Suggestions for my OkCupid profile, and on how to initiate conversations with women?
June 29, 2012 12:09 AM   Subscribe

My OkCupid profile--any suggestions? And what's the best way to initiate conversations with women?

I haven't been having much luck with my OkCupid profile. Any thoughts regarding my pictures (do I need better pictures or take pictures differently; should I swap my default pic; etc)?
Any thoughts regarding the length or content of my profile?

Also, any comment regarding how I should initiate conversations with women on the site?
I normally keep it brief; 3 sentences: I'd say something like "You seem cool," then I make some observation about something cool or a mutual interest found about their profile, and last I'd conclude by asking them a general question that's related to that thing I found.

I've been on the website for like 4-5 months, and I've made a little over 40 initiation attempts, yet I've only had one person give me a response after I initiated a conversation in that way. I don't know if it's my profile, the way I started the conversation, or what. Please help!
posted by Willpower to Human Relations (51 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

There's nothing offputting in your profile and I like your pictures but it feels a little bit generic/neutral. It needs a bit more of your own flavor and voice. Maybe try to be more specific about things--you mention music, so what bands do you love? Do you have some sort of interesting story or wacky bit of personal trivia that connects to that? Some particular topic in psychology or philosophy that gets you excited?
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:21 AM on June 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestion dunkadunc. I actually had just recently read the link you posted. And a few days ago, I saw this OkCupid tip page, which made me swap my default pick: from the blue button-up picture to the beige T-shirt pic. Not sure whether it really was a good swap though
posted by Willpower at 12:23 AM on June 29, 2012

Your pics are fine. Way better than a lot of the pics I see on okc.

Your profile is a bit dry to read through, though. There's nothing majorly off-putting about it but at the same time I don't feel like there's much of your you-ness in it. It feels like your trying to sell qualities about yourself instead of trying to sell you - if that makes any sense at all.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:34 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I actually like the pictures as they are. I do agree with needs more cowbell though--the profile itself is fine, but doesn't have anything that quite stands out. The format of OKCupid gives a lot of room to tell short personal stories, jokes, etc. that could give a bit of oomph to your profile. As for what you're saying...could you literally cut and paste the text of something you've sent to a woman? I'm curious as to whether maybe there's something more there that's throwing people off.
posted by dysh at 12:37 AM on June 29, 2012

If you ask a girl who has an okcupid profile -- they can get totally carpet-bombed with messages, like a dozen a day easily, and they're largely all the same. Each unique profile attribute they mention will get brought up in 10 emails per week. So it often doesn't really cut it to say 'you seem cool, I like dancing too, let's hang out', because it's a little too safe and neutral, a little too easy, and then you just get lost in the pile of people saying that sort of thing. ('Seem' is half-committing to a compliment. You can tell from a profile if someone's cool. Just tell her you think she's cool, or she has a nice smile, if you want to open with a compliment. No half-measures.) Now, everyone's different, but in my experience, you'll have better luck if you are bold, creative, and expressive in your emails, and if your personality shines through, and if you write something that only you could have written. Then you'll stand out.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:41 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think the pictures look good. Regarding profile content, I can't complain too much, but I did judge you on your "lol" after the Braille ATM bit. I probably would not spend a lot of time responding to someone who used lol un-ironically, because really, adults on the internet don't really do that any more. Also, the Braille thing is one of those sorts of things that shows up in email forwards from my dad and aunt with the subject line FW: fw: Fw: FWD: Re: HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT ... ? so you don't really get points for originality there.

Unless you are actually a law librarian with an income of over $1M a year -- in which case, more power to you -- I would maybe just "prefer not to say" on the income. When I used OK Cupid I never really found the $1M income "joke" very original or cute.

As far as messaging, pretty much everyone starts out with "you seem cool." Maybe make your initial line something that goes right to a mutual interest, or something like that, to differentiate yourself and get their attention. Another good blog post.

But make sure you read this as well. 40 messages and 1 response, unfortunately, is not out of line if you're a guy, I don't think. Women get a *lot* of messages. I would regularly wake up each morning to at least 5, and I was hardly active on the site and didn't go out of my way to try to attract attention (it was mostly just an experiment for me). And of those 4 or 5 I *might* reply to 1, but I mostly ignored them because the people just didn't jump out at me. Your race may also work against you, unfortunately.
posted by olinerd at 12:44 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm stumped by your results. You seem like a catch and your messaging technique sounds ideal.

