Bons mots

Slips of my tongue

PR and online dating: Part Three

Ahoy hoy, my fellow singletons. This is the final installment of my non-award winning series on online dating and PR. In this chapter, I conclude with The Profile, the crème de la crème of your online dating persona. Or, as per my brand analogy, the Product. You’ve drawn in the potential buyer (mate) with your logo (picture) and your slogan (tagline) now it’s time to deliver the goods (you).

Have you ever bought a product that had a great slogan, an expensive advertising campaign and a massive amount of build-up behind it? A product that was so buzzed about that if it ever lived up to its hype it would be the BEST THING EVER INVENTED? If you have, how disappointed were you? Take the iPhone. It holds 3,000,000 songs and you can access Facebook on it but it hasn’t completely changed your life the way you thought it would, has it? It doesn’t give you next week’s lotto numbers and you have to deal with Rogers support.

The lesson I’m trying to impart here, perhaps unsuccessfully (if an analogy falls in the forest and there’s no one around to get it, does it make a sound?), is: Be honest. Don’t make yourself out to be the greatest thing since sliced bread or the internal combustion  engine. Yes, you’re trying to differentiate yourself from the competition but you already offer something that is unique and one-of-a-kind: you. There’s someone for everyone, a good friend once told me, so your goal, grasshopper, is to find your someone.

Take your time, do it right

I’ve been on a lot of dating sites and I have never come across one with a time limit for creating your profile. Why do so many read as if they’ve been written under duress? (“You have five minutes to write your profile, Mr. Bond, or I’ll blow up London.”) Like good sex, writing your profile takes time, patience and skill. A nice bottle of Shiraz also helps.

  • Write your profile in Word.
  • Copy edit.
  • Spellcheck.
  • Copy edit again.
  • Send it to a friend for feedback. (Note: you may risk laughter and ridicule, so be careful which friend you send it to.)
  • Post it and watch the ladies flock to your profile.*

 (*No money-back guarantee.)

 A little help from my friends

 Does this look familiar?

“My friends say I’m handsome/smart/witty. “

 Of course they do – they’re your friends. If they don’t say things like that from time to time, you should consider getting new ones. But the thing about friends is their lack of objectivity. Oh sure, they’ll bring up embarrassing moments from your life and poke fun at your past misdemeanors (like how you used to pronounce David Bowie’s last name as Bao-wie – completely hypothetical, by the way). But when it comes to setting you up they will not hesitate to make you sound like a great catch, if only to get you laid so you can stop whining about how lonely you are. 

So, refrain from including any endorsements by your friends. (AND parents. God, those are the worst. I mean, what mother doesn’t believe their child is the Second Coming?  I read somewhere that women experience a type of chemical change to the brain after giving birth. This is to make them forget how very, very painful childbirth was so they can fall completely and irrevocably in love with their baby and not kill it out of revenge. Or somesuch, I’m just paraphrasing. )

Wow, what a big ego you have

It’s a thin line between confidence and vanity, and only a few adroit individuals manage to walk it successfully. Those that can’t end up sounding like pompous jerks. These were plucked from actual dating profiles – the identities are hidden to protect the stupid:

 “I’m the man of your dreams.”

“Stop – don’t look any further.”

 And my favourite:

 Me:

  • restless entrepreneur and investment banker
  • ambitious
  • well-educated
  • career-oriented
  • thrill seeker
  • successful yet humble [the italics are mine]

 No, I did not make the last one up.

Stick to facts like occupation or location, any fact that can’t be refuted or subjected to debate. (E.g. “I’m a graphic designer living in downtown Toronto. I have short, brown hair and blue eyes,” or “I am Elmer J. Fudd, millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht.”) Just like the “My friends say I’m…” sentence, avoid subjective self-descriptions. Your date will decide whether you’re funny, smart or a raving narcissist.

Long walks on the beach, sunsets and puppies

The best way to attract potential dates is by listing your likes or hobbies – music, books, activities. Don’t give a laundry list, just a general description of your interests, e.g. soul music, anime, taxidermy. You might end up with a date for the next sci-fi convention or food and wine show. A good idea is to tell the reader what your perfect date would involve, or what you do on a typical Friday night (I’d avoid any mention of crying, masturbation or porn; besides, those are all givens when you’re single).

I don’t need no stinking Spellcheck

According to the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL), 48% of adult Canadians have literacy levels too low to cope in modern society. What bothers me is that a lot of men on dating sites can obviously read and write but choose not to. They may want to appear hip (e.g. hey there. i hope you like my profile. i am a handsome stud.) or emphasize how eager they are (e.g. HEY THERE! I HOPE YOU LIKE MY PROFILE! I AM A HANDSOME STUD!). I also suspect that most men just don’t care (e.g. Hey ther. Hope you lik my profile. I am handsome, stud.) Whatever the reason, poor grammar and spelling is a big turn-off for most women. A man who doesn’t put a lot of thought into his online persona more than likely has skidmarks on his underwear and a towering pile of pizza cartons on his kitchen counter. 

