Overused Phrases Best Left out of Your Profile
By Andrea Orr
The way you see it, you're a reasonably attractive single person who likes the simple things in life. Walking along the beach and that sort of thing. All you really want is someone who's easy to spend time with. The kind of person who is equally comfortable in blue jeans/three days of stubble as she/he is in that little black dress/tuxedo.
But you haven't found that person and you're getting tired of the bar scene. You never thought you would, but you've decided to look online.
Congratulations! You've just posted the most unoriginal profile ever.
The sad truth about online dating is, few people bother to express their true selves. Bland gets more play than bold, and one profile looks (numbingly) like the next.
With millions of people dating online, you really do have a decent chance of finding that rare person who, corny as it sounds, likes you just the way you are, whether you're a plump divorcee who prefers desert solitude to beach frolicking, or an impeccably groomed investment banker who would like to be able to kick back but, truth be told, never lets his stubble get more than a day old.
A 35-year-old bisexual Muslim woman living in a Bible Belt city recently joined an online dating service, saying she had orange hair, multiple tattoos and a plump body. Less than an hour after her profile went up, she had already heard from two suitors. She understood that there was no reason to try to look like everyone else. There really is someone out there for everyone.
If no one is responding to you, it may not be the photo that's keeping everyone away. Your written profile may be putting readers to sleep. Give some thought to who you really are and what you really want and, no matter what, avoid the following phrases:
I can't believe I'm doing this
Maybe so, but the fact is, you're looking for love online - and so are millions of others. No reason to apologize! Why would you want to start off your profile by suggesting that you're somehow better or different than all these other people looking for their match online? Anyone you meet this way is doing it, too.
Tired of the bar scene
Painfully unoriginal. Everyone says it, and if you think about it, it's probably not even accurate. What you probably mean to say is that you already know all your friends' friends, everyone at work, everyone at your church/synagogue/gym/coffee shop/local bar, and you're tired of waiting for serendipity to bring you in touch with The One. You're taking a more proactive approach to love. Suggested alternative: "I love meeting new people outside my usual circle." Keep it positive.
Moonlit walks on the beach
Do you know how many people say this is their number one hobby? Do you know how many people from places like Wyoming and Indiana say it? Funny, because I live very close to a beach and half the time when I go, it's deserted. Chances are, you like the beach but spend more time reading comic books, or making jewelry, taking your dog to the park, or, boring as it sounds, going home and watching TV every evening. You have to be yourself, which leads to another overused pastime.
Quiet evenings by the fireplace sipping wine
Is this really how you spend most evenings? Possible alternative: "By the time I get my two-year-old to bed most nights, I cherish the forty-five minutes or so in front of the TV before I crash." At least then they'll know there's a real person on the other end of the computer and not some out-of-touch cheeseball.
Looking for someone who can be both silly and serious
Aren't we all? Someone who is artistic but good with money would be nice too. Someone who likes an evening at a swank restaurant every bit as much as a rugged weekend camping. Someone who enjoys a night out with a few close friends as well as a rave. Someone who likes young children as much as the elderly. It would be nice to find someone who spans all these gulfs, but maybe we aren't so versatile ourselves. Think about what's really important.
One reason online dating has taken off in a way that newspaper personal ads never did is that the format allows the real you to come through. You get to write a little essay showing off your sense of humor, your writing style and all those odd little quirks that, after all, really are the basis of attraction. Wouldn't those singles from the seventies who were confined to impersonal descriptions like "single white female" have loved this opportunity?
Andrea Orr is the author of Meeting, Mating (...and Cheating): Sex, Love and the New World of Online Dating.
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