That could be a big conversation point.

Take out the exclamation points, take out the jokes in your self summary and write a real one with subtle humor, and don't tell the reader that you are funny. It's like if you have to explain the joke it makes it less the same way if you have to tell people you're funny it makes you not funny. Be subtle.
posted by fromageball at 6:12 AM on April 16, 2012

Best answer: As someone who's probably not terribly far outside of your target demographic, I'd find this profile really offputting. It sounds self-important and self-congratulatory, more like a marketing campaign than it does a sincere attempt to meet someone with whom you you could have a lasting relationship.

It also sounds to me like you're trying way too hard to be The Perfect, Nondescript Romance-Movie Hero: I'm cool! I'm funny! I'm nerdy, but don't worry, not too nerdy. I love really fancy restaurants, but I'm also down to earth and like stuff like In 'n' Out! Classical music is great, but Rebecca Black gets a [presumably ironic] nod to prove that I can dig anything. You're implying all this stuff in the profile, but -- well, you've been told in English class at some point to show, not tell, right? You're telling, and then not even giving any show-y details to back it up.

A profile like this also makes you seem high-maintenance--maybe you're not, but this sounds like...well, like someone didn't get enough attention when they were a kid.

I was surprised by how little information you put in about what you're looking for--really, your only requirements are that they be female, in your area, and probably younger than you? Ick. I'd flesh this out--it doesn't have to be an encyclopedic answer, but more of an idea of what you're looking for (someone who loves the bar scene? who's into sports? who wants to learn gourmet Thai cooking with you?) would make this feel less desperate. Right now it seems like you've got minimal standards for a warm, willing woman, and you're trying really, really hard to get one.

If nothing else, cut the first section. Dead twin got a second of sympathy before I realized it was a joke; the paragraph about workplace harassment got a double take because I went Wait, wtf, he's telling us that he was convicted of sexual harassment!?. I know it's meant to be funny, but people don't hit OK Cupid or the like expecting a nonstop stream of patter, and this is one of those times when I'd argue that mixing it up and giving people the unexpected isn't going to end with great results.
posted by MeghanC at 6:16 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Your profile should really be less of a "pitch" and more a showcase of your personality. You want to give someone reading your profile an idea of whether or not they want to meet up with you.

"Show, don't tell" is a good rule of thumb. One of the classic mistakes in profiles is to assume that saying "I'm a good listener and I'm loyal to my friends" is the same as demonstrating, through your voice and a snapshot of your daily life, that you are loyal and a good listener. Details are key. Instead of saying you want to do something awesome, why not come up with a list of three examples – skydiving, rolling derby, and hot pot, for instance – to give your prospective date something enticing to think about that might segue into a date?

In your profile, I think you could be a bit more candid. It's good that you're demonstrating your sense of humor, but you don't want to seem disingenuous by overdoing it.

As far as messages go, I cannot stress enough how important it is to not send a long, polished message. Again, it will sound very much like a "pitch" to the lady you're courting. The trick is to use the web communication method to sound casual and laid-back, like you do this all the time. I've found short messages like
hey, I saw you like X. What did you think of Y?
are much more effective at getting a response than a long message that carefully targets several points in her profile. Why? It's hard to say. I would guess that long messages in the online dating context are intimidating. A long message also makes it seem like you've spent too much time preparing. You don't want to come across as desperate.

You should also exchange messages no more than three times back and forth before you ask her out. The online dating world is not really distinct from the 'real' dating world. She's going to be confused if you keep talking to her but don't ask her out almost immediately. Remember, your goal is to land dates.

It's also useful to think of your first okcupid date as "date zero". You haven't met yet. You have no idea if you really want to date this person, which is why you're meeting up. So don't take it as personal if, after a first meet-up, you don't hear from them again.
posted by deathpanels at 6:17 AM on April 16, 2012 [6 favorites]

I just have a couple of additions to what other commenters have said! (I'm a woman who's used OKCupid in the past, and I hear a lot about friends' OKC experiences.)

1. It's very common but a little off-putting when men are looking for women much younger but not much older than themselves - being 35 and interested in women 24-40 isn't a huge red flag, but it would be more appealing to my friends if the range were closer to even. (And if you're thinking in terms of starting a family, make sure to answer the question about kids.)

2. A couple of people touch on this, but it's helpful to have things in your profile that make it easy for people to make conversation - you want women to notice things you have in common, and ask questions about them, like "where do you like to go hiking?" or "are you a big fan of sport x or do you mostly like playing it?" The most responses I've ever gotten (as a woman interested in dating women) was when I asked for crockpot recipes in my profile.
posted by songs about trains at 6:17 AM on April 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

Oh and you sound like you make a decent living, which is something to hint more strongly at (like, do you ski? stuff like that, put it in there). It will help.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:19 AM on April 16, 2012

hey, I saw you like X. What did you think of Y?

This is spot on. All you need in the first message is something that indicates you read her profile (to prove you're interested in her, not spray messaging women indiscriminately) and a low-key question she can answer (always make it easy for her to reply to you). Much more than that is probably overthinking it. Let your profile do the legwork.

Oh, and you're also not using keywords in your profile yet. You might want to try that. To create keywords surround the relevant word or phrase in double square brackets [[like this]].

There may be a woman in your area searching OK Cupid for a typography geek who likes Mad Men just as much as she does! Using keywords will make it easier for the site to match the two of you up.

Words already in your profile that would make good keywords are geeky, exercise, typography, design and all the restaurants/artists/shows etc in the media section.
posted by the latin mouse at 6:27 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Hm. I do use OKC, and I'd never make it past your first couple of paragraphs - it just seems like you're trying too hard.

Also, nthing the "No books?" thing - I auto pass on people who don't list at least a few authors (but reading is a huge deal to me, and maybe not to everyone).

It's weird because there's a lot about you in the profile, but nothing that lends itself easily to striking up a conversation. If I have to try too hard to think of something to say in an email to you, I'll just move on.

