Make with the arrows.
June 4, 2012 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Another "what the hell is wrong with my OKCupid profile" question.

The profile in question.

A couple of months into my third spin on OKCupid, and I'm having a lot less luck than I have in past go-rounds. It seems like I'm getting fewer replies, and of those replies fewer conversations, and of those conversations no dates at all. I doubt I've changed in the past year or so into someone this much less datable than 2011 me, so what's wrong with my profile?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (73 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not a good judge of guys, but the selection of OKC members has gotten a lot more mainstream since the acquisition. I think they've been advertising for eHarmony people a lot, as well as shunting some normals into the fold. IMHO.
posted by rhizome at 1:36 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your profile doesn't actually look that bad, but your default profile picture is creepy. The other two aren't bad, but the first one needs to go.

Also, being 27 and having the bottom of your age range be 18 is a turn-off to a lot of women; having it be 18-40 just sort of makes you seem desperate, to be honest.
posted by naturalog at 1:36 PM on June 4, 2012 [21 favorites]

How can I put this delicately? Your profile picture is not working for me. It instantly turned me off, before I even looked at the content of your profile. You look really angry and unapproachable. And what's the deal with St. Basil's cathedral? Get a new, normal pic, preferably one with you smiling or at least not looking like you're plotting to kill me and stuff my body inside one of the onion domes.
posted by chara at 1:38 PM on June 4, 2012 [36 favorites]

The photo is pretty off-putting to me personally. You might try changing the pic.

I can't help beyond that. Internet dating sites are not my cup of tea.
posted by Michele in California at 1:38 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

That default profile photo is pretty strange, and the rest of your photos include a few more strange and unflattering photos. And they all look really different- I've looked at all of them and I'm not sure I know what you actually look like. Trying posting only a few photos that show you looking your very best.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:39 PM on June 4, 2012 [8 favorites]

Questions like this are kind of hard, because in many ways it just comes down to personal taste, but with that caveat in mind, here's what I thought on reading your profile-

You sound fun, once I'd read past the self-summary bit. Personally, I find it really offputting when the first thing that people mention is their pets. Some women might find that endearing, but for me it makes me think you've nothing interesting to say about yourself, and if I went over to your house it would all be about the animals and the dog would be on the bed and we'd spend all evening looking at cute photos of your cat.

I'm not sure that alluding to HIV, even in a jokey way is the best tactic for a dating profile!

Do the topless photos go down well? I find them tacky but again, might just be me.

I was also put off by the "What's your typical Friday night" bit. Makes you sound a bit flaky...
posted by KateViolet at 1:40 PM on June 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Two potentially problematic things immediately jumped out at me:

1. A cat named Magic Johnson lets me hang out with him sometimes. He's got FIV, so I was hoping Magic Johnson's... magic would help out.
I know that this is a joke, but it feels a little too close to an unfunny HIV reference - it was an immediate turn off for me.

2. I may not be wearing shoes when it may usually be considered appropriate to do so.
Here again, I know that this is probably a joke, but it's just a bit too vague. Is he fun loving and freewheeling or is he prone to strange displays in public? There's a fine line.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 1:41 PM on June 4, 2012 [13 favorites]

Can you have a friend take a picture of you with your animals? Or at least one of them? Since you mention them several times in your profile, it might make sense to feature an upbeat, inviting photo of you with them.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:41 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's definitely the creepy photo. Your profile content is good, but replace the default photo with a regular face shot. Also, take down the shirtless photo.
posted by Sal and Richard at 1:43 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

The pic could be more approachable.

The age-range might actually be too broad - bringing it up to at least 21 might improve perception.

The FIV/HIV joke is flat.

Maybe collect the pet stuff into one chunk, instead of interspersed thoughout? I dunno on this one.

The only other thing that could potentially be adjusted in your profile verbiage would be putting things in a way that shows how another person's interests and presence could make a positive difference in your life. But that's icing.
posted by batmonkey at 1:43 PM on June 4, 2012

You really need better photos -- none of the three you have up are doing you favors, unfortunately.

It's a little weird for me that the first thing you talk about is your pets.

The "Dropped out of Space Camp" thing is kind of cute, I guess, but it feels like you're making a joke to obfuscate something else that you're ashamed of.

Basically, I agree with what other folks are saying. It feels like you're trying to hard, and also like you're projecting a sort of "fun and funny" persona that doesn't actually tell me much about you as a person.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:44 PM on June 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Yeah, it's your photos. We can't tell what you look like.
posted by TurkishGolds at 1:47 PM on June 4, 2012

The 'typical Friday night' question might be better generally taken as "what do you do for fun?", even if you still want to mention the schedule. If I were looking at profiles, I'd be using it as a way to figure out whether we had a compatible idea of fun, level of sociability, budget, etc – like, if someone's mentioning champagne in clubs and waking up on another continent, that's pretty different someone else talking about watching local bands with friends, or to someone having a regular gaming night or Homemade Pizza Fridays or whatever.
posted by carbide at 1:48 PM on June 4, 2012

Basically, I agree with what other folks are saying. It feels like you're trying to hard, and also like you're projecting a sort of "fun and funny" persona that doesn't actually tell me much about you as a person.

