Sunday, May 07, 2006

How To Write An Internet Dating Profile

Lord, have you looked at internet dating profiles recently? Great swathes of nonsense, spewing unchecked across the digital highway. But how do you write a profile that will attract the partner of your dreams? And how do you avoid making those everyday mistakes that make otherwise perfectly nice people absolutely repellent?

Fear not. Follow these instructions to the letter and you'll be shacked up before you can say 'I fancy a winter wedding'.

Be honest

There's simply no point in lying on your profile. You'll get found out in the end anyway, and it's exhausting trying to remember what you've said to whom.

If you're as fat as a pig but say you are of 'average' build, your paramour is going to gag into his/her cocktail when you meet.

If you've only got 3 out of 4 limbs, fess up now (Heather McCartney. Need I say more?)

If you're a librarian, don't pretend you're an air hostess.

If you've got kids, say so (you ever tried hiding an 8 year old for more than 2 months? No? Don't start now).

The thing about the internet is that even if you're a 5ft man with long ginger hair and an interest in topiary, you'll be able to find someone who'll be looking for someone like you. That's why it's good. So be honest. It might take a bit longer, but it's worth it.

Do not - I repeat not - use any of the following expressions

"I like going out and staying in"
"I live life to the full"
"I love snuggling up on the sofa with a DVD and a bottle of red wine"
"I am looking for a husband"
"I have 3 cats"

If I need to tell you why, do us all a favour and remove yourself from all internet dating sites immediately.

Spell checks are there for a reason

Much as I like a well-turned apostrophe (in a sexual way, if I'm really honest about it), the thing about badly written and spelt*  profiles is that they're just really annoying to read. So use the spell check. That way, not only will you look like less of a fuckwit, your profile will be less irritating.

* Update, June 2010: I have just read this again, what with yet another comment about how 'spelt' is a typo. And I am amused, because I think I did it on purpose, what with it being in a paragraph about spell checking, etc.  Also, usually my speling is quite good usualy and it's the kind of joke I quite like. Either way, it's not worth getting knickers in a twist about. 

Paragraphs are good

Great blocks of dense type. Long, long lists separated only by semi-colons. Poor use of capital letters. All these things make life difficult. Punctuation exists to make life easier, not to complicate it. Try to use it. (If you don't know how, The Economist can help.)

Your computer is not a telephone, and you are not 12

No need for C U l8tr and that kind of nonsense then, is there? Lazy writing = lazy mind, probably inside the head of an idiot.

Don't get clever with photographs

Fancy photography = you are a cock.

Straight on, smiling if possible. Without other people in the frame. Try for a head and shoulders shot as your main picture, and a full body one for the second (if you've got one - if you haven't, describe yourself honestly).

Don't be too selective

If you're too specific in your requirements (6ft 1, green eyes, likes cats, lives in Bedford, doesn't like peppers), you could be missing out. That's all I'm saying. Be sensible (it is reasonable, for example, to not want to meet a fundamentalist Christian if you're an atheist and vice-versa), but don't start applying a weirdo mental list of attributes to your 'match' criteria.

And anyway, if you haven't had any luck with your existing match criteria, go for the opposite of what you've been looking for so far. You'll be married within a year.

Don't go on

Yeah yeah, I know, life's been tough, hasn't it. All men/woman are evil, you've been treated badly, you had a bad childhood, things are shit. Whatever. Internet dating is about meeting people. What happens after that, and how intimate your relationship is going to be, happens AFTER you've met. A miserable twat isn't fun to go on a date with. That's it, really. Misery does indeed love company, but the company usually shouts 'lovely party, darling, must dash' and leaves, or makes a quick exit via the loo window when misery is at the bar.

Be realistic

If you live in London and they live in Edinburgh, it's not going to be easy. If you own a cattery and they are allergic to cats, it's not going to work. If you've got a PHd in astrophysics and their idea of fulfillment is a copy of 'Hello!' and a packet of ginger nuts, what are you going to have to say to each other?

Think carefully about what's really important to you

Do you really care if someone's got a degree or not? Does it matter if they haven't got money, as long as they're happy? Does it matter that they like tripe, and you don't? If you like hardcore S&M, should you be looking for someone who doesn't?

Tell the truth and have faith, my friends. If you're not happy with yourself the way you are (or at least 70% of the time), you shouldn't be looking for a relationship anyway. Go figure, as our friends in the United States say.

I wish you monkeyspeed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loving your work - dating monkey. Must say I totally agree with all your comments about spelling. I guess the dumb ass logic is 'if you care that much about spelling then I'm not interested' (spelt with tons of errors but I can't lower myself) save themselves the pain. I think your tips are excellent advice to rookie daters to help them seperate wheat from chaff. I'm now going out with a guy with a black and white, front facing photo, short and sweet profile who I bantered with breifly for a few weeks before meeting. Saw your site after all this but it shows the advice is well-tested. As you say... you know.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Anomie-Atlanta said...

Love your blog!
I would like to add one thing to the list...
Internet daters should not photoshop their pictures. Anyone with an eye for detail will be able to tell that your headshot has been stretched to make you look thinner and your strange coloring is the result of airbrushing away those bothersome wents and boils.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the thing about badly written and spelt"
OMG the irony!
spelt = plant
spelled = spelled wrongly.
Seriously, you're horrible! FFS Mozilla spell check even picks it up!
kill yourself

3:47 AM  

Kill myself? "Horrible"? For a typo on a blog post written over 3 years ago? And this from someone who uses "OMG". Fucking excellent. (You know what FFS Mozilla is? WOW.)

5:03 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ah, Dating-monkey. I find your advice very sage in deed. Your insights are as humorous as illuminating. Where have you gone? It looks like you haven't posted in a very long time. Have you left the world of single-dom for couple-hood? Everyday more and more sane people take the plunge. Have you as well?

12:14 AM  

Christina! Hello and welcome. I am at another blog, called The story has a good ending: I met a lovely chap through my blog (long story) and reader, I married him. And moved to Canada.

4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Fancy photography = you are a cock. Straight on, smiling if possible."

This is incorrect.

"Men’s photos are most effective when they look away from the camera and don’t smile"

"In terms of getting new messages, the MySpace Shot is the single most effective photo type for women."

3:23 PM  

Dear Person Who Probably Works for OK Cupid,

If you read this again, you will see that I am neither 'correct' or 'incorrect', because I am not writing about the efficacy of individual styles of profile picture; I am writing about what a particular style or pose might suggest about you as a person.

Silly billy.



4:41 PM  
Blogger Kitty said...

In regards to the three year-old 'spelt'... it's a joke! People who call you down for this either require more fibre or a high colonic.

VERY funny, thank you so very much, these dating posts have really made me laugh. Hard.

Kind regards, Kitty

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it when something I have experienced to be true is backed up by a stranger half way round the world. :O)

I had a profile which was just like the thousand others out there so I said fudge this - no one is responding and those that do will find out that though I like watching sport it's only for the males in tight shorts! I know bugger all about it, so I re-wrote it, was 100% truthful about who and what I am and I can't keep up with the replies!

And I stick to my rules - my post says I won't reply to text typers - you'll be deleted - if they are keen they'll type back - properly lol

Jane - good luck with the search - just have fun with it and stay true to yourself because if you can't be true to yourself - you have zero chance of being true to anyone else.

Non-workingmonkey - glad that you have a happy ending and that it goes on being happy for many many many years to come.

Kiwi Pome

10:17 AM  

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