OKCupid filter: I need feedback for unpopular profile
July 26, 2013 4:28 PM   Subscribe

Encouraged by the response to my question a few weeks ago (http://ask.metafilter.com/243294/So-many-reasons-to-keep-lovesex-out-of-my-life-Are-they-realistic), I have dusted off my OKCupid profile, but am not getting any responses. I need help!

Here's my profile: http://www.okcupid.com/profile/LunarPrimate?cf=profile

So far I have received only 3 responses, all from men who live more than 1000 miles away. I have no interest in long-distance or virtual romance. I want the real thing, and close by. Because I'm older and not a pin-up, I know there won't be a huge amount of guys knocking down my door. But people say there's someone for everyone out there, so I was hoping to hear from a few guys.

Based on a Jezebel.com article I recently read (http://jezebel.com/how-to-win-friends-and-lovers-mainly-lovers-with-your-876740852) I decided to use the strategy of honesty and specificity in what I'm looking for--casting a narrower net. Maybe that's the problem? I'm also afraid of being too honest or too specific--will it come off as negative or too picky? Maybe I'm not being honest or specific enough? Aaaargh!

Please lay on me any feedback you have. Be brutal. Thanks.
posted by primate moon to Human Relations (47 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with your profile, it's just that the main part seems kind of meh. I think you have the bones of a striking profile there but you just need to add some flesh. EVERYONE likes having fun--but what in particular do you find fun? What type of new stuff would you be interested in learning? What new experiences have you enjoyed that you'd like more of? You mention that you'd like someone who reads--what do you read?

Also, characterizing yourself as a stereotype is kind of dismissive of yourself as a cool, unique, interesting person. For what it's worth, I think it's totally rad that you're going back to school. And working. And raising some kids. And caring for pets. I think I could do only one of those things at a time. I'm sure there's even more awesome stuff that you do that would make you stand out.

Finally, for me, it's kind of a turnoff when people have this long list of requirements about who should message them--the "passive aggressive" point in particular comes off as bitter. Also, I'd take out the "fatties" thing -- you were thoughtful enough to put up full-body photos of yourself so let the other person be the judge if he's into your body type or not.

Oh, P.S. OKCupid as a dating site might be a little tough - I believe it skews to the 20-30 age range (check out the OKBlog), so don't take it personally. You might have more luck with Match or eHarmony.
posted by superquail at 4:41 PM on July 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

I'm no expert on this, but have you tried JDate? Since you're serious about your religion, it might be a good place for you. I know several people who have had good luck with it.
posted by janey47 at 4:43 PM on July 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Yes, I actually prefer JDate and tried it for a month. (Also no responses at all.) But I can't really afford it right now. Bummer.
posted by primate moon at 4:51 PM on July 26, 2013

If you want to meet men, delete the photo of you with another female.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:52 PM on July 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Do you have more interesting photos? Snapshots are generally really boring to anyone who isn't in them. You want photos that don't just so how you look but what kind of person you are. I mean, there are millions of photos of tourists standing in front of the Eiffel Tower--I would mix it up a little.
posted by girlmightlive at 5:06 PM on July 26, 2013

I am a middle aged liberal mom considering okcupid (who does not look nearly as good as you) and I would probably not be interested in hanging out with you based on your profile. I would be afraid we'd end up talking about our kids over coffee. I am sure you are more interesting than that! What do you like to do? Who are you outside of your house? What issue most recently got your liberal self riled up? Are you serious about an overseas adventure? What adventures did you have/are you planning? It just reads like a "type" and not a person.
posted by headnsouth at 5:09 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Your self-summary makes it sound like you don't value yourself very much. I'm hearing, "I feel like a boring stereotype, I need to meet somebody to help me break out of my rut and have fun". You say you can bring stuff to the table, focus on that stuff.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:12 PM on July 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Wow, you're 53? I'd've guessed early 40s! You are hella cute!


Like someone else said, delete the things that come across as pre-emptively negative or downplaying yourself. Specifically, get rid of the "stereotype" description and the bits about fatties & passive aggressive.

Include more details. Why Biological Anthropology? Why now? What was the last book you loved & why? What's great about cat #1 and what's not so great about cat #2 (if you can keep it light & funny)?

More companionably: what do you like to do with other people, besides laugh- (are there people who don't like that? People with broken ribs, maybe)? Do you like to cook with other people? Travel? Eat? Walk the dog? Take dance lessons?