The entry for "What I'm Doing With My Life" suffers from this problem as well. Too much time spent being clever, not enough time answering the basic question of, "what does this guy do for a living? Does he have a job?"
posted by deanc at 1:49 PM on June 4, 2012 [5 favorites]

Here is the reaction from a early 30s hetero woman:

To be honest, I find that main photograph of you scary and the least attractive of all your photos. I don't know if it is normal to do photoshop on your photo, but that adds to the scariness that is already your eyes/smile/moustache. (And that photo has red eye.)

Your other photos - I don't know if shirtless is the norm on OkCupid, but personally it sends a weird message to me. The photo with 2 people - I don't know which one you are. The one where you are dressed as a woman is actually a decent photo, but it might send a message that you're a misogynist. The one where you're in black at a bar is okay. Yor hair looks cute. But there is red eye and the champaign glass in front of you is distracting. The boat photo is okay. I don't think that the Butthead description is doing you any favors though. Drawing is okay. The one where you have chops and a red scarf -- you look much heavier than in the other photos. That makes me wonder what's old and what is new. If some of the skinner or bigger photos are old - get rid of them. The two shirtless with vest photos - again, I'm not sure if shirtless is the norm, but I probably wouldn't include them.

An AIDS joke? Not funny to me.
Your complaining about the cost of an MFA might make you seem a little well... complain-y. That's a turn off.

The middle categories seem okay

Favorite stuff:

Are you looking for someone that reads similar books to you? I'm fairly well read and I don't know too much about Tim Leary.

Similarly, are you looking for someone really into comics? If not, the list of comics might make you seem too engaged with that.

The movies, shows, music, and food descriptions are okay, but nothing that SOLD me.

You need to write a better "typical Friday night" as far as I understand, that is a line that is a major seller to seem FUN.

The drinks often might be problematic for you.
posted by k8t at 1:50 PM on June 4, 2012 [7 favorites]

Definitely kill the FIV joke. It's funny, but inappropriate for a dating profile. Save that for your date, where you can read how it might go over!

I agree about the picture. Your other two pictures are much more interesting.

I want to nth the thing about the age range. I think a lot of women assume that men are actually looking around their bottom age range, and just say a higher age range to not appear creepy. Your 18-40 probably leaves people scratching their head. It either says "I am actually kind of looking for someone specific but I am not going to tell you" or "I have no idea what I want." I think that women in your age bracket that are looking in OKC are actually particularly sensitive about this part.
posted by pazazygeek at 1:50 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

First of all, like others have said, better photos. It doesn't matter what your other photos are like if your primary pick makes you look totally unapproachable.

Second, and more importantly, you fall into the irony trap too much I think. I did a good share of online dating back in my single days and I had lots of luck. This isn't because I'm particularly good looking or suave, but I think that it's because I crafted a thoughtful, honest, but lighthearted profile. When reading it someone wants to get a sense of who you actually are. When hiding behind a façade of quips and jokes and irony, no one can get a sense of what the Guy Behind the Kremlin is really like. If you want to meet someone, you're going to want them to get to know you. And that's going to require sincerity. I know that we live in a world of hyper-quirkiness and irony, but when it comes to dating I think you'll find that being sincere can really take you far. At least in my experience.
posted by fso at 1:50 PM on June 4, 2012 [9 favorites]

Your first/main pic should be the one of you in the blue shirt at the bar - it's the most flattering.

What kinds of ladies are you looking to meet? Personally, if I read this profile, I'd probably think "I'm not wacky/funky enough for this guy." I know, it's a hard line to walk - you want to stand out, but it's easy to fall into the trap of having your profile be a Parade of Quirk. Then again, if you are looking to meet super-wacky/quirky women then maybe your profile has just the right tone.
posted by lunasol at 1:53 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

If I'd been looking at your profile, I would have stopped at the FIV/HIV joke.

The answers to the first four sections of your profile (My Self Summary to Things People Notice) are all really glib, short, or jokey. It wasn't until I got to the "books" part before I felt like I was dealing with somebody I could imagine having a conversation with. It's too disjointed and chaotic.
posted by Elly Vortex at 1:53 PM on June 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

I liked the age range myself, I thought it made you look open minded (but maybe 18 is a little low for the low end). I agree with the other comments about the FIV joke, and the pictures (a couple of you looking friendly would help your cause, I think), and some of the text is a bit like stunt profile writing, but mostly my problem is that I can't tell what you're looking for from your profile.
posted by thylacinthine at 1:56 PM on June 4, 2012

I'd say that the written portion of your profile is fine, but your profile picture and your name are really creepy (women on okcupid instantly run away from anything that gives them a "creepy" vibe). Your name suggests, without much subtlety, "I am a predator."
posted by outlandishmarxist at 2:00 PM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

You are brave to ask this question.

Yup, definitely the pictures- the best picture by far (by really, really, far) is the one of you at the bar.

Also, as someone just a teensy bit older than you, I can say that the older I get the less into dating someone "not likely to ever hold a regular job" I am; I know you say you build/fix stuff and do artsy things above that, but it's easy to miss that when skimming and you might want to make it a little more clear that you are not some drifting aimless moocher.

