Create The Perfect Online Dating Profile By Doing A Little Research

In my first-ever ChicagoNow post in June 2013, I wrote about two of my four Rs of Dating: Risk and Rejection. Those words have never been more true than after I downloaded the Tinder app. That site is all about rejection. Within seconds, they are swiping left to get to the next person. A cuter person. A thinner person. A blonder person. Knowing all of this, you take the risk and swipe right and hold your breath for an instant match. If it doesn’t happen, so you wait. Because Tinder doesn’t a list of people you like, you eventually forget about him and you’re on to the next. Tinder makes rejection easy.

My third R of dating is Research, especially when it comes to online dating, which I started doing when my long-term relationship ended seven years ago. Being 33 at the time, I thought I already knew myself and what I wanted, but as I filled out that first Match.com profile, I actually discovered the person I had turned into somewhere along the way.  While most people exaggerate or even lie on their profiles, I was extremely honest because I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time.

I started by picking a profile name that was unique to me.  I wanted it to be memorable, so I chose “Tank11”, which was one of my nicknames.  It wasn’t very girlie, like the hundreds of profiles using some combination of “Chicago” “Sporty” “Fun” “Girl”, but my friends agreed that it fit me perfectly. Research.

It turns out you can’t change your profile name very easily, so when I started receiving emails, most guys made comments about how they expected to see a girl “built like a Mack truck”. But they clicked on my profile because they were curious as to what girl would pick the name “Tank”. Research.

I didn’t worry too much about the profile name because these guys would figure out pretty quickly that I’m not the typical girl, so I started picking out my photos. I took a little survey of my friends to decide which ones best told my story. Photos at sporting events, festivals, restaurants, reading, etc. I was constantly monitoring the photos to see which ones people “liked” or commented on. If a picture wasn’t doing well, I would change it. Research.

The photos were recent and free of photoshop, so just about every time I went on a first date the guy would blurt out, “Wow.  You actually look like your photos.”  I asked them how their dates had gone with these women who misrepresented themselves, and it was rare if they ever went on a second date. Research.

Finally, I played around with the short description at the top of the profile, and I found the most success with this one: “I usually get a pedicure on the way to the Super Bowl parties”, which was not only true, but ended up being an effective conversation starter with just about everyone.  Research.

When I went on dates, I was able to figure out which stories they found interesting, what jokes made them laugh the hardest and what outfits looked the best.  Research.

I’m glad I asked for help when I made my first online dating profile. I did the research, took the risk and dealt with the rejection. There’s no reason to ever be reserved, unless you’re making dinner plans for a first date.

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