How am I not myself?
October 10, 2013 6:44 PM   Subscribe

I've been aggressively single for a while now and I'm ready for a change. Step One: rewrite my OkCupid profile?

I've been using OkCupid on and off for a long time -- sometimes dating a lot, sometimes in relationships -- but with pretty good luck at getting dates. However, I've been acting like I'm "strictly casual" when I'm really anything but. I don't mind starting casual and progressing to serious, but hookups and booty calls kind of bum me out.

My previous questions were "how do I get laid"; this is "how do I find love."

My current profile was written with the former in mind, and I suspect there's a lot on here that seems really overt and superficial, but it's hard to be objective. Do you get a sense of me as a person, or does it seem like an act?

(I recognize the irony in asking for help to appear less superficial.)
posted by modernserf to Human Relations (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It does seem to focus on the superficial stuff. Cocktails! Dancing! Lots of jokes! Some of the questions could naturally lead to deeper responses ("The most private thing I’m willing to admit", "I spend a lot of time thinking about"); those questions might be an easy place to start.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:50 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

From the back: DAT ASS. [...]
Elaborate hangover breakfasts.

Suggesting more superficial, get laid stuff. And what ThePinkSuperhero said.
posted by owlrigh at 6:52 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a woman in your area and age range and honestly while you sound like tons of fun your profile doesn't tell me a lot about you. I feel like I know what lifestyle or scene you belong in but not a lot about you as a person.

Every sentence is a joke or a bon mot, and that comes of as really contrived and intense. Don't get me wrong, I found some of it funny and even charming, but I have no idea what you'd be like to go on a date with. Overly constructed profiles often come off as if there isn't a lot of room for others so a little vulnerability would go a long way to making you seem less like a performance. Try writing paragraphs instead of one liners and eschew some of the irony for sincerity.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 7:05 PM on October 10, 2013 [14 favorites]

You've got some funny stuff in there but nothing that actually reads as sincere. You also might want to change your picture to a straight on shot of your face smiling into the camera. Same idea with the questions.
posted by snarfles at 7:13 PM on October 10, 2013 [5 favorites]

Just talking about women, women are going to want to see if you are cute, if they could imagine kissing you. Every last one of your photos either has your face to the side or down, from far away, blurry, wearing makeup, or a bandage over your face! Find a photo of yourself where you look handsome, where your face can be very clearly seen from the front, without a lot of stuff covering it, and make it your profile picture. I can promise you lots of women are like squinting at your photos trying to figure out what you really look like and if you are attractive, and giving up.
posted by cairdeas at 7:31 PM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]

Have a look through your old questions/answers. A quick look has you suggesting 'drinks and groping' are an ideal first date, you'd date someone just for the sex, and a lot of red-flagging-the-other-person's answers if they reply with relationship-like things. This reads 'I'm looking for hookups.'

Also seconding removing:
>From the back: DAT ASS. [...]
>Elaborate hangover breakfasts.
posted by Ashlyth at 7:36 PM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

Okay, well, back in the day, you have the type of profile that would make me message you. Love the uncle part. The only thing that would've turned me off a bit is the "I spend time thinking about..." which reads as holier-than-thou to me. You could throw in some serious stuff in there - maybe stuff you actually think about a lot more of what you're really looking for in someone. I think the pictures are fine and show that you like to have fun.
posted by KogeLiz at 7:46 PM on October 10, 2013

I might be approximately your target kind of person - right age range, I like long-term relationships, I like nerdy things and web developers, I like bi guys, and I like that you're mentioning A Pattern Language and smushing some patriarchy.

But I agree with SpaceWarp13 on "really contrived and intense" - I probably wouldn't message you. Then when I read your recent Metafilter comments, they are thoughtful and human, showing that you listen to other people, genuinely care about things, and have reasonable opinions about things.

What about changing your self-summary to something genuine/open, more in the tone of your comments here? And I'd leave out photos where you're flipping off the camera (kind of weird) and in bleedy costumes (also kind of weird)...
posted by mysh at 7:49 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't get a sense of you at all. It seems exactly like the profile of most guys of a certain kind (intelligent?), like you're trying really hard to be clever, and actually hide yourself. But then I think that about almost all male profiles on Okcupid, maybe why I hate that site, there's little distinguishing one guy from the next if you're not drawn by photos, which I'm not. You sound like you're trying to sound really fun, cool, and clever, and how you're supposed to be.
posted by Blitz at 8:01 PM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

Sincerity is hot, honestly. Especially as you get older; you want someone who can talk about their feelings, own them without shame, and not feel like making a joke. Talk more about what matters to you.
posted by smoke at 8:02 PM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]

Yes, it reads 100% like an act.