Drinks often and drugs sometimes is honest but may be eliminating you from the searches of a lot of women in their late 20s/early 30s who are pretty much done with that kind of partying and are looking for someone a little more settled.
posted by charmedimsure at 2:01 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think OKC profiles are a matter of personal preference and I'm probably just not your target demographic, but if I were to read your profile -- please don't take this personally -- the word that would jump out at me would be: immature. The jokey photos (especially the first one) combined with the glib jokey text -- just don't add up to a very sincere person to me. When I scan OKC profiles, the thing that I am most looking for is physical attraction, followed by niceness and general having-their-act-together-ness. Some of the things you've said there would indicate to me that you don't have your act together -- not likely to hold a regular job, a general sense that you're drifting through life.
posted by peacheater at 2:03 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

So, here's how I think about OKC profiles: a profile is, above all, an advertisement for your attractive and unusual facets that nevertheless reassures the browser that you are, at heart, a nice guy who won't do anything too scary or startling on the first date. In short: lure them in without scaring them off.

With that in mind, I agree with the above advice about dialing back the irony -- and also, though I hate to suggest it, some of the quirkiness. When you're advertising yourself to strangers, a little goes a long way. To put it another way, I adore the quirky and oddball folks among us, and you look like a fun guy with really interesting gifts and interests and a great sense of humor...but as part and parcel of adoring oddballs, I have learned (through, oof, some very regrettable experiences) that there is a fine line between the adorable oddball and the dysfunctional neurotic. Currently your profile (with the irony plus the snark about the MFA cost plus some of your photos) comes down too heavily on the side of oddball, which sets off a few alarm bells for me that might make me hesitant (were I on the market, and near you) to message you. Like most ladies, I like Quirk that is also capable of functioning normally, like say on that distant day when you meet my parents, or you have to accompany me to a wedding full of staid, Middle America type people. I'd advise you then to demonstrate your ability to do the latter, perhaps by adding a photo of you in a staid, Middle American wedding kind of setting. Or at least in a jacket with a nice shirt.

TL;DR: Your profile is a great place to exhibit your ability to strike a balance between showing off your awesome weirdness and your more easygoing, 007-blends-in side. Maybe work on balancing it out some.
posted by artemisia at 2:04 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm going to say go for the last 4 pictures. The drawing picture is really cool. Keep that one. The last 3 are good. Cross-dressing, the detached head in Russia, the cop photo from a long time ago- not so much.

Also, basically you are saying you are mainly shoe-less and jobless. I am very old and probably very conventional so that to me reads 'yikes'. Unfortunately as you get older things that were once kinda kooky can start to become red flags for others.

Again, I am totally not your target demographic, but I'm just giving you the 'hey that's what I thought about your profile' which is what you are asking for, right?
posted by bquarters at 2:05 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Definition of trying too hard. Just be a person. With normal pictures that show you as a person.
posted by spicynuts at 2:10 PM on June 4, 2012 [7 favorites]

The Magic Johnson cat joke is... not in the best taste. I'm hoping that's not your cat's actual name.

The picture is weird. Not dealbreakery weird, but weird.

The barefoot thing? I'd wonder if you walked barefoot outside and at the grocery store and things like that. Again, not a dealbreaker, but weird. Taken together with Magic the cat, I'd wonder if you had a little trouble with social norms.

And this might be just my personal preference, but I don't like it when the books/music/etc. section is significantly longer than anything else in the profile. It doesn't tell me very much about the person.

Truth be told, if I were single and looking and in the area, I'd return your message. But I'd probably be on guard for further oddballness. (On preview, artemisia puts it well: I like the quirky people in my life to be functional, and able to hang with the non-quirky ones.)

Also, FWIW, I chuckled at your username, but that's because I get the reference.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:13 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


"...performing bizarre and hopefully dangerous rituals. "

posted by chara at 2:15 PM on June 4, 2012 [14 favorites]

I didn't read the written part of the profile but the main photo is horrible and from that photo I might assume it's a joke profile. I much prefer the drawing. Even some of the bad photos read as less a joke profile to me.
posted by oneear at 2:18 PM on June 4, 2012

but didn't have $100,000 to spare for an SAIC MFA,

This comes off as bitter and/or excuse-like. I'd cut it too!

And nthing that the primary profile pic isn't doing you any favors. To my eye, it's sort of oddly composed, and that meshes badly with all the visual art stuff you mention in your profile.

The drawing, on the other hand, is wonderful.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:20 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

First, when listing artists you like, I recommend ditching the method of strictly listing last names. Whenever I see a profile listing just last names ("I like the films of Zemeckis, Lucas and the early New Jersey work of Smith") it comes off to me as reaching hard for importance. And a major OK Cupid hazard for me has always been that person who meets up and just wants to have undergrad-style conversations about art instead of connecting as human beings.

Kindness to animals can be a quick shortcut to making people like you. But yeah, retune the FIV joke to make it seem more compassionate, unless you want to limit your results to partners who think the suffering of the weak is funny.

The potential to care about other people is often missing from OK Cupid profiles. I think part of it is how much OK Cupid encourages you to list all the ways you are fascinating. But if you can come off as able to do good stuff for others, that helps generate likability.

