Electric Boogaloo
May 2, 2012 6:12 PM   Subscribe

Last fall, I asked you guys for some help with my OkCupid profile. Your advice worked really well for me! I've changed a fair bit since then and now that I'm getting back into dating full-time I'm going back for round 2 with the hive mind.

The basics: 26/male/queer but prefer women. Brooklyn. The profile in question. Kinkier than ever, but not nearly as obsessed with it as I was before. I'm looking to connect with open-minded people, but I don't have specific fetishes that I need to explore. Right now, I'm not suited for serious relationships — I'm strictly looking for casual dating, or other low-stakes variations thereof.

I have both "easy" and "difficult" traits — I'm not going to categorize them as good or bad — that should be conveyed by the profile. Its important that I acknowledge and own the difficult traits, because they are a part of me and whomever is going to date me needs to be prepared, though I'd like to present them in the best light possible.

Easy traits
  • witty, articulate & erudite
  • Klostermanesque affinity for pop culture
  • looks good in a vest / solid "hipster-but-not-costumey" fashion sense
  • musician
  • very open with emotions / opens up easily
  • cooks & bartends
  • nonjudgemental
  • feminist
  • have small, cute pets
  • geeky, but in the charming, socially acceptable way
Difficult traits
  • pretentious as fuck
  • weird, cartoony voice
  • introverted / conversations sound like i'm interviewing the other person
  • arrogant, but not confident / self-deprecating, but not humble
  • noncommittal / non-monogamous / driven by novelty
  • neurotic / unhealthy recursive thought patterns
  • opens up too easily — no filter
  • attention-seeking
  • develops attachment when inappropriate
  • rather flatulent
I'm looking to convey all of this as succinctly as possible — "show, don't tell" is the motto here. If you have photo suggestions I can get new pictures taken. I've updated the profile since last time, but I'm willing to completely tear down the old profile and start anew.
posted by modernserf to Human Relations (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

why put everything you consider "difficult" about yourself in your profile? most of those are things i don't care about on dates 1-3. and once you reveal them, i'll make up my own mind about whether or not those easy or difficult traits are attractive or dealbreakers.

also, remember that it's your own brain telling you which traits of yours are easier or harder to deal with. if you meet someone who's deathly allergic to small, cute pets, that is not an easy thing to deal with. conversely, if you meet someone who is also non-monogamous/driven by novelty, that's a huge plus.

mention all the "easy" things on your profile (because you wrote them in such a way that makes them sound attractive and the point of an online dating profile is to attract people), and only mention the non-monogamous part of your "difficult" list (because it's nice when people are up front about that sort of thing). otherwise, let the ladies and dudes make up their own minds about you.
posted by guybrush_threepwood at 6:36 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

OKCupid's blog, OKTrends, had a good piece about the mechanics of a good profile picture, Don't Be Ugly By Accident. An earlier one is The Four Big Myths of Profile Pictures
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:47 PM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

I would most definitely avoid mentioning these 'difficult' traits, because even if you don't characterize them as 'good' or 'bad', anyone reading your profile will, and they will turn away instantly upon reading them.
posted by Adam_S at 6:47 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not a fan of self-cataloging profiles because I don't believe people are good judges of themselves, but since you asked, "Charming Type-A" is the nicest way I can distill your list. However, though I'm aware of his existence, I don't know what Klostermanesque is.
posted by rhizome at 6:54 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think that you are adorable and quirky. And agree with other posters that you don't need to advertise what you perceive to be difficult about yourself. People will make those judgements on their own and so be it if it's a dealbreaker for them, you shouldn't take yourself out of the running from your okc profile, since it's only a snapshot of who you are and not a full and accurate picture.

I think what will be hard for you to accurately convey is that you want to bed someone worthwhile, and have non-committal emotional intimacy and some cuddling, along with the rough and dirty (which is what i'm getting from your q) So i'd say that less is more. You don't need to put everything out there and be written off unjustly- the goal should be to attract as many people as possible and YOU be the one to do the narrowing.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 6:55 PM on May 2, 2012

I know exactly what "Klostermanesque" is, and it would be a massive turnoff for me. So maybe you should put that in there for just that reason? (It would also give me a headcanon that you looked like Chuck Klosterman, no matter what your actual picture indicated, and since you seem to be significantly handsomer than Mr. Klosterman you are just putting yourself at a disadvantage there.)

On the other hand, I think profiles where people say the actual things they like rather than trying to characterize how they like them work a lot better, but your current profile is hard to follow. The layout seems off and there just isn't a high signal to noise ratio.

You look quite dashing in your picture, but I don't think it's a good picture for a dating profile. I really think pretty much everyone should have a relaxed photo where they're looking into the camera and smiling as their main dating profile picture.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:12 PM on May 2, 2012

Non-monogamous and/or not looking for anything serious are worth mentioning so you don't waste your time or those of people looking for seriousness and/or monogamy.

Introverted is worth mentioning so that people are more willing to put aside the initial awkwardness if they're otherwise interested in you.

But I'd leave the rest of the "difficult" out. People can discover some of those things for themselves, and perhaps you're being too hard on yourself with the other things.

In the words of the dad of Shit My Dad Says, "Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don't do it for them."
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:19 PM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

You are gorgeous. To reiterate the above:

Include the introvert and the non-committal bits. The rest, forget about. Someone will like you or they won't - don't make the decision for them. And, yes, take a specific photo for your profile pic.
posted by mleigh at 8:42 PM on May 2, 2012

As for the content of your profile, I totally agree that you shouldn't mention your "difficult" traits. That's not the purpose of dating profiles, and all of that will come to light in time. That much disclosure off the bat could be off putting and make people self-conscious to boot.

