Guest Contributor: Eric Hanson
I was raised Catholic, but that alone doesn’t explain my attitudes toward dating and the Fairer Sex. Extremely shy as a youngster, I had my (male) friends but was very intimidated by most everything and everyone else, including those strange and mysterious female creatures. A story that sticks out in my mind is from when I was probably seven years old or so and walking near my school along with my mother. A female classmate of mine saw and called out to me from across the street. I played dumb and refused to acknowledge her, even after my mother pointed her out to me. I went through my early years stifling my growing feelings of interest and unnamable fascination with females.
Sports and music filled up my dance card and, along with schoolwork, more than allowed me to stay outside of the dating fray until I was well into college. Just a few girlfriends preceded my commitment to my wife. But then, fourteen years of marriage gave way to divorce, and now I’m into about four years and counting of online dating with decidedly mixed results.
After reading hundreds of profiles I’ve grown tired of the same old thing, and keep hoping to read something fresh, which might mean the person on the other end is a kindred spirit. I’ve written up a few of my pet peeves that I’d like to share. I don’t intend to be crass or insulting. Think of it more as a guide of what NOT TO INCLUDE in your profile.
My 25 Don’ts When it Comes to Online Dating Profiles
“MY LIFE IS GREAT/I DON’T NEED A MAN I JUST WANT A MAN” Then why are you on a dating website? OK, I am too, but that’s because my life is NOT great, I get far too little sex, and I’m spending an obscene amount of time thumbing through these mind-numbing profiles in the hope that I can meet someone cool who can be some small piece in the puzzle of a better life for me. And the same is probably true for you. If your life is so great and you don’t need a man, don’t need to be “completed” by anyone, then maybe you should leave this site. Leave more room for the rest of us imperfect needy types.
“NO DRAMA” Come on. Everyone has drama in their lives. Everyone worth something, at least. If you don’t have any drama then there is nothing to you. I think women who write this mean that they are just not Drama Queens, and that is something entirely different. And a desirable way to be. So if that’s the case, then please just write that. And stop saying that you don’t have any drama.
“LOW/NO MAINTENANCE” Probably means you are very high-maintenance.
“LOOKING FOR A PARTNER IN CRIME” When you write this, fair or not, I immediately assume that your life resembles a life of crime in no imaginable way whatsoever. That your life is so devoid of action or intrigue or any kind of interest that I would fall asleep after listening to you speak for five minutes. The polar opposite of a life of daring. That the biggest risk you’ve taken recently was not getting whipped cream on your pumpkin spiced latte at Starbucks. I’m not gonna be your partner in crime. Leave this out.
THE “EQUALLY COMFORTABLE IN A LITTLE BLACK DRESS AND HEELS AS I AM IN SWEATS” LINE Oh my God, enough already. I know what you are trying to do here. You are trying to make the point that you like variety and are just as comfortable—and willing to experience—having a fancy night out on the town (depicted by the little black dress) as you are just staying home (the casual nature of which is represented by the sweatpants). Point made. Problem is EVERY OTHER WOMAN ON THIS SITE MADE THE SAME POINT. Plus, I happen to not really care about this or value this in a woman. Actually, given a choice, I would rather have you wear the little black dress and have us stay home. Cheaper and probably more fun. Don’t understand the compulsion behind making this point.
“LOVE DIVE BARS” You probably don’t really, most likely. You’re just saying that. Or at least that’s how it seems.. And your idea and mine of what constitutes a dive bar are probably miles apart.
“LOVE DIVE BARS AND FANCY RESTAURANTS” One out of two ain’t bad. This is closely aligned with the Black Dress/Sweats scenario.
“FAVORITE MUSIC” Dido, Rihanna, Ledbelly, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Miles Davis I get it. You are trying to make the point that your tastes are diverse. That they run the gamut. That they are almost impossibly varied. Say I were to look at your iPod. Or share a car ride with you where you had the stereo blaring. Or come upon you alone at your apartment or house when you were listening to music. I might just as easily hear some straight-up pop as I would the intricate interplay of classic jazz or the timeless beauty of a classical music master or a bluesman. Amazing. What a fascinating person you must be. In truth, though, almost nobody truly likes that much variety in music. I know I don’t and I live and breathe music, in both my work and personal life. Want to stand out? Try listing something like Woody Shaw, REO Speedwagon, The Ruttles, Stockhausen and Olivia Newton-John. To take it really far out… ! Or, better yet, just list a few and be done with it. Maybe I’m wrong and you are indeed all over the map like that. But I suspect not.
LISTING YOUR POLITICAL BELIEFS AS “MIDDLE OF THE ROAD” In a country this politically divided, this brimming with clear differences in the priorities and purposes espoused by the two major parties, your beliefs pretty much run straight down the middle? Hmmmm.