Your profile suggests that you undertake a lot of potentially interesting actions. But it does not provide readers with a handle on why and what drives you. According to one ancient philosophy, character is what you decide to do when confronted with difficult situations. Maybe give us a little of that. When things get tough what likable actions do you undertake?
posted by steinsaltz at 2:21 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Despite the fact that you don't actually mention Burning Man, I would be terrified that's all you'd talk about on a first date.
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:23 PM on June 4, 2012 [6 favorites]

If I was looking for a dude and saw your main photo, I wouldn't even click and read the rest of your profile. Use a normal picture!
posted by vanitas at 2:23 PM on June 4, 2012

As others have said, your pictures are weird and unflattering: especially your main profile pic. And you look so different in all of your photos that people aren't going to know who'll be showing up on their doorstep at the start of a date.

You profile comes across as way too ironic and trying way too hard. I have no idea who you are from reading your profile, other than that you apparently like to present yourself as "quirky" and "different." Those aren't necessarily bad qualities, but when they define you in such a way that I don't know anything else about you, that's a problem.

And, yeah, the FIV joke is in poor taste. It might be a good one to use once you've chatted with/dated someone a few times, if that's your sense of humour, but as the second sentence in your profile? Not so good.
posted by asnider at 2:27 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

My 2 cents:

-spell check your profile
-it's generally a short text, there is no need to mention things twice or more (barefoot)
-get better pics that are recent - do you shave or do you rock this armpit hair? Maybe I am too detail oriented....and yes, the first one is kind of scary.
-rewrite 'My self-summary, 'First things people notice about me' and 'On a typical Friday night I am'
-add some of your own drawings/comics to your pictures. Maybe draw a comic with your pets, you being the superhero or your cat being the superhero!
-18 is a bit young. If you set it to say 22/23/24 or something, I am sure if a great 19 year old stumbles across your profile and thinks you are a fine guy, she would still contact you. But it might come across odd to older women that you are looking for 18 year olds.
posted by travelwithcats at 2:30 PM on June 4, 2012

Okay, I'm a 28-year-old straight lady who used to live in NYC and now lives near Austin, so we have a little in common (same age, used to live somewhere slightly more glamorous.) Also, I think you're cute, and your screen name is clever. If you messaged me, I definitely might message you back.

However, my snap judgement of your profile is that I just don't feel like I know enough about you, which makes me think you might not have very much going on in your life. If you told me on a first date that you don't really like to wear shoes, I might think it's kind of quirky and charming, but when it's a big element of your profile, it makes me wonder if that's the best thing you could think to say about yourself. Also, all the quirkiness kind of makes me feel like I might not be cool enough for you (I mean, I don't even know what pescatarian means), which is fine if you only want to meet women who aren't intimidated by that kind of thing. If you're looking for a higher volume of responses though, I think the people advocating for a little more sincerity are right.

Also, I don't know what you're sending out as first messages, but I recently joined Okcupid after a long absence and the kind of message a few guys have sent me have been completely awful and off-putting, made worse by the fact that I think these guys might have thought they were being clever or cute. Be really careful with those. Saying something snide about my profile in a first message is way more of a turn-off for me than a bad picture.
posted by alittlecloser at 2:31 PM on June 4, 2012

The "18-40" is the default age range setting on okcupid profiles when you first sign up, so I'm more likely to shrug my shoulders. It's probably better that you fill in that info with real info, though.

Most people have pointed out the the main profile picture, which I would consider the big item.

I'm going to deviate from others with a suggestion that may just be personal taste. One red flag is that lots of acronyms, name-dropping, or in-jokes references without explaining them can put me off if I don't recognize them/ It makes it difficult to read profiles and I don't get any useful information out of seeing them. "SAIC MFA" takes a minute to process, I've never seen the acronym RAW, and I have no idea what HST is in this context (but I do know what "Hunter S. Thompson" is and all about 1960s counterculture). Same goes for memes or other things said out of context without explanation - I know exactly what "I pick things up then put them down", but there are people who might find strength training interesting and would never know you were into it because you hid the meaning behind a clever phrase (you can do both - say strength training AND use that quote).

The obscure path leads to situations in which you read a whole profile and by the end realize you know very little about the person. Basically, I'm saying you're losing out on possible conversations and piquing others' interests if they don't know what you're talking about. Be yourself, just remember that some of the people you might be interested in won't share your exact same cultural space and might need a little more info to understand your more obscure references.
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 2:35 PM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Nthing about the age range. I know it's legal, but actively looking to hook up with an 18 year old at 27 seems creepy to me. Why not something like 24-35?

That said, good on you for putting yourself out there to be judged in the interest of self improvement. I'm sure there are plenty of users who wouldn't post there own profile but who are happy you did so they can also benefit from your feedback.
posted by Kevtaro at 2:40 PM on June 4, 2012

Your photo is creepy. The age range is a little large -- if you bring it to 21, it seems better at the low end, even if it's the default. The cat joke and the money comment are sort of off-putting.

"I'm good at being competent at things I've never done before" reads "raging egomaniac" to me.

You're obscure about your interests. It looks like, for instance, you expect people to recognise what "pick things up and put them down" means, or the last names in your books and comics section, and that it's sort of a quiz for prospective people. But you don't come across like that for movies/tv/music, just the books/comics.