However, I agree with the previous answers--I don't get a clear idea of your personality. You seem incredibly well-rounded, but I'm still not sure what it would be like to meet you in person. You mention that you're ridiculous and funny, but I'd love for you to show it in your profile by inserting an aside or two that showcases your sense of humour.

I can imagine someone getting a message from you, then reading your profile, and thinking "meh" because they don't find anything compelling to latch on to.

I'd also suggest adding specific musicians you like, just because that's a biggie for me.

Your pics are good, but they're a bit same-y. Maybe have one that is just a clear close-up of just your face--I feel like I don't really see your eyes intimately in any of the one you have which I think adds to the sense of not feeling drawn in as I want to be.
posted by oceanview at 12:44 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yep, pics are fine, profile is fine, but it seems like you need to inject a a little personality into it. It's mostly just lists - maybe you could talk about how you *feel* about something, whether it's religion or politics or chocolate ice cream.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:45 AM on June 29, 2012

You at least need your "you should message me if" to be way more specific. Everyone likes art or music. Give examples, or controversialish opinions (you love/hate Damien Hirst, etc.). Paint a picture of what kind of discussions you're likely to have or what activities you're likely to do.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 12:46 AM on June 29, 2012

You're awesome! Your profile is inviting!!

I need to go back and see where you live so I can tell people I now about you:)


I'm married to a guy very much like you, but from Egypt. Also, I'm, "the profile whisperer."

I see no problems. I'm about to go back for a deeper look.


Telling someone they seem "cool" is a turn-off... so maybe that is your issue?

But your profile is dialed in, from my super picky perspective.


I delve back in and comment further.

Thanks for the challenge!
posted by jbenben at 12:49 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oops! I know your problem...

You need to move from Rancho Cucamonga.

You are lovely, but isolated from the tons of, sorry for this, cool and open-minded types of women who would want to date you.

Your interests do not read: suburbia. Yet, that is where you live.


Geography is your problem here. Nothing more or less than that. Your interests place you as an "outlier" for Rancho Cucamonga. No wonder you are having problems.
posted by jbenben at 1:00 AM on June 29, 2012 [13 favorites]

Your profile is great, and your pictures are great-- the caption on your main pic melted my heart.

I agree that you are probably an awesome person face-to-face, but since OKCupid is inherently a text-heavy medium, you might want to add some more oomph in terms of specific activities you really like and why, musicians you love and why, &c. Just some kind of points of conversation-- I always respond better to profiles/messages when they give me a place-inside-the-conversation to start. By which I mean that if I can mentally respond directly to your profile by saying, "Really, you think The Sacrifice was Tarkovsky's best film because [reason]? That's really interesting, I've always considered that movie so personal because... [etc.]". This is way more engaging to me than, "Oh, you like movies? Horror movies? Which ones?" which takes more time, work, and doesn't promise a high rate of payoff (I might like horror movies too, but maybe we like them for totally different reasons, and maybe this was a bad topic to start off with, and I don't know where this is going). Relationships are built on conversations (specifically fun ones, at first). Keep it positive and non-value-judging, though, I want to talk about why you specifically like something, and not why you think your tastes are superior to everyone else's. (You sound like a cool guy who won't have a problem with this.)

Ugh seriously though you seem great, I hope you get more messages!
posted by stoneandstar at 1:06 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

(Not to say you can't dislike things, but I find that's easier to discuss in person, and positive opinions make a better first impression.)
posted by stoneandstar at 1:08 AM on June 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments so far. I've seen a lot of people saying that I should add more personality, with maybe a short story or two which demonstrate my personality. Or some other way to add some "oomph." The reason why I hadn't done that is because I felt that I shouldn't just "give myself away" through my profile. I figured that my full persona would be something better to be discovered through messaging conversations with a person who's somewhat interested. I was also partially afraid that adding more stuff to my page might make my page too long of a read for some people. Nevertheless, you guys are right; finding some way to add some more personality to my page would make me stand out and definitely add to my appeal.

I wrote a list of outgoing activities that I enjoy, because any of those could be an easy topic for good conversation. I guess I could also do that for music. I hesitate to do that with music because I honestly cycle through over two dozen artists regularly. But I guess I can list at least a few. And maybe I can add some specifics for my other areas of interest, too.

Also, I'll try to make my initiation messages stand out more.

Someone asked for a specific example of one I've sent; here it is:
"You seem cool. I'm actually adding some more genres of music to my iTunes collection right now and you have some cool artists on your list. Anyway, are you a concerts kind of person, or how do you listen to your music? "

Here's another initiation-message style that I used to use (I no longer use it though):
"You seem like a pretty cool person. I'm really outgoing and into art too. Check out my profile and let me know if you're interested in chatting.
What kinds of things do you do to enjoy your free time? If you don't know about the website, you should check it out. "

Feel free to comment on either styles.

