Hi YBCers! I’m back with my second post for the YBC Love and Relationships series and... SURPRISE! This will be Part 1 of a two part series on dating profiles. I also want to put a little disclaimer up front that I can only speak as a relatively young, straight, divorced, white woman. While I’m hoping what’s written below feels inclusive and relevant to a diverse swath of peeps, I acknowledge that I can only speak from my experience. Got some other tips you think are worth sharing? HIT ME UP YOOOOOOO either in the comments section below or slide into my DMs.
You know that feeling back when you were in school and you had to write a 10 page, single-spaced essay on a bronze pot some dude found in Iran 1200 years ago? You probably stared at that blank word document for a while trying to figure out where to start and then decided to go eat 3 pounds of chocolate covered pretzels instead (...maybe that was just me). ANYWAYSSSSS, sitting down to make a dating profile is kind of the same, except scarier... because feelings. So how do we even get started when we’re staring blankly at our even MORE blank Bumble (or Tinder, or Hinge or OkCupid) profile?
I mean, by the beard of Zeus! Who even knows? I’m not even sure how to answer my own rhetorical question! I’m going to tackle this by initially taking the path of least resistance - the pictures.
Today in this age of instant gratification and snap judgments followed by a quick swipe of the finger right or left, pictures become relatively important in finding prospective partners. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when choosing your pictures:
How to Choose Photos for your Dating Profile:
Have a picture of you where you feel fly as hell
This is the one (or maybe two) pictures where you let your inner badassery shine through to the digital world. Flash those pearly whites, smize like there’s no tomorrow and WERK THOSE ANGLES. Wear something that YOU’RE feeling yourself in - whether that’s your 2001 *NSYNC PopOddyssey tour T-shirt (YES I JUST MADE THAT UP AND NO I AM NOT WEARING THAT SHIRT RIGHT NOW) with a messy bun, or an LBD with hair did, makeup did, everything did. DO. YOU.
Have a picture of you that’s a little more casual
I think people would like to see that you’re a normal human. Like, are you capable of wearing sweatpants or can you not be seen in public without a full contour? Listen, I know opinions are like bums - everyone has them and they all stink, but if you asked me… showing vulnerability is brave, sexy and endearing! Have a picture of yourself sweating your cajones off on a trip to Cambodia? USE IT. What about that one with you stuffing an entire burrito into your face? USE IT. What about that one where you’re laughing so hard you might have peed a little? USE IT.
Have a picture of you doing something you enjoy
Do you like making quilts with picture of cats all over them? SHOW ME. Do you like eating obscene amounts of raw cookie dough? SHOW ME. Do you like frolicking through fields of wildflowers? SHOW ME. Do you like hanging out with your fur baby? SHOW ME.
Have more than one picture of yourself
This might seem obvious given numbers 1-3, but apparently some people think one is enough. Remember, variety is the spice of life!
Photos to Avoid Using in your Dating Profile:
Pictures that misrepresent you
Would I like to use pictures from when I was 28? SURE. Gravity had not yet found my face at that point. But guess what…. MISREPRESENTING YOURSELF IS NOT COOL, and ultimately will not benefit you or the viewer of your profile. I know that as we age or as our weight fluctuates it may feel safer to use a picture from a year or two ago, or to slap a snazzy little Snapchat filter on yo face, but let’s be real - isn’t that kind of leading with a smidge of dishonesty? That’s not how any of us want to start out a relationship, right?
Pictures with your ex
I know we can all get creative with cropping and other editing, but let’s just forget pictures with the ghosts of relationships past - even if you a poop emoji over their face. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Too many selfies (especially close ones)
I must say, in my swiping adventures I have seen many men use selfies that are taken so close to their faces that I can count their nose hairs. I mean, COME ON Y'ALL.
Pictures where it’s hard to tell what you actually look like
Are you standing in the midst of a group of 47 people? Do you only have pictures where you’re wearing sunglasses, or a ski helmet, or a Chewbacca mask? CUT IT OUT PEOPLE WE WANT TO SEE YOU.
In short, use pictures to show not only what you look like, but who you are! We are all multifaceted people and the photos we choose for our dating profiles are an efficient way of communicating a lot of information to our prospective matches! Don’t take for granted what you can say using a few simple snapshots. This is one way to take the pressure off of the next part…. What the HELL do we write?
I mean honestly - what can possibly be written in 300 characters or less that fully encompasses YOU? My first experience with building a dating profile was that shit swamp I referred to in my last post - Tinder. At the time, I was so overwhelmed with this question of what to write (having recently been divorced and all) that I opted to just put pictures of myself. In some ways, that’s fine. But realistically - what do you gain from leaving the text portion blank? Nothing.
This time, after what you all have now learned was a traumatizing break up, I decided to take a different approach. I asked myself how I could I use the text in my dating profile to help me get what I want, and weed out what I don’t want.
First and foremost, writing about yourself requires a little bit of courage. Putting your needs and desires out there is a scary thing (at least for me). Even though doing so for the purpose of online dating is relatively low stakes in some ways (i.e. strangers glossing over your pictures and what you’ve written), it can still feel difficult to lead with radical honesty in a way that feels both fun and serious, so here are some tips!
What to Write in your Dating Profile:
Something short and sweet
Your dating profile is like a resume. If you go on and on, people will undoubtedly lose interest and keep on swiping.
What you want and any possible dealbreakers
For example - are you looking just to have fun? Are you looking for an ethically non-monogamous relationship? Are you looking for a serious partnership? Also, likely worth adding things (at least at my age) such as: does want (or doesn’t want, or isn’t sure about) having children. Political requirements? Religious requirements? Non-smoking requirements? LIST EM.
Something that shows your personality!
This can go a long way, in my opinion. Dating is scary for everyone - showing a little humor, or being transparent about the fact that online dating is kinda intimidating, can go a LONG way. The person on the other side of the screen might be feeling exactly the same way - who knows! If you need an example of some dating profile text with a little pizzazz, check out *AHEM* someone’s former OkCupid profile below.
What Not to Write in Your Dating Profile:
Nothing at all
If you write nothing, you open yourself up to risk. Risk of connecting with someone that wants something very different than you. Risk of connecting with someone with different values than you. The list goes on.
Not even going to bother elaborating.
In short - be brief, be bold, be gone. And BE AUTHENTIC. To be honest, this whole writing about myself thing was tough for me. I decided to soften the blow by doing so in a format that felt comfortable for me - lists (in case you couldn’t tell...), which I divided into two categories: “things I’m not interested in” and “things i’m interested in”. The things I’m not interested in were essentially a list of dealbreakers - the first of which was that I’m NOT interested in something casual. This is a major departure from my first Tinder profile which had no text, and contributed to me ending up with a person who was not on the apps looking for a long term/committed relationship in the first place. I am hopeful that this will better position me to find my unicorn…. I’m waiting with bated breath to find out!
Okay, last piece of advice that applies to both pictures and test. CROWD SOURCE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT. You heard me, have a couple of close friends look over your profile before you send it on it’s journey into the interwebz. Often the way we would describe or portray ourselves is different than how our best friends/loved ones would describe us - and it’s always good to make sure we’re not missing the goodies that might endear us most to our friends/family!
Alright, enough of my blabbing - I hope this was at least a little helpful, if not a good way to waste 10 minutes of your work day. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series in which I share some consulting I did on the dating profiles for a couple brave souls from the YBC community. Be sure to chime in below with your thoughts - or slide on into my DMs and lemme know *your* dealbreakers, tips and tricks… Until next time YBCers!