And also nthing the "trying too hard" - just be sincere and open. If you're funny, it will come out in your interactions with people.
posted by dotgirl at 6:33 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

An OkCupid profile is a collection of conversation starters. From my experience, the following things make good conversation starters:
  • food, especially specific dishes (talking about food is the gentleman's talking about sex)
  • interesting projects you have worked on, in detail
  • nerdy slice-of-life moments (like "I wish I had a sonic screwdriver", not the Avatar reference that nobody in this thread seems to get)
  • admitting "guilty pleasures" - your sbarro bit is good at this
the following things are useless noise:
  • listing your favorite books, movies, tv without commentary
  • humblebrags, e.g. everything in your "I'm really good at" section
  • dating site cliches, even when you are mocking them

posted by modernserf at 6:35 AM on April 16, 2012 [10 favorites]

It definitely needs more specifics. When I get a message from someone on OKCupid, I want to look at their profile and find something -- anything -- that we have in common. A musical genre we're both into, similar taste in movies or books, etc. I like your favorites section, for the most part, but the rest of your profile is unhelpful and in several cases off-putting.

Also, as a food nerd, who likes both high and low-brow restaurants, listing both Per Se and Panda Express makes you look like a dork. In n' Out gets a pass because it's got cred, but Panda Express is just weird. Plus, unless you travel unbelievably often, listing restaurants all over the world as among your favorites makes me think you're trying too hard. Either they're places you've had one amazing meal once (in which case, I'd eventually like to hear about it, but I don't think describing it like it's a regular haunt is legit), or you travel constantly, in which case, you should be explicit about that.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:38 AM on April 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm a lady that does the online dating thing sometimes, and I nth all of the people above that say you are trying too hard, and I don't think your profile accurately represents you as a person.

The person who wrote this sounds like an overwhelming and tiresome individual to be around. I am pretty cool and quirky, but without even knowing you, I would assume that whomever wrote this would be always trying to outfunny or outclever or outaccomplish me. Relationships are a partnership. The awesome thing about having a partner is that you're automatically on the same team. I took a quick look at some of your other asks, and it's obvious that you are NOT the person that this profile sounds like it was written by.

The self-summary is the part that needs the most work. Being funny is great. Telling someone that you're funny- not so much. This section should be mostly sincere and actually give people information about you.

There is also some unnecessary ego implied in a lot of your statements. You don't need to tell everybody upfront that you invented the universal hobgobden solution. I'm not saying that you should be overly humble or modest, because hey! Awesome is good! confidence is good! But these kinds of "proofs" of your awesomeness are much better and more effective when subtly dropped into conversation after you actually know the person.

And what kind of women are you looking for? What kinds of traits does your ideal awesome partner have? There is nothing here (except maybe the existence of the profile) that indicates that you want a romantic relationship.

Under your list of essentials, it's a big big big big turnoff for me when men put "you" (which happens a lot). You don't know me (me, the person reading the profile) at all! It comes across as a combination of smug and desperate and some other unfavorable adjective.

I do like the tone you've written in, which is hopefully true to who you are, and some of the bits like Life's too short to pretend you are what you aren't and the candid bit about your divorce are great. I like to listen to music with my eyes closed - but I'd also prefer not to get mugged. made me laugh out loud. You just need some editing to go from maybe ok to definitely great.

tldr: You don't need to explicitly state how awesome and funny and smart you are. Just BE awesome and funny and smart (which you are of course, duh) and the right person will pick up on that and life will be fantastic
posted by sarahnicolesays at 6:39 AM on April 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

Never tell people you're funny. It is the quintessence of tryhard.

Get rid of the gimmicky opening (agree with everyone else that the dead brother thing is an enormous turnoff because it takes a second before you go from OMG SO SAD to HEY THIS IS JUST THE PLOT OF AVATAR THIS GUY DOESN'T HAVE A DEAD BROTHER AT ALL and then you [me] want to mash the "punch user remotely" button repeatedly).

If this is what a first date with you would be like--you doing shtick after shtick--then maybe you should keep it like this, just to filter out the people who aren't into it. If you're not actually like this and you're just trying too hard to stand out, be more candid and turn down the shtickometer by a factor of at least 50%.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:42 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

jacquilynne makes a really good point about the restaurants. Talk about restaurants in your area that you really like that you would like to go to with your dates, not just whatever you think makes you seem coolest or quirkiest. (Maybe you just put in nationally known things for anonymization's sake, a la the "Alaska" thing, so if that's the case never mind.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:45 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I met my husband on OK Cupid, I like funny guys, and I do comedy for paying audiences. I never would have made it past your self summary section. Trying way, way too hard.

Two big things that are missing, in my opinion: self-deprecation and details.

You need to show me--not tell me--who you are. You do that by using lots of details, not by summing up your life for me. Example: What sport do you play? What kind of geek work do you do? You can indeed get into details without adding identifying info. And that's the kind of stuff that would make me have a spark of recognition or relating to you--and that would make me write to you or admire your profile.

And you need to do this without such a "I'm a HUGE comedian! I just love JOKES!" tone.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 6:49 AM on April 16, 2012

Too many jokes, too vague, too many exclamation points.

Also you barely answered any of the sidebar questions (religion, job, etc). A lot of these are dealbreaker questions that if I were single I would want to see the answer to before pursuing.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 6:52 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I see you've listed your status as single. I'm wondering if "Available" would be a better choice?

I'm a woman who uses okcupid, and I interpret "Single" to mean someone who isn't married, separated, or polyamorous.

I appreciate that you've described your situation in your final section, but perhaps it should be brought up in the first section, especially if you're going to list yourself as single.
posted by quivering_fantods at 7:01 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Hey nice profile!

I can't tell you if I've got the right perspective, but I can share it with you and maybe it will help. When writing my OkCupid profile, I decided that a couple things were important to me. He had to be a reader. Therefore, I used my profile as a filter. It was long. Really long. Like, War and Peace long. But it was instructive and narrative and so it wasn't unduly burdensome for someone who actually enjoys reading. I kept some of the other sections (movies, etc.) relatively brief and tried to cut a fine line between sketching myself out in broad strokes and providing actual information. I do tend to use the same philosophy that I use when writing a resume: you want your future employer (partner) to be able to envision you in the job (relationship). Consequently, I ended up describing the kind of life that I am working on building for myself. After all, what's a better indicator of potential compatibility than whether we're working on building the same kind of life?

I had plenty of options to choose from. I went on more first dates than I care to recount. And while ultimately I think my OkCupid profile helped me snag my boyfriend, that's not where I met him. We met through (which requires much shorter profiles via draconian character limits!), and I later sent him a link to my OkCupid profile during the let's-email-back-and-forth-and-get-to-know-one-another-better phase.

