Oh Wise Ones...I need your OkCupid Profile Help!
September 18, 2014 4:20 PM   Subscribe

Getting back in the online dating saddle, and I would love some honest critiques of my profile. In the past I haven't had much luck, but I've decided to give it another go (and yes, I'm aware of the dismal stats on black women, but I also think my profile could have been stronger). So for those of you who enjoy this sort of thing, any advice you have to offer would be fantastic.

In the past I've found this to be a pretty discouraging experience. I'm looking for artsy, geeky guys in my age demographic who are seeking a serious relationship. Here's my profile. Any tips on getting more suitable matches? Most of the (very few) messages I get seem to be from guys who didn't bother to read my profile, or who I have nothing in common with. It's been frustrating, to say the least, so I'm hoping there's more I can do on my end to encourage the "right" guys to step forward and say hello a little more.

Thanks so much MeFites!
posted by Fiorentina97 to Human Relations (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Consider making your second picture your primary picture. They're both good but I think the second one has a winning smile.
posted by mai at 4:34 PM on September 18, 2014

I would swap paragraph one with paragraph two.

I really like your profile and what you've written. If I were your demographic and single, I'd contact you. In fact, if I had single friends in your neck of the woods, I'd send them a link to your profile.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:35 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really liked your profile, you sound awesome. I would contact you based on it. For photos I would keep number 1 and maybe 2, but drop 3. You don't need two selfies in the same room. Do you have anything from your varied and interesting travels?
A few typos: "Food: Ar[u]gula salad". "In a few weeks I'm headed to China and Japan, a trip I'm really [looking] forward to since I've never been to Asia."
I would like to hear more about the violin, and maybe what your 9-5 is, unless it's totally unrelated to your identity.
posted by agentofselection at 4:39 PM on September 18, 2014

Seriously, how cute are you!

Turn your last paragraph of About Me into the first paragraph of the You Should Contact Me If section. And say the words you say here: "I'm looking for artsy, geeky guys in my age demographic who are seeking a serious relationship." You say something similar there, but what you said here has more impact.

Photo #4 deserves to be your profile pic.
posted by mochapickle at 4:41 PM on September 18, 2014

Best answer: I love your hair and I think your first picture is great. Your profile is great. I'd suggest one more photo that shows all of you just so people know you didn't pick one photo from 2006, since you're far away and it's hard to tell details on it.

#1 piece of advice for you: you've gotta message those dudes yourself. I've had a lot of luck with okc, met a lot of awesome guys, and honestly I think every single one that I actually ended up going on a date with I either messaged first or starred first. With the exception of just a few instances, I only get messages from shitbads who are completely unsuited for me.

You're gonna have to reach out first.
posted by phunniemee at 4:44 PM on September 18, 2014 [7 favorites]

Post photos of you doing things you enjoy for the extra photos. Show yourself out with your friends.
posted by michaelh at 4:51 PM on September 18, 2014

Best answer: .... other times I'm out rehearsing with my string quartet.

Your profile picture should be of you performing with your string quartet. Get a professional photographer to take it. You will look hot. And the first thing that men will see when they look at your profile is a photo of a beautiful, confident, talented woman. Much more likely to attract the right guy.

(There is nothing wrong with the other photos, you look great, but, hey, you are so much more than that).
posted by nanook at 5:29 PM on September 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Your profile is more good than bad, but there are a couple of things on it that would make it an immediate "pass" for me.

No publicly answered questions is probably the biggest factor that would prevent me from messaging someone. Even if we have a relatively low Enemy rating, knowing which questions differ between us is really important. Also, publicly answering questions and providing more details with your answers makes you stand out as more than just your rating.

Similarly, your answer to The Most Private Thing [You're] Willing to Admit... The point of your profile is to give people people information about you. You don't have to admit anything soul-baring or legally actionable here, just put down something that will get someone's attention.

Your profile exists to get your information out to as wide a group of potential partners as possible. When I see a profile where someone makes an effort not to share information about themselves, I see someone squandering their opportunity to make a strong impression.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 5:33 PM on September 18, 2014

I haven't dated in over two decades but I cannot find a thing to comment on. Your photos are good, your profile comes across as self-assured, interesting, smart, and fun.

If I could think of one suggestion: Consider putting a full length photo. This isn't Tinder but it's still dating and the full length photo might help. Good luck. You're a catch and your profile rocks.
posted by Fairchild at 5:35 PM on September 18, 2014

Best answer: You are good looking and accomplished (I dropped out of violin after middle school!)

My three comments are:

Expand on your 6 things. They're just kinda meh right now. "My family" might make some people think you're talking about your kids (and/or partner.) You could say something like "My family, the fiorentina reunions are the best parties" or "my family, grandma and auntie sue make the best pumpkin pie" or whatever...

Add some sort of hook in your "message me" section. And I'd reword what you do have to not start with "I'm looking for.