On a more macro level, here's an exercise to try out: When I was starting to date about 4 years back, a friend of mine had me write down the ten things that were the most important to me in a partner. I did that. She read it over, made me get more specific on a couple of them, then handed it back and suggested I become that person to the best of my ability. It worked pretty well! I eventually found someone, and in the meantime, I had WAY more fun than I'd had up til then, plus it became less important to me to find someone, because I was busy having fun, which is attractive in and of itself. (Also, it was important that I physically write the list down and show it to someone- not just vaguely figure a couple things out. I have no idea why.)
posted by small_ruminant at 5:23 PM on July 26, 2013 [22 favorites]

Take this with a shaker of salt, because I am not an expert on online dating. But: I feel like I get a better sense of your personality from the Mefi questions than I do from your OK Cupid profile. Are you censoring yourself a bit with this OKC profile? Because like everyone is saying, there's obviously more to you than the stereotype stuff (and I totally understand the impulse to undersell yourself - I do it at all the time too).

A friend of mine recently got back from an awful date and changed her OKC profile to something she characterized as "bitchy" and was surprised to find that she got a TON of responses from making that change. I read her new profile and it wasn't bitchy - she had just changed from a profile that was blandly appealing to one that was a lot more forthright about what she did and didn't want/like, and in the process of being forthright you got a much, much better sense of her personality, which I think is what led to the increase in responses.

OKC seems like a resume to me, in a way, and like sending out your resume, it takes time and tinkering and many iterations to get the format right and tailor it to the kind of jobs you want. If that's not too horrible a way to think about it.
posted by data hound at 5:25 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I agree with superquail in that there's a good profile in there, but there are definitely some things that could be changed/removed that would significantly (and positively) reframe the whole thing:

The opening paragraph reads like a defensive wall to me. It starts with a subtext of "Hi, I'm *reeeally* busy (with major, time-consuming life events), so don't get attached." Yet, in the next sentence it reads like you want to date multiple men, casually until you whittle them down to one. Nobody wants to feel like they're signing up for a shot at being the lucky winner in a pool of people fighting for somebody's affection. I think that if these two things are true (you want to keep people at a distance at first and you want to date several men casually for a while) that's just fine, but as an opening it's a bit full-on and offputting.

In the next paragraph I'd strike "I guess on paper I'm kind of a stereotype" bit. It sounds self-deprecating. Sure that's a stereotype, but it's one of thousands; YOU are not a stereotype, nor are you stereotypical. Somebody out there would love to date the you you describe...don't insult their preferences by reducing those qualities to a stereotype or reduce yourself to being just like everybody else.

NPR and Whole Foods contain quite a selection of stuff...I'd be curious specifically an item or two from each you're fond of. I wouldn't think too much about this answer, it doesn't need deep symbolism. It just needs to reveal a little bit more about yourself. So, for example if I were rewriting this paragraph (as me, pretending to be you...edit as necessary), here's how it would go: "I'm a nice, white, middle-aged happy liberal who listens to NPR (All Songs Considered and TAL are my current favorites), shops at Whole Foods (if I'm feeling flush, that is) for the occasional treat of a cheese I've never tried before or perhaps a Voges bacon chocolate bar, watches TV (right now into Mad Men, Parks & Rec, Big Bang Theory, Girls). You get the picture (ha, pun!)."

Note that I removed "the usual" — it again makes an assumption about what is stereotypical and what everybody is watching. You are not a stereotype and the shows you watch aren't necessarily somebody else's definition of what's usual.

I'd also strike, "But I don't want the complacency all that implies." It again demonstrates that you evaluate yourself as someone who is made of stereotypical interests that are boring or complacent. It's simply not true! The next sentence is great by the way. The last sentence of that paragraph is just begging for an example. Some lighthearted thing you offer in return. This example does need to have some symbolism, btw, so it's a tricky line to craft. I might say something like "And, of course, I'll bring something to the table, too. Such as my superhero abilities in helping organize these fun nights out, or chicken salad sandwiches (homemade bread, too!)" That's probably a bit too corny of a joke for your taste (heh) but you see where I'm going with this (even if my sense of humor is a bit lacking, sorry).

The What I'm doing with my life section is mostly great, but I'd lose the "Not to mention" bit. Again, it sounds like you're building that wall. I'd just say, "I have two teenagers who live at home with me, a dog and two cats." Then I would add a short sentence about what that's like. Something like "It's a full house, but we all get along great...even the cat and dog chill together." Or whatever. Just something that reveals a little bit of the general nature of the environment. If it's boisterous and bustling, say that. Mellow and peaceful? Go there. Whatever it is, just give potential dates a small idea of who you are through showing, not telling.