I really, really like stoneandstar's suggestion. I will definitely try that style of initiation.
posted by Willpower at 1:20 AM on June 29, 2012

Response by poster: jbenben, what would be a better location to live? My sister tells me that I'd find more people with interests similar to mine up in Norther California/Silicon Valley, where she lives. I'm considering finding a job up there and moving.
posted by Willpower at 1:27 AM on June 29, 2012

Hi- please don't take this the wrong way, but you might want to consider losing the "Nigerian"- maybe just replace with West African? Of all the races in the world, it's probably one most likely to get negative knee jerk reactions... Particularly when combined with your $1m salary mention.
posted by KateViolet at 2:00 AM on June 29, 2012 [6 favorites]

Yeah, I'm with jbenben on the location issue. Rancho is (judgy, I know, but generally true) basically the land of rich white ultraconservative suburbanite people who fear the 'other' and anything different. There isn't even real Mexican food there! More toward LA proper would give you so much more richness and variety. I live nearish to downtown (where we have culture and variety and real food), and Rancho is already outside of the "25 mile" default radius that most people would be looking at, so I'd never even end up seeing the profile of a cool person with similar interests who lives in Rancho.
posted by so_gracefully at 2:46 AM on June 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Your profile is decent, but is pretty generic. You need to write more about your long-term interests and how you are pursuing them. Your long term goals sound really fuzzy.

For the time being, I'm working at a Law Library.
I plan to explore many fellowships/internships or other jobs/programs between now and then next year or two.
After, grad school.

Fellowships/internships/jobs programs in what? You say ambition is your lifeblood, well let's hear it then!

Otherwise, you seem like a pretty nice guy. Definitely more SF than LA, but LA is so big I would not think it matters that much.

Your messages need work.

I'm actually adding some more genres of music to my iTunes collection right now and you have some cool artists on your list. Anyway, are you a concerts kind of person, or how do you listen to your music?

Yuck. Okay, let's drop the "you seem cool" to your messages. The question you're asking needs added specificity -- it's way too generic. Read the girls profile, pick out something specific she likes and ask her about that specific thing. Always avoid generalities.

Example: Girl states on her profile she likes Tito Puente. You write something like "I noticed you like Tito Puente, I like to go Latin dancing at [NAME A REAL PLACE YOU ACTUALLY GO TO HERE]. Do you have any favorite places that you would recommend?"

"You seem like a pretty cool person. I'm really outgoing and into art too. Check out my profile and let me know if you're interested in chatting.
What kinds of things do you do to enjoy your free time? If you don't know about the website, you should check it out. "

Yuck. Drop the "you seem like a pretty cool person." A lot of people know about Deviant Art, you are not really providing them with anything new. What if she hates Deviant Art? There are a number of great art museums in LA. You should visit them if you have not already and ask about those if you want to talk about art.

Example: I'm really into art too. I was just at LACMA and thought the ". . . Is James Bond exhibition" was great. Are there any specific styles of art you are into? Do you create your own art?

You can obviously say more if you like. Hope that helps!
posted by Jurbano at 2:49 AM on June 29, 2012 [7 favorites]

It would also help to not leave the interest in chatting up to her. Just make it a conversation. She'll check out your profile if you message her and you don't have to tell her to. Try something more like "Hey [username], your profile really caught my attention because [it was funny/it was quirky/I loved your answer to the deep dark secret question/that pic of you in front of some travel location is awesome]. I'm looking for new music to listen to now. I like some of the artists on your list so we probably have similar taste -- what have you been listening to lately? Have you been to any good concerts lately? I love summer concerts, but it's hard to get to many when I'm busy [doing some other fun hobby that could be a potential thing to talk about]." etc.

Also, just because people list artists they like doesn't mean they're Music People. I listed Lady Gaga and the Foo Fighters on mine but I generally don't like concerts, don't buy albums in any curated sort of way, and I couldn't make someone a mixtape to save my life. So if all you asked about was my music and concert-going, I'd be sort of put off because I'd be worried you're one of those Music People and I wouldn't interest you. Hit on a couple different interests; don't just harp on one thing because if that's not "her thing", it'll be a miss.
posted by olinerd at 3:38 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hi- please don't take this the wrong way, but you might want to consider losing the "Nigerian"- maybe just replace with West African?

