Gather round, OKC profile critics...
June 30, 2014 11:42 AM   Subscribe

I know the topic of OKCupid profile critiques is polarizing. Those who enjoy picking apart profiles and judging photos, please bring your honesty and step on up.

Mefites have been generous in the past in critiquing my profile, and after a hiatus from dating, I'm back on OKCupid and hoping to find some decent matches.

My current profile is here. The text is what I settled on after much agonizing over the following:

- Whether to get into specific bands/shows/movies (I decided for now not to list them, since matching on that particular topic wasn't super important to me)

- Whether to list specific date activities (something someone suggested last go-round, which I did try for a while...I found it just led to a bunch of bad matches messaging me with "I'LL GO THERE WITH YOU" but didn't do much to attract people who interested me)

- Whether I mention my kids too much (I tried paring it way down) and/or whether I list drinking too much (after a long, miserable marriage, I'm definitely a social butterfly and go out a fair amount, so I decided I wasn't too concerned about scaring off teetotalers).

I want my profile to come across as light-hearted, genuine, and direct. I'd love any suggestions that might help me achieve that better, as generally I feel that writing about myself results in me sounding like a self-conscious dork.

I'd also appreciate any feedback on the photos. I don't have many pictures of me doing stuff (I don't have a ton of hobbies, and don't usually have my picture taken when I'm doing the ones I have), so mainly I'm just going for pictures that look flattering and make me seem approachable. FWIW, all my pictures are recent and I believe they do look like the real me, for better or worse.

Thanks so much, as always, for any input.
posted by justonegirl to Society & Culture (32 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Can you make your profile public? I don't have an okcupid account any longer.
posted by geegollygosh at 11:43 AM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Drat, I thought I had! Fixed now. Thanks!
posted by justonegirl at 11:53 AM on June 30, 2014

I like your photos, and given how many nice ones you have, I think you can take down the one with the blurred woman right in the middle.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:55 AM on June 30, 2014 [7 favorites]

I would drop the swear word in the second question.
posted by mochapickle at 11:57 AM on June 30, 2014

The photo where you have red-eye and the white shorts look a bit like a slip coming out of a short dress might be removed, otherwise, I think the profile is wonderful.
posted by xingcat at 12:00 PM on June 30, 2014

I think your profile is pretty great and you sound super dateable. The one thing I'd cut is the "hearty" side of self-sabotage. Maybe just a teensy sprinkling of self-sabotage instead?

I'd also cut out a few of the photos: the first work photo and the "networking" photo (both of which are good, but in a LinkedIn way rather than an OKCupid way), the one with your kid half-cropped out (laser eyes, plus it looks like your son's trying to escape), and the awkwardly cropped one (you look like a wall of shirt and you are obviously not!). You don't need to replace them; the rest are great and show a ton of variety.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:12 PM on June 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

A++ Would Read Again.
I was a kinda guy back in the day, I met my fiancee' on there, and I would totally have winked at you or whatever.
Well done!
I wish you the best, I think this profile will serve you well.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 12:13 PM on June 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Most importantly, you're kind, smart, funny, stylish, ethical, maybe a little edgy, tall-ish, at least slightly social, and totally ready to find an insanely great connection with someone who rocks your world. Where that connection leads is anyone's guess. No rush; we've got all the time in the world.
I'm probably just out of your league, but this kind of thing makes me a bit anxious. I see what you mean... How about letting some initial messaging tell? Otherwise I think your profile is pretty good. Other than that as with most profiles, including my own, there might just be a little too much stuff in there. I do kind of think specific things are better than general genre descriptions, like "edgy fiction"—such a non-edgy way to phrase it! Tell me a book, maybe I know it!
posted by mbrock at 12:23 PM on June 30, 2014

It's a bit long. Also, I might take out

with a hearty side of self-sabotage (gotta keep things balanced!)

because it hints at psychological trouble. (Don't get me wrong... I have read your posts over the years and you deserve the hugest hugs and support for what you've been through, which I imagine you can share with the RIGHT person, while keeping things positive for the interwebs at large.)