I think everything from "I'm really good at" through "I'm looking for" is just pitch perfect. Straightforward, confident, lighthearted. Just great.

The last section, I'd strike or rephrase the following:
- you read books, and

This sounds a bit condescending. I'd rephrase it something like "you'd like to talk about books"

- you don't hate "fatties," and

Strike this. It again sounds unnecessarily self-deprecating and defensive...i.e., "but if you merely tolerate fatties, please message me". No, just no.

- you aren't afraid to say how you feel or what you want and not resort to passive-aggressive behavior or need me to read your mind, and

Nobody wants a partner who is scared to say how they feel, is passive-aggressive or wants to mind-read. Advertising this may signal that you think this is the default or common behavior, which may be a turn-off to somebody who is confident that they are not those things, i.e. is self-aware and attempts to engage in healthy communications with others. I'd just lose the whole sentence...you'll find out very quickly if somebody contains these danger points.

- LOCAL! Please don't bother responding unless you live within 50 miles of me or maybe already have specific, definite plans to relocate.

I'd end it at "...within 50 miles of me." If somebody is interested and has plans to relocate nearer to you, they'll let you know. Stating this as a requirement may come across as untrusting or just a bit technical.

Everything else looks good. Pictures are great, too! Based on your question here and the general ideas in your profile, you seem like a much happier, more confident person than you're selling yourself to be. Also, I agree with others in that you look fantastically younger than your age. It's a perfect example of you not needing to tell people something...it just shows, lucky you! So yes, overall more showing, less telling — especially ditching that negative evaluation in there.

I hope my suggestions have helped (and that I haven't been too harsh). Good luck!
posted by iamkimiam at 5:42 PM on July 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

Less about cats and kids and mundane day-to-day life and more specifics about what's going on in your head and your in life. Specifics. You've painted yourself as a stereotypical, slightly boring couch potato with a couple of teen kids and cats who is looking for someone to drag you out of a rut. Your intellectual life is hidden in mentions of being back in school and what, in general, you're studying - but there aren't many details to capture interest. I'm sure that you ponder more than just what to make for supper.

I'd overhaul your 6 things. The lipstick thing is cute, but the rest is bleh. Obviously you love your pets and kids - take them out, they're a given unless you're a monster. Take out the pillow business. You can't live without good books? Which ones? Why? What's on your nightstand? Do you have a regular library or bookstore ritual? This is an area where you can showcase your cleverness and the little things that make you charming and unique.

What are you really good at? You mentioned cooking first. What are signature dishes or exciting new cuisines you're trying? Any desert island ingredients you can't do without? Details capture the imagination, generic laundry lists don't. Think of things you're good at beyond spelling, reading, and gift-wrapping. Think about very specific things you're good at in relation to others. Don't showcase that you can listen and laugh. Obviously, they're important things in life, but for a grown, interesting, worldly woman, it's a very low bar.

Please take out the "fatties" stuff and instead of commentary on passive aggression, perhaps something about how highly you value good communication.

I like your pics!

WHOA! On preview, you addressed some things I mentioned already in your updated self-summary. Keep going!
posted by quince at 6:05 PM on July 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

Your self summary (especially the first few sentences) should make readers intrigued about meeting you. Don't lead with an explanation of how you're perfectly happy but miss dating and romance. No guy is out there saying "if only I could meet a happy person who misses dating and romance. Oh wait!! Here she is, she said it right here in her profile!" Also, you don't want somebody who "doesn't hate fatties." You want somebody who thinks you're gorgeous! Write your ad for somebody who is really going to like who you are, if he only knew you were out there.
posted by Wordwoman at 6:14 PM on July 26, 2013

Because I'm older and not a pin-up, I know there won't be a huge amount of guys knocking down my door. But people say there's someone for everyone out there, so I was hoping to hear from a few guys.

Ok, stop this shit right now. This goes beyond your profile. You're awesome, and there are lots of people out there who agree (or would agree, if they got to know you), and the purpose of your profile is to showcase why and how you are awesome. If people don't agree, who cares! That's for them to decide.

I mean, Hyundai doesn't sell cars by saying, "I'm not a Ferrari, but I'll get you to work and back every day."