I am a 31 year old man in Australia, so probably a ways out of your target audience, but if someone is put off by your (or any) ethnicity that is totally not a person I would want to date. Nigeria is a lot more than scammers and anyone with a soupcon of awareness of sensitivity would realise that.

You mention Nigerian cuisine - go all out and chuck a link in there to some jollof rice or something. You seem quite adventurous in your cuisine and general preference, that level of detail about something interesting would pique people's interests, I feel.
posted by smoke at 4:12 AM on June 29, 2012 [11 favorites]

I think the problem is the messages you're sending. They're sort of short and generic and have no personality.

"You seem like a pretty cool person. I'm really outgoing and into art too. Check out my profile and let me know if you're interested in chatting. What kinds of things do you do to enjoy your free time? If you don't know about the website, you should check it out. "

Think of this as a cover letter. Every sentence must accomplish a goal, whether making you seem more interesting, opening up new conversational topics, or encouraging her to talk more about herself. Useless sentences are to be eliminated.

You seem like a pretty cool person. Useless. Everybody in the world thinks they're pretty cool in their own way. Plus there's nothing she can say back to that beyond "Thanks" or "You too."

I'm really outgoing and into art too. This would have been a potentially useful conversation-starter if you had added something specific about an artist you particularly like and what you like about them. When you keep it vague, however, it's about as useful (and lame) as saying "You're an Aquarius? Oh, I'm an Aquarius too! We have so much in common!"

Check out my profile and let me know if you're interested in chatting. Useless. Obviously she's going to do this anyway.

What kinds of things do you do to enjoy your free time? This sentence is good. You might want to put a second question like this in your e-mail, offering multiple conversational paths if she thinks one question is boring or has been asked that already by 20 guys.

If you don't know about the website, you should check it out. This is OK, but it might be more useful if you mentioned a few specific artists you really like and why - that way, you potentially open up a new conversational path.

Basically your intro messages are full of fluff, and that makes you seem bland. Eliminate all fluff, and replace it with targeted content.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 4:13 AM on June 29, 2012 [6 favorites]

if someone is put off by your (or any) ethnicity that is totally not a person I would want to date. Nigeria is a lot more than scammers and anyone with a soupcon of awareness of sensitivity would realise that.

I'd normally agree with this, but I'd say it's worth considering when you're a man on OKCupid, up against large odds (e.g. every woman on there probably gets loads of messages, and may skim through profiles quickly and reject some without even consciously thinking why). I say this as someone who had a Nigerian boyfriend for several years; I'm honestly not trying to be nasty, but it's an unfortunate fact- and a reaction I've seen in many people, including other Africans from different countries. People don't always think about these things rationally when they are looking through a lot of incoming emails - all you need is a foot in the door so they can see what a nice guy you are- why give a reason for their subconscious to close the door before they've even met you?
posted by KateViolet at 4:42 AM on June 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

Yeah, it's as I feared, having seen your sample messages. It's fear showing through. They're half-messages, not quite saying I like you and got really excited by your profile, not quite showing I'm a great person and you might be into me, just kind of safe. There's no risk to them. No flirting, no intimacy, no vulnerability, nothing secret.

Specifically, this one for example: "You seem cool. I'm actually adding some more genres of music to my iTunes collection right now and you have some cool artists on your list. Anyway, are you a concerts kind of person, or how do you listen to your music? "

This could be spammed to pretty much anyone on OKCupid from pretty much anyone on OKCupid. That's a bad sign and almost guarantees a non-response. Which genres, which artists? What makes them cool, in your opinion? And are YOU a concerts kind of person, or what?

How about this:
I'm glad to see you like Bluegrass! It's been a fairly recent discovery of mine but it's been really good for me. Somehow the tone of the instruments is very soothing. Banjo makes me melt. I saw Earl Scruggs a few years ago at a festival, kind of by accident, and somehow I knew I was in the presence of greatness. Who are your favourites?

I took a bit of a risk in expressing myself. She might not even really like bluegrass that much, she might think I'm a sap for saying that banjo makes me melt... but then again she might feel the exact same way, in which case, hey, we just connected over something. That's the benefit of taking a risk. And the way the supply-demand curves work in OKCupid, you're going to have to take a risk in your emails, because most of the girls simply don't have energy to spare for people who hang back.
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:52 AM on June 29, 2012 [7 favorites]

Yes, do drop the 'you seem cool' from your messages. Of course the person seems cool, that's why you are messaging her. Just jump right into whatever it is that you want to say. When I was OKCupiding, my general rule for messages was: two to four sentences, no more, must include an observation/joke about the person's profile, a question, or preferably both. The more specific, the better.

