July 13, 2015 11:26 AM   Subscribe

My OKCupid profile is an experience. Help me make it a good experience.

Hello hivemind!

Four years ago I met my girlfriend through OKCupid. I consider this to have been an unalloyed success; she and I have proven to be a great fit. Our relationship has been open since the very beginning, but we mostly prefer one another's company, and we have rules in place to keep NRE from overshadowing what we have (we're each only available to other people one night a week, for example).

The non-girlfriend individual that I was previously seeing recently moved away (we parted on good terms), and I decided to go back to OKCupid to try my luck at meeting someone new. I've gotten some responses, and I’ve gone on a couple of enjoyable but not exceptional dates, but I think that I could be doing better.

I understand that by setting my status to "Open Relationship", I am being seen by fewer searches, and that fewer of the people who see my profile will be interested. I also suspect that over the last four years I may have simply aged out of the ideal OKCupid age group. Knowing that these are possibilities and believing that there's not much to be done about them if they are in fact the case, I still wanted to turn to AskMe for advice on how to make my profile more appealing.

My profile is here. I tried to be as honest as possible about where my life is, because in the past some people messaged me and were disappointed to learn that I was already partnered, even though my status was listed as 'Available' (this was back before 'Open Relationship' was an option). I chose some pictures that I think aren't terrible (feel free to tell me otherwise if I'm mistaken), and I made a not-very-veiled reference to my preferences in the "Most Private" section of the profile.

I did the best that I could under my own power; I’d like it if AskMe could help me refine things.
posted by Parasite Unseen to Human Relations (17 answers total)
I'd cut the first para, it sounds defensive. Maybe just something like "I love being in an open relationship because it's great" (more thoughtful, but you get my drift--more about getting positives instead of avoiding negatives).

Second paragraph, I'd cut the second line, especially because a lot of the profile reads as purposefully distance-creating and purposefully unenthusiastic (sorry!)

Third paragraph, I would maybe cut--people who want to know your info will find it a bit insulting, people who don't care simply don't care.

The "What I'm Doing With My Life" could be a bit more direct and earnest (see above re: distancing).

"Before you ask: No, I don't play basketball. I've got all of the height, and none of the talent."

You could try to say this in a bit less of a world-weary way

The Six Things part is a bit dour and depressing. Spin it a bit more positively so it doesn't sound as depressing and like you're maybe on the run

The "On a Typical Friday" part, put that on most nights you're doing X, Y, and Z and then say "but not on Friday. On Friday...I launder" or something a bit lighthearted. Or if you're reserving it for dating, say so.

The "most Private Thing" is both okay and kinda contributing to an overly serious and dour air to the whole thing. Maybe just say you liked to play games that included [specific interest] and still do?

The "you should message me if" thing is again, pretty negative. You're already trawling from a small pond--don't make it smaller unnecessarily by being peevish about little things!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:47 AM on July 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, are the 6 most important people in your life really, honestly replaceable? If I were looking to be a second-type in an open relationship, you leaving wiggle room about people being replaceable to you is not something that would thrill me.

Hope this helped!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:48 AM on July 13, 2015

I've met you, albeit briefly, and I'm just about your age range. OKC says we match 94%. I'm also an ENFJ sometimes. This is feedback from someone who, if I were single, might be looking at your profile.

1. I like those photos, they look like you. I'd wonder "Why isn't that guy smiling, he's outside!" but if that's how you are, then terrific. I like the spex picture and might choose one of that as your top three.

2. I think the opening salvo comes across as a little snooty, that you think you're better than other people who are fake on OKC? Maybe you don't mean that or maybe that's how you really feel but I might soften it. I respect and appreciate that you're super up front about being in a relationship but you don't have to be braggy about it either. It also seems to contradict your next paragraph which is a more upbeat lead.

3. I'd like more stuff about what you're doing that isn't job. I like how you describe your job, you seem to have perspective on it but more about other things ratio-wise if your job doesn't define you.

4. Not sure if the insanity you're keeping calm in the face of is your own but that word makes me a little cautious. Otherwise I like that section.

5. Six things reads squirrely, I'd change that up somehow. You can refer to people without using their names: My eye doctor, my partner, my mailman, my masseuse, whatever.

6. You sound busy. If you have one night for new people is that also on the schedule? Otherwise I like the answer to this just fine.