Ok, this is going off the rails. I'm not saying you're a Hyundai. But you know what I'm saying, right? Don't sell yourself short! You're awesome, tell us why.

Also, as a fellow "fatty" - cut that shit out. There are plenty of people who think we're gorgeous, why address the ones who aren't into us? They can have their preferences, and that's fine, but if they don't like "fatties", I can guarantee they haven't read that far into your profile.
posted by AlisonM at 6:23 PM on July 26, 2013 [11 favorites]

Your profile reads like it was written to be a safe, well-within-the-rules profile and it isn't creating an impression of the interesting individual person you undoubtedly are. It lacks the specificity to spark someone's interest as opposed to being merely unobjectionable. I'd encourage you to find more unique and personal ways to convey the information you want to present about yourself.

For example, instead of the generic "overseas adventure", something like "making plans for my next trip, Lisbon or perhaps Gdansk." Instead of "I love to eat out" you could make it more personal by saying "The thrill I get from visiting a new restaurant, experiencing its ambiance and food is like a little vacation for me, especially if it's Thai, or Middle Eastern."

"Did you see "Upstream Color"? I loved it, and I'm looking forward to "Blue Jasmine." Of course I have my guilty pleasures as well. I really enjoy a night at the movies."

You'll have a loot more hooks in your profile that people can key off of, and you'll create a fuller sense of you being a real, actual and interesting person. You don't have to tell everyone everything - just as much as you need to make them want to know more. I'm not advocating game-playing (you can do what I'm suggesting with honesty and authenticity), but a profile is more like a script for a play than it is like a book report.

You can use your current profile as an outline (but I'd suggest eliminating the negative statements as others have noted - let what you do like speak for your tastes) and just treat it like a character writing exercise. More personal and conversational, perhaps deeper instead of broader.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:22 PM on July 26, 2013

I'm a lady, but here is what I take from your profile:

1. I would remove the part about meeting "men" - everyone knows what's why you are on OKC - to meet multiple people and go on dates with them - but no one really says it outright. You could change this to " I'm hoping to meet a fun, sweet, smart, funny guy."

2. I would change the part about "making" you go to action or horror movies. This word is a little loaded.

3. "I harbor secret fantasies of living with the chimps at Gombe" - I love it, and would encourage you to expand on this. Why?

4. Your "favorites" section is great.

5. I would also take out this sentence: "know how to say how you feel and what you want" - it's a little serious for an OKC profile, I think.

6. Answer more questions! Like, 200 more. The questions part is really crucial for OKC.

7. Instead of describing your typical Friday night, describe your ideal Friday night - or an atypical Friday night. Your "Friday night" part could be a great way to highlight some of the fun stuff you like doing in your time off. I think of this more as "this is what I look forward to doing after a long week of work" rather than "literally, this is what I did last Friday and the Friday before that, and well, most Fridays" because face it - a lot of people are doing what I'm doing on this very Friday night (hanging around on the Internet wearing sweatpants and eating cheese) but it's not really a selling point, ya know?

Good luck!
posted by k8lin at 7:22 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

You spend more time talking about your favorite movies than you do about what you are looking for, what qualities in a person you desire. You paint a picture of yourself, and people have given some excellent suggestions on that, but there is not much of a connection to a potential date. Describe a bit about the kind of guy you want to date. Not too much detail, but a little something that tells a guy "you are what I am after".

And I can't know what it is like for a woman on a dating site. I am a gay guy who has been partnered for most of my adult life. But why passively wait for a response? If you see something you like, send a message or a flirty wink.
posted by munchingzombie at 7:26 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, yes, just jumping in again to second munchingzombie's point. Contacting the people that you might be interested in is a great way to get things going on OKC. Don't be too shy! A lot of men don't want to initiate on OKC because they fear that every woman gets so many messages that his will just be lost in the shuffle - at least that's what I've heard from every man I know who has used the service.
posted by k8lin at 7:29 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are all amazing. As you might have seen, I'm already working on my edits, incorporating almost all of these ideas.

And I have messaged several guys; it's been quite dispiriting that they haven't responded. Maybe when I've finished with the new and improved profile they'll be moved to take a second look?
posted by primate moon at 7:43 PM on July 26, 2013

When you write to other guys, what are you saying? You need to ask specific, answerable questions that give someone an easy way to continue the exchange and make it clear that you've read their profile. Make clear what you think you have in common and what about their profile interests you.