The Friday night thing sounds like you won't ever be willing to make long-range plans or work around someone with a more standard 9-5 schedule.
posted by jeather at 2:40 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

That profile pic is not great. It says "I AM JOSEF STALIN!" instead of--"If we go on a date I will smile at you, make eye contact, make you laugh and compliment you on that shirt your friends have been too dense to see is super cool."
posted by Ironmouth at 2:43 PM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

I know this is just adding to the pile-on, but there's no way I'd have gotten past your profile photo. I don't care how awesome your initial message or profile are if you look like a creep. Have a (preferably female) friend look through lots of photos of you, and take their advice. Include more normal photos ... you're not unattractive, so the photo really shouldn't be a sticking point.
posted by Metasyntactic at 2:59 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I actually adore your profile, except two things:

1. One clear "normal" ish looking picture in your first three pictures
2. Take this out: "it annoys me sometimes when someone says that they don't like an entire genre of music. It's like saying you don't like food cooked in a blue kitchen. " Most people have at least one genre of music they don't like and that might make them defensive (even though I agree with you for the most part).
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:20 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, your profile pic made me laugh my ass off, and I would definitely date you based on it. You just need one more normal pic right away to balance out the joking. Seriously, I am LOLing my butt off here.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:23 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Agree with Chara-your picture would turn most women away. no seriously.
posted by pakora1 at 3:28 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

The photo would prevent me from clicking through, but I'm over 35 & married so I'm not your market.

My thoughts:
If you're mostly making a life as an artist, I'd like to see more art.
Why do your friends like you? Why did your past girlfriends like you?
What would you do for fun with a woman (other than the obvious)?
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 3:40 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm going to be kind of brutal (out of love for a stranger, of course!)

fwiw i'm a mid 20's single female, programmer in a liberal east coast beach town. I am usually not this much of a bitch.

Your pictures are WTF and immature. Get better ones.

Your profile is all over the place. There is no such thing as being "mostly" vegetarian. So you don't eat a lot of red meat or chicken. Ok, say that instead. You drink a lot and use recreational drugs... Well, you've already narrowed down your dating pool significantly. If that's what you want, fine, but just keep in mind the kind of person you'd like to attract and the message you are sending from your profile. They should mesh. The things I think are funny and endearing about your profile are cancelled out by the obvious and glaring differences in our lifestyles.

Your animals are the first thing you mention, but actually have very little to do with who you are as a person (pet lovers may disagree but it's true. you are not your dog.) Who are you????????

And you don't have a regular job.. that's fine, but what is it you DO? I get no sense of either the thing you make most of your money from, or the thing you spend most of your free time doing. The whole thing comes off as very flakey and INSINCERE.

a small amount of sincerity would go a long way.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 3:45 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

I will say that I don't necessarily care about the quirky-but-functional thing, and this is partly age-correlated-- say, if you've found 18 year-olds are less likely to care about your practical situation, that's fine but you may or may not want to mention in, or just what you're looking for or enjoy in people in general. I find that helps me as much as knowing who the person is. While I say that, my main thought reading it was 'too weird for mass appeal'. At the same time, I don't recommend dialing it down, just reframing it to show how it expresses you rather than simply having an outline of someone's interests without a person inside.

Also, the only people who'll know who you are from your profile are people who've read/seen/done a lot of the same stuff. I sympathize 'cause I identify so much with what I see and read, to the point where I'd want to give you a list of my favorite comics and books and expect you to honestly know who I am, and if you don't, then clearly you just haven't really read those books properly. So.

But on the other hand, I'm personally aware that my attitude is not likely to bring me a fair amount of 'takers'. Also, I will agree that if I was surfing OKCupid for fun, I'd be put off by the photos and the Magic Johnson joke just confused me (and some stuff about MFAs and doing new things well is just the sort of thing that only rings properly when you know someone and can hear their intonation). Also, I was frustrated 'cause I don't know what your values are, what it is that matters to you in all these things you do. I don't need to feel I 'know' you on an intimate level to chat on a dating site, but I need a hook, a feeling that even if we like different comics, maybe we like them for some of the same reasons, or can talk about them fruitfully. That's if your target demographic is raging geek girls. So in summation, geek girls are likely to need different types of info on your likes, while non-geek girls will be overwhelmed by the info you already have, but may be ok with a more thought-process based outline.
posted by reenka at 3:49 PM on June 4, 2012

It's really hard to put yourself out there, profile hanging out in the wind and all, for all to see and judge. A profile that screams that you don't take much of anything seriously – including filling out your profile – can be really off-putting. At best, your explanations seem distant and aloof, like you don't really want to commit to the idea of saying who you are and seeking what you want. At worst, it could read like you are really insecure and don't know what you want. Being sincere, honest and a little bit forthcoming about who you are and what you want doesn't negate you being wild, lighthearted and laid-back. And you can still be funny without sounding like you're too cool for this whole online dating thing*. You're already on there anyway; the jig is up. Own it.

All that said...your fave books, movies, etc. section reads really's straightforward, interesting and not gimmicky. Why don't you watch Breaking Bad alone, btw? Perhaps add a "..., because [reason here]" to the end of that sentence and you'd have something real and funny there...something beyond "hey, I like this show cause it's great!"

*or an insensitive jerk...sorry, but did you really just open with a line about spending your time with a random cat, presumably named "Magic Johnson" because it has the feline version of the HIV virus he has? Dude, it's not even your cat! I, just...swoon?
posted by iamkimiam at 4:10 PM on June 4, 2012

a small amount of sincerity would go a long way.

