Critique my dating profile, please
February 26, 2015 5:12 AM   Subscribe

Please critique my profile. Another one of these! Thank you.

link here

I'm getting conflicting advice from friends; half say to leave in the weird hobbies so that I'll stand out, the other half say take them out because I'll stand out as too weird.

But what's been consistent for a long time is that I get NO responses whatsoever, not even dick pics. Once every couple of months I'll get something from either an 80-year-old man or a flake looking for a mommy/meal ticket, but that's it. In fact, I've dated flakes like that and I'm decidedly NOT interested in that route (apologies to those of you who live for the moment), at this point in my life I really want someone who's responsible and a grown-up, who can actually help pay for a big trip. (Sorry to vent on this, I've had some bad experiences in the past.) Perhaps, in your critiques, you can help me think of wording that makes these guys look at the profile more than once.

Anyway, be gentle please! I photograph horribly, I wanted a photo with my most flattering shirt but it was so dumpy-looking that I couldn't use it. Thank you all.
posted by Melismata to Human Relations (30 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a way of viewing the profile without creating an account?
posted by KateViolet at 5:32 AM on February 26, 2015

Response by poster: I think you can scroll down to the lower left, and search for people by username. The username is dotknocker.
posted by Melismata at 5:34 AM on February 26, 2015

None of the hobbies jump out at me as weird. I mean, a handbell choir is slightly outside the mainstream, but not in a bad way. When I read your post, I assumed I was going to find out you were deep into the SCA or kept a wide variety of spiders in your home or something that people might actually be put off by. Maybe there's more that I'm not seeing because I'm not a Match member, but nothing about your profile seems particularly off-putting. Some of them, like being into the Red Sox and the Marx Brothers, actually seem like they'd be pretty attractive to men.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:34 AM on February 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Is there a way of viewing the profile without creating an account?

It worked fine for me in Firefox, with no account.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:35 AM on February 26, 2015

Weird hobbies are fine if you're looking for somewhat weird people, which I assume you are. The prose feels a little chatty for my taste (hmmm) and I didn't get a feel for what you're looking for - do you want a long term relationship? A few dates?

The first paragraph could potentially use some work - I think I get what you're trying to do with it, but that's your chance to sell yourself and the message is that you're introverted and day dreamy.

The relatively high income required in a partner may also be a little off putting - with almost everything else being to no preference, that stuck out. And it limits your dating pool - I don't know what your local cost of living is like, but I know a lot of professors that wouldn't meet your requirement.
posted by Candleman at 5:49 AM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would remove some of the times it seems obvious you are filling out a form with "hmmm".
posted by k8t at 5:53 AM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

(hopefully) gentle honesty…

Profile: To me, it felt… a bit negative? Like, the first sentence, you identify as introverted followed by a "but." Introvert doesn't necessarily read as a positive, and have you ever heard that saying "ignore everything before the 'but'?" That confused me.

Other words/phrases that stood out as kinda stand-offish: ripped off, snarky, idiotic, bad grammar, not perfect, sorry, not for me.

I think people generally skim at first on these things, and if you were skimming, well, the effect is kinda negative. Try turning everything into a positive. Like instead of introvert: "I like to spend evenings snuggled on the couch with a great book or watching the Red Sox with a good friend."

Instead of "snarky humor" about "idiotic things", maybe "I love to laugh and look for humor everywhere."

I don't think your particular hobbies/interests are too weird. I think they make you interesting. They do seem a bit singular. Maybe include the things would like to do WITH a partner. How would this potential mate fit into your life? What would you do together?

Now… your pictures. I think you have a lovely, friendly face, but your hair ages you. (See how awful that "but" is? Ugh, sorry, I DO mean that you have a lovely, friendly face.) I get all the reasons you may not dye your hair. But if you covered the gray, you would look 35. Unfortunately, this shit matters in the world.

Best of luck! I met my spouse online, and I had a crap profile. Miracles do happen!
posted by slipthought at 6:00 AM on February 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

You have a bunch of interests at the bottom of your profile which you could mention further up - loving to watch baseball/NFL, learning to play an instrument, going to museums, wanting to travel across the US and internationally, classical music, books, hiking, coffee and conversation. For me, they're all things which could catch someone's interest and should be up top as well.

