OkCupid clinic
September 8, 2014 7:48 AM   Subscribe

After years I finally did a re-haul/update of my OkCupid profile. If you enjoy this sort of thing, please help me with your wisdom. My profile.

I tend to do more or less ok with online dating when I put the time into it. I mean, I can usually find people meet in real life, but it never goes anywhere. I think I need to be more somewhat picky on the physical attraction front, but I'm not sure how much of my dates not going anywhere is to do with just luck/nature of the thing (the dates tend to be pleasant, nice, enjoyable, etc) and how much is with me not being specific enough on my profile to attract someone who will really suit me. (Probably not helping is my impression that most of my friends who have found someone online did so within the first couple of weeks, if not the first date, or else not at all).

Some of my more or less well-formed concerns:

-Should I be more specific in my 'you should message me if' section? Even out the lengths among the sections?
-I wrote 'monogamous' because ultimately that's what I want in a serious relationship, which is really what I'm hoping to find, but I don't want/expect that from dating - is that going to be misleading?
-I added some more up to date pictures and now I think I may have too many.
-Does it need more explicit feminism? I really am not interested in someone who isn't on board and hasn't done at least some thinking about gender issues.
-It is important to me to find someone sexually compatible with me but I am so loathe to write anything explicit, or to be honest, even implicit, on my profile. Is it really necessary?
-It seems kind of shallow but I don't want to get maudlin either.
-Scrap the whole thing and start over??? (and come back and ask more questions another week).

Thank you dear Mefites!
posted by Salamandrous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think (opinion of a gay man, so grain of salt and all that) it's a delightful profile! The only photo I would take out is the third down (with the champagne bottle), just because you're holding yourself in a slightly awkward position and it's not showing off your profile to its best benefit.
posted by xingcat at 7:52 AM on September 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

I came here to say exactly what xingcat said. That third photo must go. You are beautiful (with a great bod), and that photo doesn't flatter you at all. I like your profile. I'm a woman, in case that isn't clear from my username ;)
posted by the webmistress at 8:05 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thirding great profile, ditch the photo.

The only thing I might change is this line: "...[I] try to keep my complaints and judgments empathetic and entertaining." I get what you're saying but it gives just the tiniest niggling thought of "okay, well, how judgy/complainy IS she, empathetic or otherwise, if that's one of the first things she says about herself?"
posted by obfuscation at 8:11 AM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Profile picture is lovely, I think most of your profile is wonderful too. You come across as an intelligent, kind, funny lady who would attract the same kind of man. I don't think it's too shallow at all.

The photo with the champagne bottle is not flattering, only go with your very best pictures. You may want to remove the one with your lady friend ("festive") as I don't think that's a great one either. Always remove the salary portion, none of their beeswax. And iPhone, in the "what you can't live without" - don't want to sound like you're one of those rude "can't put my phone down" folks. Probably same goes for mentioning the phone games, but that's a take-it-or-leave-it thing.

The "worrisome tendency towards worrying" is a big red flag to me, though. If I were a guy I'd be a bit put off by this because it would also suggest towards clinginess and high-maintenance. Best to leave that out.

If you were to add anything I'd write a bit about what you're looking for in a partner and how they'd fit into your life, i.e. describing what kinds of things you'd do together. Don't be embarrassed to elude to wanting physical compatibility if it's important to you.
posted by lizbunny at 8:13 AM on September 8, 2014 [4 favorites]

Nthing the third photo disapprobation.

You're fine with 'monogamous', because that's not there for issues of dating so much as for folks to identify whether they're cool with polyamory or not in a long term relationship.

I think you could add some more explicit or even implicit feminism. I see a few hints and would assume you were simply due to our match %age, but otherwise it's not clear from your profile.

You don't come across as shallow at all.

If you do have concrete ideas about what you're looking for, it wouldn't hurt to write about those, although I'm coming from a very specific place when it comes to online dating. Trying for volume really won't work for me, so my profile's very specific about some things.
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:18 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

The second photo contains two people -- and I'm not sure which one of them is you (admittedly, I have trouble with recognizing faces, so maybe no-one else would have an issue with it).
posted by alex1965 at 8:21 AM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think the "fall beach day" photo is lovely and might work better as a profile picture.
Other than that, maybe leave references to your cat at just one.
posted by tenaciousmoon at 8:23 AM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

The word "discreet" in a dating profile sets off weird alarm bells and sounds a little like you'd be down to date someone who already has a girlfriend. I know that's a weird stretch, but that's the first thing I thought of when I read "I can be discreet" in your profile.
posted by sockermom at 8:24 AM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Nth-ing most of what's been said here, especially the wording around "judgments," "discreet," and "worrying." Fair or not, those words will paint large brush strokes for people as part of a profile. Plus, you just never know what someone else's scale is for that sort of thing. You may be too much a worrier to some, and not enough to others. Let them figure out what works for them while you be you.