Also, poor Alaska. I dropped my profile there once when I wanted a break from dating, and all six of the Alaskan gays wrote to me within a week even though I indicated I was located out on some ice floe with a couple seals and a reindeer.

Anyway, ultimately, I don't think you can go wrong if your profile truly represents you - whether you give one word answers (seen it done well) or Don Draper it up. Here is my profile from once-upon-a-time, just as an example of long-form OkCupid which (whether well-done or not) was met with great success:
I don't find abstraction particularly helpful, so watch out! I'm going narrative!

If you'd like to be Friends:

"Psst, here she comes," you hiss at me, holding your latte in front of your lips so that only I can hear you. Our favorite patron is arriving in all her afternoon glory. She's a woman of a particular age, quietly arrayed in a wide brimmed hat and has opaque black sunglasses perched on her nose that rival the hat in circumference. She's wearing pearls and her lipstick is pristine. She is wearing the only pair of white gloves in the city today. She oozes elegance, and we adore her.

We've been sitting in this same spot all afternoon. You're reading [[The New Yorker]], and I've got the [[NY Times]] in my hand and a pile of other newspapers in front of me - [[The Financial Times]], the local gay rag, and some alternative city paper that is underfunded and oversnarked. I can't really be accused of reading any of them, because I'm actually [[peoplewatching]]. The papers are just my cover. (I do read them, eventually. But only when the world becomes boring.) This coffeeshop, or a blanket in the park, or a lazy afternoon cafe is our own personal treehouse - the fort from which we observe the world together.

We get together regularly, and we sometimes venture out of our treehouse. We see [[movies]] and [[plays]], the [[orchestra]], and the [[ballet]], together - and test new places for [[lunch]] or [[brunch]] or [[linner]] or [[dinner]] whenever possible. We fight over whether Judi Dench or Maggie Smith would win in a boxing match, and we develop crushes on the most improbable B-list British celebrities and [[NPR]] personalities. We have been known to throw [[tea parties]]. (The kind with crumpets and jam, not rednecks and semi-automatic weapons.)

You send me [[postcards]] when you visit strange lands, and I send you postcards from down the block at the 7/11. We are at once conspiratorial and fiercely protective. You dated a himbo for all of a week before I arrived on your doorstep in full mourning attire, pronouncing your standards dead. I brought a pan of lasagna.

When Dixie Carter died, you left me a voicemail containing Julia Sugarbaker's entire [[Miss Georgia World tirade]] from Designing Women. I laughed so loudly that my neighbor on the train got up and moved.

We are [[musicians]] and we play together at any opportunity we get. Or we are [[gamers]] and geek out over expansion packs and upcoming games. Or we are just general [[nerds]] who like silly brainy things, share [[book]] recommendations, are equally matched in [[trivia]] and [[board game]] prowess, and like exploring new things and places.


If you'd like a Relationship, first know that all of the above applies:

You arrive home from work and find me puttering in the kitchen. You have a career that you enjoy without requiring that it give meaning to your life; after all, we work to live, not the other way around. We're both a little starry-eyed about [[saving the world]], but we have grown out of our need to be martyrs.

I still eat dinner early, after all these years that you've been trying to convince me to be more cosmopolitan. "[[The French]] don't eat until 10pm," you remind me for the millionth time. "Mais, je ne suis pas français," I argue, kissing you and asking you to feed the dog. I'm busy experimenting with a recipe that [[Martha]] swears by and I'd really rather not leave it unattended. I'm also working on a [[crossword]], and I think I'm close to figuring out 56 across.

We sit down to eat, and we chat about our day. Neither of us kvetches about things we can't control. Instead, we talk about our weekend plans. We don't spend most weekends at home, but instead trade weekends to find something nearby to go do. This weekend, we're going [[camping]]. Neither of us is very rugged. Actually, we can be downright squeamish and prissy. But one night, after we had been dating for a few months, you asked me if I wanted to take a ride out into the country to look at the [[stars]]. We brought a tent but couldn't set it up because we were idiots and forgot a flashlight. So instead, we lay out on a blanket until the night got too cold, and then we climbed into the back seat of your car and fell asleep together. It wasn't comfortable, but it was perfect. That's when we realized that we could handle a night of camping every now and then.

Mid-sentence you take your first bite. Your eyes become huge and begin to water. You try not to spit it out because you're afraid you'll offend me. (You know how hard I try in the kitchen and usually my cooking is top-notch.) I notice your pain and start laughing. "It's terrible, isn't it?" I ask. You nod managing a weak smile, still unable to chew, swallow or spit. I shake my fist in mock anger at Martha. Nobody is as good as that bitch. She makes it look effortless. I try it, pronounce the dish inedible and demand that you spit it out. We gleefully order [[Chinese takeout]].

After dinner, we flick on the boob-tube. Along with our philosophy about getting out of town regularly, we agree that there are just too many other things to enjoy to get stuck in front of the television every night watching the sixteen different versions of Law and Order. We hear live music - sometimes together, sometimes separately. You still can't stand opera, and I'm okay with that because it means I never have to sit through another country music performance in my life. We keep an eye on the local artsy movie theater, and we always know when something noteworthy is playing. Some mornings, I email you a review from the [[NY Times]], and you respond with one line, "6:40 showing, see you there." But tonight we're watching something mindless. E! is doing an exposé on [[Lady Gaga]] and her recent decision to hire eight surrogates to carry the children she's having with an assortment of gay men. We momentarily pout that we weren't chosen.

You need to jog before going to bed, but I went to the gym earlier in the day, so while you're running I tidy up the kitchen and read an article from [[The Economist]] on the water shortages in the southwest. (Fitness and a healthy diet are important to us. We don't resort to shaming in order to keep each other on track. Instead, we encourage each other by example.) I circle the article, knowing you'll get a kick out of the delicate and vaguely condescending tone chosen to describe the fact that the south has "discovered!" that government intervention is sometimes both necessary and prudent. I write "Urinetown?!" in the margin. (Everything can become a [[Broadway musical]] reference if you try hard enough.) As I hear the treadmill stop upstairs, I put the kettle on to boil, eat a mint and sprint upstairs to meet you in the shower.

Steam pours out of the screaming kettle, and blankets the mirrors in the bathroom as we emerge and towel ourselves off. I sprint downstairs in a towel to make a pot of [[tea]] for us, and you climb into your pj's. You usually wear a pair of sweatpants which long ago lost all elasticity. To most people, they just look ratty - but to me they serve as a reminder that you can love things for a long time, until they fall apart and lose all value to others. Other boyfriends tried to throw them out, but I secretly wash them separately in a delicate cycle so that they'll last longer.

