Yet another OKC profile critique request
June 2, 2014 6:42 AM   Subscribe

So far my response rate seems pretty low compared to I've heard is typical. Is there anything in my profile that might be the cause?

My profile on OK Cupid has so far netted one response from about 50 messages. My messages follow the guidelines I've seen posted in other questions (a couple of sentences, reference something in the profile, ask a question), so I don't think that's the problem. Are there things I should change in my profile to make it more appealing? Here again, I've tried to follow advice posted in other threads, but it's hard to be objective about my own profile.

Thanks for any and all advice.
posted by doctord to Human Relations (31 answers total)
your first picture is not your most flattering -- it's a little strained and too close-up. I would switch it out for something a little more soft focus. your other photos indicate that you're an attractive guy, so the main photo probably isn't actually the most representative of how you look in real life.
posted by dynamiiiite at 6:49 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Personally, I think your profile looks great. Photos are great as well. Not sure why you wouldn't be getting many responses without seeing your messages.
posted by KogeLiz at 6:52 AM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm not crazy about your summary (first box). It's kind of weirdly abstract. Maybe reframe it to be more like "I'm an outdoorsy lefty mountain-town kind of guy in LA."
posted by mskyle at 6:56 AM on June 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

OK, I'm not your target demographic (because I, too, am a straight middle-aged male), but I must confess that I laughed out loud at the first paragraph in your description. And also, you're tall, educated, and like to dance; you should be swimming in responses, I'd think.

But you should take out the banjo mention at the end of your profile. You've really got to get to know a woman pretty well before you bring up banjos.
posted by math at 6:56 AM on June 2, 2014 [18 favorites]

I think your profile looks great as well. Maybe add one more photo of you in your city habitat as well, to round it out. You dance and rock climb... sounds like a catch to me. Maybe you just need to wait a little longer.
posted by winterportage at 6:56 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

But you should take out the banjo mention at the end of your profile.
I actually thought that was the funniest thing in the profile! A vote for leaving it in.

I thought overall your profile was good, and you look attractive and interesting. The only thing I wasn't keen on was the self-summary which was worded a bit awkwardly. (on preview, what mskyle said). Apart from that it might just be that your profile is very geared towards the outdoorsy type so your pool of responders might be somewhat smaller. Remember that you don't need tons of replies, just a couple of really well-matched ones, so you might just need to be patient. Good luck!
posted by billiebee at 7:03 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I also think your profile and your photos are great.

I would consider adding one picture of you in a more casual setting, doing something that is not outdoorsy hiking stuff. I get that you do the outdoorsy hiking stuff and are looking for someone to do the outdoorsy hiking stuff with, but there's a chance that someone might look at your profile and think, cripes, is he gonna be wearing performance cargo pants and a fleece every day? If you've got a photo where you're out somewhere eating at, oh, like an outdoor cafe type of place wearing a shirt with a collar, I think that would be perfect way to round it out. (Unless you never, ever do that, in which case disregard.)

I don't know why you aren't getting responses, unless you're sending messages to women wildly far from your age or something.

The reason the banjo comment is getting lots of favorites is because metafilter has a history with banjos...your banjo sentence is fine! :)
posted by phunniemee at 7:08 AM on June 2, 2014 [11 favorites]

I don't really even get your point in the first paragraph. Maybe make it more clear. Also you seem a bit one dimensional. Ok you're outdoorsy. But is there anything else to you? I'm sure there is, so show some other sides to yourself. I think this one dimensionality makes your profile seem flat, nothing to get excited about for a woman bombarded with messages.
posted by Aranquis at 7:14 AM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you are at all open to a partner who isn't a mountain climber, then I'd reduce the number of times you mention it in your profile. It seems really specific, and were I looking at you as a potential person to reach out to, I'd think we weren't a match, because of that.
posted by xingcat at 7:16 AM on June 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

Yeah, the outdoorsy thing. I live in an area where there are a lot of great guys who are super outdoorsy and looking for a partner to match. We have some outdoorsy women, but the general population of women here is a bit more... diverse. Especially in the age range you're looking for.