I liked your profile generally and think it's a really good start. A little less negativity, more specifics about yourself and you're good to go. It's just a numbers game and you have keep at it.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 7:48 PM on July 26, 2013

K, just looked at your new profile and you are still apologizing for yourself. "I am woefully verbose and wordy. In person, too. I talk too damn much."

Dude. No. Try something like this: "Love conversation? Me too! I love talking about philosophy, the Kardashians and Thai cookery, not necessarily in that order." See the difference? I only date articulate women, and yet I am completely turned off by the way you described a characteristic that I am prepared to find attractive, if not essential.
posted by Wordwoman at 7:51 PM on July 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

Oh also, I really don't like that second picture of you. You're all in shadow and your friend is really the highlight. Dump that picture but I like the others!
posted by otherwordlyglow at 7:54 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

To take a bit more self deprecating out, perhaps mention that you speak French (beginner). (And I agree that you shouldn't apologize for being good at conversation.)

Also, I highly recommend getting some more pictures taken of you. You look best in the Eiffel Tower photo, but you're too small to get as good a look as anyone'd want. If you can get a friend to take some nice shots outside during good light, I think you could show off your looks much better. (OK Trends has a lot of data about which kind of photo works best and how to take it.) I can tell that you look good, but I think better photos would get you to stunning.
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:55 PM on July 26, 2013

Did you change your profile?

Then change your cover picture. People who had previously ruled you out will look at it again and see your improved profile. Do this every time you change your profile.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:56 PM on July 26, 2013 [8 favorites]

The middle picture, you wearing a funny hat with a friend, has gotta go. It's very unflattering.
posted by Unified Theory at 8:24 PM on July 26, 2013

Grain of salt cause I have done or looked at a dating profile in several years: There is a lot to read. Examples:
instead of listing off all the things you like to eat, try to sum it all up in as few words as possible: "I have a versitlie palette and would love to explore a new restaurant or recipe with you!"
instead of listing off all the details about movies: "I enjoy going on dates to see movies, especially indie films, but I also love cuddling up on the couch to watch my favorite tv shows."

Listing out so much detail risks people being turned off because they are afraid that if they have a different opinion on even a small thing they'll be nixed. And someone flipping through profiles may pass it up cause there is just a huge info dump.
posted by HMSSM at 8:41 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Coming in to answer the new question about messaging guys -

Unfortunately, like when guys message girls, it's a numbers game. It's just the way it is that only a percentage of the messages you send out will get responses.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:42 PM on July 26, 2013

Response by poster: Wow. Really? I thought that picture of me (with the hat) was good, 'cause it shows me laughing and I look natural and relaxed. And yeah, I have very few photos of myself. Allergic to cameras. I'm one of those people who can look really cute and great (even to myself!), but take a picture and it's pretty awful. Even my mother says so. I think I look better moving or something.

Anyway, I think I have a pretty final version up, here: http://www.okcupid.com/profile

Better (aside from the pictures)?
posted by primate moon at 8:44 PM on July 26, 2013

It's still a little unfocused and kind of all over the map. I don't really get a sense of YOU (I'm polite/I swear, I'm a city girl/I live in the suburbs, I like nice guys/I want you to take charge). The first word that you use to describe yourself is nice, which is just boring. There's nothing that really makes you unique and I know based on what you're saying here, that you've got more to say.

I'm not super into the "full-time student" bit as your primary life activity. First, it make you sound like you don't really have time for a relationship, and second, if makes you sounds like you have no money (sorry). And it doesn't sound like there's really a career goal driving your education, apart from the Gombe thing, so you just seem goal-less and I wonder if that's off-putting to some men.

It's better that you've taken out a lot of the negativity but it's still sort of all over the map.

The link above that someone gave for the types of photos that work is a good read. Have a friend with a good camera take some picture - take tons of them, review them, and then take a ton more. That will go a long way towards putting you in your best light.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:19 PM on July 26, 2013

I think the only reason you're not getting responses is because you're 53. I say that as someone who is 52. Not only does OKCupid skew young, but most of the guys who are on there who are our age are looking for younger women. HOWEVER- you don't say how long your profile has been up. I found the perfect man (for me), but it took 18 months. The one time previously I used personals to find someone, it also took 18 months. I was with that one for 10 years, and I have been with my current one for 7 years (and he's a keeper. Best relationship ever.) So just hang in there. Remember, you're not looking for quantity, you're looking for quality. You only need one response, as long as it's the right one. And that one is worth waiting for.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:34 PM on July 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