There are many references to drinking (holding liquor, libations, bars listed twice including as your first "what I might be doing on a Friday," and finally cocktail dress which is not exactly about drinking but it brings the total alcohol references to five). Not sure if that is intentional.

Next. more of a substantive comment.. seems you are looking for someone with edge, mischief, adventure, etc. That is all well and good, and maybe I'm a boring conservative... in my experience, the pursuit of edge can also lead to a bit of heartbreak/instability. This is totally personal preference... that said, you should just be aware of the pros and cons of what you're seeming to look for. Even if you are physically attracted to an edgy, adventurous guy who is going to do some fun/painful sexthings while you hold still, you don't HAVE to actually date that guy.
posted by htid at 12:29 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think you should drop the photo with the other woman in front of you, fix the eyeglare photos, and maybe drop the one with your kid or crop it for just you (kids are fine, but I think photos with them are a bit odd on a dating site.)
I'm not your demographic, but I look at photos all day long.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:10 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ok, so my basic MO with this is that everything in your profile has to increase the odds of successful messaging hits and have enough conversation starters to lead to a first date.

Profile photos: Decent

Self-Summary: Blah - pretty inoffensive and samey, though mentioning your tattoos is a good touch - kind of intriguing as you don't show any on your profile photo

What I am doing: Good - running a company is instantly impressive and a good BS filter for dissuading some guys. You can't say Not caring too much what people think on a dating site with a straight face. You are generally too vague, ok thats fine about your company/ professional life but be more specific what kind of volunteering you do it sounds better and provides a natural conversation point for someone to latch onto in messaging or first date. Delete all the stuff about self-improvement, everyone wants to be a better person and its meaningless

Im Really good at: Pretty decent

First Things: Curvy is a banned word on dating sites. Guys think it means fat. From your profile pictures you are not fat so why plant a seed of doubt about whether you are lying in those photos. They know what your body type is already on the page - Tall & confident is fine.

Fav things:
Ok, these sections are basically here for you to put actual specific authors or cultural things you loved so that someone who also loved those can start a conversation with you about them in messages. I guess someone can say so edgy fiction what is that about but that is a lot harder than talking about something you both loved. You basically say oh i like everything in every section. You need some discernment here something to hook a conversation onto. Mexican food? Classical or rock music? Even if its really the case you like everything you must have a few things you love!

6 Things: You are starting to mention drinking too much. You are not in college any more, most people like a drink but no need to make it a core part of your identity that you repeat all down the page. You mentioned music twice more and we still don't know a single band or genre of music you like - UNACCEPTABLE you can't possibly like your jam box more than the music that comes out of it. It is an instrumental not a fundamental thing in your life. :P

Friday Night: OK generally - but you say trying to avoid the typical - followed by a list of typical friday night activities. no OK cupid problem there but it just annoyed me

You should message me if: Good section.

Overall i would give you a solid B grade at the moment - your profile is too bland, but I don't see any huge standout blunders
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 1:19 PM on June 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

"Seeing both sides of an argument, yet still winning at the end" makes it sound like you are invested in winning arguments, which would be a red flag for me in a relationship. Even with the "sometimes" qualifier.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:30 PM on June 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

96% match and 17 miles away from me...

"I've never been to Machu Picchu" cracked my shit UP. In general I avoid profiles with lots of snark, and you do pretty well there.

I want to know more about your hobbies, but that's probably a bit of an idiosyncrasy on my part. I'm looking for a crafty maker artist type; in my profile, I beg and plead for potential suitors to tell me about their hobbies.

I don't think you mention your kids too much, nor drinking. In fact, I'd be attracted to the drinking part, becuse many of the women I've met via the site are considerably more health and fitness oriented than I am. I've actually used Drinks as a filter when running searches.

In general, in the year or so I've been on OKCupid, I've learned to view my profile as a filter, rather than a lure. When I've toned down the weirdness in my profile, I've gotten lots of dates, but they've not been with women I'd want to date, at least not for very long. I've recently weirded-up my profile--we'll see how that works out.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:46 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

You seem really fun, but it seems overly vague. You can add in a dose of authentacity and still have it read as fun. It really perked my ears when you mentioned owning a music-focused business but then nothing else about music, or the business. You're just a potentially fun but seemingly non-substantive blob. There are moments that seem like you have more to you, but then it's back to being vague.

