By Juliet O
There aren’t many situations in life where it’s acceptable to talk at length about yourself to random strangers without pause or interjection. Even less socially acceptable is to start disclosing, unprovoked, your life story, what you’re looking for in a life partner, your ideal date, your music taste, and your favorite movies — in rapid succession — to people you don’t know and have never met. We know people who do that in real life. They are called “crazy people”.
Unless, that is, you are writing your Zoosk online dating profile – in which case talking about yourself is not only appropriate, but encouraged. And totally sane, we promise.
We recently showed you how to create a date card that doesn’t suck. Now, we’re going to take things a step further and give you tips on how to write — or in more poetic terms, “trick out” — your date cards. The process of writing an online dating profile is essentially the same as the process of talking about yourself. And who doesn’t like talking about themselves? It’s easy. The hard part is finding someone willing to listen. On Zoosk, however, we are giving you the public license to say exactly what you want about yourself — and we are providing you with an entire pool of people who aren’t only willing but actually wanting to listen to what you have to say.
We are giving you a forum to to discuss your own psyches in intricate detail, and we want you to use this opportunity. Wisely.
Be a real person. Okay? Thanks.
The key to writing a good online dating profile is to be specific about who you are. We hate the kind of online dating profile that sounds as if the writer is tailoring his personality to what he thinks other people want to hear. Those sorts of generic, essentially meaningless profiles are exactly what don’t catch our eye. Imagine a profile that says, “I’m a nice caring person with a good heart. I am looking for an honest person who likes to have fun.” Seriously, what does that even mean? Everyone thinks they have ‘a good heart’ (even some really evil people). And of course you are looking for an ‘honest’ person. What else would you be looking for, a compulsive liar? And what is ‘fun’ precisely? Isn’t the concept of ‘fun’ different for different people? In the end, this profile says essentially nothing to me. Sure, it might attract some initial response, but that does nothing toward helping this person find real matches or create real connections with real people, because there’s nothing ‘real’ about this profile to begin with.
In the profile above, Zoosker alonewitheverybody takes time to lay out her personality. We see that she has fancy taste in films (Criterion Collection), listens to shoegaze, and openly admits that she likes critical theory. Some people won’t relate to her at all, but we like this kind of honesty, because she is obviously not trying to please everyone.
Here is an example of what not to do:
… no comment.
Ain’t no shame in filtering out the rejects!
We believe that an online dating profile should be an honest portrayal of your personality and act as a filter, nixing out all the unwanteds early on. If you look at the profile above, alonewitheverybody has no shame in saying exactly what it is that she is looking for; if the man isn’t hairy and doesn’t have tan ankles, she isn’t interested. It’s a little… strange… but at least she’s letting the dating pool know that pasty, hairless people need not apply!
It’s always a smart idea to say exactly what it is you do not want right away on your date card. Being forthright and upfront about your desires is not only good basic practice, but it also saves you and others precious time and energy to get this out right away and not have to deal with it later on. If you have deal breakers — like smoking, children, or cats — you should write those down in your profile right away. Otherwise you might be in for a sorry surprise — and some baby mama drama — later on. The more specific the better. Here’s an example from Zoosker Mike Martinez:
Anorexic supermodels need not apply, because this Zoosker wants a girl who is shorter than 5’5 whose weight is proportionate to her size. We think these sorts of specifics are really smart. Note that he also wrote that he wants a girl “between 25 and 30.” In a few short steps, he’s created age, height, and weight filters — and he notes that he prefers people who have matching political and religious views (another filter).
Channel your inner wordsmith
You don’t have to get all Shakespeare on us, but a little oratorical flair never hurts when attracting people to your date card. I like this excerpt from Zoosker Jessi‘s date card. “I love thunderstorms but I can’t live without sunshine. I find beauty in almost everything about this incredible world we live in… I like to swing at the park, play in the snow, and stomp in puddles.”
Take some time to write descriptively. You have no idea how far a tiny bit of eloquence can get you in the world of online dating. Do you like hiking? Don’t just say “I like to hike.” Aim just a bit higher and say something like, “I love the serenity of standing atop a huge mountain, watching the horizon expand before me.” Do you like walks on the beach? Say “There’s nothing more beautiful to me than a Caribbean beach at sunset, where the stars appear bigger and brighter than everywhere else on earth.” Do you hate life and people? Say “There is nothing more unbearable to me than the company of other people, in this meaningless existential wasteland we call living.” Whatever it is that you have to say, use descriptive language to spice it up.
A little charm goes a long way
If we had to write a list of things that we particularly find un-charming, we’d put offensive language, vulgarity, bad spelling, and bad grammar on the top. And somehow, these things occasionally find their way onto peoples’ online dating profiles — which makes us scratch our heads and wonder how on earth this could possibly happen. Why would anyone want to date an offensive, vulgar person who has problems communicating effectively? Ask yourself, when editing your date card, “Would I date this person?”
There are some important red flags to avoid — angry rants about previous relationships, overboard negativity about your own life, too much disclosure about money or personal finances — when composing your online dating profile. A good rule in determining what kind of content to avoid is a simple reflection on the power of charm.
What kind of people are charming? Generally, they’re positive, friendly, and humble. Charming people have the undeniable ability to attract others to them. They are, simply put, fun to be around. We know each and every person has the ability to be charming. It isn’t particularly difficult. All it takes is a certain level of mindfulness and a little bit of effort. And charm will go a long way with your fellow Zooskers. Because charming people get dates. Lots of dates.
For more on how to compose date cards, check out the community forums for tips on how to create a great date card. And, as a one time special offer only, I’ll personally help the first five Zooskers who contact me on Facebook in editing and composing their own date cards. Let pimp them out!
photo credit: le vent le cri