7. I read cowboys/indians as a way to get across that you're into bondage. That's good if true, less good if not true.

8. "You should message me if" section needs something new. It's super negative reading and I'd really want to know "OK I know about this guy but what are THEY looking for in a second person in their life" because I'm not clear on it and it seems like you're casting a wide net which is maybe what you want, but otherwise I'd think about ... what you're really looking for or what you'd like. "You like hanging out with really tall dudes and cooking desserts" or something even if it's restating what you've said is a better note to end on.
posted by jessamyn at 11:53 AM on July 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

I’m a 95% match with you, and it turns me off when people are wearing silly hats in their first photo. Additional photos like that are fine, but I’d make the first photo less “quirky.”

You mention your height three separate times. Find other stuff to talk about!
posted by metasarah at 12:04 PM on July 13, 2015

I think parts of this come off as pretty smug (the first paragraph about your relationship, the bit on how YOU don't believe in the whole Myers Briggs thing, but you guess you'll list your type for those silly other people who care, I'm good at baking edibles but I don't deign to eat them, etc.) That might not be how you mean those things to come out, but as a total stranger that doesn't know you, that's definitely how they read to me. I would either cut these things or try to phrase them more positively. For example, it's great that you're disclosing your open relationship early on, and that said relationship makes you happy, so maybe just say that without going on about how some people are fake in online dating? Or, if what is meant by the pot reference is "I don't use drugs, but am fine with 420 use in a partner -- and will happily bake you delicious edibles!" is more straightforward and upbeat.

I'd also like to see more about how you see a potential secondary dating partner fitting into your life. From having friends who do the whole poly thing, I get the sense that there are a wide range of arrangements from fairly serious, ongoing, and deeply romantic connections to secondary partners to a desire for one off, NSA sex. I don't get too much of a sense from your profile where on that spectrum you're looking. Just as a single/non-poly person will do best to list in their profile whether they're looking for something with the potential for a serious relationship or more in the market for a casual thing, I think you should also be more upfront about your one-night-a-week thing, how serious (or not) you are willing to get with someone, etc.

The "six things" section is super offputting. Whoever these six people are, you're saying they are REPLACEABLE?! Does this include your primary partner? Your friends and family? I think what you might be trying to get at here is that you wouldn't, like, commit suicide if these people died or something like that...that you'd eventually be resiliant and move on with your life. But the way it is phrased here comes off as pretty damn cold. How about rephrasing this section as: "The people I love mean the most to me. This would include my long-time partner, my best friend, my father, my great aunt, my college mentor, and of course, my dog!"
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:06 PM on July 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Can't view your profile :(
posted by masquesoporfavor at 12:16 PM on July 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So far it seems like the opening paragraph and the Six Things are taking most of the heat, which is fair. I'll be changing those after a couple of days, delaying only so this question still makes sense relative to my profile in the meantime. Making up my mind about the other suggestions now.

jessamyn: I get what you're saying about the photos; I'll try to work on those. In truth, I never really learned how to smile without looking forced or manic. In person, it just sort of happens naturally, but it doesn't translate well to taking photographs. Also, the outdoor photos are especially hard, in that in order to avoid being backlit, I often end up looking directly into the sun while my picture is being taken. Your assessment of my 'Most Private' section was correct, so I think I'll keep that as it is for now.

Any further advice is appreciated.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:51 PM on July 13, 2015

Yep, as has been mentioned above, part of the great thing about being single but dating attached people is they don't expect to be on the relationship escalator with me, but there's still a wide spectrum between 'I have an awesome primary and we sleep with other people sometimes' to 'I have an awesome primary but am looking to form other serious long-term attachments'. You might be open to all things on that spectrum depending on the person! But it's hard to tell from your profile.

I am a person on OkCupid who is open to dating people who are in open relationships, but I am unexcited by hearing about how great your primary is from the first paragraph if the point of your profile is to meet other people. When I look at a profile with an eye to dating a person, I want to know what you have to offer *me*, not necessarily what you already have with someone else (though being upfront that there is someone else is good, obviously). So maybe when you're rejigging that paragraph, move it a bit later?
posted by theseldomseenkid at 3:06 PM on July 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

I can't view it because I don't currently have an OKC profile - can you temporarily set it so the public can see it, for us mefites?
posted by amaire at 4:04 PM on July 13, 2015

Response by poster: Everyone should be able to view it now.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:16 PM on July 13, 2015

It's great! I think that open/poly dating is just harder. You're going to have to be aggressive about your outbound messages, as all straight men have to.

Pics: Glasses pic first! Not the the feathers.

Take your income $$ off, just leave it blank.

Take out the first paragraph and add a sentence at the END of your self-summary that says something like, "I'm in a stable open relationship, and looking to meet and date others. Open relationship doesn't just mean short flings and one night stands for me -- If we get along, I'd happily see you regularly in addition to my primary." Or whatever is your situation!