Okay, with whatever updates you've made, this is fabulous! The only thing I'd reconsider is the second photo in the silly hat. And there's a bit of repetition (smart mouth, swear like a sailor) in the first few sentences. Other than that, it is absolutely perfect.
posted by salvia at 9:47 PM on July 26, 2013

I would take out the second pic with the hat. The 3rd photo of you is great, but its very hard to see you in it.
You could message me if you'd like and I would be happy to crop and lighten the photo for you to make the picture feature you and not the tourist location. :)
posted by tenaciousmoon at 9:52 PM on July 26, 2013

It's a good point about the target demographic for OKC. Have you tried Match.com?
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:27 PM on July 26, 2013

For starters, I want to note that I am a mother with two teenagers who found a partner on OKC. You are older than I am, but it is possible! I'm glad that you're taking the bull by the horns!

Looks like I've missed all of the self-deprecation. Nice work on editing!

Interestingly, your personality really shines in the short answer sections.

Pieces I love:
- two snotty yet somehow lovable cats.
- Parallel parking, cooking, spelling, and gift-wrapping. And I make a beautiful roast chicken.
- It's not so much the food itself (though OMG duck liver pate!), but the simple, basic approach to food.
- my #1 cat (#2 cat--meh, not so much)

The general section, then, feels a bit more generic and lacks the humor that is found below. Most people like the city and the country, or can be polite and foul-mouthed. If you don't inject some of that humor above, they will click to someone else before reading the entire profile.

I'm no longer subscribed to OKC, so I can't tell if you've answered a lot of the match questions. That was a critical piece for me. I ended up answering A LOT of those questions, partly because I found the men's answers so interesting. I also used those answers to help personalize a message that I was writing. There are questions about single parents in there, so you can also find out if they are averse or not.
posted by frizz at 10:39 PM on July 26, 2013

I think I am reading the revised version, which sounds great :)
I don't like the term "nice" as a descriptor of anything but soap, honestly. There must be a better adjective for you! How about "I am a vivacious, polite lady..."?

"I know I am a catch" reads as a bit cocky, lacks the self-deprecation aspect... maybe something along the lines of "Don't worry though, my shy and sweet side means you can still take me home to mom, haha " or "Yes, I know I am a catch, haha"

"I haven't gone to hear a lot of live music and would really love to explore that more, whether it's jazz, classical, rock, or whatever. Theater too--I love the theater but don't get to go much. And the opera and the ballet! So much to do! Let's do it together!"

I would swap that out to something like...

"I would love to explore more live music, be it jazz, rock, classical, or whatever - take me, my ears are open and ready to hear something new! Theatre, ballet and opera are always fun too - I promise not to crinkle my candy wrappers too loudly, haha ;) "

The reason I would suggest that switch is because in the original version, you are defining yourself by things you DON'T do... a negative term in of itself. Tell me about what you DO do! and what you want to do MORE of! Positive, enthusiastic phrasing.
Phrases like "I haven't", or "don't get to go" tell me that you aren't willing to actively reach out and immerse yourself in having fun, even without a partner.... and I don't think that is true of you. When looking for a partner, I am looking for someone who is already whole and loving life.. not someone living their life, waiting for gaps to be filled in by others actions. That is why I suggest changing the phrasing.

"It's not so much the food itself (though OMG duck liver pate!)"

As a fellow animal lover with cats of my own, this line made me cringe. Recognizing how duck liver pate is produced and the cruelty these birds go through, I would definitely hesitate to message you if that line persisted. That line suggests to me that you as an animal lover, are either ignorant or don't care about animal welfare/cruelty issues, and/or you don't care enough about food to bother knowing how it is made.
I don't think that is truly the case, seeing as how you discussed in depth how much you like to cook - however, that line about the pate really jolted me.
If you prefer just to write pate or pork pate, that would work.

Rather than "not a republican", maybe write "identify as a Liberal/free thinker/democrat", or something like that? Again, that whole word "not" casting a negative light. Go back through and control F the whole thing for "not" - remove them or turn it into a positive phrase.
posted by NorthernAutumn at 10:45 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Your rewrites are on-target and are already MUCH more individual! Nice work!

Go farther.

And keep recognizing and removing things that use negatives to define you. Only use positives.

Big improvement! Your profile is much more sticky now.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:27 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Better! Keep going.