Also, I'd reduce the number of times you me tion drinking. I get it, you do it a fair amount, but mentioning it so much makes you seem like a partying college kid.
posted by Aranquis at 2:05 PM on June 30, 2014

Too many photos, I'd get rid of the following:

-the one with your kid
-the one with the co-workers cropped
-the one with you emceeing
-full-length selfie

I'd also get rid of the dates on the photos and just leave it with the captions.
I swear like a truck driver, but I was turned off by the word "shit" in your profile. It came off as forced edginess to me. Ymmv though. I'd also get rid of a good number of the drinking references.
The mention of your kids seems sincere and is not too much.
posted by Sal and Richard at 2:22 PM on June 30, 2014

I don't have much to critique, so these are going to be really minor or nitpicky.

Your photos are excellent. The one weird photo is the one where you're sandwiched in between a man and a woman and none of you are interacting with each other. It would be a good photo of you if not for that, so if you have any other photo from the same event you could consider that. But if not, I would just delete that photo and leave the others as they are. (It would be different if every other photo were a head shot.)

"Most importantly, you're ... tall-ish" — This sentence comes after you've said you're looking for someone who's single and likes kids. Really, height matters more to you than those other things? That sounds a little superficial. (Imagine how you'd react to seeing a man's profile that said "most importantly..." and then specified what kind of women's bodies he's attracted to.) As someone who's one inch taller than you and in your demographic (33 years old, 86% match, 4% enemy), I'd instantly move on to another profile at this point. Maybe you're fine with that since you want to filter out men who are around your own height; just letting you know that this would be my impression/reaction.

For the "what I'm doing with my life," I'd recommend deleting a few sentences to edit it down to this: "Running a company that I love. Running on trails. Raising a glass with great friends as often as possible. Volunteering when I can." That's still quite substantial, will draw more attention by being more concise, and removes some of the more superfluous or odd phrasings (see below).

"Not caring too much what people think." Another comment already critiqued this one. It's not that this line is so terrible — but it's vague filler. And it seems unintentionally ironic — trying to impress people by letting them know how little you care about impressing people.

"Striving for self-improvement, with a hearty side of self-sabotage (gotta keep things balanced!)." I assume you meant this in a light-hearted and not totally serious way. But in the context of a dating site, the phrase "self-sabotage" is so unbelievably loaded. It has connotations of addiction, self harm, mental illness, etc. That might have nothing to do with what you meant by it. But that won't stop it from triggering some unpleasant memories in the people reading it. I highly recommend deleting this.

I don't agree with the commenter who said "curvy" should be "banned" on dating sites. As a straight man who uses dating sites, I have a positive reaction to it, and I don't read it as a euphemism for "overweight." I'm sure some men do have a negative reaction to it. But do you want to date them?

I don't understand why many people some to be opposed to listing any specifics for books/movies/music/etc. True, no one item on these lists is going to determine whether you're compatible with someone. But not every word in your profile needs to be potentially decisive in whether you're a good match. The person who glosses over vague references to "fiction" and "nonfiction" might have been interested in talking to you about a specific book — maybe because he's read that book, or hasn't read it but has something to say about the author, or is interested in talking about the subject matter of the book. Also, liking all the same stuff might not be essential — but if I see a profile that lists a lot of stuff I'm interested in and then some other things I haven't heard of but maybe sound intriguing, I'm going to be more intrigued by her than if she didn't list anything at all. On the flipside, if someone can see that your tastes are all diametrically opposed to his, he might be less likely to contact you — which is fine, since that would be a sign you might not be compatible.

As another example, you mention you like seeing "a good live show," which is fine. But to one person, "a good live show" is at an intimate jazz lounge, while for someone else it's a huge rock concert, and for someone else it's probably going to be country music. And that could actually make a significant difference. To be clear, I think it's OK to leave these things vague — it just seems like a missed opportunity.