I arrive in my towel with a tray holding tea service for two. You've started reading the article that I left on your side of the bed and when you see me grinning you very pointedly remind me that people have died because of this water shortage. I blame it on their refusal to move closer to cities; that same damned independence that drives people off into the country to stockpile rations and firearms. You raise your eyebrows and I know it just means you expect better of me. I announce that I'm leaving you if you ever decide to live with the Elk Snout Mountain Folk and try to make me drink well-water which is probably contaminated with some parasite. You take the [[80s movie quote]] cue, and run with it, switching from "Overboard" to "Troop Beverly Hills" seamlessly by reminding me that "If Phyllis Neffler were giving you a wilderness girl badge for it, you'd come right along." I mention that Phyllis Neffler's idea of roughing it was staying at the Beverly Wilshire and her idea of a campfire horror story was recounting her recent perm. Not drinking contaminated well water. Thank you very much.

You toss the magazine onto a nearby table and grab a slip of paper that has your illegible scrawling all over it. It's a list of things we need to check before the weekend. You like lists, and I like that you like lists. And even though we've done this a million times, you are still pretending like there might be something you forgot. You ask if I have bookmarked the directions on one of my gadgets. I ask if I've ever gotten us lost before and after thinking about it for a minute you, cross that off your list.

I've finished my tea, and I roll over to read a little of the [[book]] I'm working on for our book club. You've already read it, and although you found it dull and unnecessarily expository, you didn't share that analysis with me. I knew anyway.

You eventually scribble something on your magic list and cross another something off, drop the paper on the bedside table and lean over to turn out your light. You curl up behind me and kiss the spot on my neck behind my ear. Without missing a beat, I drop the book turn off the light and pull your arm around me for warmth and security.

We sleep. Around 2am, you are awakened by the sound of someone speaking in a foreign language. You smirk and realize that I'm practicing something in my sleep. It sounds like Latin or German or Germanic Latin. The [[choir]] that I sing with has a performance coming up soon, and you are always treated to nocturnal previews. You roll over and fall back asleep, hoping that you'll remember to give me a hard time about it in the morning.

We have a nice life together. We have a home base which we love, but aren't tied to. We have plans to live abroad, but put them off for a few years because our poor old mutt just couldn't make the transition. We own nice things, but we are wary of conspicuous consumption. We visit family regularly - they're crazy, but they're ours.

It isn't always sunshine and cocktail parties, [[vacations]] and sexy showers. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes, when the crowds in the supermarket are loud and rude and the local streets all seem to blend together into one great big montage of monotony, I get quiet and withdrawn. And when the new wind creeps in at the turn of seasons, I stop circling articles for you to read. After too many cloudy nights of winter or too many long days of summer, I stop leaving obscene notes in your briefcase about what I plan to do with you when you get home. And even though I love it, the incessant spring rain eventually washes away my smile completely. But you know not to take it personally. Because you know that I don't want to run away *from* you, but *with* you.

And I know the same about you.
posted by jph at 7:39 AM on April 16, 2012 [25 favorites]

Maybe this says more about me than you, but until I got to "man crush on Tony," I thought that I was reading a profile written by a woman.
posted by TurkishGolds at 7:44 AM on April 16, 2012

Quick thoughts: you seem kind of generic, kind of annoying, and to add to those things, you also seem to have a thing for panda express. List some hobbies, books, and travel, remove some bogus empty psuedo-haha explanations, fill out some quizzes. Good luck!
posted by oceanjesse at 8:06 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

This has been a tremendously useful thread for me! I've made several changes to my own OKC profile based on the information in this thread - hopefully for the better.
posted by dotgirl at 8:16 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tell the truth. Be who you are. Don't try to be someone you're not. Only try to be as clever as you are naturally (that is, if you're writing and you think of something clever, type it, but if you have to spend a few minutes thinking of something clever, don't bother.) Then accept the fact that women get messaged a lot on dating sites, so you're not going to get a lot of attention if they notice you and bother to look at your profile...unless they happen to click with the truthful, honest representation of you that you've created. Perhaps only one person will click with you in that way...but that's a good sign, not a bad one.
posted by davejay at 8:59 AM on April 16, 2012

I've gone through many iterations of my online dating profile, from deadpan earnestness, to cryptic vagueness, comedy routine, brusque non-answers, and just about everything in between. A few lessons learned:

1. Less is more. Lately I've been editing down my profile more and more, and it seems like the less I have in it the more unsolicited (but not always unwelcome) contacts I receive.

2. Humor is difficult to pull off in a profile without sounding like you're trying too hard. This has been the biggest thing for me to adjust to. I'm very witty when I'm with friends and I tried to communicate that in my writing style in my profile, but I've found out that I get more responses when I remove the humor. I've also cut way back on any kind of humor in messages and even the first date or two and that has made my results better. This is completely paradoxical - I mean, the #1 cliche of female profiles is that they "love to laugh" and want someone with a sense of humor. But. . .experience tells me that the mystery of a man of few words wins out over the Jerry Seinfeld routine every day.

3. I have had a lot of success in posting travel pictures and alluding to travel stories in my profile. In general the travel stuff conveys a sense of openness to the world, adventure, and enough financial resources to pull off a cool vacation from time to time.

4. The thing about profiles is that the more you write, the more you risk writing something that rubs someone the wrong way. And all it takes is one thing, however minor, to move you from the stack of "cool guys I'd like to get to know" to "guys I'm slightly creeped out by". Since there are way more men than women active in online dating, the woman reading your profile has hundreds of others to choose from if she finds something about yours, however minor, that's disagreeable. Every word you write has the potential to be a red flag for someone, and that's why it makes sense to write less rather than more.

5. Here are a few specific things I would change about your profile

-Edit it way down in length. Cut out 75% of it.
-Remove any outright statements about being geeky. This conjures lots of visceral images in people's heads and not all of them are flattering.
-Way too may exclamation points. You get a budget of one for the entire profile.
-Don't write anything in caps.
-Don't ever use the words Yay, Drama, Yuck, or "man crush" in your profile.
-The Favorite Books/Movies/Shows section on the OKCupid profile? It's a trap. (note - never use the words "It's a trap" in your profile). The problem is that the more you write in this section the more risk you have of writing that one movie/book/show that the other person really despises and, unfair as it is, that's often enough to get you to be moved to the pile of rejected guys. Someone will rule you out for liking Jersey Shore, another for liking Bach. Edit this down severely - only list one or two things in each category.