Obviously, this is not always possible - I sent some mediocre messages, surely, because sometimes you don't have very much to work with. But I think it's a good ideal to aim for.

Also, yes, geography matters - if you are way out in suburbia, and most of your matches are not, you will not get very many responses. I experienced this myself, and when I tried the site again awhile after moving to the city, I suddenly became much more popular.

Oh, and one final piece of advice: definitely make your profile less generic, but please, for the love of God, do not just list all the bands and movies you like and do nothing else. That's still generic. I always hated those profiles; unlike the guy in High Fidelity, I do not believe that you are what you like.
posted by breakin' the law at 5:47 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think the biggest problem on your profile is, "Rancho Cucamonga, California." You'd have pretty good luck in a denser area, I think.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 6:40 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

(This may seem nit-picky, but I'm a chick with OKC experience and this is the kind of stuff I would notice and judge people's profiles on.)

Philosophy and psychology are not the same thing, or even related, really, so I'm not sure why you have them listed together as "philosophy/psychology" under things you're good at. They're also interests, not skills. You can be a master debater, for example, or good at reading people; you can be well-versed in either philosophy or psychology, but you can't really be "good at" them, per se; and if you were genuinely interested in them, you'd talk about them in more specific terms, e.g. what branch of philosophy do you like, who is your favorite philosopher or what are your favorite texts, or what it is about philosophy that appeals to you, or how did you get into it. Same for psychology. Or if your interest is more informal, such as you love figuring out what makes people tic, or you spend hours contemplating the meaning of life, then put that. What kind of fellowships or internships are you looking into?What kind of art do you like/do? How does a really great piece of art affect you?

Also, the fact that you said you "used to use" a certain message sums up your whole problem with messaging right there; you shouldn't be "using" the same message on multiple people. Messages are like conversations--you need to actually have something unique to say to the person you are messaging, based on some detail of their profile. If you're just going through the motions, it rings hollow and that's why you're not getting much response.
posted by désoeuvrée at 6:57 AM on June 29, 2012 [6 favorites]

Who are you sending your messages to? I'm wondering if it's very attractive girls, and they're probably in your age range (young). In addition to the other issues raised in this thread, I suspect you're sending messages to a group of girls where you're bound to have a low success rate because they are inundated with messages and have a lot of options. Nothing wrong with the, but couple it with sending only two messages a week and that could easily be part of why you're not hearing back. Message more girls!
posted by J. Wilson at 7:01 AM on June 29, 2012

Replying because in addition to comments, I have an idea that I think may work well for you. Also, I really want to say kudos for asking a group to do this. I wouldn't have the guts -- so wow on bravery. I actually do like many parts of your profile and so there are things that I think that you already have done well.

Things to consider modifying:

• You mentioned that you don't want it to be too long. To be honest, I think that you can cut out 1/4th of the text now and then fill it up with relevant stuff. Ask yourself if every single sentence is saying something of substances. So here are things that you can cut out:" I'm a lighthearted dude. If you make the atmosphere fun, I'll keep up the flame." (not saying anything and let your date decide if you are or are not lighthearted). "Check out my "Personality" and "Tests" tabs. Bunch of stuff there." (The reader knows this). Also consider editing it for brevity/clarity - so instead of "I have conversations with random strangers on the regular." -perhaps I often have conversations with random strangers.

• Personalize it and put in a way for a reader to see something common/something unique, or have a conversation with you. Some areas that I would consider filling in are: What will you be going to grad school for (let us see your passion), what type of music- you don't have to list all 24 musicians, but list a few genres and a few musicians from each. Can you give examples of the following: " Perspectives/philosophy/psychology"- you mention it a few times so it must be important but you can't connect to it because it is a vague term.

• Let us see something inside you that is important. I have a different view on how you could present your genetic background --I don't know if it belongs in the first few sentences if in sentence one you also say you were raised/born in CA. If it is a part of your life, further down you could say --I spent my summers in Nigeria, or I love how my mother/father made peanut soap or manioc with...(insert food specific to your place)--but you could present something personal that lets us see you. Also, I do think that there are people who would be drawn to the other country/culture aspect but right now you don't see it.

• Messaging people. I would probably ignore the type of message that you send, but...reread Jurbano's comment10X. Do that.