Under 6 things you couldn't do without, "something on which to make lists" — I don't know what this means. An iPhone, a Moleskine notebook, pieces of scrap paper ...? Not a big deal, but this seems to raise more questions than it answers.

You asked whether you mention drinking too much. Well, listing "Holding my liquor" as something you're "good at" does sound like code for not just drinking, but drinking a lot. You already say you like "libations" — I don't know that it's necessary to add that you're good at drinking them in large quantities. This kind of thing starts to seem a little collegiate once we're beyond our early 20s. Other than that, I don't see any major issues with your profile.
posted by John Cohen at 2:33 PM on June 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think in general this is a really strong profile. Your pictures give a good mix of This Is Just What I Look Like Basically, This Is Me Sort Of Doing A Thing, etc. Your profile seems a generally pretty good length and mix of the specific and the general.

This strikes me as overly negative: You're okay with the fact that I don't do yoga, I'm not a vegetarian, I don't have a dog that I adore, I've never been to Machu Picchu, I root for no sports teams, and I've never thought too much about my relative comfort in both jeans and a cocktail dress. As a potential date, none of those things would bother me in and of themselves, but defining yourself in opposition strikes me as kind of defensive and a turn-off. I.e., instead of saying "message me if you're okay with the fact that I'm not a vegetarian", say somewhere "I love a good meal of baby back ribs" (or whatever). If you put that and people still don't do a good job of reading your profile, that's their problem.

Even though your comment about feeling too hip for the suburbs is clearly kidding on the square and supposed to be self-deprecating, it still just comes through as insecure to me.

Most importantly, you're kind, smart, funny, stylish, ethical, maybe a little edgy, tall-ish, at least slightly social, and totally ready to find an insanely great connection with someone who rocks your world. "Tall-ish" is sort of an odd one out here. If this is super duper important to you, I guess sure keep it in, but as someone who is tall-ish, this would make me think you're very looks-focused, which would lead me to be a lot less likely to message you.
posted by threeants at 2:34 PM on June 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

As a potential date, none of those things would bother me in and of themselves, but defining yourself in opposition strikes me as kind of defensive and a turn-off. I.e., instead of saying "message me if you're okay with the fact that I'm not a vegetarian", say somewhere "I love a good meal of baby back ribs" (or whatever).

OP, you should realize you may be filtering out more men if you take the above advice. I'm a vegetarian, and I would message someone whose profile says what your profile currently says. But I wouldn't message someone who made a point of saying she loves going out for ribs, since I'd read this as a thinly veiled attempt to filter out vegetarians. After all, a vegetarian and a meat-eater can happily be in a relationship (consistent with your profile — "you're okay with the fact that I'm not a vegetarian"), but a vegetarian is not going want to go out for ribs.
posted by John Cohen at 3:00 PM on June 30, 2014

I loved it.

(The tall thing seems difficult because it's not something someone can control and you don't say how tall. Is it very important to you?)

Please can you go on a date with MrMoonPie, just for the Machu Picchu line?!!
posted by taff at 3:06 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you don't have specifics, don't write anything in the favorite things section. I always left that part blank, because I didn't want to get messages from dudes who were overwhelmed by the fact that I like stoner metal, or whatever. But right now, that section of your profile just reads like, "I like awesome stuff!" Everyone thinks that they have great taste, so you're basically filling that section with a whole lotta' nothin'.

Otherwise, awesome.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 3:07 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't change a thing. Good luck!
posted by Kwine at 3:23 PM on June 30, 2014

Can we be friends? You seem awesome. One too many bar/drinking references for me. I'd take out being at the bar on a typical Friday.

Otherwise, seriously, lets hang out. This is a perfect profile. I just live in the wrong state for us to be pals.

Oh, your username is a little strange to me - I don't like the word "girl" much as it can be a bit diminutive but the rest of your profile cancels out that tiny tiny tiny thing.
posted by sockermom at 4:16 PM on June 30, 2014

That photo that's labeled as being a work photo led me to your company name and what is likely to be your legal name (unless you're canny enough to use an alias for that purpose) in less than 15 seconds. Based on female friends' experiences with online dating, that's not a good thing. Some isolation from the creepers and jerks is advantageous.

