Hello, Readers. Welcome back to this week’s off season post not about The Bachelor Pad. Granted, my readership has dipped considerably; however, I’m certain those of you reading this are the most loyal of the bunch and I’m excited to grace you with my nonsense for yet another week. Thanks for hanging in there.
To you, I suppose, I’m like that new puppy who just chewed the skirt off your semi-new living room sofa. Sure, you’re disappointed in me, but it’s impossible to hate me. Hey, I’ll take it where I can get it. The problem is that I haven’t had it in so long I’ve forgotten where I can get it. Please spare me the “this is where you can get it” emails. I’m certain I’ll figure it out. I have plenty of sex. Now I just need to find a partner.
Before I get to the substance (if we want to call it that) of this week’s post, I’d like to point out that Some Guy in Austin recently reached a significant milestone. While perusing my site the other day I accessed my “Stats” page and noticed that last week’s post was my 100th post. That’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Like the U.S. Postal Service or chronic hemorrhoid pain, I’m consistently around. Thank you to all of you who make it possible for me to flex my creative muscles once a week. Writing this every week is as therapeutic as a glass of red wine and two Valium. It helps me forget what’s wrong with my life, if even for a few hours. With that said, let’s get to it.
After last week’s delve into my take on relationships, I began to purge the Inbox on my blog email. When I re-read some of the emails I noticed that I had forgotten to address a topic that came up several times from several readers from around the country. I had about a dozen or so emails asking questions about dating websites like Match.com or eHarmony.com. The one email that stood out constituted a plea of sorts from what I’m sure is a lovely young lady regarding the best way to get a “good” man’s attention via her profile.
It seems she tends to get responses from a bunch of weirdoes. One guy, for example, liked to pretend he was a fish when he walked through the supermarket. It’s beyond me how any person would consider that little detail either relevant or attractive, but, God willing, we all know there’s someone out there for that guy. Notwithstanding my inability to guarantee a “good” man, I think some ground rules when it comes to presenting oneself online are within my area of expertise. My initial take on the email upon re-reading it is that there’s something wrong with the bait, not the fish. I’ll elaborate.
As a true student of the game, I felt it incumbent upon myself to conduct a little research. I have to confess that a few years ago I actually got sucked into the inundation of Match.com promotional emails and out of sheer curiosity created a profile. Let me say that I’m no more opposed to meeting a person online than I am anywhere else. In fact, if we’re honest about it, a person is just as, if not more likely to misrepresent herself in a bar as she is in an online profile. Like any first meeting, these sites are an effective way to get the ball rolling. However, after about 3 weeks on the site and a few dozen emails, I cashed in my chips. It just wasn’t for me. However, luckily my old ID and password are still active. I typed in a few parameters and surfed a few dozen profiles as I took notes. The following are my observations as a man looking through the sea of potential muses.
1. Everyone “Loves to have FUN!”
In looking through close to 50 profiles of women all across the country ranging from 21-41 (I assume that’s a good cross section of my demographic since most of you tune in to The Bachelor), I was amazed at how many women used the words “I love to have fun” or something similar in their profiles. Love to have fun? No sh*t. Who doesn’t like fun?
Webster’s defines “Fun” as “something that provides mirth or amusement.” By definition, everyone likes to have fun. That’s why they call it fun. Sure, that could mean different things for different people. “Fun” for me entails downing a dozen Lone Star beers in a dark honky tonk and scooting a lovely young lady around the dance floor. “Fun” for Charlie Sheen would probably be something a bit different. While it’s a relative term, “fun” means something we enjoy doing. Telling me that you like to have it says absolutely nothing about you. You might as well follow that up with “I enjoy speaking in generalities and my favorite color is white.”
In the interest of beating a dead horse, let’s assume that statement means something. The best way to get to its point is to make the inverse true. What if someone wrote into her profile “I don’t like to have fun”? See how that works?
Tip Number One: Unless it’s between 1949 and 1989 and you live East of the Berlin Wall, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll be seeking a mirth filled time in a relationship. On the other hand, if your desire is to incessantly brood into your wedge salad while pondering the hopelessly flawed nature of humanity over a few glasses of wine at a fancy dinner, I suppose a potential date would find that information pertinent prior to asking you out. Please mention if you hate fun.
Instead of globally stating your affection for being in a joyful mood, give me examples of what you consider fun. “I love to go skiing” or “Backgammon is a huge aphrodisiac” or “Slow dancing makes me giddy” are all examples “fun” things to do. If I have an idea about specific things you enjoy, then I can both relate to you and plan accordingly on a date. It also gives you an idea how much I pay attention to your needs. That’s important to know up front, isn’t it? Guess what? I like to have fun too. Apparently, that means we have something in common.