I do agree with others that it may be where you live, but I have another idea for you. Have you tried There are usually specific interest groups and you go and meet people who share your interests and do the same activity together. I think that you would come across very well in person and if you do something that you are passionate about -- that is probably how you will make a connection with someone. Anywho, because you are also outgoing -- create your own meetup group for dance since it is a big part of your life-it could be X type of dance week 1, X type of dance week 2, etc. I suspect more females than males would participate in the group. Do it because you love the activity, but I suspect that for you-- you may meet someone along the way. If you create a group and no one joins...then definitely move to another place because I think that it would do well in a lot of larger cities.
posted by Wolfster at 7:35 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

1. Definitely don't start out with "you seem cool." Women get tons of that on OKC. Tell her how her profile caught your eye and what you think the two of you have in common.

2. I actually don't like your pics that much. The main one is fine and blue shirt pic are okay. I'd ditch the hat and glasses pic; it screams "I put this together specifically for a contrived OKC shot!" And the tux shot is just meh, it doesn't say much about you. Put up a couple of shots that aren't just you looking at the camera. Shots of you doing things you like would convey much more about you.

3. Change your income to "I'd rather not say." if you make 1 mil a year it's pretentious to list it. If you don't, it's kind of goofy.

4. I'd get rid of the Nigerian reference in the first sentence. A lot of women get a ton of emails, including men living abroad who clearly want to just chat about sex. Others may not want to date a foreign guy (and you aren't, anyways.) Some will get to the Nigerian part and won't proceed any further. If it's important to you to list your descent, why not put it in another part of the profile? Mention that your family is from there, you've been there x times, and what you love about the food, culture, etc.

Good luck!
posted by Sal and Richard at 8:09 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Hmm . . . if you messaged me with that, I would totally respond (assuming you were in my age bracket, which you're not). It's a complementary opener, and indication that you actually read my profile and aren't just spamming, and a clever question -- in my book, perfect.

I, too, suspect that your messages are getting lost among all the others aimed at 19-24 yr old girls. I wonder if you messaged more 25-28 yr old girls, would you get more responses?

The only other thing I notice is that it's rare that someone fills in ALL of the quick details on the side, and for some reason, whenever I see that, I'm turned off a little. Combine that with doubt or concern about a 22 yr old pulling down a salary of over 1M -- if it were me, I would change the salary to the unanswered default. You risk girls thinking you're broke, but . . . some of the girls (not all) who are So Concerned about that are jerks anyway.

Good luck!
posted by MeiraV at 8:12 AM on June 29, 2012

No one ever thinks about their question answers. Before I even look at someone's pictures, I look at our Match Percent and then click on the person's answers under the category "I Care About" or "Unacceptable Answers" - because who gives a flying fuck if they're hot if they're a bigot or something? Now, granted, we're a 40% match, which is TERRIBLE, so who cares, but I can tell you exactly why I wouldn't message you, nor would most of my female friends who use OKC.

I immediately felt your tone was very conservative and a bit hostile because of the following answers (comments to follow):

"Yes, even if they were slightly overweight. I like a woman with curves, but I am athletic and active, and I'd like someone who's active."

This is going to set off the insecurities of even thin women - because saying NO YOU CAN'T BE EVEN SLIGHTLY OVERWEIGHT & then saying you like curves is both contradictory and very "bro culture" of you. It's good to be forthright about your tastes but snap judgment this made me think you're a really fussy guy who expects his girl to reflect him by always being perfect, working out for her dude, or at the very least your standards are high.

Do you enjoy giving oral sex?
It's okay.


Say you've started seeing someone you really like. As far as you're concerned, how long will it take before you have sex?

6 or more dates I'm not eager for sex. I'd wait for marriage if my partner prefers that.

Even chicks who aren't super sexual might find this to seem a bit stoic....not exactly sexy & exciting! More like, a more modest & conservative girl might be charmed by this. There aren't tons of these on OKC.

A college-level education is...


College-educated women are going to likely skew more liberal than your profile & answers paint you to be. And the crowd at OKCupid is much more geeky/liberal/polyamorous/sexually fluid than most other dating sites. So, maybe try eHarmony (genuinely, not meant as a dig).
posted by SassHat at 8:21 AM on June 29, 2012 [11 favorites]

I was going to say that your profile looked fine, but on viewing SassHat's reply... I'm guessing you have a low match percentage with a lot of OkC users. When I was on OkCupid, I generally would not be interested in guys with match percentages below, say 60-70% because those percentages are a pretty good indicator of how alike your values and views are which is important for dating. Maybe you can try messaging women in your match percentage more, or try using a dating site that is more traditional.
posted by bearette at 8:39 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I checked out your profile -- my first little red flag is, do you really make $1,000,000 working at a law library?