The replicant comment was appealing and totally made me laugh. But as someone who's only casually outdoorsy, I'd worry you'd spend every weekend marching me up a different mountainside, instead of having a more diversified dating life of brunches, movies, afternoon hikes, random adventures, making dinner, etc., and then whatever your date's into.

On preview: Also everything phunniemee said.
posted by mochapickle at 7:17 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

The red flag for me was "has kids, doesn't want more." Women in your age range that are unpartnered often have children due to divorce - you don't clarify whether you're willing to deal with step kids. You also talk about putting everything you own in a van and heading on a roadtrip.

I'm close to your target demographic, and while everything else would be fine, that would scream lack of willingness to commit pretty loudly.
posted by corb at 7:21 AM on June 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

1 response per every 50 messages... if that's the going rate, then keep on going! that doesn't sound that bad to me. people are picky and while you can try to tweak your profile as much as you want, it could be the smallest thing you didn't even think of that can keep someone from replying from a perfectly decent message. it's not YOU, it's THEM. also just remember it takes more effort to find what you want vs. taking whatever just comes along so just keep trying! i think your profile and photos are fine.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 7:25 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not your target audience, but:

My kids are off to college, I recently dropped my commute from 50 miles down to two, and I'm looking for ways to spend my newfound free time.

This sounds to me like you are a little bored, and are looking for a partner just to help occupy that time. This seems likely to be a turn off for some people.

The first things people usually notice about me:
I guess it wouldn't be the very first thing, but people notice that I'm on the quiet side.

Yeah. If you aren't going to answer the question (with the actual first thing people notice about you), just don't answer it.

Have you ever noticed, when hanging out in a mountain town, that you can't swing a stick without hitting 2 or 3 active, outdoorsy, left-leaning types? But the stick approach hasn't been working too well here in LA, and mountain towns are missing a lot of the things I love about LA, so I've turned to OK Cupid to help make that connection.

Delete delete delete, for the reasons mentioned previously.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 7:26 AM on June 2, 2014 [6 favorites]

Not only am I not in your demographic I am in fewer and fewer persons demographic--male, straight age 72. And I usually do not respond to these questions because I has been so long since I dated it might have been called courting. But after reading the previous responses I would like to suggest this. I had never actually looked at an OKC in any detail. On the personality section you ranked quite high on the "aggressiveness" dimension. You might consider whether this might have been a little off putting to some--particularly when paired with your focus on the outdoor and what might be considered "risk taking" behaviors. Not sure what you do about this but if you think it might be an issue you might balance it with mentioning less competitive/outdoors activities and any any interests you might have that more nurturing, companionable or less aggressive.
posted by rmhsinc at 7:29 AM on June 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

Oh, the banjo thing... Does that mean you actually play the banjo? Because if you play an instrument (and I mean even the ukelele or a harmonica), that needs to be in there.
posted by mochapickle at 7:30 AM on June 2, 2014

Agreed that you need to show more diversity in your interests. You are attractive and have intelligent and funny elements in your profile. I'm a single thirty-something woman, and were I to get a message from you and read your profile, I would think "Nice, but I don't want to hike every weekend". Talk about what you would like to do with your partner, not just what you like to do by yourself.
posted by greta simone at 7:38 AM on June 2, 2014

Oh, the banjo thing... Does that mean you actually play the banjo? Because if you play an instrument (and I mean even the ukelele or a harmonica), that needs to be in there.

I think so too... You say something about "making music" but it's unclear until you get to the banjo bit at the end.

Also, photos of the non-outdoorsy stuff like making music would be good.
posted by Jahaza at 7:57 AM on June 2, 2014

The opening paragraph is confusing and indirect. The remainder is ok but needs a little indication of life outside mountain adventures, if you want to broaden the appeal.
posted by ead at 7:58 AM on June 2, 2014

First of all, I'm assuming you are sending perfectly nice messages because you are a smart MeFite and that probably gives you an advantage over the average OKC user.

If you are at all open to a partner who isn't a mountain climber, then I'd reduce the number of times you mention it in your profile. It seems really specific, and were I looking at you as a potential person to reach out to, I'd think we weren't a match, because of that.

