Having a social justice warrior meme group has brought people into my life who are serious about their politics and also fucking hilarious.
By and large, when I'm complaining about online dating, it's usually just because it isn't working. I'm not seeing anyone yet. I realize these random bitchings might not actually be contributing to an improvement in the overall online dating landscape, so I've decided to offer some constructive advice, for what it's worth.
Here we go, five things I wish I'd see more of in online dating profiles:
1) Your face.
Blurry? Neck down? Your dog? I know you, asshole. Not only is this code for "I'm married," but it's also unfair. I showed you mine, you show me yours. Otherwise, I can smell that "taken" stank a mile away.
If however you're just really, really timid about online dating, worrying that (heaven forbid) someone you know might see you on this site, I urge you to locate your inner Viking and be brave. We're all (kinda) here for the same reason, and we're all offering up a certain amount of courage behind our efforts. You're going to see people you know, and it's okay if they see you. You saw them, too. I see people from online dating in real life all the time. One walked by me at a restaurant last week. Hi, buddy! Thanks for not writing me back!
Let's encourage each other. No need to hide. If nothing else, it will give you and your fellow online daters something new to talk about at the Keurig machine in the office tomorrow morning.
2) Your personality.
Resist the urge to use the same writing tone as you did when composing your resume. It's too stiff, and it doesn't show me who you are. I know, I KNOW not everyone can write, and it's what I do for a living so maybe I should just shut up and leave you alone. But I'm not gonna.
You talk, right? You have conversations with friends? Then I promise you can write, too. Compose your online dating profile as if you were describing yourself to a friend. Relax, breathe, do yoga, whatever it takes for you to loosen up. A pro tip: If it would embarrass you to say any sentence of your online dating profile out loud, you need to rewrite it. Write as if you're casually speaking to a friend, and your profile will give others a better idea of who you are.
3) Your sense of humor.
Again with the stiff profiles. I am not evaluating you for a promotion, we're trying to decide if we should meet for a drink. How would you speak to a member of your preferred sex if you met them in "real life"? How would you break into the conversation? Would you try to be charming/witty/funny? Yes? Do it here, too!
If you're not funny and have no sense of humor whatsoever, just skip this section. I don't know what to do with you.
4) The truth.
Like, what? I won't find out? Really, how long do you think you can hide your age, height, or country of residence? It's all coming out in the wash, and do you really want the first thing I know about you to be a lie? Your lies put negative dating energy out into the universe that then manifests itself in an angry girl calling out liars on xoJane. Believe me, I can't wait to write about positive dating experiences. But until I can, read Mandy's.
5) Less booze.
I understand boys don't really take photos of themselves unless they're drunk at a wedding or sporting event. It's not like you're whipping out the ol' iPhone for the occasional selfie like duckfaced girls at the mall. But do it anyway. For me?
Drunk photos or photos where you're drinking, particularly if this is all the photographic evidence I have of you, is a huge turnoff. I'm not saying I don't drink (I really, really do), but that's not the only image I want to send out into the world. Maybe it's just me, but I find drinking or drunk photos a bit childish.
I know photos aren't easy. They're actually the worst. But they're important, because they offer insight into who you are, not just what you look like. Putting your best face forward could not be more literal than it is here.
A great option if you're having trouble gathering or taking photos of yourself for online dating purposes: Do you have a close friend? Do they have a significant other? Ask said significant other to help you take a few photos. Odds are you know them, so it's not like an awkward professional shoot, and he/she also has a vested interest in you finding someone to spend time with. They get to make a new friend, too. Then you guys can go and do gross double-couple things together all you want. Mazels.