The best aspirational detail is this one: "secret fantasies of living with the chimps at Gombe." Put this up front! Talk about your dream first, what you're doing to get there (returning to school); that shows a lot about how you see yourself, and how hard you're working to achieve a change in your life, including the possibility of grad school. Then you can talk about your travels (showing adventurousness), and the kind of trips you think would be entertaining. Then talk about wanting to discover more live theater (of what stripe?) and live music (ditto; don't say "whatever"). Finish with what you've taught yourself to do in the kitchen at home, about being a good cook and getting better with that list of specific dishes. (Pay attention to varying your sentence structure and *not* starting sentences with "I.")

What you're doing with your life is falling a little flat. Needs some sort of statement about balancing your day-to-day responsibilities (job, kids, pets) with developing your heart and mind with learning through travels, studies, spirituality, fun.

I'm really good at is fine.

The first things people notice about me -- this is the place to talk about what lies behind the easy, warm smile: your love spirited conversation, your occasionally salty humor, your ability to be articulate and well-spoken when the situation calls for it.

Favorite books, etc. -- the food section, as written, is good because you go into *why* you enjoy it. Books, movies, TV could use more of this. Others are right about dropping the pate.

Six things: Candid and written with you in mind, rather than an interested reader. If conversation, travel, and learning matter to you, use this six things list (six things! -- not the most important six things) to reflect that. And be specific: what lipstick?

Typical Friday night --pastrami and pickles is good. What Greek dish?

Don't say guys. Men who appreciate women.

"...are not a Republican." Agree with others; get rid of the negative. "...appreciate the finer points of Democratic principles" or some such revision.

Go, go, go! This profile is getting better. Keep working on it!
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:32 AM on July 27, 2013

First, I think you are hella cute. If I was a dude, I'd totally ask you out. I do have to agree with the other person who mentioned the picture of you in the hat, however. It's not one I would have chosen.

You asked, " Maybe when I've finished with the new and improved profile they'll be moved to take a second look?"

It's entirely possible! Anecdote: I was messaged by a guy recently on Match.com and he seemed nice enough, but I noticed that in every picture he was looking kind of blankly into the camera, almost glum. I have seen this again and again in men's profiles. What is up with that? Did they take their pictures from a police line up? I am not all "OMG YOU SHUD SMILEZ!" but if you are trying to, you know, *attract* someone, shouldn't you at least appear a little bit pleasant to be around? So I sent him a reply, but (very politely) mentioned that it would be nice to see him smile. He replied that it just hadn't occurred to him, and that he found it hard to be "on" when a camera was pointing at his face. Fair enough. But I still hesitated to pursue the relationship. A couple days later I was checking my messages on Match, and I saw that he had updated his pictures. And lo, he was smiling! He looked great, and I was amazed at how much more attractive he seemed to me. I sent him another message and we went out a couple days ago. There is a definite spark there, but I would never have suspected that if he hadn't updated his pics.
posted by BeBoth at 7:32 AM on July 27, 2013

I think I'm here after you made a lot of changes -- let me just say I think your profile looks great! It might also explain why a lady from far away is perving your profile. In particular, I like your pictures -- you look like you're out doing fun, interesting things! Good luck.
posted by mibo at 9:08 AM on July 27, 2013

Priority 1: Get 3-5 well-shot photos, taken by someone else. Two face pics (and no more than two), one full body pic, two pics of you doing something you love. Invest your time/effort in this.

Priority 2: Rewrite your "message me" portion to reframe your laundry list to include what you bring to the table. Instead of asking for a guy who is a reader, say something like "you'd enjoy lounging around on a picnic blanket, reading a good book together".

Nix the "smart, funny, kind" thing. It's a useless screening mechanism, since everyone fancies themselves to have those qualities.

I'd also remove the bits about no Republican and local-only. You can tacitly filter for those after the fact, when you get messages from those guys. Ditto with the Jewish thing; since it's not a deal-breaker for you, it might be off-putting to non-Jewish dudes who would otherwise message you.

Also, the part about being a catch has got to go, and I'd chop the part about wanting a guy who is sweet and respectful but takes the lead. It's a bit of a sexist cliche, and I've heard a lot of grousing from men about being expected to do that balancing act.

Talking too much is not an attractive quality, and not something to advertise.

Finally, use that "6 things" question to show your quirks. Cats, lipstick, and kids aren't catchy, and are a cliche in women's profiles.