Would you really not want to date a non-caucasian/non-religious/non-high-earner person? If that's not a factor, it's probably worth removing it from your "looking for" column.
posted by dvrmmr at 6:14 AM on February 26, 2015

I have the impression (though maybe wrong) that Match is a little more on the normal side than OKCupid, which tends to have a collection of weirder people. I wonder if your profile might do a little better on OKC? Other than that, I second what others have said about trying to sound a little more positive, and probably taking out the income requirements (even if it's important to you, you can figure out pretty quickly whether someone has a decent job or not, and go from there...this way, you're probably turning off both people who do well and those who don't).
posted by three_red_balloons at 6:54 AM on February 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Snarky is a bit negative when really you're quite vibrant, maybe candid, and when it comes to the Olympics, no-holds barred. Less questionnaire feel and more straight-up just thoughtful you (do away with the hmmm,let's see.. type tone. It causes a mind start to wander really fast). "I prefer traditional diners" is perfectly valid - unless you stepped on a foodie, don't apologize. "In her own words" could be streamlined a bit, your interests are great. 'Ringleader' is hilarious. Maybe consider the site and try another one (in addition) for a month to see?
posted by lawliet at 7:12 AM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

1. I think your username should be changed to something funny that reflects your work with the handbell choir, like "ring my bell". Even after understanding that "dotknocker" reflects your work with braille I think it could turn people off before they read your profile that closely. In my brief forays into online dating I do screen based on username.

2. I think the "in your own words" section could be edited to be more enthusiastic sounding, being more specific in some places will help too.
a) For instance take out that you don't want exotic dinners, I would change it to what foods in particular you like, such as "I love a good steak", or "X place has the best steaks" (sorry not sure what "traditional" food entails haha). Just focus on what you DO like and be specific.
b) For who you're looking for, I would say "someone who is happy with their life", and maybe some things you want to be able to do with them like "going to baseball games", "enjoys nature", etc. I think asking for a "romantic" partner might scare good guys away fwiw, it can make it seem like you'll have unrealistic expectations (but if this is what you really truly want leave it in, or again specify exactly what romantic behaviors you appreciate in a partner).
c) Where you mention the snarky humor you say "we notice all the little idiotic things about life", that comes across as negative, you could say "I appreciate/laugh at life's little absurdities" instead and not use snarky at all.
d) Consider using bullets/point form to make it easier to read. Put what you're looking for at the end.
e) When people say "I give great hugs", I find it comes off a bit negative and it seems unnecessary, it's not as bad as saying "I'm a great kisser" but to me it's in the same vein.
f) Your hobbies are great and not weird!

For your photos, I would take out the one of you sitting on the bed (unless there's something specific about that picture you want to mention), the lighting isn't great and you do a very good job of including a variety of clear photos of yourself.

Agreed to take down the income requirement and possibly even the BA requirement. If you end up with messages from men you're not interested in you can screen them out after.
posted by lafemma at 7:17 AM on February 26, 2015

The hard truth is, no matter how good your profile is, at 45 and being overweight, you aren't going to get a lot of replies from men. My reply rate dropped noticeably after turning 40, I presume because a fair number of guys have 40 set as the upper limit.

I used to think online dating should be so great because you can meet people you'd never otherwise encounter in person, and because it would be so much easier for me as a shy person to start talking to someone. And it *was* a lot better when I was young.

But I think internet dating is not all that profitable for many people. It's too easy for people to hit "next" without taking the time to really read your profile if there is some stat they don't like (such as age or weight). There's the sense online that there are an endless number of choices just a click away. People tend to fantasize more online than when meeting a real, flesh-and-blood person. And they tend to give each person less of a chance.

So, I know this isn't exactly what you asked, but: I don't think you should spend a huge amount of time perfecting your profile, but rather spend that time getting out and meeting people in person.

I don't think most men actually even read the profile, and especially not if they don't like the pic(s). My reason for saying that is that when I ask for respondents to include an odd key phrase in their response, the vast majority of them don't... because they didn't really read the profile. If they like the pic, and I'm within their acceptable age/weight range, they respond. If not, not. I'm sorry it is that way, but realistically most men are like that.

I wasn't able to see most of your pictures, I presume because I don't have a match login. The main pic doesn't especially strike me as attractive, but then again I'm not your target audience. As a massage therapist, I notice you have extreme forward-head position and think you would look better (and more confident) with good posture.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 7:24 AM on February 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Haha mysterious_stranger, I have always struggled with my posture (even in my 20s) because I have a large chest! Would think guys would prefer that over the posture...:)
posted by Melismata at 7:32 AM on February 26, 2015

Oh, duh, I can see your pictures after all. I agree that the grey hair ages you. I also think you look much better without glasses and that you should choose a glasses-free picture for your main picture. Also one up close where your beautiful blue eyes will take center stage.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 7:32 AM on February 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Haha mysterious_stranger, I have always struggled with my posture (even in my 20s) because I have a large chest! Would think guys would prefer that over the posture...:)

I wasn't going to bring it up, but since you did... my first thought looking at your profile was, "she has GOT to start taking more advantage of that bodacious boobage." Because I agree, the posture is what stands out in the pictures, not the boobs.