Otherwise, your profile looks fine -- nothing especially off putting. If I really had to find something to point out, you use the word "I" a lot. Obviously it's hard not to when describing yourself, but perhaps reword some of the sentences to something like, "People say I'm . . ." or "My friends tell me I'm . . ."

Maybe also flesh it out with some particulars. What's your undergraduate degree in? Where did you go? What internships are you looking at? What are you thinking about for grad school? The answers to those questions will draw more questions out of girls with interest in the same field or who went to the same schools.

Also, do you have an accent? Put that in your "First Things People Notice About Me" category and watch the ladies come running.

As for your messages, they sound a little generic. Women get more messages than men from what I hear, and "You seem cool" doesn't make me feel like they spent a lot of time reading my profile. Dig out one or two things from her profile and ask specific questions. If it's funny, tell her that it made you laugh (I'm a total sucker for that). Ask where she was if she's got a picture of herself on a vacation. And definitely do what bearette says and make sure you've got a good percentage match with the person you're messaging!
posted by mibo at 8:58 AM on June 29, 2012

Hmm. I don't think there's any problem with skewing slightly conservative on OKCupid when it comes to how soon you'd hit the sack, if you're being honest. In fact, your profile seems charming, overall. When it comes to pictures, that third pic with the sunglasses and the hat...meh. Sort of looks like you're trying to be Usher. Doesn't say anything about you. And it doesn't seem to jive with the authenticity and sweetness in the rest of your profile. Now, a photo of you at a gallery? Or playing/enjoying some music? More interesting.

There's a fine line between projecting "I'm awesome" and projecting "I'd be awesome for you." Though your profile is sweet, it should also get across that you're a person who has room in his life to make another person feel great. It's hard to do on a form. But maybe keep aiming for that.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 9:02 AM on June 29, 2012

Putting in a fake income is a huge red flag.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:12 AM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also, if you can find a job in Oakland, there will be tons of women eager to date you there.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:14 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

College-educated women are going to likely skew more liberal than your profile & answers paint you to be. And the crowd at OKCupid is much more geeky/liberal/polyamorous/sexually fluid than most other dating sites. So, maybe try eHarmony (genuinely, not meant as a dig).

Just as a contrary data point here, while I certainly would not have (and didn't, if I answered them) answered those match questions in the same manner as the OP, and I am geeky and fairly liberal politically, I am somewhat traditional in my personal life and had plenty of high match percentages on OKC. There's plenty of people on there who, while maybe they are geeks who enjoy sex a lot and vote for Democrats, are looking for a more-or-less traditional relationship. It shouldn't be too hard to find matches who are monogamous and unabashedly straight.
posted by breakin' the law at 9:46 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by mlis at 10:02 AM on June 29, 2012

Your focus on this should be broken down 80/20 in effort as follows:

80 = Your ability to craft concise, witty messages to your prospects based on something unique-ish in their profile with perfect grammar that will provoke a response. You should aim to send out about 10 of these per week. No more than 4-5 sentences.

20 = Making sure there is nothing weird/offensive/ignorant in your profile. Don't over share.

You shouldn't spend much effort on making the "perfect" profile because as a man you are going to get very few direct messages from women anyway. Once you have a connection via a messaging exchange your profile diminishes greatly in importance.

Focus on your opening messages. Specific, kind, funny.
posted by the foreground at 10:32 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your first two photos are great, but the third photo is going to turn off a certain kind of girl. Fedoras are kind of a joke around here and you don't want to fit the stereotype.

I am getting a PhD in psychology and I am really suspicious of anyone who says they're interested in psychology, or "good at" psychology. I do psychology every day and I don't think I'm good at it, because I'm surrounded by brilliant scientists who are even better than I am. If you mean you like reading about psychology, that's different. If you had some Damasio on your reading list instead, that's great.

I have no idea what your taste in books or music is like; you list two non-fiction books, no specific music. I would not message someone who didn't read fiction, or doesn't have at least a few favorite authors or artists they can name off the top of their head. You start off by saying music is one of your favorite things and then you don't list anything specific. Long lists are bad, but you need to name drop a little or it looks like you have bad taste/no taste.