Answer the private thing! "I have a crush on Leonard Nemoy!" "Whenever Celine Dion comes on the radio, I crank it up and sing along!" "MY little toe is longer than all my other toes." Something that's silly but not too embarrassing.
posted by vespabelle at 6:49 PM on September 18, 2014

I would take out the Hawaii pic. Call me perverted, but my eyes are instantly drawn to Santa's boobs and I don't think that's your intent with using that picture? I would also remove the mountain shot because it's not very flattering of you, and maybe others have a different opinion, but those mountains aren't that pretty... All I see is a lot of rock. I like mountain pics that really give you a sense of how high up you are, how vast the scenery is, etc. Your other pics are great!

I see you have a piano in the background of your first pic - why not mention something about that too? E.g., do you play? :D Why not include a photo of you playing the violin? It's so cool you play violin! Why not play that up more? What do you love about it? What was the turning point that made you want to make it a career? Why did you start? What kind of music do you play - only classical, or are you more into modern/experimental stuff? I think generally, people who show their passion draw other people in - doesn't matter what that passion is.

Your "adventurous streak" paragraph reads as a bit like bragging to me? Maybe reword as "given the opportunity, I'll try anything once. I'm lucky to have had the chance to do things like __. Most recently I did __ and [description of how you felt about it/ what you like about it/ how it cured your phobia of x/ whatever. Tell a story.] Something I'd like to try next is __ or __, maybe you'd like to join me?" Also, if you say you're travelling that might be a logistical turn-off. E.g. maybe I don't want to start dating you if you're leaving in a week.

I would take out "random tidbits" at the beginning of your profile. Don't set it up as "random". I remember in another OKC profile review, that profile started off with "random facts about me" or some such and that similarly got shot down.

"I'm really good at:" I don't like the word "violin-ing" because I have no idea what that means. How about "losing myself in playing violin and everything related to violin/learning more about violin" or something like that? I'd take out "laughing" as well; everyone says they "love to laugh" so this is just a variation of that.

I love arugula too!

"You should message me if" - I would start this off with "you'd think it'd be fun & a brilliant use of time to grab some beers and see how well our spelling prowess holds up playing Scrabble while slightly tipsy." Get rid of the rest and expand with similar sentences like that. It seems like you've already decided what kind of person you're looking for but I think you should focus on the activities and things you'd want to do together than if they're geeky, adventurous, etc.

For the private thing to admit section - I find this section so tricky too. I think the secret is to put down something quirky about you. Everyone's got some quirks. E.g. some pop culture thing you like that people wouldn't expect ("I know she's cheesy, but I love Mariah Carey"), or something you learned late in life that everyone else knew ("I always thought it was "for all intensive purposes" until I was 35"), something unusual thing you like or find interesting ("I think left-handers are so cool. As a kid, I wanted to be one."), that sort of thing.

Overall: you seem very cool and unique. The problem is, I don't get a sense of what it would be like to hang out with you. I know that's really hard to convey in an online profile. From your profile I know what you do, I know what you like, but where is there room for a partner in (what seems to be) a very full and interesting life?

(My info - 35, F, found my partner via OKC 4 years ago.)
posted by foxjacket at 7:21 PM on September 18, 2014

Best answer: I'm out of your target demographic but I wanted to say that your profile looks wonderful!! You have an absolutely gorgeous smile and your eyes truly sparkle in the photos: my favorite is your current second photo but I think the first one is great, too. While I'd agree with others that having a "most private thing" is a generally a good move, I think your placeholder is fine as it shows humor and gets a little flirty with the wink. :-)

You sound absolutely delightful, and I hope you get many great matches! As you mentioned yourself, I remember reading that OKC blog article that discussed how black women generally get fewer messages, which sucks and is completely unfair. As for getting most of the messages from guys who didn't even read your profile before contacting you, I think that's pretty common for all female users on OKC, unfortunately. (And unfortunate for those guys, too, because it must be pretty disappointing to keep getting rejected, right?!)

FWIW, I might highlight the music-teaching aspect of your life a bit more as I've found it to be something appealing to many people in dating and beyond; I'm not sure if it's the idea that educators have nurturing personalities or that it's just something many people feel warmly about and can use as a starting point.

How do you feel about being the first to write? I can imagine that in a giant city like Chicago with SO many OKC users to sort through, people can miss great profiles (like yours!) due to sheer volume and I can imagine there are many nerd, music-loving guys who would be tickled to hear from you! Along those lines, I am sure there are guys who are more casual classical listeners who might worry their knowledge isn't up to snuff. Of course, I wouldn't recommend playing it down or the like (no way!!) but I might think of a way to let people know earlier on that you're not just looking to date people with a similar musical background.

In your last paragraph, I think you do an excellent job of showing that you are not just smart and serious but also like hanging out and having laid-back fun, which is ideal and an excellent starting point for most interested guys. Good luck!
posted by smorgasbord at 7:52 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I like art and racing (have been to F1 in Canada and Italy, the Indy 500, the Daytona 500) so I'd about marry you tomorrow just for that -- and you also come across as smart, thoughtful, unusual, pretty and generally amazing.