DING DING DING DING DING!!!! This is a good rule for life. You think you are 'unique' - you are not. Neither is anyone else. Remember that and live by it and you'll attract more attention. I've been on OkCupid a lot and I go on a lot of dates so I've read a shit ton of profiles. People think they stand out by being 'edgy'. I can assure you that on the contrary the profiles that stand out, particularly in NYC, glaringly, are the ones that forsake the 'I'm so fucking cool' bullshit and actually, as the The Kinks once sang..."show a little bit of true emotion". Nobody wants to spend their life with a pose.
posted by spicynuts at 4:22 PM on June 4, 2012 [15 favorites]

....but I think that it's because I crafted a thoughtful, honest, but lighthearted profile. When reading it someone wants to get a sense of who you actually are. When hiding behind a façade of quips and jokes and irony, no one can get a sense of what the Guy Behind the Kremlin is really like. If you want to meet someone, you're going to want them to get to know you. And that's going to require sincerity. I know that we live in a world of hyper-quirkiness and irony, but when it comes to dating I think you'll find that being sincere can really take you far. At least in my experience.

QFT! When I used to do dating websites (and as I still do in my normal life), I avoided guys who did the sarcasm/irony/snarky thing like the plague - even if they contacted me. I had a feeling that being the average, everyday person that I am that I would never be cool enough for them. I was looking for someone who was above all things, kind. Obviously, this is just me and I'm sure there are lots of people who would disagree but I put a high value on simple sincerity and honesty about who and what you are without all the obfuscation. YMMV.

Otherwise, I don't think your profile is all that bad and it seems like you're a nice person. But yeah, change the picture. You have much better pictures of you in there. I like the bar one. Anything where you are smiling!
posted by triggerfinger at 4:24 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I hadn't noticed the Dr.acula thing mentioned above by observant users. Unless I am a self-destructive type, I would be frightened that you were one of those guys who warns you ahead of time that he is a vampire, and then, if I am silly enough to disregard the red flag, proves it.
posted by steinsaltz at 4:30 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I read through all the comments here first before looking at your profile, and I expected something much worse tbh. And I'm a pretty critical person. I think the picture is funny and eye-catching, and you have enough normal photos to balance it out. The cat joke should be tossed, but again, I expected much worse from the whole profile based on everyone's reactions. I guess the only thing is that you sound more undergrad-y or early twenties rather than 27.

I don't know much about Denton, TX, but maybe you think about moving to a bigger city to meet a wider variety of people?
posted by book 'em dano at 4:40 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

As far as the pictures go, what really strikes me the most is that you didn't seem to put any thought or effort into choosing them. It's like those just happened to be the only seven pictures you have of yourself. This would make me wonder: is he too broke for a camera? Does he have no friends that have taken pictures of him/ with him that he could grab off Facebook? If he does have decent pictures, why put up all these non-flattering photos and ones where you can't even see his face? Sunglasses? Masks? What's the point? And I know that I saw an OKTrends article that suggests the best photo for men is a close up looking away from the camera (I think it's something like that, anyway) but for me personally I am not interested in dudes who aren't smiling in some or most of their pictures. The brooding, moody, can't-be-bothered-to-smile shit is so off-putting. I want to date someone who I think I can have fun with, not someone whose moody crap I am going to constantly be subjected to. Show that you like your life and are capable of having fun. Also for someone that claims to be an artist I'd expect more in terms of photo taking, photo- choosing and cropping skills. Come on.

So anyway, the whole "I'm never going to have a real job" thing would be the #1 deterrent for me. Women aren't looking for men with jobs because they are gold diggers. They are looking for men with jobs because THEY have jobs and want to match up with an equal partner, not to be someone's mom. If you really don't have a plan for your life and how you're going to support yourself, this is going to be a barrier to dating at this age, period. Not an OKC-specific thing.

And the bitterness is not good. Small world, I also wanted to go to SAIC and could not afford it. So I just sucked it up, got over it and went to a cheaper school instead. I'd have no patience whatsoever for someone who played the whole "oh I wanted to go to school but it's so expensive." That's what student loans are for. If you want to go to school, get one or get over it and do something else. This attitude smacks of blaming others or 'the system' for your shortcomings and that is not mature or attractive or something I'd want in a boyfriend. It's like a big red flag that says "Hey! When things go wrong in our relationship I'm going to blame you or some other external factor and not take personal responsibility for my part in it!"

I know that all sounded harsh, so I apologize. I'm sure we could be friends in real life. But just friends. Because when it comes to dating, the standards are higher. If you're just looking to hook up then you might be okay but I think any girl would be wary of getting into an actual relationship with someone who didn't have a mature outlook on their life or at least some sort of goal in mind.

On preview: J. Wilson beat me to it, but unfortunately you're going to get passed over a lot for being on the short side. So you really need your photos/ personality to shine through in a positive way to overcome that particular barrier. It's pretty unfair, but it is what it is.

And just so this isn't all totally negative, I don't think the vegetarian/ pescatarian thing is off-putting. It just depends who's reading it, I guess, but my eating habits fall in the same category so it didn't strike me as weird to read that word.
posted by Argyle_Sock_Puppet at 4:58 PM on June 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's solely the pictures. Get some better ones (or at least more conventional), and then see what happens. The text is good and anyone who is put off by it shouldn't be contacting you anyway.