Your profile is mildly amusing and gets across your techy-hipsterism and all that other stuff you're trying so hard to do...but there isn't a single word in there that is real. Just tell me one thing you really believe or really feel or really think. And don't re-write it ten times until it becomes a witticism - just be sincere. Ideally for several parts of your profile, and for several lines at a time.
posted by leitmotif at 8:26 PM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]

You are Trying Too Hard. A sense of humor is nice and all, but not everything should be jokes all the time. Your profile tells me nothing about you and makes you sound really insecure. One straight on head shot would be better than any of your current pictures combined. Actually I'd ditch all of them and start over. The banjo main picture actually made me roll my eyes.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:07 PM on October 10, 2013 [7 favorites]

Also I will actually answer the "How am I not myself?" question. If someone interviewed you spontaneously and asked you what OKCupid asks you, your answers would be completely different. When you sit there at the computer and over-think questions and delete and rewrite an answer a thousand times, you further deviate from who you actually are.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:30 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

To me, your profile seems really guarded. Maybe try spilling your guts a little and showing people where they could fit into your life, instead of trying to "sell" your life wholesale to them.

The parts I liked best were when you mentioned CSS (and all the languages in the side-bar) and cooking huevos rancheros. I could picture you doing those things, and could imagine you and the [profile viewer] talking about and doing those thing together -- those are interests/activities that someone else could share, in other words. Plus, that stuff feels authentic (to me), and not just part of a profile-show.

The parts I would definitely change are:
-- Photos. Not showing your face seems frustrating at best, shifty at worst.

-- The Self Summary. All of that seems really closed off and lonely to me, because you're only talking about things you do that are specifically out of step with the world around you. Even when you say you're a good fit for NYC, you frame it so it's all about how *not* outdoorsy you are. That doesn't say much about who you are, because it's all about who you're not.

-- The "What I'm Doing with My Life" section is OK, but I would try to reframe the projects so you're talking more about broader interests (that you could share) as opposed to specific projects (that are yours alone). Nobody else is likely writing a rock opera (specifically) about Eric Gill (specifically) or looking for oblique strategies (specifically) for short fiction (specifically), but plenty of people are interested in writing and would love to talk to you about it. I don't even think you need to drop the specificity altogether, I would just reframe it as: I have [broad interest], therefore I'm working on [cool project]. Something to open it up to other people who share the interest if not the project. Same thing with the "I'm Really Good At" section -- try to make everything in there something someone else could talk about or participate in with you.

-- The "First Thing Someone Notices" is really superficial, and therefore impersonal. What about the first thing someone notices about your *personality*? That you're interested in everyone's story or that you are always up for a laugh or that you can't resist overanalyzing or...something that's not cheesy, but hopefully you see what I mean. The point is how *you* are unique. Floppy hair and hot asses aren't that unique (thankfully).

-- The "Spend Time Thinking About" has the same issue as the self-summary -- it's all about what you're *not* or how you're *not.* The "brogrammer" thing is cute, but it doesn't belong in a profile about who you are and your worldview, because it's not about you at all.

Hope that doesn't come off as harsh! I don't think it's a terrible profile or anything, it just feels like you're trying to deflect in some places and closing people out by going overly specific in others. I think some re-framing and opening up will go a long way. I'm 27/F, for context.
posted by rue72 at 10:34 PM on October 10, 2013 [6 favorites]

Just wanted to say I really liked the "opposite of a brogrammer" thing and that was extremely appealing to me. But, I don't think you're looking for someone like me and for my part, I would be looking for pretty specific and random traits that are somewhat different as well, so you might take that with a grain of salt compared to someone who is more on the mark for you.
posted by cairdeas at 11:27 PM on October 10, 2013

If you are interested in long term relationships that happen to be open, then I would put that in the profile somewhere near the top. Mention it in a friendly straight foward/sincere way that you are looking for a serious relationship that is open with someone awesome. So fill out your profile with less jokes as everyone else mentioned here and then I found that the questions really were the key to the OKcupid site to me.