I'd want to hear more specifics--more of the other pots you keep your hands in, more of where you have traveled or want to travel from those three airports...that kind of thing. Otherwise, you come across as delightful! Good luck!
posted by cocoagirl at 8:31 AM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Nice profile! Others have good ideas, and I would suggest two revisions:

You mention your cat four times, which seems slightly a lot to me.

"Work-wise I'm doing my best to enjoy the glamorous life (sarcasm) of a contract attorney."

I don't think you need the word "sarcasm" in there, they'll get it.

Best of luck!
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 8:34 AM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seconding fall beach day photo for main profile pic, and take out the champagne pic and biking around Brooklyn.

I would have liked to read more about your romantic and sensual side, you've completely left that out as if you're just looking for friends to hang out with.

You put a lot of detail into why you love New York but honestly none of it is especially insightful or tells much about you. Perhaps instead pick out some favourite hangouts or corners of the city you love.

I get the sense you came there from somewhere else, from your list of the exotic things you love. Maybe talk a bit about that. Basically I want to see what makes you unique, what makes you someone who has something new to share with me.

Maybe think of unusual facts about yourself and list those.

Also, I don't see much humour here, you're very earnest but not self-deprecating enough.

You seem like a sweet person, I hope you don't take any of this as more than constructive criticism.
posted by Dragonness at 8:39 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

You look a bit like Madonna :)

I think the biking photo is good- it's somewhat of a full body shot. Not sure why people would want you to take it out- it's good to have a more natural pic in there.
posted by bearette at 8:46 AM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

"Though I am trying to work crazy hours..."

You're trying to work crazy hours? As in, you're not working crazy hours now, but you hope to in the future? That doesn't sound like someone who's interested in a serious dating relationship.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:06 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you everybody who commented so far! I am excited to implement suggestions. I am starting to work in the text but will leave the pictures as are for now in case it would throw off someone looking at this later. I will definitely cut the third picture. I think if I cut either the 'with a friend' or the biking picture it should be the first one, since there are a lot of pictures of me made up but usually I'm more casual, and I think I need at least one full body picture?

One answerer suggested taking off my income. Do people generally agree with that approach?
posted by Salamandrous at 9:27 AM on September 8, 2014

I would take off the income. I don't think it hurts anything but it seems like a lot of information to give strangers... they already know you're a contract attorney.

I like your profile! I think it's a nice blend of intelligence and positivity.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:53 AM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd put the beach pic as your main pic. Your current main picture is lovely, but also looks like you just ported it over from your LinkedIn account. Too formal to lead with. Otherwise, looks great! It reads like you are a complete person in search of another complete person and that's nice.
posted by phunniemee at 9:57 AM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think it's good and your personality comes across well in your writing.
Here are some nitpicky things that you might want to think about changing, from the pov of a married lady who had a bunch of success with online dating:

-Expand your answer to what you are doing on Friday nights.
Dinner with friends paired with the someone serious about Judaism and writing for a Jewish feminist site kind of sets off alarm bells for me (a not so serious Jew) that you go to Shabbat dinners all the time and would make me go too.
Plus, more detail is just better anyway. Does this mean you go out and try a new restaurant every week? Does this mean that you have a ladies night with your friends? Does this mean that you go to the same place with the same people and order the same thing and it's like a tradition? More color would make this a more interesting answer and could also tell us more about you.

-The 10pm is a late night thing might be true but it is kind of offputting, especially if you say you work crazy hours. When is there time to take you out? If I am someone who doesn't get out of work til 8, would you even want to meet me for a drink at 9? Sounds like it might be hard to date you and that is not what you want people to think at first glance.

-Add one more picture and make it an action shot of you actually doing something that you like doing. Your pics are good and you have a range of close up and full body and angles, so the one thing that you could still have is a picture of you engaged in an activity.
posted by rmless at 10:05 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

In my (very) humble opinion, the fact that you volunteer so much information about yourself in the essay section makes you appear a bit desperate. But maybe it's just me, a much more private parson. Still, that is a LOT of information about yourself to give to total strangers (income, job, neighbourhood, religion, etc)

I think that rather than make a laundry list of cultural likes and dislikes, you should leave what you think is important to you (Judaism, feminism, liberal politics, or whatever) and state what you are looking for in a man, in relatively broad terms - while making clear that you expect the one to share your values.

Also, the beach photograph is the one where you are most at your advantage, and I'd choose that one as profile picture.