That's my off the cuff advice - I'd be glad to look at a round 2 if you revise it.
posted by minorcadence at 9:38 AM on April 16, 2012 [5 favorites]

Fantastic profile jph! It's bold and would turn a lot of people off - you set some high (but reasonable) standards that could scare people away, but you also paint an incredibly detailed picture of the kind of life you want that will speak to anyone it appeals to.

I initially wrote my profile with the same idea in mind - acknowledging that I'm most comfortable writing a LOT, I accepted that my profile would come out long and viewed it as a way to weed out people who disliked reading more than a few sentences.

When I finished, I knew it was too long, and friends told me so. I trimmed it down significantly, but that kind of killed the flow and now it feels like the paragraphs I left in there are out of place and start suddenly or end abruptly.

I don't have nearly your talent for writing, and I'm kind of at that point where it feels like an essay I'm too close to - it's exhausting to edit and I don't feel like I'm making any real progress unless I erase the whole thing and start again. Help?

Also I agree with the general comments on the OP. Cut down on jokes. Everyone likes a partner with a sense of humour but if that's the dominant feature in your profile it makes people wonder if you're constantly trying to make jokes (annoying) or if you're actually funny (jokes too forced). Anyone can represent themselves as witty online - you have infinite time to look up jokes or steal if you really want to. But if you misrepresent you set yourself up for bad dates. So just relax, don't worry about the competition and be genuine about what you like and dislike and you'll end up with a few people that identify with you, instead of a large group that chuckles at your profile and clicks away.
posted by Joelo246 at 10:09 AM on April 16, 2012

I don't mind funny, vague profiles, but I didn't think yours was particularly funny. Sorry! Just be yourself, be sincere, and send messages that indicate that you actually read the girl's profile.

To be fair, the S'Barro bit made me smile. The rest of your jokes were self-congratulatory and not funny.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:37 AM on April 16, 2012

There's a blog post somewhere (which I can't find, because I'm at work) about the average number of messages to a woman that a man (who is seeking a woman) must send before he gets a response. It's pretty large, compared to the reverse situation. It's because of a feedback loop where men send low-quality messages to many women, and women become increasingly alienated as the number of incoming messages increases, which lowers their response rate. Lower response rate from women compels men (of a certain type) to send increasingly more low-quality messages. Really, this is not different from the pattern you see in a typical bar on a Friday night.
posted by deathpanels at 10:38 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

@jph: On a hunch, a text analysis of your awesome piece...

you: 61
i: 47
me: 19
your: 18
i': 13
my: 13

I/me/my: 92
You/your: 91
our (there's a new one): 9

Look at that balance, my friend, no wonder it worked like a champion!
posted by nickrussell at 11:13 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My OkCupid advice for everyone: get some great photos and write as little as possible. Explain yourself with as much brevity as you can. This is the 30-second movie trailer for Hanging Out With Veryblue1. It's rare even for the most awesome of people to be able to ramble for more than few written paragraphs without going off the rails.
posted by the jam at 11:18 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I mean, the #1 cliche of female profiles is that they "love to laugh" and want someone with a sense of humor. But. . .experience tells me that the mystery of a man of few words wins out over the Jerry Seinfeld routine every day.

It's not really paradoxical. Most women (like most men) love to laugh, and love to be around people with a sense of humor. However, most women (like most men) don't want to have someone doing a stand-up routine at them non-stop, as opposed to actually participating in the give-and-take of a conversation.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:19 AM on April 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I want a guy with a sense of humor (and in NewEngland and near my age, so we probly won't connect on OKC). Bit I also want intelligence, kindness and depth. It's easy to tell people you're funny, harder to show it. Think about who you want to reply to your ad, then write the ad she'll respond to. You don't have to impress, you have to be noticed, and be someone this woman would like to meet. You don't have to brag; most people will believe you when you say who you are.
edited quickly:

My self-summary
I value *list of traits you value, maybe with some descriptions.* I love the humor of David Letterman and Conan and I joke around, a lot.

What I’m doing with my life
I work on geeky stuff with geeky co-workers. There's really a good chance you've used something I've worked on. I'm very proud that I own a patent, and have applied for 2 more.

I play *name* sport with my cool teammates. I played *instrument* in jr. high marching band (took lessons for 3 years), but it didn't take. I did learn to love *musician,'s* blues *instrument.* (some personal thing about you, not bragging)

There's a few other neat things too!
I’m really good at
... doing multiple things at the same time. I was fortunate enough to get into a part-time MBA program, and that really tested my abilities. I managed to pull it off, and grow in my career. It was a great time!

... coming up with cool ideas and solving problems.

... making people laugh. As a colleague put it: "I like that your personality and sense of humour comes out it what would otherwise be some dry communications and docs." Life is short - let's keep it fun!

... helping others. I am very thankful that I have never had to struggle to find a job. In return, I love to help others with their career searches.

... keeping it real. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I'm proud of it. Life's too short to pretend you are what you aren't.

The first things people usually notice about me
.... that I love humor; that I seem to know way too much about way too many things; that I tend to be pretty picky about typography and design.

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
say something about the food, shows, etc. you really like. ie., I'm embarassed to admit that I TiVo The View, please don't out me.
I love music. Some of my favorites: Tiesto, Holst, Oasis, Jay-Z, M83, Mozart, U2, Gaga, Tycho, Bach, The Cure, Rebecca Black, etc.

I love shows that make you laugh, make you think, are daring, or are outright original in some way. Some of my favorites: Wilfred (US), 30 Rock, Mad Men, Frontline, Jersey Shore, The Wire, The Shield, Flight of the Conchords, Hung, SNL, etc.

Oh, and No Reservations - is it ok with you if I have a man crush on Tony? (Yeah, we're on a first name basis)
The six things I could never do without
1. Myself. I am who I am. It'd be hard to be me without me.
2. My TiVo (not *just* The View)
3. You. Well... maybe you. Hopefully you. Let's find out!
4. Friends. do not ever say 'nuff said
5. Footwear. I'm not much of a barefoot kind of guy.
6. Lists. I really, really, really like lists.