I had a profile which showed my personality but hopefully explained who I was in a friendly way but then the questions helped matched me to people. So if you want someone who is into doubling up on a girl, rather than have it in your profile, have a question like that and make it "very important" then try to find people who match those questions. If done honestly and correctly then the high match ratings should help guide you towards people that match you. Then the first couple of emails as you get to know a person you can then figure out if they are unicorns or open and what not.

Basically make your profile warm and inviting (add a joke or two to show your personality) but keep it mostly real. Talk about your average day or what you love to do. You love being inside, so does that mean you are on the internet or watch tv? what is your favorite past time. Right now I feel like you seem cool, but the profile is very jumpy to me.

Also pictures go a long way. I like friendly pictures so my favorite was the one with your guinea pig, although the angle made it hard to see your face.

For what it is worth. I am a female mid/late 20s into monogamous straight what makes me interested in a profile might be different than your audience that you are looking for.
posted by Jaelma24 at 5:16 AM on October 11, 2013

oh, man, i thought the DAT ASS thing was hilarious! i think you have a bunch of really funny answers to these ridiculous questions.

see, the thing about asking random strangers to critique your profile is that even though we are all amazing people, we all have our own tastes. you wanna be a 5 to just a few people, not a 4 to everyone, you know? you only need that one hilarious bi-friendly huevos lovin' dude to be like YES.

i agree with KogeLiz about increasing the vulnerability of your profile. if you can change a couple answers to show your heart of gold, then i would say DO IT. but don't water down the whole thing just to be some programmer on the internet who's looking for his "partner in crime."

i liked your tim & eric reference, and what is more, i LOVED that you didn't answer the 6 questions thing with "coffee, my laptop, good music, love..." because that might be sincere and vulnerable, but holy crap that is boring.

at one point in my life i would have been someone who would have almost messaged you. you seem really interesting and fun, you're gender-aware, you would be awesome to go on a date with. but the fedora comment turned me off and seemed unkind (even though i doubt we disagree about the specifics) and also your pictures were almost interesting (like, the elements were there, but your face was always away from the lens). have a friend take some adorable pictures of you in flattering light (you probably have some A-type girl friend who is the PERFECT person for this job). this is an area where you can be a bit more vulnerable. like, i want to see the whites of your eyes and i want to see you looking at the camera without sneering.

i don't actually think you're that far off! okc is supposed to be a bit of fun, and there's a line to walk between making fun of dating and being too serious about it. you might want to turn up the volume on the part of your profile that could sound "caring" so people who want to date you get the feeling that you will care about them too.
posted by andreapandrea at 6:57 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd change the pillow forts thing. Is that really an essential (e.g., daily) part of who you are? To me it feels contrived and sets a tone of "trying to be quirky." Then again, as andreapandrea points out, maybe your real target audience would love that bit. But IMO, there are much better pieces of the profile that could be moved up front.
posted by salvia at 7:43 AM on October 11, 2013

The whole thing just says to me that you don't take anything seriously. Almost everything on there is a joke, or some kind of one-liner. If I was looking at it I would completely think you're into quick flings, and not taking anything in life seriously. Give it some depth, talk about what you're really into, and passionate about. I agree with above postings that there's not much of a sense of who you are at all, from the profile.

Funny is good, but don't try so hard and don't make everything a joke. It gives the impression that you're overcompensating or nervous, or maybe just trying to avoid something (real intimacy, perhaps).

Also, the picture with the blood on your neck is a bit too much for me, but some people might be into that sort of thing, I guess.

Good luck!
posted by readygo at 6:05 PM on October 11, 2013

I'm a straight man, so take this for whatever it's worth, but I basically skip any profile that doesn't honestly engage the "most private thing you're willing to admit". People who react as though they would never share something so personal didn't have the patience to read the qualifier in the question; people who act, as you seem to, like the question is not worth entertaining are indicating that they will not welcome any attempt to get to know them. This is my number one turn-off on OKCupid. I can say that I don't get a lot of dates this way. In fact, I've only ever gotten one. But that person I dated for 4 years and remains one of the best people I know, so I have no regrets.

Pretend that the love of your life is asking you these questions. Would a recipe satisfy them?
posted by Errant at 10:33 PM on October 11, 2013

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