Good luck in finding a mate!
posted by Kwadeng at 10:07 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Remove the photo with your friend ("festive") as you look a bit awkward in that one. Also I wouldn't bring up the cordless vacuum as it's too boring a topic for a profile. Otherwise, great stuff. You come across as a lovely and sincere person,
posted by hazyjane at 10:09 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

"I am working on being a better housekeeper" needs to go. But the bit about being a nerdy researcher of vacuum cleaners should definitely stay.

You do look like Madonna!

Get rid of the 3rd photo. Consider cropping the 2nd photo of you next to the woman so that it mostly just shows you. Keep the biking photo and the note that you have 2 dads. You rock!!
posted by hush at 10:53 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

You are so great that this is a heavily biased answer. :)

Shorter sentences. Maybe give a better idea of the richness of your hospitality, possibly in the first part, which is a bit too long for a profile of this type (although it's beautiful).

The most private thing: too negative. I sympathize but you can screen for punctuality on dates 1-3. You don't want someone who is 5 minutes late once a week to say "oh, not for me".

Good luck; you truly are a gem and I think it shows quite well in this profile.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:54 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd cut income, yes. Keep the vacuum stuff, it's very you and something your type of guy would appreciate, I think.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:56 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

So you have a lovely time on the dates, and it doesn't sound like you have a problem getting dates, but they never pan out? This is a difficult thing for an online dating profile to fix -- you're turning interest into meetings, but aren't meeting someone you'd want to keep dating / they aren't meeting someone they want to keep dating. So it sounds like you may want to focus instead on meeting someone more to your tastes, and you more to theirs. Putting info into your profile that you're specifically looking to find seems to be the way to go.
posted by garlic at 10:56 AM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Your photo on your Metafilter profile is lovely -- I suggest using that, too, if you still wear glasses. (Fellow glasses-wearing woman here.)
posted by vickyverky at 11:03 AM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

My quibble with keeping the "housekeeping" stuff is it may turn off certain feminists you're very clear you're wanting to attract.
posted by hush at 11:03 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your self-summary section needs to be reworked. It should be at least half the length it currently is. Also, it doesn't really tell much about you. The second paragraph I would say is the least relevant - is the fact that you live in a studio with a courtyard really integral to your sense of self? The first paragraph is not great either. You talk on far too long about all of the things you love about New York, but it basically just turns into a list of what makes New York New York. Overall, the section gives off the impression that you are the type of person who will drone on and on about unimportant details.

I agree the third picture is not great. The second is really showcasing the other person in the photo more than you, and it's confusing since it's only the second picture we see of you (i.e., not immediately clear who is who).

I thought your six things answer was a nice mix of serious and not so serious and had creative answers.

Friday night section needs to be punched up. It doesn't need to be much longer, just more interesting. A small detail or interesting adjective will do. Ditto the first thing people notice section.

This is nitpicky but I would take off the adjective "glamorous" in front of attorney. Coupled with the fact that the only things you talk about liking in regards to your job have nothing to do with the work itself, it gives off the impression that you don't really like your job. It's okay if you don't, just that saying your job is boring is not really attractive in a profile.

I think your private things are interesting.
posted by unannihilated at 11:36 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

You come across as a very interesting and strong person and that's great. But, only due to the settings you've picked, are your dating preferences expressed. In all this talk of career, interests, and how busy you are, you haven't put aside an area to talk about what you're looking for in a partner. That might send of some red flags to the people who are interested and serious that you might not have room in your life.

I hate to say it, but some men are going to be intimidated because of entrenched role behavior. However, you don't want to date them anyways ;) So, make it sound like you're interested and available for strong successful partners.
posted by Raichle at 11:41 AM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

i'm not single but i'm a mid-30s professional fella and was totally like 'i want to know more about your cordless vacuum'. so i'd say keep it.
posted by noloveforned at 12:41 PM on September 8, 2014 [4 favorites]

Pedantic point: 1st paragraph - comma after "makes this city feel like a tiny village" should be a semicolon to be in line with the rest of the list (Fix it if you want. I'm sorry to be a punctuation Nazi)

Otherwise, I'm a 38yo dude, and I think this is GREAT profile. You "about me" section gives me a sense of your personality, warm and fun and slightly quirky, and you sound wonderful.

-Should I be more specific in my 'you should message me if' section? Even out the lengths among the sections?
No, I think you nailed it

-I wrote 'monogamous' because ultimately that's what I want in a serious relationship, which is really what I'm hoping to find, but I don't want/expect that from dating - is that going to be misleading?
No, I think this is fine. I think "Strictly monogamous" would be over the line, but as long as you are willing to lock it down with a guy after a handful of dates (and not be open/dating other people until you have an engagement ring) then I think this is the right status.

-I added some more up to date pictures and now I think I may have too many.
I agree with the person up thread who suggested adding your Mefi pic. I like the "Professional" pic better than "Beach day" as your main one, because I think the brighter lighting views better on the "Similar users" sidebar.