I'm not saying you should completely change your style or do some kind of Jessica Rabbit getup that makes you uncomfortable, but if you play up that amazing rack a little, it WILL make a difference for some guy who's just clicking through the way people do online. Just, like, a profile photo where you're wearing a great bra under a v-neck sweater.

Otherwise I think your profile is witty and very dude-friendly, you have a great smile and gorgeous eyes, and mostly it's just rough dating online anytime over 35.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:21 AM on February 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

I agree it's negative and doesn't communicate the vibrant person you are. You seem lovely!

Go through and delete anything that's a negative, like the "but this" or "not that" clauses. Make this about who you are, how you got where you are in life, what you love and what you want. Now is the time to be earnest and positive about who you are. Rather than saying "I'm snarky and make fun of everything," say "I like to see the humor in everyday life," or something like that. Or just say something mildly snarky. For example, I said I was looking for someone who didn't spend half an hour circling the lot for a better space... mildly snarky but also emblematic.

Needs fewer pictures. Pick the most attractive ones and leave out the ones with closeups of non-you people. The one on the bed is kind of weird for a dating profile.
posted by zennie at 8:31 AM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Plenty of good advice up above. Just thought I'd add that your "Favorite Hot Spots" might be better if it really answered the prompt. List some local stuff (parks, concert venues, etc.) that others can connect to.
posted by doctord at 8:54 AM on February 26, 2015

I dunno, you seem great, the photos seem great... maybe your target audience isn't on Match?

I don't see the negativity others do. I felt like "this person knows who she is and what she wants." The one place I felt it could harm you is the dinner thing. Were I male, I might've moved on at that point. (Maybe we wouldn't be "right" for each other, so maybe that's good?) I don't go to a different place every week, nor am I a foodie. But I got the idea that you'd think less of me because I enjoy good restaurants. In fact, I just went back and re-read it and realize I had actually thought you said you didn't want to date a foodie. I'd come away thinking that my enjoyment of going out to eat might be a deal-breaker for you that'd get me rejected. So, what about explaining what you do like? "I love home cooking and casual diners," or "I'm a creature of habit and a regular at my neighborhood diner."

Also, you don't have to reiterate that you're the director in the ringleader joke quote. I like the joke though. It makes you seem smart, a little goofy, human, and approachable.
posted by salvia at 9:00 AM on February 26, 2015

A few things- mostly in agreement with previous comments. I just get this inward eye-roll when people describe themselves as “snarky.” I much prefer the above suggestions, like laughing at life’s absurdities, etc.

The food section- take out the part “sorry, not a foodie” and just concentrate on what you DO like- diners- by talking about what makes a diner great, or your favorite diner, or whatever.
You seem to really like baseball- which I think would be wildly appealing to a lot of men- why not talk about that in the top section?

Some of your pictures are great and some are very unflattering, and there are too many, and some that are too similar. I would take out the pic of you sitting on the bed AND the one above it, the Death Valley one, the one with you sitting next to the curly-haired woman with a scarf, and the one right below the “bopping around" pic.
posted by aviatrix at 9:08 AM on February 26, 2015

One easy tweak is to try putting "No preference" in all of "What she is looking for" column, since you say you are not getting a lot of messages anyway. You can always ignore or reject anyone you don't like, but maybe someone who doesn't check off one of your boxes will end up being the one for you. For example, when I started dating the woman who is now my wife, she was older than the maximum age I had put in my online dating profile.
posted by parkin at 9:12 AM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd remove the Death Valley photo because the other photos are better (better angle, better background, better sense of the person in the photo).
posted by zippy at 9:14 AM on February 26, 2015

Response by poster: The photo on the bed is at The Jane hotel, which I loved and want to stay there again (love visiting museums [and diners] in NYC). The picture was taken to show people, look how small these rooms are! If I put in a caption identifying the location, would that make it less weird? Is the face ok in that one?

As for my eyes: should I put the one with the pink shiny shirt as a profile photo? I personally don't like that one, I look zombified or something. My male friend said to remove it, since my hair isn't combed. But my mother said it's the best picture of me ever, because it shows off my eyes, so what do I know.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for this feedback, it's incredibly helpful. I love Metafilter.
posted by Melismata at 9:22 AM on February 26, 2015

I photograph horribly,

Not true - you're communicating beautifully in the pic near the bottom, pink shirt. Eyes! (Although I agree with your male friend about combing your hair :/)

I hate to say this to another woman, but, in support of your goal, I too would like to see you take better advantage of your gifts, because what we put across visually matters. So - for the purposes of dating men - I agree with others that the grey hair should be addressed. I think you could do any colour, but wonder what you'd look like in a blond or red. And a cut that's easy to take care of, that would look polished in under five minutes would go a long way (I think a long bob, not too short, just maybe with some product). Dresses would look fantastic on you.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:29 AM on February 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

I agree with almost everything above. I think you should make the last picture (shiny pink shirt) your profile pic because it shows off your pretty eyes and smile. I think you should delete all of the photos that include other people and just keep the ones of your alone.