In my example above, I’d continue reading if the girl liked skiing or dancing, but I’d probably move on if I didn’t know how to play backgammon. Define “fun” for me and let me go from there. Your other option is to have me show up and take you to the local Snake Farm during feeding time at the python cage and then look at you and say “what, I thought you liked to have ‘fun’?”
When the lights go off and the chairs are stacked at closing time, it’s all about compatibility. You might attract a broad range of guys with global, non-committal, generally meaningless statements about yourself, but if you want someone you have some things in common with to respond, then don’t hide the balls. Besides, that also gives you a much better chance of getting to see my balls. (First anatomy joke. You’re welcome.)
2. Jeans vs. Getting Dressed Up
Another big theme in the vast majority of the profiles I perused was what I’ll call the “Cinderella” theme. Apparently, single women are under the impression that it’s necessary to differentiate themselves from all of the other single women who spend time exclusively in either an evening gown or in jeans and a flannel shirt.
Look, you’re not Erica Kane or Crystal Carrington and no man believes that all you want to do is get gussied up and hit the local martini bar for a few cosmos before sauntering into the main dining area for some foie gras and chardonnay. We know you don’t brood around your mansion in a rhinestone bedazzled, form fitting dress wondering if Victor Newman is alive or not.
Incidentally, if I could learn how to talk like Victor Newman, I would. That guy is money. Of course, I’d lose the porn mustache and wouldn’t be so serious all of the time, but than again Victor Newman has a lot to worry about as long as Jack Abbot threatens Newman Enterprises. Annnyyyyyhooo . . .
Conversely, no man believes that you wear nothing but jeans and t-shirts. Women who do that aren’t available anyway because they have softball practice three nights a week and already have girlfriends. Again, this piece of information doesn’t help me figure out who I’m dealing with. You have a limited space in which to serve up a hot plate of first impression. Don’t clog up that plate with parsley. Give me the meat and potatoes. Besides, that gives you a much better chance of seeing my meat and potatoes. (Anatomy joke number two. You’re welcome).
Tip Number Two: “I prefer formal to casual” or “simple over complicated” is more informative than putting yourself into the “I love X but also love the opposite of X” conundrum. Pick a side, if even subtly, and stick to it. Every man knows that a woman enjoys being wined and dined every now and then. There’s no need to waste valuable, limited profile characters by telling him that. Tell me what kinds of food you love and I’ll figure it out. If a man isn’t smart enough to know that Chez Whitey or whatever doesn’t serve chili dogs then you’re probably not going to be doing much formal dining anyway.
3. Pictures Say More Than You Think They Do
Ladies, ladies, ladies. This is an area that can use the most improvement on these sites. Look, we all know that the profile questions (all 20 of them) are nothing more than a cursory way to identify the most basic preferences of the user in order to “match” that person with a series of other users with statistically similar answers. I didn’t go on the site but I understand that eHarmony has a more involved survey than Match.com; however, I suspect the outcomes of any “matching” would be eerily similar.
Frankly, that’s the exact same thing we’re doing when we choose a particular location or event to meet people, aren’t we? After all, if I like country music, for instance, I’m very likely to meet a person who also likes that music at a place that either plays it or at a concert of a country music performer. Insert whatever like or dislike you have and the results are the same. We go places we like. Therefore, it follows that we’re apt to meet people with the same or similar interests at those places since they also venture there because they like it. Granted, that may be all we have in common, but the same is true on the Internet. Church, concerts, the lake, Hitler Youth Rallies, etc. You get the picture.
Speaking of pictures, what women on these sites desperately need to understand is that men are extremely visual creatures when it comes to attraction. While women often back their way into a physical attraction by seeing other aspects of a man’s personality, it doesn’t usually work that way for men.
Tip Number 3: Choose a half a dozen recent, clear, color pictures of yourself and leave it at that. There is definitely such a thing as too many pictures. I’m not prepping you for plastic surgery and I’m not a special effects supervisor making a stunt dummy of you. I don’t need to see you from every possible angle with three different hair colors and I don’t care that you’ve been to Machu Picchu, the Parthenon, and Wrigley Field. I can Google those locations if I’m interested in checking them out. When I’m on a dating site, I care about how you look and that’s what I want to see.
A smile, a close up, a tasteful full body shot, and a couple of normal shots of you not posing like Paris Hilton on a red carpet give me a good idea of your physical appearance. Oh, and don’t hide what you think are your flaws. Put your best foot forward but don’t set me up for disappointment when I meet you. For instance, if you’re a curvy, short woman then own it. If you’re seven feet tall, then own that. Show me some pictures that show who you are. Make them recent and make them honest. There’s no quicker way to kill a real life meeting than to show up looking nothing like the pictures you put on line. You want a man who loves you for you, right? Then don’t hide it up front.