[Also, the sly tying people up reference is hot!]
posted by amaire at 4:27 PM on July 13, 2015

At least half of your profile is shitting on other people. Why? Do you want to come across as a snob? There's some good stuff, and you sound interesting, but you also sound very smug.

Positives: You like your job. What you like to do. KDAY

Negatives: The smug opening salvo, the smug Meyers-Briggs reference, the smug "not impressed by disinterest", being smug about people asking stupid questions about basketball . . . Jeeze, dude.

Get rid of all that and just talk about what you like, and who you like, and who you're looking for. That's all.

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, sugar!
posted by ablazingsaddle at 4:58 PM on July 13, 2015 [5 favorites]

I agree with trimming some of the negative. You mostly come across as someone looking for a fairly pretentious partner, and that's fine, but will reduce the amount of interest you attract.

As someone that's poly, albeit not the gender you're seeking, the lack of anything in your profile about how you implement your relationships and what you're looking for is problematic, especially knowing what you posted here. (And the mention of being over-scheduled in your Friday night section.) There's no shortage of middle aged guys in LA that would like a woman on the side, be it above or below the board; you can increase the chances of someone paying attention to you by making it clear how they would fit into your life. Dropping the causal sex interest might be good as well, I've rarely heard women describe that as a positive and several describe it as a negative.

Photos - the underwater one is fun but really, really unflattering. And the creepy B&W one with the ram's head is not doing you any favors either.

If you're not already, I'd focus on trying to meet someone in the poly/kink physical space rather than online.
posted by Candleman at 7:26 PM on July 13, 2015

Echoing the sentiments of previous answers: talk about yourself and what makes you happy; not other people and the things they do that annoy you. Talk about yourself out of context of your other relationships because you're not looking to add someone to your current relationship, you're looking for a separate relationship.

Your selection of selfies leaves something to be desired- they're all basically the same expression and the same angle. Add some variety!

Personally, I put a lot of weight in the "Six things I could never do without" response. I feel it should be used to express a more material layer of your persona. What are six things you want other people to associate you with?

Unless you have a solid reason to keep your interest in bondage on the down-low you should just spell it out. If you were looking for someone to tie me up I would want to know that they were serious about it and not just trying to sound mysterious. Instead of hinting that you've been interested in tying people up since you were a kid, say how long you've been tying people up as an adult. (If bondage is a large part of what you're looking for, I'd suggest joining FetLife which is a Facebook-like community for people with BDSM interest).
posted by contemporarySlob at 7:28 PM on July 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Until I read all of these comments, I thought it was pretty much perfect, so whatever it is that others are reacting to won't bother everyone.

But I do like the suggestions to change the Myers Briggs bit (btw, being smug totally goes with the NF+J combo :) ) and the Lakers agent joke (I liked it, but it's definitely a bit of a humblebrag). The "I'm busy every other night" also mildly came off as either bragging or defensive. I actually liked the opening and that you quickly mentioned you were in a relationship.

The only thing I'd add is that, while I really liked all the details up until this point, when I got here -- "The best land mammal is elephant; the best pie is sweet potato; the best colour is Out of Space." -- I started to feel my attention waning. I'd cut that since you want them to still have some attention span when they get to the "most private" section.
posted by salvia at 10:40 PM on July 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think it's generally good, and I agree with most of the criticisms here. Yes, the six things answer is off-putting: I appreciate that you consider people more important than things, and I appreciate the sentiment that you would survive without them, but it reads as "there are multiple people more important to me than you will be, and even they are disposable."

"I like people who like things. I'm no longer at a point in my life where disinterest impresses me" at the beginning, combined with "Your profile doesn't dedicate any space to showing off how much you hate living here" at the end, is a little excessive and makes you come across as cranky and bitter and snobbish. And cranky and bitter and snobbish is exactly what you want to avoid! Keep "I like people who like things" and ditch the rest to keep it on a positive note. Generally speaking, you don't have to waste words talking about what you don't want from a date; you can look at their profile and weed them out yourself.

I think being super ultra explicit about being in an open relationship is a good thing; there are plenty of people on OKCupid who are kind of cagey about it and it's hard to figure out what they want. It'll eliminate a lot of people from the running at the beginning, but that's fine because it's an important filter to have.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:09 AM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

A white person making the joke: "If I had tenure I would teach a course called "Godspeed You! Black Literature", mostly because I think that would be a fun name for a class." made me go YIKES, for what it's worth.
posted by ITheCosmos at 8:52 AM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

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