Keep refining the profile, and you'll get there.
posted by nacho fries at 10:06 AM on July 27, 2013

Great profile! I came to this post late and saw your profile and thought, "Are these people reading the same things as me?" I think your pictures are good too. I like that you're smiling. Too many people look unhappy in their OKC pictures.

The only minor issues are saw were these:

- are not a Republican
- extra points if you're Jewish (though it's not a dealbreaker)

The first is too negative and sounds judgmental. I would change it to, "You have a liberal outlook on life," or something to that effect.

For the second, if a non-Jewish guy is interested in you, he might think he would be your second choice. I see men do this a lot in their profiles and I won't write to them if I don't meet their wish list since I don't want to be less than their ideal. I might change it to, "I'm open to meeting both Jews and non-Jews."
posted by parakeetdog at 12:46 PM on July 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seeing all these answers, I'll reiterate that I loved almost everything, including some of what has been critiqued, for instance "what to make for supper." I got a real sense of who you were, which includes a down-to-earth identity and a sense of humor about the profile format. I laughed at that bit.

I do agree the "real catch" part could be rephrased slightly, because that's a phrase people say about others, and because it's individual. You're a catch for someone, and not a good fit for someone else, and that's fine. So, it feels like you're talking about yourself in the third person, with superficial bravado to boot.  "Inwardly confident?" "quietly self assured?"
posted by salvia at 1:48 PM on July 27, 2013

Looks like a solid profile to me. I think you've done about as much as you can to make this a successful profile. The difficulty for you will be the demographics of okcupid. There just isn't a lot of 47–58 year old men on there. For the ones that are, I think you have presented yourself well. Contrary to popular belief, online dating is actually fairly challenging.

Two points:

The hat photo needs to either be cropped or removed. The hat photo really distorts your body in unflattering ways. I can see from the following photo that the hat photo is not representative of your actual body shape. You can possibly crop the photo so that it focuses on your great smile. The first and third photos are good and you should keep them.

I second the above comment about changing (or removing) the "extra points if you're Jewish" comment. If it isn't a deal-breaker, you're probably better off leaving it out of your profile all together. The number of people who identify as Jewish is only 2% in Massachusetts. The risk of inadvertently excluding someone in the other 98% range is probably too great to be administering "extra points."
posted by Jurbano at 8:29 PM on July 27, 2013

Somewhat tangential perhaps, but:

If a potential suitor Googles your OKCupid username, this thread appears in the results due to the OKCupid full URL in your Ask text. If you don't want your MeFi info linked like that, it might help to wrap that URL in a link tag. (Not sure on that; you might want to run it by the mods if privacy is a concern for you.)
posted by nacho fries at 10:27 PM on July 27, 2013

Oh, and a really simple adjustment to your main photo that makes it way way better: crop it in close to your hair on the left and right, and right below the base of your neck. That cuts out the background clutter, and really focuses in on your face, and removes the selfie-arm that throws the composition out of balance. Makes for a really cute photo once you crop it down like that.
posted by nacho fries at 10:34 PM on July 27, 2013

I thought that picture of me (with the hat) was good, 'cause it shows me laughing and I look natural and relaxed.

This photo is VERY unflattering, particularly in comparison to your other photos. Please get rid of it.

Also - I'd ditch the word sweet in your initial description of what you're looking for in a guy. That is what you'd say to your girlfriends in describing your perfect male partner - not the potential partner. In an informal survey of the guys in my room (six) none of them, including two guys I consider quite sweet, either a) think they are sweet or b) find that to be a compelling description of characteristics they have.

Find another word? Kind is a good one.
posted by arnicae at 11:13 PM on July 27, 2013

I can see from the following photo that the hat photo is not representative of your actual body shape.

I agree with this. The hat photo really makes you look shapeless and without poise, when it's clear that you are poised, shapely and confident in the Paris photo. The shirt in the hat photo just doesn't suit you, at least the part we see, and the way you're leaning into your friend is not your best angle. She looks confident and you look clingy and unappealingly goofy. The other photos do you justice; this one doesn't.
posted by Unified Theory at 6:47 AM on July 28, 2013

Also, just to reiterate, LOTS of guys like heavy women, so don't apologize for it. Also, ime, the ones that do, and cop to it, are extra cool- they are so self confident that they are all "fuck social pressure- I got myself a REAL hottie!"

Many of them, ime, are also convinced that EVERY guy wants what he "has" but they're too chickenshit to go for it.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:56 AM on July 28, 2013

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