I spend a lot of time thinking about
What is the true connection between lactic acid and exercise? What will it take to restore Somalia to being a functioning state? What did Hamlet mean by "Buzz, buzz"? Will "The Situation" successfully overcome his prescription meds issue? Is Justin Bieber part of a sleeper cell from our oil rich enemy to the north? What is love (baby don't hurt me, no more)?

On a typical Friday night I am

The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I like the baked ziti and lasagna at Sbarro. The old school Italian couple that my parents rented an apartment from in Brooklyn when I was born are probably rolling over in their graves.
I’m looking for
Girls who like guys
Ages 24–40
Near me
For new friends

You should message me if
Please note that I am currently separated, working on an amicable divorce. I look forward to closing this chapter in my life, and writing the next. I'd more than happy to answer questions about this, or not. I'm a pretty transparent kind of guy.

I truly believe that people are a product of their surroundings. I want to be awesome. Thus, I only want to surround myself with awesome people, in awesome places, doing awesome things, for varying values of awesome.

Would we be awesome together? Let's find out!

Once the aggressive joking is gone, you sound smart, opinionated, interesting and you start to sound like a nice guy.
posted by theora55 at 1:34 PM on April 16, 2012

I like this profile overall, but I would make a few changes:

1. Cut the first section- opening with a dead twin is uncomfortable, even though it's a joke. It's the first sentence I read and it leaves a bad taste. The whole opening is too jokey- it'd be ok later in the profile, but since it comes first and you have no choice about that, cut it.

2. Cut "3. You. Well... maybe you. Hopefully you. Let's find out!" Sounds desperate.

3. I don't like the Letterman part, either. Why mention other men's indescretions. You could cut Letterman and Conan altogether and that section wouldn't suffer.

4. Use less exclamation marks; they make your tone sound immature. I'd say cut at least 1/3 of them.

Otherwise, you sound smart, friendly, and fun- pretty nice!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:59 PM on April 16, 2012

Response by poster: Wow.

I am humbled by the feedback here.

Authenticity is something I sort of struggle with. I guess that's clear.

Let me take a stab at this.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
posted by veryblue1 at 10:38 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hi there fella. I'm actually a copywriter who got a lot of good responses to my OKCupid profile - like, women actually sending ME messages - despite not being particularly physically attractive. So I reckon I'm pretty good at profiles.

Horn-tooting aside: your profile was mostly good, especially the first section (which is probably the most important.)

But I found that the best approach was one that was just ever so slightly cooler in terms of temperature. Let me explain.

Your profile very much says "I want to go on a date with you. I'd be a fun person to go on a date and perhaps end up in relationship with." I'm talking about things like putting "you" on your list of things you can't do without, and "Would we be awesome together? Let's find out!"

There's nothing wrong with those per se. They're not creepy or anything like that. But they do seem to move things a little fast. The person reading your profile has only just 'met' you - and you're already discussing relationships? Woah! Hold your horses. Etc.

So instead of creating a "cool guy to be in a relationship with" vibe, you should aim for a "cool guy to have a conversation and maybe a coffee with" vibe. Because that's really the best approach to take with OKCupid - look for interesting conversations, even if they only take place via messaging. But hopefully they'll take place in the bar or the coffee shop. And then, if that goes well - then you start thinking about relationships etc.

I know we're on OKCupid, so we're all probably looking for some kind of relationship - but let's not get ahead of ourselves. It could frighten people off.

The solution? Simple. Just cut the stuff I mentioned. The rest of your profile makes you come across as a funny, pleasant guy who actually has a personality. I'd tone down the exclamation marks myself, but you may be fine without them. thejam makes a good point about a short profile being better (you could cut a few lines of explanation from "I'm really good at") but for the most part, I think you're good.

Bonus advice: send very short, funny, first messages that are relevant to something in the other person's profile. Striking up an interesting conversation could mitigate for any number of profile problems.

And for the record, I've been in a relationship with someone I met on OKC for almost 15 months now. And before that, I met (or just conversed with) a ton of interesting and awesome people. It works. Good luck.
posted by Ted Maul at 8:46 AM on April 17, 2012

You've gotten great advice and answers here, and as a woman in your target demographic, I'm just going to go ahead and add mine. I'm breaking my opinions down section by section:

I have a confession to make. I have an MBA. Please forgive me. It was a moment of weakness. I swear I'm not a douchebag. Here's a 2x2 matrix that shows you... no! Bad MBA! Bad!

I find this to be douchebaggy. The fact that it is the very first thing that you say in your profile illustrates how life-defining it is for you, and also hints that you are likely a workaholic. The matrix comment adds to my idea that you may be insufferably enamored with your own superior intellect and that is a giant turn off. As someone with an MS and a PhD, I totally get that having a graduate degree is something to be proud of, and that is why you put "graduated from a masters program" in your details section. Let them ask you about it.

I'm a product of many life experiences. Some high, some low. I've laughed so in a packed movie theater that I could barely breathe, I've also cried so hard I had to pull over. I've been showered with praises and glory at work, I've been pelted with jeers and insults by strangers. I've relaxed on beautiful beaches, I've coordinated paramedics and firefighters after dialing 911. I've explored new foreign places on my own, I've stayed at home surfing the web.

There are days that I would give anything to experience again, there are days that I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemies.

I basically like this section, though I still don't really learn much about you as a person in it. Still, my favorite part of this section is your writing style and the tone that says you are a real person. The being showered with praises and glory at work is off-putting, especially after the MBA introduction. If you took out the MBA introduction, I think it would work.

Also, I am assuming you meant to say "I've laughed so [hard]". Fix your typos!

I don't like how you end the section with I'm sure you have too. Let's share our experiences, and create some new shared ones. This sounds gimmicky.

I work on geeky products with geeky co-workers. If you've used a Mac or the Internet, there's a really good you've touched something I've worked on. I know this isn't linkedin, but I love working on cool tech products that impact the lives of millions.

I play on a dragon boating team.

There's a few other neat things too!

Again, the first answer to this section refers to work. And on top of that, an ill-defined explanation of what you do. I would change this to say something like that you are extremely fortunate to be employed in a job that is more like a hobby to you: namely, making geeky computer products. That would be enough intrigue for me, personally, to message you to inquire what you do. All the rest of the words are just filler, and I would definitely take out the linkedin reference, because you are just reinforcing to the reader what your profile is already coming off as: a poorly concealed list of your career accomplishments.

