Like all dating, online dating sucks. Like, really, really sucks. You have to go on so many dates with people who wear inappropriate amounts of thumb rings* and make a big deal out of being lactose intolerant and then eat half your cheesecake. And those aren't the worst because you at least get a story out of it. Mainly it's just a lot of being bored and thinking "I shaved my feet for this??" Really, it sucks.
But you do it if you want to date because as terrible as the first date is — third dates are usually pretty fucking (literally?) fun. And for that to happen, you need a good profile.
Like dating, writing an online dating profile also sucks. How do you take every awesome thing that you are and smash it into the 350 perfect words that will land you in the perfect relationship (or at least get you laid)? The impulse to buffer, shine, manipulate, squelch, and squeeze your true personality is almost irresistible, but I'm here to beg you to reconsider.
Because I was once like you, and I have seen the light.
In early 2008, I had had enough of meeting men in the real world. I'd dated a dude for six months who still emailed with his ex-wife (every day) (like, multiple times a day) and then a series of unfulfilling trysts with friends of friends and a dude I volunteered at a dog rescue with. As they say, when you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas (and/or chlamydia) — and with that, I was officially dunzo with meeting men in real life dating.
I knew who I was, what I wanted, and what I didn't want. Online dating was an amazing opportunity to be straight forwarded about everything. It was freeing.
And it is from that extensive research, that I have pieced together the four key components to successful online dating:
1. Be honest about who you are, looks and personality-wise. Are you a workaholic beanpole who would rather stay in and watch your Melrose Place DVD box sets than go to da club? a. Call me; and b. Great details for your profile. No matter how nutso you think you are in the looks or personality department, there are people who will be into it. Let your freak flag fly upfront, and you'll weed out the jackasses while simultaneously attracting people who are into your particular brand of funk.
2. Treat others as you hope to be treated. Meaning, think of the things you'd want to know about someone else right off the bat, and include that info in your profile. Of course, you're not a mind-reader, (if you are, holler at me; I love the supernatural) (but you already knew that) but if something is important enough for you to think of it, you probably want to date someone who also thinks it's worth noting.
3. Include more than one photo. Aim for five or six— then you can put in your Sears beauty portraits and also other photos that more accurately represent what you look like everyday. Which is still very beautiful and special, but doesn't include feather boas. (Or if it does, I love you.)
4. Be honest about what you're looking for, but REALLY think about your own shit first. You might think you really don't want to date white dudes who do yoga, but in your heart of hearts, is that actually a deal breaker? If it is, put it in your profile. Just know that there might be a blonde guy who is right this very minute perfecting his downward dog who is ideal for you in every other way. Just like how your best friends aren't necessarily the friends you'd ask for — sometimes life gives you lemons because it knows you're the person who can make the best lemonade with those particular lemons. Or something like that. You get the point — just check your shit to make sure it's legit before you're all "NO FATTIES!!!!"
Just so you know how serious I am about these four rules — here are some things from my dating profile which demonstrate some of the rules. My profile was in a list I titled "Reasons I am Undatable." (AKA: Things That Repulse Straight Men. Chapter one: On Piles of Bed Pillows and Being Me.)"
Honest about who I am:
- I wear maternity clothes by choice and not out of pregnant necessity. Okay, full disclosure, sometimes I am pregnant and wearing the clothes but that's quickly taken care of with a visit to the nearest PP.
- I am fat and this ain't the heartland, you dig? The only thing worse you can be in the dating scene in SF is um, nothing.
- I'm vegan and kind-of a dick about it.
- I swear in a quantity and way that is not cute to even guys who think women swearing is cute (i.e. Sarah Silverman)
Treat others as you hope to be treated:
- I have a pit bull and she will always be more important to me than you are.
- I am pro-choice, and it's a big part of my life.
Honest about what I'm looking for:
- No racists, homophobes, furries, or Republicans.
- You must be blown away by my Bobcat Goldthwait impersonation**. It's good so that won't be hard.
And that ain't the half of it — it was a long-winded jerk of a bio, but it was me. And I got some damn good responses, too — one was so good that we're still together.
The moral of the story is that the more you put of yourself into your profile, the more you'll get out of it. Be explicit about your weirdness — hell, revel in it! — because it ups your chances of finding someone you want to spend time getting weird with. And that's what we all want, right? Someone to get weird with.
*That's one thumb ring, for the record.
**It is uncanny.