I also realize that you love your dog, cat, fish, parrot, or whatever and I know that you love your friends, your mom, and your brother. I don’t need to see a group shot of you and 5 friends and figure out who you are. I don’t care how ugly your friends are, it’s not good to put them in the photo sections. The reverse is also true. I saw a couple profiles where the friends were actually hotter than the person posting the profile. I was tempted to send an email asking for the number of the girl to the right of you in picture number 3, but I thought better of it. Focus me on YOU, not your friends.
A shot of you and a pet is fine as long as it’s not weird but a solo shot of your pet IS weird. I’m not looking to get matched up with your dog. Mention that you have one in your profile and leave it at that. Oh, and bathing suit shots are fine as long as they’re tasteful and not “modeling shots.” A woman with 25 professionally taken photos on her profile screams high maintenance and vanity. If you post that kind of stuff and you’re going to get a bunch of emails with Italian accents. You’re likely to find a personal trainer with a “night job” who has just as many pictures on his profile. Those qualities are fine, but remember, it’s not the fish’s fault he’s attracted to the bait you put on the hook. If you bait the hook with junk, that’s what you’re going to get . . . shots of some dude’s junk. (Anatomy joke 3. You’re welcome.)
4. Be Honest But Not Too Honest
To be fair, I found some of the profiles that I scrolled through to be well thought out and, in fact, am taking a lot of my positive advice from those. The ones that caught my attention shared a good deal in common. If I could pick a few words to sum them up I would use “brief,” “informative,” “honest,” and “personal.” They were the action filled trailer rather than the entire movie.
One of the most direct profiles I saw specifically said, “If you don’t earn over $250,000 a year then I’m not interested in you.” As vapid as that seems, it’s clear and aside from the hate mail she’ll get from Gary in IT who just wants to find a woman to love him like his mother never did, it’s doubtful that any person outside her proposed demographic is going to respond.
Granted, the sorry bastard that does will probably regret it once every 30 days when he writes a handsome spousal support check before getting in his car and driving it over to deposit it into the mailbox in front of the house he used to live in, but at least she’s up front about it. Remember, Fish vs. Bait.
Tip Number 4: In line with that, it is possible to be too honest. Several women came extremely close to bashing ex-boyfriends and husbands. Several women criticized other women. Several women listed all of their requirements in a husband. Husband? That’s putting the cart pretty far in front of the horse on a dating website.
Coming across negatively is never a good thing when trying to get a man’s attention; particularly when you come across as a man hater. Would you trash your ex-boss in a job interview or talk about how poorly your co-workers did their jobs? If so, you’re probably still looking for a job. If you need to hash out some personal issues then do it prior to putting yourself on the dating block again. If I want to carry baggage, I’ll get a job at the airport.
5. Remember the Prize
This brings us full circle. After reading the first 10 profiles I’d say that about 70% of them contained one or more of the above mistakes. Now keep in mind that we’re all operating under the assumption that I am a “good” guy to meet, so take my advice with a giant grain of salt. However, it’s fair to say that I have a job, take care of myself, am usually fun to be around, respect women, and generally get along with everyone. I’m not starving full figured women in a dungeon in my basement and making them rub lotion on themselves so I can kill them and turn their pelts into a full body suit in order to become a woman (that’s the plot to Silence of the Lambs in case any of you missed that), and I sure as hell don’t envision myself as a fish when I’m in the grocery store. This brings me to the point of this entire exercise.
When creating (or now editing for some of you) your profile, keep the goal of the site in mind. The goal is to MEET someone with the intention of seeing IF he is compatible with you. The goal is not to find a husband. If that’s your goal, move to Utah and start knocking on compound gates. You’ll be married faster than you know it. Granted, you’ll have to sew your own blue Little House on the Prairie outfit and share some sixty year old guy with a couple of 13 year olds, but you’ll be married.
Approach your profile like you would your resume. Paint the absolute best picture you can of yourself with the understanding that you’ll eventually have to back up everything in there. There’s no sense in saying you’re “laid back” or “easy going” if you’re really a Type A control freak. Perhaps, “I like to take care of a man in relationship” or “I like some structure in a partnership” are more appropriate ways of communicating that idea. There’s no need to show us the entire blueprint. All we need is a look at the front (and perhaps the rear) of the building and a peek inside the lobby. If we like what we see, you’ll get asked out. Simple, right? Let’s hope so.
Well, there you have it. For you married folk, I promise to have a more relatable post for you next week. I’m just trying to help out my single lady friends this time. I hope y’all have a wonderful week. Take care of yourselves. In the meantime, if you need me I’ll be looking for someone who loves fun. DP