Expend a little more effort on your non-career things. The dragon boating team is cool. What are the other neat things? The future date is not going to be going to work with you, after all, and she's only going to want to hear so much about work at the dinner table.

... doing multiple things at the same time. I was fortunate enough to get into a part-time MBA program, and that really tested my abilities. I managed to pull it off, and grow in my career. It was a great time!

... coming up with cool ideas and solving problems. Never did I think I'd have a patent - and possibly two more on the way!

... making people laugh. As a colleague put it: "I like that your personality and sense of humour comes out it what would otherwise be some dry communications and docs." Life is short - let's keep it fun!

... helping others. I am very thankful that I have never had to struggle to find a job. In return, I love to help others with their career searches.

... keeping it real. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I'm proud of it. Life's too short to pretend you are what you aren't.

Again, first response to a section refers to your MBA. The douchebaggery quotient increases. Then you mention having patents. Quotient reaches critical levels! Maybe I'm just jaded because I have a higher degree and spend day after day working in rooms full of people that have higher degrees, publications and patents, but I find bragging like this in a profile just so off-putting. And really the most intelligent people that I've met in my lifetime are not the ones that put it all out there like that.

Your next bullet point is a quote about you from a coworker? Are you sure this isn't a linkedin profile in disguise?

The keeping it real bullet point is excellent.

"Wait, did you start working when you were 12?" -Victor

Sure, Asians tend to look a bit younger - but I'm particularly cursed/blessed. Some, like Victor, are shocked to learn that I worked at one company for 10 years. If you want, you can join me in reliving some experiences such as the Munich police officer who kept shouting at me in German (which I don't speak) at a beer garden, the Vegas casino cashier who wouldn't let me cash in my chips, or -- the best -- the gate agent who asked me if I was old enough to sit in the exit row... in my senior year of college... and the minimum age is 15.

This is my favorite section of your profile, and is legitimately funny. It also gives the reader an actual glimpse into your life experiences and who you are as a person, and is the first real hint that you don't take yourself too seriously. The tone of your answer in this is the tone that you want in your whole profile.

I love great restaurants. It's not always just about the food - it's about the total package: quality, innovation, service, ambiance, and price. Some of my favorites: Per Se, Cafe Pushkin, Din Tai Fung, Chez TJ, The Cinnamon Club, In-N-Out, Panda Express, etc.


Oh, and No Reservations - is it ok with you if I have a man crush on Tony? (Yeah, we're on a first name basis)

This whole section is fine, though I would be turned off by the idea that you don't like to read. But if that is true, you should definitely not misrepresent who you are, and so I would leave as is.

1. Myself. I am who I am. It'd be hard to be me without me.
2. The number 1. It'd be damn hard to count without that.
3. You. Well... maybe you. Hopefully you. Let's find out!
4. Friends. 'nuff said!
5. Footwear. I'm not much of a barefoot kind of guy.
6. Lists. I really, really, really like lists.

This is ridiculous filler. I mean aside from #4, I find each item on this list off-putting. You can't do without yourself? Uh, okay. The number 1? Really? You (the reader)? I find that creepy. I like my men to have some independence. Footwear? Again, really? And you finished a list off with "lists"? Why don't you list some things that you actually could not do without in this section???

What is the true connection between lactic acid and exercise? What will it take to restore Somalia to being a functioning state? What did Hamlet mean by "Buzz, buzz"? Will "The Situation" successfully overcome his prescription meds issue? Is Justin Bieber part of a sleeper cell from our oil rich enemy to the north? What is love (baby don't hurt me, no more)?

I like this entire section.


Hello, caps! Why does this have to be in caps with exclamation points on top of it? It suggests a serious bimodal distribution to your free time. You're either HAVING LOTS OF FUN WITH YOUR FRIENDS OMG!!!! or passed out? What about a low-key evening at home?

I like the baked ziti and lasagna at Sbarro. The old school Italian couple that my parents rented an apartment from in Brooklyn when I was born are probably rolling over in their graves.

This is fine.

Girls who like guys
Ages 26–32
Near me
Who are single
For long-term dating, short-term dating

You are 33 and are not even willing to date someone your own exact age? This speaks of immaturity.

I truly believe that people are a product of their surroundings. I want to be awesome. Thus, I only want to surround myself with awesome people, in awesome places, doing awesome things.

I'm not as awesome as I want to be yet, but would we be awesome together? Let's find out!

Contrived, pointless and slightly annoying. Gimmicky. Forgettable.

Please note that I am currently separated, working on an amicable divorce. I look forward to closing this chapter in my life, and writing the next. I'd more than happy to answer questions about this, or not. I'm a pretty transparent kind of guy.

Important, appreciated and sincere.
posted by corn_bread at 9:36 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

The problem is that the more you write in this section the more risk you have of writing that one movie/book/show that the other person really despises and, unfair as it is, that's often enough to get you to be moved to the pile of rejected guys. Someone will rule you out for liking Jersey Shore, another for liking Bach.

I don;t think this is a bad thing. I'm past the age where I feel that someone's musical tastes are cast iron indicators of personality traits X U and Z, but at the same time, it is a filter. I wouldn't want someone who only listens to chart music, for example, but I also wouldn't want someone who tells me 'You'd never have heard of it.' I wouldn't want to genericise or popularise my tastes for other people, and if I looked at a profile and thought Jersey Shore is shite and doesn't understand why someone can like this and Mad Men, then I'd be interested in seeing why that person likes both.

My two automatic rejection rules when I used online dating: never message anyone who never reads fiction, and never message anyone who claimed they liked either music 'you probably haven't heard of (good luck with that) or 'anything except for country and rap I mean crap haha'.
posted by mippy at 9:36 AM on April 17, 2012

Oh yeah, and "helping others. I am very thankful that I have never had to struggle to find a job. In return, I love to help others with their career searches."

You've never had to struggle for a job, but you know all about how to help others with their career searches? Sounds pretty egotistical to me.
posted by corn_bread at 9:39 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You have a comment elsewhere on the site which is heavily favorited. I think you should read that comment and think about the attitude you had when you wrote it, and think about writing your profile with that same attitude -- clean exposition, with a dry sense of humor poking through. Nowhere in that comment did you SAY you were good at making people smile, but reading it, I KNOW you're good at making people smile.