OK. “THINGS I’M GOOD AT: PARALLEL PARKING” Maybe, just maybe, it was eye-catching and amusing the first time I read that in a profile. And somewhat impressive (if true). BUT THEN EVERYBODY AND HER SISTER STARTED LISTING IT. Be more original. Maybe you aren’t aware of how many other women are listing this though, because of course you aren’t looking at other women’s profiles.
“THE BEACH” Oh my God. Stop. Enough with the insane unending love of the beach. Even my Ex admitted she wrote this, somewhat sheepishly. I like the beach too. OK, there are even some parts about it that I love. What’s there not to like? Warm sand, cool water, the occasional gorgeous woman (or man, depending on your groove) wearing next to nothing, throwing a frisbee on the sand. But enough already. Sorry. Get a room with the beach then if you love it so much. Good God.
“LOVE TO LAUGH” Kinda like the beach thing. Laughter is great. Most definitely. Who doesn’t like a good laugh. But when you list it as one of your interests, especially when there aren’t a whole lot of others, it’s major turnoff. And even more, again, WHEN EVERY OTHER PROFILE LISTS IT. Go laugh by yourself. I’m sorry..
“LOVE TO TRAVEL” I hate to travel. Actually, it can be fun sometimes but right now I can’t afford it and —oh, did you forget that both you and I have kids? So are you suggesting travel with them—can you say nightmare? Or leaving them with the Ex or a babysitter? None of these options sound good to me.
IN RESPONSE TO “IDEAL FIRST DATE” OR A SECTION ON YOUR INTERESTS/WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO WITH A MATE . SAYING IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER —WHEN YOU ARE WITH THE RIGHT PERSON EVERYTHING IS FUN OK. That may be true but, again, you and every woman on this site is saying that. Instead, please tell me what you like to do so that I have a clue about your interests and can make a more informed judgement as to whether or not I should contact you. I know all that feel-good mumbo jumbo about “when it feels right nothing else matters” but this is neither the time nor place for it.
“LOVE WINE. LOVE YOGA” Love beer. Love running.
WRITING “NO HOOK-UPS” ON YOUR TINDER PROFILE Uh, this is Tinder. This is not Match, nor is this OK Cupid, nor Plenty of Fish. This is TINDER. The whole idea is that it is based on physical appearance. Most profiles have few or no words attached to them. It is all about hooking up. Why in the world are you on here if you are not interested in that? OK, let’s see. I’m a woman who is really turned off by the idea of jumping into a scenario where I get very physical very quickly with a guy whom I may not see ever again. So I’m going to post my photos on this website Tinder, which is expressly and openly designed to facilitate such encounters. OK. Gotcha. Makes total sense.
“LOVE PARTICIPATING IN SPORTS NOT WATCHING THEM” I love watching them.
“LOVE CRAFT BEER” Encouraging and maybe accurate in some extreme cases. But for the others, remember, Blue Moon is not craft beer.
USERNAMES LIKE “HAPPYGIRL25” AND “RUNNERGIRL” OR ONES INDICATING AFFECTION FOR A BAND I DON’T LIKE – “FOOFIGHTERFAN” OR “PEARLJAMLOVER” OR, WORST OF ALL, “BONOFIDE” Just use an indecipherable name or your niece’s first name along with your birth year like almost everyone else.
GETTING MAD WHEN IT BECOMES APPARENT THAT I GOOGLED YOU BEFORE THE FIRST DATE “You better start doing some fast talking, Buster.” OK, she didn’t add the “Buster” part when she said that but that was totally the vibe. Oh, so sorry. In reality, I was looking for photos that give some vague idea of the general shape of your body prior to meeting you since none of the ones you posted give me a clue. Such a realization might understandably trigger the “talk fast” admonition, I admit. But very acceptable, I would imagine, would be simply a general curiosity for more info on the woman with whom I would soon be having drinks. Which is the argument I make. Foolproof, I would think.
SAYING “I’M TOTALLY CHILL” IN YOUR PROFILE Means you’re probably not. And, what, are you 12?
SAYING “I’M AWESOMESAUCE” IN YOUR PROFILE Please.
“LOOKING FOR A WELL-DRESSED MAN” Might sound reasonable but smacks of metrosexual or sugar daddy-seeking.
DECLARING THAT YOU ARE NOT MATERIALISTIC AND THEN LISTING A SALARY RANGE OF $100K AND ABOVE FOR YOUR IDEAL MATE Or was that a mistake…? So you’re not, uh, materialistic but you just want a guy who makes a lot of money. Oh, ok.
NOT OFFERING TO SPLIT THE BILL ON THE FIRST DATE I will definitely refuse and pay for it all. That’s not the point.
Are there others I missed? Do you agree? Disagree? Want to state your case? Feel free to leave me a comment below, or ask me a question. Finally, thanks GUYS for including my work on your site.