I agree that you would look at least 10 years younger if you colored your hair. I think the difference would be amazing.

The "I'm not a foodie" bit jumped out at me as super negative and off-putting. I think you could rework that to sound more positive, focusing on your love of diners.

I agree with others about removing the income requirement.

Online dating is rough. I did it in my late 20s/early 30s when I was a size 4. I even had a professional writer friend critique my profile. And I still barely got any messages. So while I think tweaking your profile is a good idea, I also agree with the poster above that more real world searching may be good. I'd look for a speed dating event in your area in your age range.
posted by amro at 9:38 AM on February 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

If I put in a caption identifying the location, would that make it less weird?

Not really, no. It may be a great pic to share with friends but not really an amusing picture of the room by itself.

Is the face ok in that one?

Your face is the only thing I like about that picture. I don't think that's the best shirt on you (kicking around, sure; dating profile, no). High-neck shirts are rarely flattering on chesty women, and this was not one of those rare moments. You look great in the vee-neck and scoop shirts though.
posted by zennie at 10:17 AM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Although I found "I'm not a foodie" pleasantly unpretentious (I'm not the kind of person you're looking for; I'm just a fellow non-foodie diner-lover who likes finding her people), I do agree that you could put the positive part up front: "When it comes to food, I love old-fashioned diners. I'd rather become a regular at a few favorite places than try to run around hitting all the trendy new spots." Putting it more like that (or whatever sounds natural to you) could highlight what you really enjoy, rather than hiding it.
posted by honey wheat at 10:36 AM on February 26, 2015

Another thing to consider is getting some pictures taken (or even just one) exclusively for this profile. It's good to also have one or two that show you in the world, but data has shown that "interesting photo generally" and "interesting photo for a dating profile" are not the same thing at all. (But I would say keep the gray hair, it's neat.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:15 AM on February 26, 2015

+1000 to v-necks and scoop necks.

(I really am sorry to be fixed on the What Not to Wear shtick, I just think, you have great energy, and a lovely shape and eyes, and it would be a disservice to hide all that under turtlenecks. And as We put our faith... said, research says pics trump text in online dating, every time.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:02 PM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's the trick for writing a great profile. Be Real. Write out whole thoughts and express yourself as a real person would, as if you're writing a message to someone instead of writing a profile. For example, you wrote: "Enjoy traveling, trips to museums, classical music. Am currently attempting to play the viola."

Instead, try to write more like you'd write a letter to an actual person: "I love to travel, especially if it involves going to bed & breakfasts in coastal towns or traveling by train. I'm trying to learn how to play the viola because I love music, and I thought it'd be fun to learn a new instrument. I'm mostly taking classes and practicing with friends. It's definitely a challenge, but it's lots of fun, and that makes me happy."

Most profiles read like they were written by robots. The more personable you can be, the easier it is for a man to think of you as a real person instead of just another online profile... and that helps encourage him to reply.

Also: be positive rather than negative. "Why is Star Wars such a perfect movie, when it fact it was ripped off from a million other movies and had almost no budget?" OUCH!

A: There's a typo. It should be "in fact" rather than "it fact."
B: That may piss off some of the very same men you might be interested in. If you want to write about Star Wars (or any cultural phenomenon), reword it as an open ended thought minus the judgment in order to inspire men to respond. For example: "Is Star Wars a perfect movie, or did it borrow too much from a million other movies that came before it? Does it even matter if it did?" Regardless of your opinion, presenting it this way is less likely to pick a fight and more likely to make a man write to you with his opinion. And that's good!

"I'm looking for someone who's not perfect, but perfect for me"

I'd steer far away from words like Perfect. When I see that, it makes me think meeting would be a waste of my time. Why? Perfect does not exist. I know, you said "perfect for me," but that still implies perfection, as if out of the billions of people on this planet, you're only interested in the one who might be perfect for you. Those odds are tougher than Powerball! On the other hand, when I read someone's profile and see that she enjoys meeting new people, I'm more likely to reply. A date with someone who is looking for perfection is stressful. I can usually tell within the first minute that I'm being judged. But a date with someone whose goal is to meet someone new is great. Those dates tend to be fun instead of stressful, and they lead to second dates more often.
posted by 2oh1 at 5:12 PM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

You should watch that TED talk with Amy Webb. "How I hacked online dating". I really liked your profile and you sound like such a terrific person. Watch the TED talk and see how you can tweak your profile.
posted by Coffeetyme at 7:34 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

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