I have no idea what you mean by "Klostermanesque" and while I was curious enough to Google it, it required too much research to "get." Maybe you want that to be a weeding out element, but let's assume for argument's sake that there are plenty of people who you would dig that wouldn't understand the reference. I'm guessing this means while you are very erudite and intellectual, you have a healthy appreciation for pop culture. If so, say something along the lines of "I enjoy [significant pop culture things] as much as [whatever you consider to be furthest away on the spectrum of pop culture things]," and not necessarily in that order. For example, "While I love theater and discussing literature, I also love rocking out to Top 40 ear candy and watching far too many Bravo shows." That may not be accurate, but I think you'll pick up what I'm laying down. As your profile stands now, I think it gives a good sense of who you probably are, but could be a bit more. . .vivid. Have fun with it, drop a few defining details to add some color, and it will fall into place.

As for your picture, I agree with Sidhedevil 100%. A relaxed and smiling, straightforward full face shot is your best bet. The other pictures can illustrate the other aspects of your personality, but your primary pic should be the simplest expression of yourself akin to if someone walked into room, made eye contact with you, and you both smiled. Hope this helped & good luck!
posted by katemcd at 8:46 PM on May 2, 2012

You say you're not humble. well I think what your profile needs is some humility. the way you describe yourself, you don't sound approachable to me. Maybe try to make it a bit friendlier? I'm not very hip though.
posted by costanza at 8:48 PM on May 2, 2012

Leave out the first 3 "easy" traits; they read pretentious (as fuck). Of the "difficult" traits, I would only mention the "non-monogamous" because that may be a deal-breaker for some. I also wouldn't portray it as "difficult", it's just what you're looking for (actually, it's what you're not looking for). The other traits may not be difficult or even noticeable for people. Good luck and have fun!
posted by sfkiddo at 9:36 PM on May 2, 2012

Best answer: Your profile is great and fun and really gives someone a sense of who you are, BUT it's a list of "I" statements which gets old and starts to read narcissistic. Because of that, I found myself loving this bit "There's a certain age when your friends stop having parties and start having board game nights, but the underlying group dynamics don't change; the macho posturing and sexual tension just get sublimated into vocal inflections and microexpressions." It's just as funny as the other bits, but better. This is where I could breathe, relate, have something to say.

It's where the other person could fit into the equation, which you don't want to have happen that far down. Intersperse a bit of what you are looking for, what's going on now, something other than who you are as a whole being...that's a lot to take on (as someone said upthread, makes it hard to approach you). Your profile needs some small hooks so one can get up in the there!
posted by iamkimiam at 12:31 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yes, I understand that putting my "difficult" traits will turn people away -- that is the point. I'm categorizing non-monogamy as difficult because it is -- it has capsized most of my relationships. However, that's why I need to be clear about it right off the bat.

I am not suggesting that I put the word "Klostermanesque" in my profile. I understand he is about as repellent to women as Steely Dan. I am using that term to describe myself here so we can come up with a way of phrasing it better.

You've given a lot of advice on what to exclude, but any suggestions on how to include the other stuff?
posted by modernserf at 5:20 AM on May 3, 2012

Data point: Not all women are repelled by Klosterman. (I don't particularly care either way, but I know a TON of female fans.)
posted by dekathelon at 10:20 AM on May 3, 2012

Why are you including the photo with blood coming from your eyes? I don't think that adds to your profile.
posted by jayder at 10:25 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If I were looking for casual dates and saw your profile, the thing I'd want more of is the sense that you're a kind person.

If you want to appeal to the good-heart-wanting demographic, this is what I'd play up:
--the bunny, and any love you have for said bunny
--an anecdote illustrating your nonjudgmentalness (a huge plus in a hookup partner!)
--an anecdote illustrating your feminism. (maybe a paragraph illustrating that you have observed things from a pro-female POV -- or if you do some pro-lady activism, mention that.)
--a sense of you caring for other people. When you mention your friends it's in a detached-social-observer way; it's a funny bit but it'd be nice to see evidence of familial/brotherly love.

Also, I disagree with Jayder: The photo with the blood coming out of your eyes is a plus, provided you're looking for an arty weirdo!
posted by feets at 1:48 PM on May 3, 2012

This line:
There's a certain age when your friends stop having parties and start having board game nights, but the underlying group dynamics don't change; the macho posturing and sexual tension just get sublimated into vocal inflections and microexpressions.
is awesome.

but, as a European I really really must take exception to the term "Legos"
It is Lego or Lego Bricks.
I know it is a never ending battle, but it is an important one!*

Anyway, this isn't helping, back to the question:
I don't think that you need to list your traits as easy or difficult. I don't think that helps.
The point of an OkCupid profile is not to have your prospective date know you instantly, it is to get them to meet you. The getting to know bit happens after you meet.
You cannot judge yourself, at least not well. You must let people take you as they find you. Don't tell them what to think of you.
So, it is good that you are aware that you are pretentious etc. etc. but don't focus on that sort of thing, it's not your job to warn others. Just think about what others will think upon seeing your profile.
They should think that this person is interesting/compatible, that I want to see them and know more. They can learn about the rest as they go, so long as you are honest in person, but there is so much that we can never communicate by text. You must meet, and everyone is already looking for reasons not to.
Make it easy on them, put a note in your profile that explains this.
The most important thing when writing an OkCupid profile is to put yourself in the shoes of the viewer. Think about how you view the profiles of others, and imagine them viewing your profile.

*It's not really important.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:54 PM on May 3, 2012

I am not suggesting that I put the word "Klostermanesque" in my profile. I understand he is about as repellent to women as Steely Dan.

I like Steely Dan. I think Klosterman is a shite writer. If you like Klosterman, then stick it in, because at least I could talk to you about why he is utterly rubbish.
posted by mippy at 5:06 AM on May 4, 2012

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