Friday, November 13, 2009

Online Dating

I know I said I was going to address speed dating this week but instead I’m going to jump into online dating and write about speed dating in a few weeks. (I think I should probably do it before I go pontificating about it...)

I frankly don’t know why anyone who is single and looking does not use online dating. You have instant access to hundreds of women in your area. You can get a lot of information about them before you waste any time talking to them. Women tend to be more open in their online profiles than they typically are on a first date, so you have a better idea of what you’re getting. And it’s a lot easier on the ego to be rejected online than in person. So she didn’t respond to your email stating your interest? Big deal. There’s another woman who looks interesting. Another one and another one. Being completely ignored or brushed off face to face at a party is a tad more awkward. So pick a service and sign yourself up!

When I used online dating, I never posted my profile for public viewing. I preferred to approach my dating life as a consumer, not the consumed. I wanted to pick the men I was interested in and not be bothered by weirdos who couldn’t read and sent me emails wanting to know if I’d join their cult and directing me to Web sites where I could read all about Them. For you, I advise publicly posting your profile. You want to get some practice. You want to date as much as possible. So don’t close any avenues available to you.

First up: How to Make a Good Online Dating Profile

Catchy Title. You’re looking for a smart woman, right? Be a little more creative, witty and original than “Hello there!” or “Man Seeking Soul Mate” or similar bland, generic titles. Be clever. Take a common phrase and make a twist on it--like “Wanted: Conductor for this runaway train of thought.” Make a reference that the kind of woman you’re looking for is likely to get. Don’t be too obscure. You’ll come off as pompous or just downright weird if the reference is misinterpreted. Could be song lyrics. Barenaked Ladies’ lyrics are eminently usable. Being blunt is also catchy: “Geek seeking Geek-lover (or Geek Lover)” is a little bland but will likely generate interest by the kind of woman you’re looking for.

Photo. Include at least two photos. Do not include a bunch of head shots from the same “photo shoot.” That comes off as vain. And better to avoid having a woman your age in the picture even if it’s your sister. Don’t use a photo where you’ve cut the woman out and her hand is still visible on your shoulder. Use recent photos--within the last year. Yeah, you were thinner five years ago, but you haven’t built a time machine yet and she’s going to be dating the you that you are now. Casual snapshots--unless you’re particularly photogenic--are almost always more flattering than a posed picture. Whatever physical feature you have that is most attractive should feature in the photo. If you have a great body, don’t be shirtless (please!), but have one of the photos be a full-length picture of you in a tight-ish (not tight) shirt and jeans or a well-cut suit. I have to admit, though, a friend of mine says that she is fine with the shirtless shots as long as you are clearly at the beach and it’s a snapshot, not a posed photo showing off your abs.

Next week: Writing A Little About Yourself for Your Online Profile


  1. I was strongly advised by a group of friends—male and female—that I *should* have a photo of me with other women, the idea being it suggests that I'm capable of going out and having a good time with women. Also, snapshots of being out with people having fun is a good idea, although you should also have photos of just yourself—I know I find it a bit exasperating when someone has only group photos and I'm left wondering whose profile I'm looking at.

    I'm not sure whether this holds true for women viewing men's photos, but I know that whenever I see a woman's profile and she just has headshots—particularly if they're taken from odd angles—I wonder "what's she hiding?" Even if you feel you're overweight and physically unattractive, it's better to own up to that by posting a full-body photo of yourself rather than seeming like you're trying to hide the truth from others.

    I've found that getting good photos, particularly snapshots, is rather tricky actually—it's simply rare for me to be out and have someone take my photo. You might need to ask a friend or two to take that on as a specific task the next time you're hanging out or going to a party.

  2. Hey, Phil!

    I do like the group photos--and I like the advice about showing your ability to play well with others. Still not sure I would have a photo with you and just one woman--it can send the signal of "you must be as cute, thin, whatever" as my female friend.

    I agree about not just having head shots--although in a pinch it's probably fine. But mixing it up is good. And it makes it easier to recognize each other when you do meet up!

    Getting good photos period is difficult for most people. I like the idea of getting a friend to take snaps of you at your next social gathering. Personally, I hate having my photo taken so it takes a lot of pictures to get one that doesn't look like I'm a deer caught in headlights (and not even that cute)...