“Do you want to know what your problem is, Jen?” She says to me over Gchat. I don’t even know her, and she doesn’t know me. She’s just a friend of a friend of a friend who occasionally reads my writing on the Internet. It’s 11:20 am on a Tuesday. I’m at work drawing snails on a notepad, deciding whether I want a cinnamon
bun the size of my kneecap or a slice of cheap pizza for lunch. “Your online dating profile must be a disaster,” she types back to me within seconds of my question-mark response. “That’s why you're still single!”
I’ve decided to make T-shirts that say “Team Jen: helping her find a boyfriend since 1988,” since it seems that everyone has taken on my relationship status as their personal philanthropy project. I have more people pitching in to help out with my single-girl status than I do fingers on my right hand. There’s my mom, my rabbi, and my best friend, who recently got engaged. Even my cleaning lady asked to take a picture of me around with her to query the residents of other apartments she goes to. Now this girl?
There’s nothing wrong with my online dating profile, though it shines an Instagram-like filter over my life, making it look exciting and, well, different from how I really spend my free time: stuffing down $1 slices of pizza and lounging around in my fleece pajamas watching season after season of "Mad Men" on Netflix. What does this girl want me to do? Use a picture of Heidi Klum in a bikini as my photo and write a vague description of my hobbies like everyone else? I’ve never been very good at listening to other people’s advice — especially when unwarranted. If someone tells me to turn left instead of right, I’ll turn right just to see what I’m missing out on. So minutes after she tells me what she believes is my problem, I eat a giant cinnamon bun the size of my kneecap and decide to give my profile a makeover -- I’ll write up what I would actually say about my interests and myself if I was being 100 percent honest. Here’s what my revised profile looks like:
User Name: MyMomMadeMeDoThis1234Age: 25, but when I have a cold I can easily revert back to being 4 years old. And if I’m out at a bar and I hear “Don’t Stop Believing,” I can easily transform back to acting like a college freshman.Location: Sitting behind my Mac Book Pro, trying to scratch off the dried smear of peanut butter that’s made itself at home in between the G and H key.My Details:My hair is: Blonde. Okay, fine -– it’s really more a Jack and Coke color, but every three months I march my butt to the salon and give some nice hairstylist a chunk of my paycheck to make it look more like champagne.Body type: Fits very nicely on an L-shaped couch.Weight: Umm, before or after I finish a medium pizza all to myself?In My Own Words:My Favorite Physical Activities: I signed up for a gym about a year ago and pay them $40 of my hard earned money every single month, so technically part of me (my wallet) goes to the gym.I’m Really Good At: • Knowing all the lyrics to Jay-Z’s Hard Knock Life album. • Writing what I want to eat in haiku format on napkins at fancy restaurants. • Fumbling around in my purse trying to find my wallet when the bill comes on a first date.My Perfect First Date: One that doesn’t start with you name-dropping your ex-girlfriend and end with your guacamole stained chapped lips suction-cupping my ears because I turned my head when you went in for an unwarranted kiss.My Ideal MatchDrinking Habits: Doesn’t smell like stale tequila. Doesn’t spend the majority of his Friday night hugging a toilet seat. Doesn’t drink like a sorority girl on a “Neon or Nothing” social.Relationship Status: umm 100% single. What kind of question is this?Job: Has one.Hobbies: Also has one (or a few).Must love: Me –- a girl who spends too much time on Twitter, owes an extraordinary amount of money in late fines to the library, only wants to ever eat pizza. And yourself. Please love yourself first.But before I pounce on the delete button and erase my old profile, I decide to do a weeklong experiment. I’ll put up two profiles, on two different -- yet comparable -- dating sites, and see what happens. One that's my real profile (with information that doesn’t make me sound like a lazy, pizza-obsessed girl) and one that has the same details from above (the 100 Percent Honest Profile), and see what happens.Here’s the breakdown of the 7-day experiment.
Overly Honest Profile
One-Liner Messages*These messages are in the form of a “funny” pick up line.
My real profile fielded the same old bland messages. If someone did break away from the “Hi, how are you?” or “You're cute” mold, they only mentioned something brief about something I wrote in my profile like how I’m from Florida or love pizza (that’s the only fact about me heavily stressed in both profiles).
With the 100 percent honest profile, the majority of the 21 people who mentioned something I wrote added a comment like: “Gotta give it to you, you have by far the most entertaining profile I've seen on here. A good sense of humor is one of the sexiest things I find about a girl. I'd love to get to know more about you. Hope to hear from you soon.” –JB-ROD“I love how casually you talk about yourself. Truly shows how confident and free spirited you are. Best profile I have seen this far and you seem like a ball of fun to be around.” –PJ71PI still received my fair share of generic messages with the 100 percent honest profile, proving that some people don’t make it past your photos before shooting you a message. And of course I got my fair share of strange ones; I even had a few people who spotted me from the other dating site, and one person who recognized me from the gym.
I was thrilled to respond to the messages on my 100 percent honest profile that referenced my profile, in hopes of getting to know the guy on the other end and then, well, hopefully meeting them in person.
After a week of dissecting the messages and accepting the fact that a chunk of people in this great big world now know the real me before even meeting me, I realized it’s better to be more honest -- or at least it's a bit more fun.
Fine, roll your eyes at me. Have your best friend proof read your “About Me” section to make sure you don’t sound like a total freak and have your other best friend Photoshop the beauty marks off your photos. But then ask yourself, what’s the point?
When you meet someone in person, it’s messy. Interactions are raw; they are genuine, and sometimes a bit intimidating in their genuineness. You won’t look like your five profile pictures, and your answers to your date's spur-of-the-moment questions won’t be rehearsed. You won’t have time to write out what you’d like to say, read it, and reread it before working up the guts to press "send."I’ve been on several dates with men I’ve met online (no one who responded to my 100 Percent Honest profile ... yet), and sometimes, within seconds of saying hello, I could feel that they were disappointed, that they were hoping for the polished girl in the mini-dress with a fresh face of makeup and a carefully edited personally. You know what happens on dates like that? They become so terribly awkward that you go home and threaten to quit dating for the rest of your life. At least this way, with a profile that’s as honest as my 93-year-old great aunt, the guy on the other side of his computer knows what he's getting into.Overall, my little experiment taught me that, even with my brutally honest profile, there are guys who are excited about asking me out and getting to know me. No, I haven't made a love connection yet, but my new profile hasn't been up long. And I was happy to learn that, regardless of how I looked in my carefully chosen photos, at least some men out there still find me memorable (hey, that's better than extraordinarily bizarre).