I would be a little more explicit in what you're looking for in the medium term relationship-wise - are you looking for someone who will eventually become a parent for your children?
posted by Candleman at 4:19 PM on June 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would scrap the "tall-ish" thing. It's too vague to be useful; but more importantly, height is a subject of great sensitivity for many men. You will probably get nasty-grams in your inbox from guys, tall and non-tall, and this can make the experience of sifting through your messages really unpleasant.

I think it's one of those things better left unsaid; you can screen for it silently (just don't respond to, or politely decline, men who don't fit your height criteria).

At the risk of second-guessing you on what you know are deal-breakers: if there is ANY wiggle-room in your preference for a certain height, you might be delighted by the guys you end up meeting who aren't tall-ish (whatever tall-ish means to you). Dating only tall men narrows your pool significantly, and you will be missing out on some real catches. (I say this as a woman a bit taller than yourself who has had really great shorter-than-me boyfriends.) Just something to consider if you find that you aren't meeting tall-ish guys who are good matches for you.
posted by nacho fries at 5:38 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

35F, met partner on OKC 4 years ago.

My only comments are - move more of the stuff in "what I'm good at" to the 2 sections above. I feel like a lot of that section could fit better there.

Photos: not loving the captions - they're kind of distracting. I'd remove.
1. Great
2. I find that I'm looking more at that cat than you?
3. Remove. Too "posed."
4. Too blurry - remove.
5. Same.
6. Remove - not flattering; it takes away from photo #1
7. Remove - too posed and "perfect" - doesn't feel like it shows the "real" you.
8. Remove - would've been great if that person wasn't in the way!
9. Great - note that your name tag says your name.
10. Great.
posted by foxjacket at 8:06 PM on June 30, 2014

I think it looks fantastic and you sound super fun.

I had some success with also putting a specific request in the "message me if" section. I think it was "you know where to find a good sandwich around here," but I'm sure you can think of something more clever. Respondents had something specific to discuss in their first message, and (bonus!) I got a lot of excellent sandwich recommendations.
posted by ethorson at 8:33 PM on June 30, 2014

9. Great - note that your name tag says your name.

Good catch! People will go on Facebook and search for "People named ___ who live in [your city]." So you might want to blur this out in Photoshop or something.
posted by John Cohen at 8:36 PM on June 30, 2014

I think you are doing it right. you put enough of yourself into it that anyone looking at your profile can get a good idea of what you are like and if you are a good fit for them. this should help cut down on the awkward dates (I hope for you).

don't worry, don't overthink it. dating isn't easy. it takes time and there are setbacks. but when you meet that one awesome person who makes you go *ping* it's worth all the hassles. in spades.
posted by krautland at 9:32 PM on June 30, 2014

As a shorter man I actually prefer for women to state their height preferences clearly if it's at all important to them. Sure, it's disappointing to see the tall preferences, but it waste less time as I wouldn't initiate contact with people who is unlikely to respond to me anyway.
posted by Pantalaimon at 9:39 PM on June 30, 2014

Keep the dates next to each photo. It looks nice and organized and lets people know you are being honest about your appearance.

It has been a while since I have been on OKC but I have been told people using photos that are a few years old is still a thing.
posted by mlis at 11:20 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wow, thanks so much, everyone! I waited a day to make the changes (so that everyone commenting could have a look at the original version) and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. My stupid laptop won't let me make a new link, but the one in my original question will now take you to the new version.

(Oh, and assuming the influx of non-local visitors are Mefites, you guys and gals are an attractive and intriguing bunch! I enjoyed reading your profiles as well!)
posted by justonegirl at 8:22 AM on July 1, 2014

"First Things: Curvy is a banned word on dating sites. Guys think it means fat. "

Guy here. No, we don't (or at least, many don't). It can mean anything from "Va-va-va-voom!" to "round is a shape!" When I read it, I check the photos. If it looks like the girl has a reasonably positive body image (not just head shots), I assume it is said with confidence.

It reads well on your profile.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:46 AM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

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