So, gentlemen, you’ve been thinking about it. You’ve seen those ads staring at you as you browse the New York Times or check your Facebook updates. Your ego has been the lone guardian keeping you from taking the plunge into the world of online dating. The god Apollo has traveled that world and now commands you heed his warning.
Why Online Dating?
First off, let’s talk general philosophy. Why would a healthy, socially savvy individual ever go to an online dating site? There is a myriad of reasons, ranging from legitimate to borderline pathetic. Let’s take a look at some of the more “noble” ones. Some of you may work too much to maintain a healthy dating life. I’ve been there, working over seventy hours a week. You may have high goals for your dating life.
Currently, I try to keep at least 3 or 4 “dates” a week. The legwork for such a voracious social appetite is exhausting, to say the least. Some of you may be very specific in what you are looking for or new to a city. No matter what your reasons, the key to a successful online dating experience is to realize it is only there to supplement your current dating life.
You can think of it as “multi-level marketing” but once you rely on it as your only source of meeting women, your social skill set will atrophy and you will become too outcome dependent.
Taking the Plunge
So, you’ve decided to take the plunge. You type in that web address and reluctantly hit enter. Congratulations, you have just entered a whole other world – a world where the women rule and a gallant man must fight all odds to make a name for himself. How is this world different, you may ask?
Online dating removes almost all approach anxiety from your competitors. Women who would often be overlooked in a meat market are now celebrities, receiving many messages a day from would-be suitors. They’ve heard it all before, and if they notice something about you they don’t like, there are several others in the line.
The odds seem stacked against you – but fear not mortals, for Apollo has walked the many perils of their realm and emerged victoriously. The following is what wisdom I have gained throughout my adventures.
Like any brave adventurer, you must first be equipped with the tools needed to brave the dangers ahead. Your first, and best tool is your profile. Think of your profile as your shield and armor. A good defense is your best offense, and that starts with taking some time to create a high-value profile. If you even think of putting “I’m not sure what to put here” Apollo will rain his arrows down upon you with deadly precision.
Different dating sites have different categories or essays to fill out. Take time with these, as they will shape the rest of your online experience. The biggest concept in writing a profile (and in every other aspect of online dating) is congruence. I will not give you a magic little routine or line to put into your profile to make you more marketable; it has to fit your personality.
That being said, HOW you get your personality across is of utmost importance. The easiest way I found was in storytelling. Most sites have a “My ideal first date” section. Take some time to come up with the most outrageous/fun/exciting experience you can. Try to avoid anything deep, romantic or intimate. Have fun with this part and it will come across in your writing. Have you ever thought to yourself, “It would be funny if….”. Put that in your profile.
The “About Me” section is equally important, but you must realize one thing – the less it is about you the better. You can put storytelling to use here as well. For example,
“I’ve dated the artsy type before, and it was terrible. We got into far too much trouble and caused havoc on downtown. If you are reading this, a cab driver (you know who you are), we are REALLY sorry about the upholstery.”
In general, the more you put about what kind of woman you are looking for, the better. If you are trying to sell yourself, it lowers your perceived value.
For your “Interests” section don’t be afraid to be upfront. The wider the array of interests the better. Don’t just say, “I like all kinds of music/movies/tv/food” but be specific.
“I miss the good ol’ days of electronic music before it all turned to House or Dubstep. Ke$ha’s music definitely knows how to party, but I’m not sure I would respect it in the morning. When I’m feeling frisky I tend to frighten the neighbors rocking out to the sounds of Bon Jovi and Hayzee Fantayzee still makes me giggle like a little girl.”
Again, notice the storytelling feel. If you can put references to your interests without listing them it’s a much more natural sounding, interesting profile. Moving on to the “What I’m looking for/You should message me if” section. This is the one part of your profile where it’s ok to be vague and “diplomatic.” In general, it is safer to say casual dating or looking for friends first. If you are too eager for a relationship it makes you look a bit desperate, and conversely, if you say you only want to hook up, you will scare women away.
If they give you an option to type something instead of selecting one of several choices you have a little room to be creative. If you are feeling pretentious you can put something about spelling/grammar (though remember congruence). Something about not responding to messages saying “OMG ur Hot!!” is also an option, as a not-so-subtle way of injecting social proof. For the “Career” section, I’d advise against being too specific here. They don’t need directions to your office; women only really need to see that you have drive and potential. If you are passionate about what you do, it doesn’t matter what it is.
For example “I’m fortunate to have found a career I’m passionate about and one that allows me to really make a difference.” You can use some humor here; but remember, this part is very important to women. There are a lot of men out there with no drive that is looking to leech off of women. Prove that you are responsible and driven (without actually saying it) and you will be golden.
At last, we come to the all-important part – the photos. Sadly, with some women, your photo will be the only chance you get to become either a yes or a no. Be not dismayed, mortals, for men have an easier time here. Don’t try to deceive women by uploading photos from odd angles or with blurry lightning or poor resolution. Women are experts at this and will pick up on it right away. Wear stylish clothes, but more importantly, clothes that fit you properly. Make sure you are well-groomed.
A haircut, new outfit, week of tanning (or mystic tan) and a big smile can transform any man from a “no” to a “yes” or at least get you past the initial checkpoint to give your profile a chance. Make sure your face is clearly visible in each photo and make sure there are at least a few photos that show your whole body. If you aren’t comfortable with your body, then my advice would be to join a gym or change your diet.
In the meantime, however, project confidence with what you have by not trying to hide it. Also, you want to make sure you include multiple photos that contain social proof. A picture of you in the bathroom with your iPhone screams low value.
Pictures with mixed groups where you are smiling and everyone is having fun are ideal. Make sure you have pictures of women enjoying your company, but don’t overdo it – you don’t want to give a huge player vibe. You may also want to include photos of you doing exciting things like rock climbing, kayaking, shooting, water-skiing, etc.
Fine-Tune Your Profile
So you are now the proud owner of a new, kick-ass profile. Here are a few things to remember. If you want to write a headline that makes you stand out from the crowd, here are a few dating profile headlines along with a few quick tips to help you write your own. You need to determine which overall “tone” works for you. In researching this article, I made profiles ranging from sweet and caring to downright “douchey”. I found what worked best for me and stuck with it. Again, congruence is important.
If you have a really funny profile, don’t have a really serious section in the middle of it. If you are cocky in your profile, don’t say you are looking for a sweet, caring woman to share a life with. I’d recommend erring on the side of cocky/funny and then softening it up if you aren’t getting the responses you want. A woman may not be specifically looking for a cocky guy, but she will always respect you for being a strong person.
Finally, remember that you need to gear your profile towards the type of woman you want to attract. If you are looking for a sweet, caring woman your profile needs to be softer, yet still funny and exciting. If you want to screen for a strong personality, then you want a more cocky tone. If you are looking for someone more intellectual then you need to reference things she would find interesting.
Also Read: Why You Should Not Keep Following Your Ex?
If you keep a lighthearted, playful tone throughout and let your interests make themselves known without directly stating them you will have no trouble connecting with the type of women that would be a good fit for you. Alas, Apollo has spoken; his arrows swift and deadly, his cunning unsurpassed. Look to the future, mortals, for he shall soon reveal the thrill of the hunt – How to select your prey and let your messages fly true!