Really, who you really are is good enough.

The "I'm not a douchebag" opening is an improvement over the movie plots thing, but it's still bad.

When I'm reading an OkCupid profile, you know what I'm feeling? I *really* want to like the person. I want that person to give me *any* excuse to like them. The person you're writing to is not some generic person who you're trying to impress generically. The person you're writing to is someone who will REALLY like who you REALLY are.

Why do you like yourself? Why do the people who are around you like you? Write so that someone who would like you will think "Hooray! I found him!" instead of writing like you're trying to pick up that one girl at the bar.

Plus, the more generic and vague you feel, the more I think you're looking for a generic girl -- that you're looking for the heroine of a rom-com. I'm not a generic girl, and it's important for me to be able to see that the person who wrote a profile might be interested in the kind of person *I* really am. If I think you're looking for Miss Average USA instead of a science nerd with pretensions on the ukulele, I'm going to pass on.
posted by endless_forms at 12:23 PM on April 17, 2012

Hmm. Okay. Take two.

My comment was the first that brought up the workaholic/douchebag MBA stereotype thing, and your revised intro seems like an attempt to address it... but I'm not sure that's the right way to go about it. I apologize if I inadvertently steered you wrong there. (And, like I said above, no one worth your time is going to consider it a dealbreaker.) You don't have to faux-apologize or be self-deprecating about it; you don't even have to call attention to it at all. You just have to make sure you talk about your non-work life. You mention your work/career/coworkers a lot at various points in your profile; deemphasize that, and expand on some of the things you do and think about in your off hours.

The rest of your self-summary is kind of generic. Aside from the part about firefighters and paramedics, it could apply to me, or many people I know. You might benefit from adding some detail that's a little more mundane. The kind of things you think about when you brush your teeth - it's sort of hard to explain, but you want to give people a sense of how you generally are when you're just kind of going about your day.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:12 PM on April 17, 2012

Best answer: I think you've gotten a lot of good, specific advice on your profile, so I'm just going to answer your broader question: How important is it to have the perfect OKCupid profile? And the answer is not very. You know how you see an attractive girl at Starbucks and you're like, "Wow, I would love to talk to that girl, but I don't want to be creepy, I don't know if she wants to talk to me right now and I don't even know if she's single or straight or looking for someone to date"? Well, the whole point of online dating is to get you to that Starbucks with that girl without those particular questions, so you can then focus on discovering that her primary interest outside of working eighty hours a week is expanding her collection of stuffed unicorns.

You are not going to determine whether or not someone is your soulmate solely via profiles; the idea is to discover whether an hour or so in their company would be tolerable and have the potential to lead to something more. So keep in mind that you don't need to woo and win someone in 500-word chunks; you just need to convince them that you're not crazy and/or ridiculously annoying.

(That advice given, I fall within your desired demographic and I don't date guys who won't date women their own age. Absolute dealbreaker for me and most of the single women I know, regardless of where we fall in the guy's preferred age range.)
posted by posadnitsa at 3:49 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

On the subject of age range: I react particularly negatively to men who do the n-1 age cap, where n is the man's own range. Fairly or not, I view them as possibly having some self-esteem issues surrounding aging, and therefore generally don't respond to their inquiries.
posted by quivering_fantods at 4:35 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Whoops, I didn't expect people to start reading it. I was going to post it as a new question when i was finally done!
posted by veryblue1 at 12:44 AM on April 18, 2012

Response by poster: Ok, I've added a note to the profile clarify that I'm mid-updating this - that's my weekend project.

Since the first post, I've made a few subtle changes (before, the age range was generic, then I fixed it so that is more realistic, but I also have changed my age a little. It's always within ballpark +/- 2. I just forget to resync the two age fields.)

I also find the occasionally contradictory feedback interesting. It makes sense. And the fact that I've tried to address contradictory feedback in ways that solve both - well, that's what leads to genericisim (which is a real problem I have. I noticed the other day that grays are a big part of my wardrobe.)

More edits to come.
posted by veryblue1 at 12:59 AM on April 18, 2012

Best answer: It's interesting because you come across as a humble thoughtful sincere guy here, yet I get the impression that you are an insecure douchebag from the profile. (No offense, you're most likely not like that at all in real life!) In general, I think you're still trying too hard to sell yourself, and most parts feel very contrived and almost manipulative without success. I however liked the "I spend a lot of time thinking about" section a lot, as well as the candid sincere comment on your separation, and also the sbarro part since I feel like I can see where you're coming from, and it provokes my imagination.

I think just like any form of communication, you should let the details speak for itself, instead of trying to summarize your general image, labeling yourself as "funny" and "geeky" and want to be "awesome" because those words don't mean anything to me, and I feel like if I disagreed with you on some of your self images, you won't be accepting of it. I especially find the looking for awesome people and surrounding yourself with awesomeness part quite distasteful and kind of juvenile...but if you sincerely mean that, then why not keep it.

Ultimately, maybe you should view the profile as just a way to break the ice when meeting in person. Put in more details of what you do, and what you've come to appreciate and value through your experiences, and how that relates to where you are right now and what you're looking for. If you put too much pressure on yourself to make a "great" profile that will describe yourself perfectly and at the same time put you in a great light, there's a risk of becoming very artificial and impersonal. Even if you do pull it off, those who read it may have different expectations and impressions from what you had expected to achieve, and both you and the other person could be really disappointed when meeting for the first time. I think profiles should trigger curiosity and imagination, but shouldn't be so over constructed to the point it builds certain expectations and image, because those are usually met with disappointing realities.
posted by snufkin5 at 7:46 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: One sort of general thought:

It's easy to see dating profiles as a place where you have to really sell yourself and the idea of dating you. And to some extent, you do have to sell yourself -- or at least not sell yourself short.

But you don't have to sell the idea of dating and that's where some of the stuff in your profile is particularly cringe-inducing. Like the list item ' You. Well... maybe you. Hopefully you. Let's find out!' and 'Let's share our experiences and create some new shared ones.' They just sound so corny and forced. If someone is looking at your profile on OKCupid, they're already sold on the concept of dating, so they don't need that idea explained to them.

I do really like the 'what people notice about me first' section. (Though, again, I'd avoid the 'you can join me in reliving' in favor of something like 'If you want a laugh, ask me about...') It indicates that you travel, that you look young and that you have a sense of humour about it all.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:56 AM on April 18, 2012

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