I am solidly in your demo and this would definitely stop me from contacting you first, but if you had contacted me first I would have responded, albeit with the caveat that I'm not a mountain climber.

There are a lot of other great observations here, like this:

We have some outdoorsy women, but the general population of women here is a bit more... diverse. Especially in the age range you're looking for.

but might be a little more helpful if you wanted to know why women weren't contacting you. I assume you are mostly contacting women you think will go mountain climbing with you? If not you need to do that. It sounds like it's such an important part of your life I wouldn't do too much to downplay it too much just for the sake of getting more responses but if it isn't, then give that a try.

Do you have a lot of deal breakers (for partners) in your Q&A that might make women think you wouldn't be interested in them long-term? That's the only other big thing I can think of. (My profile is disabled for now so I can't see them.) Otherwise, it might just be a numbers game, especially in L.A. since it's so tough to date here under any circumstances.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:04 AM on June 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Your photos are all very similar: you're outdoors and have the same expression on your face. It's hard to see your eyes!

And I agree that your profile in general makes you seem a little one-note. If you need to hike or climb every weekend to be truly happy, and you need the same from a partner, go ahead and say that. But even the super-outdoorsy women will be looking for more than just outdoorsiness.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:26 AM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

To me, it reads like you're looking for a bro to spend all your time in the wilderness with, and hike in silence with, which you're doing in one of your pictures anyway.

Also, the dancing stuff---(again, in my opinion) I get how you might think it appeals to women, but it just sounds like you're set in your ways and aren't looking for a romantic adventure or passion, just someone to so all the same things you do that you're good at already.

There's just some impression I'm getting that you expect the person to be into all the same exact things you are into.

I concur with whoever said it feels like you expect the person you're looking for to march up mountains every single weekend and West Coast Swing/Argentine Tango a lot. Both of those dances are hard to learn.
posted by discopolo at 9:31 AM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm not in your target demographic (gay lady), but I think your profile looks really good for the most part - reading it makes me feel like you'd be a fun and interesting person to talk to, which is one of the primary things I looked for back in my dating days. However, I do agree with the folks suggesting that you diversify both in your words and pictures. Maybe talk a bit about what you love about LA and what you'd like to do there with a prospective partner?

Also, your second picture made me giggle a bit - you have a very friendly smile, but in that picture you kind of look like a disembodied floating head. Which, hey, if you're okay with that then rock on with your floaty head (it's something I definitely would enjoy laughing about with my partner if one of us were the head), but I thought I'd let you know. Best of luck to you!
posted by DingoMutt at 9:57 AM on June 2, 2014

Also, I just looked up slacklining and it is far more cool than I had originally imagined. I kind of skipped over it on the first run-through, assuming it was some specific way of climbing rocks that only other rock climbers would appreciate, but dude, you're learning to walk a rope? That's COOL! Unless you're specifically using terms like slacklining and milonga as a shibboleth to filter out people who aren't already into these things, I'd suggest moving towards more generally recognizable terms like rope-walking.

I wish I could walk a rope...
posted by DingoMutt at 10:06 AM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Real deal rock climbing and mountaineering are cool but very, very few people (least of all women age 38 and over who live in LA) really do it more than, say, once in a great while, you know? I'm saying it would be hard to find a true rock climbing peer who is local, available, old enough, and is someone you would also want to date.

So you may want to expand your search to include Outdoorsy Women more generally - women who go fly fishing, do triathlons, go skate skiing, paddle boarding, etc -- someone who is into an outdoor hobby you could see yourself trying and enjoying.

Anyway, to increase the odds of getting responses from women who are ready, willing, and able to rock climb or go mountaineering with you (super specific hobby skill set there), you may need to lower your target age range to something more like age 30 and up, or even age 25 and up. And I say this as a married, outdoorsy woman over 35 who actually does live in an mountain town that is like Patagonia Disneyland (I regularly hike, ski, and kayak but I would be friggin' terrified to actually rock climb in a non-gym setting) - the 2, maybe 3, straight women I know here who actually DO rock climb and backpack on a regular basis are all well under the age of 35, but YMMV of course.