I'm not sure you totally understand the subtext of "Dionysian." I read that as "likes to drink heavily and party," and if that's your intent, there are better ways of saying it.
posted by slow graffiti at 11:48 AM on June 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you for all your responses. You guys have given me a lot of perspective. A lot of respect to the MetaFilter community. I will begin making the appropriate improvements to my profile when I get back from this weekend trip with my family. Thanks a lot everyone!
posted by Willpower at 12:07 PM on June 29, 2012

Granted, you and I are a horrible match (41%) so I would never reply to you because of that. Putting that aside, I would not reply to your messages unless you included a specific detail from my profile that shows me it's not a cut and paste message (and I'm a lot older and don't get massive amounts of messages).

Funny story—a guy once messaged me a few sentences about liking my profile, commented on the weather and his recent trip. I almost responded but realized it's very generic. I got the exact same message from the same guy about 3 weeks later so I blocked him. The next morning a friend and I were having brunch and she mentioned a message she got right then and I laughed because it was the exact same message. This happens a lot, so writing something more specific that shows that you read their profile and have something in common will help.

Otherwise I'd say that you mention a lot of interests but give no recent examples. Write a few sentences about an exhibit you saw, your last biking trip or a book you just read. Everyone can say then like things, but without examples it's hard to tell what kind of guy you are and if we'll get along. Good luck, you're young and time is on your side!
posted by Bunglegirl at 2:10 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

You desperately need hooks. Your profile and approaches ("I'm really outgoing and into art too. Check out my profile and let me know if you're interested in chatting.") don't have any hooks. "Art" is super vague. You could say, "I'm into graffiti and know where to see the best pieces." or "You should see the loud tie dye shirt I made myself. I'm afraid to take a picture of it." or "I make hilarious naughty collages that combine porn and children's books I get at goodwill." (that last one might be too much to share initially, ha ha).

I'm afraid your profile completely lost me at: "I'm very interested in psychology, philosophy and perspective. "Deep" conversation here or there." That is just about the most low content statement you could make about those very rich topics. It implies to me you have no idea what deep conversation is, and therefore no real grasp of who you are. You think you're the guy who likes deep conversation, yet you can't even write an interesting, insightful sentence about it. BZZZT. (Sorry to be harsh.)

I'd recommend reading this advice by Tina Fey on Improvisation. It might really help you keep your messages (and profile) interesting. Getting to know someone is a lot of improv, at first, because you want to keep their attention and get them involved with you. It encourages them to contribute as well.

Hooks hooks hooks. It's true by making a bold statement that you risk turning some people off, but those people probably wouldn't have clicked with you, anyway.
posted by griselda at 3:21 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

You're cute. If you asked me out in person I'd probably go on a date with you. That said, I agree with others that your profile is a little generic and that might put me off if you messaged me online.

I agree with whoever said that race could be a factor. I'm a white woman in her twenties, and I'd date you, but I know a lot of women are weird about race and you seem to live in a predominantly white and hispanic area? I suspect women would be more open minded in a city, so you might consider moving if possible.
posted by timsneezed at 5:11 PM on June 29, 2012

OKCupid has done a detailed analysis of how race affects messaging rates compared to the demographic breakdown. It is an upsetting trend for sure, and might explain your low messaging rates. I agree that living in the city might help fix this (when it comes to getting more responses).
posted by stoneandstar at 5:57 PM on June 29, 2012

Hi there! You've had a lot of responses, but just wanted to say that I dated on OKCupid (met my fiance there) and based on your profile, I would have totally gone out with you. You're cute, and you seem smart, nice, interesting - bingo.

HOWEVER if I'd received a short email like "You seem cool, etc" I would have thought, "OK, this is one of the guys I've been told about on here who sends a form letter to a ton of people and then sees who emails him back - he's not really interested in me."

So, my advice would be to, in your email, ask about something specific in the woman's in the woman's profile that you find interesting. If you don't find anything interesting about her, it's probably not going to be a great match anyway. Like others have said, asking a good question starts a conversation.

Good luck, you're a total catch!
posted by Pearl67 at 7:56 PM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

me mail me
posted by brittaincrowe at 8:24 PM on June 29, 2012

FWIW, I am a white-bread American aged 34, formerly on OKC. DON'T take out Nigerian or any reference thereof! It's all cool when one is actually, get this, FROM NIGERIA! Someone who assumes Nigeria=scam is not your kind of woman!
posted by skbw at 6:54 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: How is my profile now?
posted by Willpower at 12:21 PM on July 6, 2012

Hi Willpower, I guess people haven't checked the thread for updates, but I'm one of the people who answered before and I think it's WAY better! You're a catch. As long as you change the way you've been messaging, the ladies should be lining up to meet you (and if they're still not, then yeah, you need to move to a major city)!
posted by désoeuvrée at 10:31 PM on July 13, 2012

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