Many people struggle with learning disabilities and ESL courses while you take your first-world education, piss all over it and light it on fire. This is not cool.

Shopping lists

Don’t give us a list of what you look for in a woman. You’re looking for a date, not shopping for groceries. If you want someone who enjoys participating in sports, it’s fair to ask for that in your profile – you want to keep the couch potatoes away. But ask for something like this:

 I’m looking for an attractive, intelligent, sexy, spontaneous woman in her 20s who isn’t into head games and is open-minded.

and you might as well be asking for a leprechaun to come flying in on a unicorn with a pot o’ gold. Perhaps no one has told you this, so I’ll be the one to break it to you: No woman is that perfect. (Neither are you, for that matter; stop being so picky.)

Every man wants a woman who is attractive, smart and funny. Don’t state the obvious. List the attributes that YOU find attractive that others may not: “You have a Princess Leia costume”; “You appreciate a fine zombie movie”; or “You live for paragliding.”

When a woman reads your laundry list of expectations, do you know what she does? First, she checks off the traits she doesn’t have. (Blame Cosmo and Vogue for that.) Then she moves on to the next profile. So, if you are looking for a 24 to 35-year-old woman who must fit your very narrow criteria, the chances are good you’ve lost the interest of that attractive, intelligent, just-turned 36-year-old sexpot who owns a Princess Leia metal bikini.

TMI

Some things are best left unsaid, or saved until the third date. These include broken relationships, past heartaches or stories that sound like lyrics from a country song. You can mention you’re divorced or have children – there are some facts you should be upfront about from the beginning. But stay away from documenting your inner struggles following a bad breakup. Some profiles read like depressing novels; if you want to channel your inner Tolstoy, take a writing class. Otherwise, you won’t get many responses, save for the occasional recommendation of a good therapist.

So, there you have it. I hope this helps you in your journey for love and happiness. I leave you with hope, good thoughts and this butchered film quote:

If you build a good profile, they will come.

FIN

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December 9, 2008 - Posted by | Ever wonder why?, Learning |

9 Comments »

  1. Bonnie, you have arrived. And how!

    I have yet to come across a blogger who write with such ‘crop-circlish’ precision and ‘intimidating’ perfection.
    I faved you in Technorati and no one deserves it more.

    I would’ve loved to add a few tips, but it would pale me in comparison. Stop bumping into Milton every time you are on a digital beat.

    Comment by Gaurav Barot | December 10, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks, Gaurav. Maybe I can work for Heusinte!

    Please, add a few more tips. I look at this as a public service. : )

    Comment by bonsmots | December 10, 2008 | Reply

  3. […] See more here: PR and online dating: Part Three « Bons mots […]

    Pingback by Online Dating - PR and online dating: Part Three « Bons mots | December 10, 2008 | Reply

  4. Bonnie, you already made your point by writing those tempting triplets. I would definitely give it a serious thought and I promise to add an entertaining tip on my next visit to your site.
    Bonnie, please add “addthis” bookmarking button (the drop down one) on your sidebar. It helps a lot.

    Comment by Gaurav Barot | December 10, 2008 | Reply

  5. Smart. Funny. Very organized. Expects lots of herself. And others. Curious. Really witty. Media junkie. Likes to set goals and met them. Loyal friend. Excellent writer.

    Sounds like an advert for Bonnie Dean to me.

    Great post; thanks.

    Comment by Christine Smith | December 10, 2008 | Reply

  6. Thanks, Christine! Too bad I can’t put that in my profile. Gotta follow my own advice, you know. ; )

    And Gaurav, I’ve added the sharing feature. Thanks for the tip!

    Comment by Bonnie | December 10, 2008 | Reply

  7. Your welcome.
    “Digg”ed you successfully using your new “addthis” button with the following sentence as description.

    “Wittiest post on the topic of ‘online dating’. The freshness is awesome and contagious.”

    If you need any help, just ask me.

    Have a good day.

    Editor-in-Chief
    Heusinte Profile Labs

    Comment by Gaurav Barot | December 11, 2008 | Reply

  8. Perhaps you could start a whole new industry for the profile challenged. I’d sign up!

    Comment by kerry | December 11, 2008 | Reply

  9. There IS an industry for the profile-challenged. And I doubt you would need any help, Kerry.

    Comment by bonsmots | December 11, 2008 | Reply


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