-Does it need more explicit feminism? I really am not interested in someone who isn't on board and hasn't done at least some thinking about gender issues.
No, you mention the feminism thing explicitly once and then civil rights another time, so I think that's enough of a dog-whistle to get someone like minded.

-It is important to me to find someone sexually compatible with me but I am so loathe to write anything explicit, or to be honest, even implicit, on my profile. Is it really necessary
Answer the questions about sex, and mark the ones important to you. Unless you have something that is going to be part of your life outside the bedroom (lifestyle Dom/sub, poly/open relationships, sex club frequenter) I think you are fine. This is why you answer the questions. You can look specifically at the compatibility on the question categories, including sex.

-It seems kind of shallow but I don't want to get maudlin either.
This is why you still go on dates and don't arrange marriages based on profiles. You are fine.

-Scrap the whole thing and start over??? (and come back and ask more questions another week).
Negative ghost rider. Try it with this. From the sample size of me I can say I'd definitely message you and would be excited to take you out.

To reiterate: Great profile! You seem really great! Go knock em' out, champ!
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:42 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seeing your discussion of the game Scramble, I actually Googled your word "tflbo" and got nothing. Maybe clarify?
Just trying to help where I can. It's great.
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:23 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm a bit outside your max age (and far too far away), but your profile's looking really good. There's much a sense of an appealing individual and here's another vote for keeping the vac.
posted by ambient2 at 2:26 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you so much to everybody who answered, with both critical and positive feedback. (and the Madonna thing, that's really cool!)

I think my Metafilter picture is way too out of date for a dating profile. I love it for Metafilter though since from the 10th anniversary meetup in NYC, my first meetup ever.

(JimN2TAW, tflbo is my user name in case someone wants to play Scramble with me - clarified, thanks!)

I've rearranged the pictures and may just switch between the beach picture and the professional picture for the main one, which I guess is good to keep my profile coming up. I will get around to cropping the 'festive' one. I've made some changes to the text and am still working on it. Even if I didn't follow someone's specific advice, it's percolating as I'm figuring out how to effectively reconcile and apply the counsel here.

I think the parts I am struggling most with is how to convey the room in my life for a partner (eg per Raichle), which feels (mostly) more like potential than like a man-sized hole in my life; and what I am looking for in someone, which is hard because I see the broad outlines clearly but they are generic (good character, gets me, fun company, physically compatible, emotionally generous, progressive, smart, etc), difficult to convey in a non-negative way, and probably not so useful to men to include/exclude themselves, and the specifics (looks, job, hobbies, background) feel pretty open. If anyone has any thoughts on this or examples of profiles that you think do it well, that would be great.

Thank you all, I feel optimized :)
posted by Salamandrous at 5:03 AM on September 9, 2014

I think the little changes you've made are great. Don't worry about getting it perfect in one go, tailoring my own profile was an ongoing thing.

It took a while to recognize the trends between the tone and details I tweaked in my profile, and the qualities of the men messaging me. Figuring out how to appeal to my target audience. It wasn't a matter of saying "I'm looking for a man with *x qualities*" because people don't typically see themselves as they really are. For example, saying you are looking for a kind man is more likely to net you someone who is full of themselves because they think they're kind. It's more of what they can relate to, what also appeals to them.

You might want to consider the following examples of conveying what you're looking for in a person: (Message me if)
- you're someone who likes to meet new people, interested in meeting my friends/family, and having me meet yours too.
- you're someone who is likely to help that little old lady across the street
- you're someone who is there for his friends and family to comfort and support them
- you think skipping rocks at the riverbank is a fine way to spend a saturday afternoon
- you like going to the library/bookstore often, and check out more than just the fiction section.

And in the body of my profile, when talking about the things I enjoy, I also inserted little comments where it would be great to have company. For instance, you say you like biking but always feel your bike is breaking down. This is a great spot to say you'd definitely appreciate someone's help with that, if you're interested in someone who's also into bikes. Don't get heavy handed with it, but it's a solid way of subtly letting someone picture themselves sharing a life with you.
posted by lizbunny at 9:58 AM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just another person chiming in with positive support. I'm not in your target demographic but I think your profile is wonderful: you are very attractive and sound absolutely lovely! It's also very clear who you are from little details you mentioned here and there. I think you do a good job of covering the feminist bit and I'd definitely list monogamy like you did: most people, especially in a place like Brooklyn, don't see dating as being exclusive from the start, and it's good to be clear about that long-term goal up front. I didn't see your income before but, whether your income is 30K or 300K a year, I think it's best to exclude from dating profiles.
posted by smorgasbord at 4:13 PM on September 10, 2014

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