I agree with the advice to have some new pictures taken of your face, but this time in a more urban setting.
posted by hush at 10:21 AM on June 2, 2014

If you're still interested in learning two-part harmonies (previous askme), don't leave that out. I am an active lady in your target demo and I would be all over that!
posted by hairy terrarium at 10:52 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hi there -- I'm in your target demographic and I think your profile was pretty great. I didn't see any red flag in the "has kids, doesn't want more" response. As a single mom, that's what mine says...I intend that to mean that a partner with kids already would be just fine, but I'm not looking to bring any more children into the world.

The only thing that would make he hesitate was the outdoors stuff -- there seemed to be very little of other interests there. If you want to tailor your search to just meet women who are super-outdoorsy, then fine, but you might be scaring off some the more moderate outdoors lovers (like me) who enjoy indoors and urban stuff too. Depending on your area, it can also seem a bit cliche, and not help you stand out from the crowd. Here in Austin, every other guy seems to have a picture climbing Enchanted's like it was an OKC mandate for single males over 40.
posted by pantarei70 at 11:18 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

This would put me looks like you need a woman to fill in the free time you have..

"..and I'm looking for ways to spend my newfound free time"
posted by jbean at 11:21 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Single straight lady, squarely in your demographic, who shares some of your interests or is at least interest-adjacent in a few areas. (I've even developed a bit of a Patagonia fixation in the last couple of years.) We have a decently high compatibility rating according to the wizards at OKC. But my overall reaction to your profile is... eh. So I think you can improve it to show a little more personality.

There are a couple of highlights here that make you sound interesting: learning slacklining (which I also had to look up, and which sounds super cool), the replicant line. But I agree with others that you come across as doing a lot of things to fill your newfound free time, and that it seems you're looking for a partner who'll fit neatly into whatever space is left over. Also that you could show more variety in your photos.

Personally I'd like a little more detail here and there. What is that you like about your mountain exploits? How do they make you feel? What do you enjoy about dancing, and why those styles in particular? Especially if you tend to be quiet in person, I think you should take advantage of the written form to give people a real sense of who you are as a person and what you care about, not just what you do to fill your time.

I also would be interested in seeing an example of your usual opening message. It's quite possible to hit all the recommended points and still sound a bit too formulaic and dry. I'm not a big fan of super flirtatious first messages, but a little wit and bantery tone are more likely to get a response from me. YMMV, of course, and if that's not your style, that's fine. The glimpses of humor in your profile, though, make me think that there could be room to punch up your correspondence a bit.
posted by Superplin at 12:12 PM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

The red flag for me was "has kids, doesn't want more." Women in your age range that are unpartnered often have children due to divorce - you don't clarify whether you're willing to deal with step kids.

Yes, you should definitely clarify this. Mine says doesn't have/doesn't want but I make it very clear that I'm just not looking to have kids with my partner. I don't see it as a red flag, especially since the low end of your age range doesn't dip too far into prime (or "prime") child-bearing years. If you aren't interested in raising another set of kids I think that's totally fine and would just consider that an incompatibility if I had kids.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:12 PM on June 2, 2014

I really agree with "who you are" not just "what you do." Devoted dad, attentive listener, romantic? Energetic, ambitious, creative? What's that PhD in, what are you using it for? How many kids do you have and what do you like about being a dad? What are you looking for in a partner, besides someone to do all your activities with you? (Support, intellectual curiosity, etc.)

WHY do you like dancing and rock climbing and road trips?
posted by amaire at 3:41 PM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks to everyone for the answers. I marked some as best, but they have all given me food for thought. I'll be reworking the self-summary and reducing the emphasis on outdoors/mountains (although to be honest, it's going to take some digging/effort to come up with pics that aren't in that setting). Will be clarifying the kids thing as well. I found some of the comments to be unsettlingly perceptive, since the degree that I'm into "doing my stuff" has been problematic in previous relationships. So maybe that's what I need to working on more than my profile.
posted by doctord at 5:39 PM on June 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

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