Have you tried My Best Face? You really should.
posted by The Lamplighter at 6:18 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

I liked your profile quite a bit, including your main picture. If you messaged me, I'd message back. I do agree that there's just a tiny bit more edginess than necessary, and a little sincerity might balance that out, but you honestly look pretty funny and chill, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. It looks like you'd attract the right kind of person (for you).
posted by stoneandstar at 6:39 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

I offer a dissenting opinion on the photo! If you had 3 or 4 really good and flattering photos, followed by this one, I would laugh my ass off and it would endear you to me. I don't think it's a good lead photo, however.
posted by looli at 7:49 PM on June 4, 2012

I'd try to be less clever and a little more sweet. Your profile photo is supposed to be funny and ironic, right? I find it creepy and random. Ever thought of smiling and looking into the camera? Yeah it might be dorky, but right now you seem really scary and unapproachable.

I wouldn't mention Tim Leary unless you're really into LSD. Not that it's a bad thing, but it might be something you wait until the second date to share.

I'd also try to share a bit of what type of people you want to meet on there somewhere. Right now everything you've written is about yourself and your particular taste-- but what are you looking to share with the people you meet (besides sex, of course)? I find your profile kind of intimidating and unfriendly because it's so specific and self-centred.
posted by costanza at 8:43 PM on June 4, 2012

Yeah, that photo says to me: "angry Tetris guy".
posted by blueberry at 12:05 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

HIV joke is crass and needs to go. But I would have never seen it b/c i would not have clicked through to your profile after seeing your picture. I'll be blunt- the pic you chose, the cut of the shirt paired with the style of your hair, the non smiling stare- you look like a creepy felon snapped in a prison pic with some weird photoshop effect of the building tops. Please replace with a normal picture in which you are SMILING.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 3:59 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

The best pic is the one with you in the cowboyish shirt. Replicate that one (you are clean shaven, you look responsible and date material) with the upgrade of a smile and i think you will get plenty of responses. Also, remove the profile pics of you with other women. Tacky tacky tacky.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 4:01 AM on June 5, 2012

Unapproachable is the word.

The profile pic is amusing seen large, but in the thumbnail, I see a guy with an angry expression who won't look at me. And I hear the rest of the profile in his voice. So it reads like short clipped sentences in an angry voice of someone who won't look at me. Unwelcoming, much?

If your profile picture didn't have angry eyes, and set a tone of mirth, it'd feel like I was complicit to all the jokes and wisecracks you are making. Except the FIV. That one's tone deaf.

Include more hints about what you want a relationship to be like, whether people watching, reading books in treehouses, or getting drunk on the beach, so a girl can picture herself spending time with you.

Other than that, keep being yourself. :)
posted by itesser at 8:02 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

From the OP:
Thank you everyone, I feel like this has been extraordinarily helpful and eye-opening in general about people's perceptions when dealign with online dating. I'll be taking a lot of this advice.

Also, I see that some of you seem to feel that you are being harsh or that others have been, but don't worry because I see that everyone is trying to be constructive and the extrapolations you make from my profile that put you off were exactly what I asked for. Nothing taken personally here.

Thanks again. This was an ideal response for me.
posted by jessamyn at 10:30 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

That is way, way better.

The photo selection is an improvement, though I still think you should make yourself say "I have this photo up because ______________ ". Do you have the photoshop tools to color-correct your new headshot?
posted by endless_forms at 12:40 PM on June 5, 2012

Awesome re-write! Much better pic!

Good luck, Doctor Ackula. May the Mitch be with you!
posted by batmonkey at 1:26 PM on June 5, 2012

Yup, this is much, much better! Yay! Content-wise, I think you're right where you need to be now.

They only thing that would put me off now is the looseness of some of the language.

Your first sentence is an awkward compound, and since it's the gateway to the rest of the profile, it really needs to sing. Work on it a bit. You may decide you want to break it in two.

Here's another example of loose language:

I'm also good at finding those vintage Raybans that the guy at the flea market wants $12 for then putting them on eBay, so I do that kind of thing some too.

Why do you need the "so I do that kind of thing some too" part? What does it add?

Read the whole thing aloud and see if you can pull out any other awkward, dangly bits like that. The more economical you are with your words, the more brightly you'll shine.

(Also, I do sort of miss the little half-gag about the high-end bathrooms. But you can't please everyone, can you?)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:30 PM on June 5, 2012

For whatever it's worth, I looked at your profile just now without reading the comments here first, and was surprised you weren't seeing results! I feel like I got a good sense of who you are, and I like your photos. Also, you won me over with the Mitch Hedburg reference.

I will add is that while I am personally a fan of the many variations available in the world of facial hair, some women I know just find it off-putting. And you, sir, have many variations. That said, you is who you is, and if you are constantly changing it, it's awesome to present that. Just know some of those looks might be hurting your chances.