"Non-mainstream" is definitely a compliment, though perhaps there's a downside in that there's a relatively small pool of compatible (non-mainstream) matches.

That said, I think most gearhead guys would be surprised and delighted to come across a female who knows what a Rosberg or a Pagenaud is, might respond favorably if you search for "F1" and similar, take the first step with the guys who come up and are otherwise promising.
posted by ambient2 at 8:04 PM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

A quick follow-up to my recommendation to mention that you wouldn't necessarily expect a date to share your same musical background. How's something like, "You don't need to be able to tell Bach and Beethoven apart, just have a general interest in classical music." Then again, just ignore this if your date being able to tell them apart must for you because that's totally legit, too!

And I totally agree with ambient2 about including a little hidden nugget of sorts to give that extra hook to like-minded guys: I didn't know what a Rosberg or Pagenaud is myself (looked 'em up!) but can say I found success with the same type of approach back when I did OKC.
posted by smorgasbord at 8:22 PM on September 18, 2014

Best answer: Do you have anything from your varied and interesting travels?

I'd agree with this. All your headshots are nice and friendly and the third one just sparkles but unless people click through they won't see the two more-fun ones which might be a nicer easier intro to people. But I also agree neither of them is truly amazing and I might see if you have an amazing one. I might consider trying to find a fun photos of you traveling somewhere that is

- a good photo of you
- a little more of you than just your face

Doesn't have to be full body but just something that's like "hey this is more or less what I look like" I like the suggestion to maybe get a picture of you with your quartet. I might flesh out the Six things section a little just to use it to get more personal info across. Nothing wrong with it but it could "pop" more. I think overall I feel like I have a sense of who you are and what you are looking for and I like the juxtaposition of classical music and really fast cars. Best of luck.
posted by jessamyn at 8:29 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Have you tried another site? I'm in my 30s and have several friends in your general age/ interests/ educational range that have met men on Match.com. Around here OKCupid is mostly 20 somethings. I imagine that's a very local thing but worth looking into.

I'm not in your target demographic but I think your profile is amazing, you are very well written and sound super interesting. The only thing that jumped out at me was that you say you are a musician working a job you describe as a "9-5er". I think that would raise a few red flags if I were looking for a serious relationship. In my 20s my dating habits veered radically towards people with "real" jobs. It sounds like you have a real job/ mature adult life, maybe you could rephrase that part to be something more like "I'm someone who works to live. I do blahblahsomethingregularjobcakes, and I also work part time in the arts, I am lucky enough to be paid to teach and play the music that I love". Or something like that.

I am insanely jealous you got to drive an Indycar btw. If I were in your target demographic I'd want to meet you just to hear all about that experience!
posted by fshgrl at 8:56 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Looks good overall. Great pictures. My one comment would be that when I scan your profile with a quick eye I pretty much see "violin...violin...violin". Obviously it's a big part of your life, but taking up so much real estate in your profile feels a little overwhelming to me, especially since you clearly have really varied interests anyway!
posted by threeants at 10:45 PM on September 18, 2014

You're totally cute, imo (though admittedly I'm not in your demographic).

What I came to say is that the things you're talking about are really exciting, but the way they're described doesn't impart the kind of energy that would drive those experiences. I think maybe break those paragraphs up a bit to make things a bit more dynamic -- perhaps use a bulleted list in the "I'm really good at" section, vary the length of your sentences a bit more, maybe throw in an exclamation or two (in the Indy bit, perhaps?), to make it feel more conversational and bring the energy up. Add a few specific examples here and there (e.g. of internet ephemera), and talk about why you like a few of the books or films you've listed.

I'd get rid of "and have been playing the violin since I was 8 years old" because you're a violinist, and I think this would be assumed.

Good luck!
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:22 AM on September 19, 2014

There are a lot of lists there. I haven't used OKCupid in about five years - in fact, I met my current long-term partner there - but when I did, I made an effort to talk in more detail about fewer things when it came to music, literature and so on, and to avoid the ubiquitous list-form you see in so many profiles.

I got quite a few unsolicited messages, way more than most men seem to, and I'm a fairly average-looking guy. And I think actually talking about why I like what I do played a big part in that.
posted by Ted Maul at 2:30 AM on September 19, 2014

You're a great writer. The photo caption "Me and another race employee after a gorgeous hike in the mountains" is a bit inscrutable. Were you and the guy somehow employees of an athletic event? Would "volunteer" be a better word? Maybe give the viewer a chance to understand what kind of race you were working for.

Based on this post, I'm going to check out "Immortals," whatever that is. Your tastes sound like a lot of fun.
posted by JimN2TAW at 5:14 AM on September 19, 2014

Response by poster: Wow, thanks so much everyone for taking the time to make such insightful and thoughtful suggestions! They've definitely given me a lot to consider, and I'm going to spend some time tweaking things.

And phunnimee, you are absolutely spot on. I could definitely stand to be more assertive and reach out more to guys that interest me, so thanks for the nudge!
posted by Fiorentina97 at 7:20 AM on September 19, 2014

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