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Post by Guest on Fri Oct 17, 2014 10:15 am

I thought it might be fun to share some of the things that made online dating profiles really stand out for you. What are some things you've seen that have worked really well.

I'll put out a few to start:
1. Having one or more really unique photos. Not the ubiquitous "me in Rome. me in Istanbul. me in Anchorage" that everyone seems to post, but things like a photo of you swimming with dolphins, petting a tiger, doing Science, playing a glass armonica. Things that clearly have an awesome story that is a bit out of the ordinary.

2. Specificity and risk in interests. Saying you really like West Wing, Buffy, or Game of Thrones is easy. If you tell me you're into Sports Night, the pre-Leonard Nimoy Mission: Impossible, and Pushing Daisies is going to catch my interest more, even if I don't like the same thing. If I do like that thing, it's like a magical "OMG yay!" button.

3. Energy and passion. Someone who really likes a thing will make me like it, too, for as much time as I'm listening to them. Some profiles do a really good job of selling their passion, and I want to buy into it, even if it's totally separate from my interests.

Anyone else have things that they really like in profiles, or things that will almost always make them want to respond?

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Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:27 am

Cool/outstanding user names: A lot of people around here use somewhat generic names that seem almost SEO. "Wander" this, "PDX" that, "Lady" something, "Gamer" et cetera. I mean, I click anyway 'cause why not, but I clicked that much faster when I saw Pink Freud and Probably Polly. Puns, references to unusual things/media, and other personal/quirky stuff—yes please!

Show, Don't Tell: This isn't something I deliberately look for so much as something that happens to be effective at keeping my interest because of the way I think. When I see a person say they "don't judge", I figure they must be either lying or oversimplifying. The word "feminist", when it appears, often happens to be phrased in a defensive or combative way, but even when it isn't, it's just kind of thrown out there without much explanation (which in turn seems to imply that I had better have an overall positive view of feminism or else). "Sex-positive" and "body-positive" are, likewise, loaded terms—and when they're just dropped there as if the label of a particular ideological subscription explains everything, I unfairly assume there's some connection between that and their lifestyle/preferences/personality. Closing with something like "all this only scratches the tip of the iceberg!" or "there's more to me than that, too!" is like, duh, but presumably you have already mentioned most of the stuff that actually matters to you?

Of course it's fine to use those terms if you're hoping to get more views from whatever sort of person runs the search function on those keywords, but otherwise I think you'd be better off just leaving it up to the match-questions to sort that kind of thing out for you. There are, after all, plenty of questions on there that will indicate a person's tolerance of racism/sexism, fat/muscle, and sexuality/asexuality/virginity (and indeed seeing what "sex-positive" people tend to mark as acceptable here is part of what makes me mistrust the label). If you must remark on ideology, describe it. If feminism is important to you then surely you have studied it at least a little and formed some of your own opinions and beliefs—do you agree with Naomi Wolf's view of feminism? Camille Paglia's? Anyone can use the word, but without knowing whether our first meeting (wishful thinking) is going to entail a human conversation between equals or a recitation of utterly hilarious passages from The Toast about which delicacies are most suitable to be seasoned by male tears, these sorts of things only make me more reluctant to compose a message.

Discriminate: I'm really bad at this, myself, since I don't really know what I'm looking for beyond "is okay with me", but it does help a lot if there's some description, somewhere, of what kind of person you want to date. (If it's a description I don't match, then of course it makes me less likely to compose a message, but then if I don't match the description then you would rather date someone else anyway.) This is perhaps related to my previous point, and ElizaJane's point about specificity and risk. Basically, it's a huge confidence boost if somebody's like "I'm especially interested in X" or "I want to meet more people who are Y" and I can go, hey, I'm Y and I love talking about X!
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Post by fakely mctest on Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:57 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:Show, Don't Tell: This isn't something I deliberately look for so much as something that happens to be effective at keeping my interest because of the way I think. When I see a person say they "don't judge", I figure they must be either lying or oversimplifying.

Absolutely this. Include short anecdotes, present snippets of your interests (and why!) instead of exhaustive lists. The older I get the less I care if my media interests match up precisely with a potential date's, but the WHY of what attracts a person to a particular movie/TV show/book/etc. is really important!

Have fun with your "Things I'm Really Good At/Things I Can't Do Without" lists. A lot of people tend to try to be flip in the same way ("oxygen") and that really says nothing. Never ever ever put your phone down as something you can't live without -- yawn. Personal peeve, perhaps, but I was always super turned off by people who used that section as a little platform for an anti-materialism pitch. I don't like being lectured at by people's profiles and I ended up assuming that they were overly earnest and a touch dull IRL. Include more traditional accomplishments and silly things in your list of talents. Those lists were pretty much my go-to spot for things to talk about in messages so throw people a bone.

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Post by Wondering on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:52 pm

I've never online dated, but I think about what I'd put in that list of things that I can't live without and cheese would definitely be on there. Smile

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Post by Guest on Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:51 am

Wondering, you would be amazed at how many people list cheese as their first thing that they couldn't live without.  I'm impressed that OKC matches me with so many of them, too - there must be something to the algorithm after all!

ETA: Wait, I've just re-read my own profile and realised.... I AM one of those people!

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Post by Wondering on Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:18 pm

Awesome! Cheese lovers unite!

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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:05 pm

Look at what other people of your gender/age group are posting as far as their likes and interests. Don't put more than passing reference to anything you see often. If you're into motorcycles and rock climbing in the Southwest, you need to come up with a fresh angle to approach these things from. Everyone likes Game Of Thrones but if you put George R. R. Martin as one of your favorite authors, GoT fans will get it and folks who have read his other work will assume you're familiar with Wild Cards.

You can use less common interests to screen your replies or not. For example, posting lots of cosplay oriented pictures is going to skew who messages you. Mentioning that you have a bunch of creative sewing projects probably won't.

Put things that others might consider deal breakers front and center. Things like "I am looking to start a family", "looking for activity partner, not commitment", "only in town one week out of every three" and "I run a burlesque show with my ex-girlfriend" should be early on and easy to spot.

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Post by Guest on Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:36 am

I feel your last example there is totally random, GJ, and could apply to anyone. Wink

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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:31 pm

Its going to be such a had dealbreaker for anyone who subscribes to the "men and women can't be just friends" myth that I make sure its pretty clear. I'm not about to fight an up hill battle with a total strange to prove that their misconceptions about me are wrong. Better to save us both time.

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