Last, the first paragraph about your livelihood struck me as odd, though I can't quite figure out why. I think it's just that your situation is hard to describe, in which case, I would stop trying to do it here and save that for email or the first date. You sound skilled and interesting, but it seems like it'd make for better back-and-forth conversation.
posted by juliplease at 2:07 PM on June 5, 2012

I like this much better too. Your photo is way better, and your profile is much more full of personality and much less cooler-than-you. If you can order the photos, I'd move the drawing of you up higher because it is awesome, but that's really minor (I like the drawing).
posted by jeather at 2:10 PM on June 5, 2012

I suggest you find a friend who is a photography enthusiast, someone who actually likes you as a person, thinks you are attractive, and knows how to use a camera. I suspect the photo quality is pretty bad and is misrepresenting you. (I will send you a link to something I wrote to help you think about this.)

I would also work on polishing the profile. I have a ribald sense of humor which has gotten me in lots of trouble over the years. I am the loud mouthed brassy broad type. I gravitate towards more grounded, quieter types. Nobody needs two of me in the same room, not even me. I have learned that over-the-top humor benefits from applying a little restraint. Learning from "straight men" types has helped me come across better.

I get the impression you are really cute and really funny and just don't know how to effectively convey it, perhaps due to nervousness -- like it strikes you as egomaniacal to frame it that way. So let me let you off the hook: I am old enough to be your mother and I say so.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 2:58 PM on June 5, 2012

Oops, sorry -- forgot this was posted anonymously, so no memail address. I added the link to my profile. Pay attention to the anecdote about my sister and husband. That is the part I most want to communicate to you about getting a photo that captures "you".

Again, best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 3:09 PM on June 5, 2012

I'll hit the pics :
Profile Pic (as a thumbnail) makes you look like someone your uncle's age, kinda mid-40s in age... complete that with the gold sateen draperies in the background once the pic's full-sized. nope.
Pic of you in Black: I really like that look. it's cool, real-life approachable cool.
Hand-drawn graphic pic: wow. be great follow up to your Pic in Black.
Pic of you on horseback: this shows you're more than the above. and you've got family who obviously like you +do interesting things.

hope that's helpful.
posted by Twist at 4:42 PM on June 5, 2012

Rewrite is much better than the original.

That said, here are a few additional thoughts.

In the self-summary section, six sentences out of seven start with "I." Mix it up:

I try to find new things to question and do things that take me out of my comfort zone in order to grow as a conscious being. I value empathy (as distinct from sympathy) and openness, even if I don't manage either 100% of the time.

"Becoming a more conscious being matters to me, and I enjoy doing things that take me out of my comfort zone, and that encourage me to keep getting better at empathy and openness."

Move your third paragraph (Chicago) up, and make it the second paragraph. Sharpen it to get rid of the "I" up front.

Then the vampire (I guess). Move the shoes line down to the bit about running.

End with the animals. "There's also a cat named Magic Johnson who lets me hang out with him sometimes, but it turns out he's really the neighborhood's cat." Improved, but try this: "The neighborhood cat, Magic Johnson, thinks I'm cool. I think he just likes me for the tuna I leave out for him." Or something. It's still not clear to me why the cat is in there.

What I'm Doing With My Life: This isn't bad, but could stand a re-org. Put the art up front, if that's what you care about.

"My main pursuits, or the ones I think matter the most, are my art (painting mainly right now, and I'm trying to show my work more around the metroplex) and music (about which I have far too deep and conflicting philosophical feelings for my own, or anyone's, good)." Then talk about your aspiration (brewpub). Then the running. Then the day-to-day jack-of-all-trades--and don't forget to add some esoteric skill you've picked up in the process.

I"m Really Good At: Mention the cooking first. Then dogs, pool, drums.

The Books section is fine as is. Comics, fine. Movies, fine.

Shows needs work. Suggested changes: "Shows: Watching shows like Breaking Bad and Lost is most fun when done in company, so we can do running commentary together. Sometimes I go on kicks of watching all of some particular documentary or semi-reality-type series. Current favorite: Dirty Jobs."

Food is fine.

"My current desktop wallpaper is an ancient Chinese scroll depicting some kind of fart battle. " OK, I laughed.

Your sign-off about messaging you is...weak. It falls flat. "'d like to try my homebrew. Or if you'd enjoy cooking a meal together. Or even if you just want to hang out with genius-level dogs and chat about the cool places you'd like to go and the amazing places you've been." Or something. Make it more of an invitation. Don't sell yourself short at the close.

[Caveat: I'm a random internet stranger and OKCupid is a mystery to me. But honey? Ditch the 'stache and trucker hat. Thin clean-shaven, open, approachable. Anyhow, good luck. Take what bits of advice you will, ignore the rest, edit ruthlessly.]
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:46 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Aaw, I really like it now! Great rewrite and good choice (and ordering) of the photos! I would totally email you if I were still on dating sites. I am really pulling for you to have a lot more responses this time....I think you will. Good luck! :)
posted by triggerfinger at 8:31 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nice! Way better. I especially like that you included more activities, put in the 'entrepreneurial' streak clearer and rearranged the pics. The horse pic is fun and shows a new side of you.
If you can, it wouldn't hurt to get a current face pic up there as the profile picture though (I mean it looks like you are partying at a bar at 3am - everyone looks kind of sweaty and tired in such a situation).
Anyway, I think you will have more replies now. Good luck!
posted by travelwithcats at 4:09 AM on June 6, 2012

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