Writer’s note (31 March 2019): This piece was written when I was targeting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) women who were having dating troubles. I’ve since transformed my coaching business into one helping all women who feel anxious and insecure in their love lives find healthy, intimate relationships with themselves and others. Learn more.
My STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) co-worker and I were talking about my dating coaching business, and she said, “You could write dating profiles like some people get paid to write resumes.”
I paused to let those words sink in like the old AOL dial-up sound. I’d done my share of internet dating, gotten a year-long relationship out of it, but ultimately met my boyfriend of four years and counting wearing nothing but underwear in a hot tub at a mutual friend’s party.
I also offer to help smart, successful, and fiercely independent millennial STEM women rework their dating profiles into something magnetic, but that’s because life coaching works so we can bring out the client’s brilliance.
In other words, whether or not she knows it, the client would already know how to write a damn good profile; I would just need to ask her open-ended, empowering questions to help her become unblocked. What would I have to say about writing dating profiles that’s any better than what the client might know?
Anyway, after that metaphorical dial-up sound finished loading, I decided to do a little research.
Dating Profile Findings
A simple Google search for “how to write a dating profile” yielded what I would call fear-based, “cookie cutter” results. One of my pet peeves is homogeneity (like basic bitchery), especially of the “if you don’t do this, you’re doomed” variety, so that drove me insane.
“Every profile should have this, this, and that, and conclude with a question,” they would say.
“If you don’t have this hook in your profile, then you’ll likely be single forever,” others would say, at least to that effect.
One thing in particular really ruffled my feathers: when professional dating profile writers said to treat your profile (and yourself) like a brand.
I get that that’s the typical 21st century mentality, to treat your online presence (including your resume) like a brand, but here’s my issue with that in relation to dating profiles:
You’re not a brand; you’re a fucking human.
Humans have the capacity for love and other emotions, and when we reduce ourselves to a brand (especially those who do not even run a business), you get the movie Idiocracy to an extent. How, then, can we really, authentically establish a connection with another human on a dating app?
I get that there’s this thing called “brand loyalty,” where you establish mutual likeability and trust with an audience (which I do for my business), but again, we’re talkin’ dating profiles.
We’re talkin’ finding love.
So, I have to say I disagree with this approach to writing dating profiles, to following a formula or template, to holding onto homogeneity and basic bitchery.
You’re completely welcome to disagree with me. However, in the realm of opinions and problem-solving, I’d like to offer another approach to writing smart, effective dating profiles to help my smart, successful, and fiercely independent millennial STEM ladies find love, based entirely on, well, my critical thinking skills (and you can read these three studies for more food for thought, pun sort of intended for the last one).
Four Simple Methods for Writing an Attractive Dating Profile that Shows Who You Are
Okay, maybe that heading is a little “cookie cutter,” and maybe it’s a little difficult to escape the “listicle” pattern, but I’d like to deliver on my promise.
Instead of reducing my clients to brands, I’d like to simplify the “requirements” for writing an attractive dating profile; that way, we minimize any pressure for perfection and open the door to authenticity.
#1 Think of a unique username that describes you off the bat and/or makes you stand out.
Examples: GooseWhisperer (a zoologist with a special pet), HalogenHailey (a chemist), IndianaJane (an archaeologist and adventurer)
#2 Use good, confident-looking, smiling photos.
No, you don’t need to show some skin, as that could attract the wrong folks. Show yourself in the lab, in the field, in portrait form, on vacation, giving a speech, or whatever you feel comfortable showing, as long as you’re showing who you are when you’re in your element.
Are you funny? Show a silly face. Are you a professional? Pose in a suit or whatever. Are you an adventurer? Show an action shot, as long as we can see your face pretty well. Your dating profile is your space, and you’re using it to filter out crappy people and attract quality people.
#3 Be extremely specific when answering those profile questions. This involves some creative writing.
Less of this:
My name is Giselle, and I’m a pediatrician who enjoys hiking in exotic places when I have time off. I love Thai food and comic book-inspired shows, and you might find me doing yoga at the local park from time to time.
More of this (which I wrote on the spot):
My name is Giselle, and I’m that friendly neighborhood pediatrician the neighbors are always talking about, because when I’m not on-call at the local hospital helping kids achieve optimal health after contracting a cold from daycare, I’m keeping my door open to help my friends’ kids who need a routine check-up.
No day hike is too challenging for me, as I’ve been an avid hiker since my teens and have conquered Mt Whitney in 16 hours. If I had to survive on one type of food for the rest of my life, it would be Thai food, hands down. You couldn’t convince me otherwise. I grew up with Thai neighbors who often invited us over, so that piece of my childhood still lives through all of the red curry and pad thai that enters my stomach.
Pair that with the show Agents of Shield and I’m set for the evening. Yes, when I work long hours as a doctor, you’ll find that that’s an easy way for me to relax. That, and yoga under the California sunshine at the local park, granted there are few kids around :-P.
#4 Be inviting and inclusive.
Imagine looking at someone’s profile and seeing something along the lines of “Please don’t contact me if you’re a bitch” or “Don’t talk to me if you’re divorced.”
How turned off would you feel? You might think you’re not a bitch and this person is being judgmental. If you’re divorced, you might feel like this person is discriminating against you for no good reason. You might even feel inclined to send him an angry message, like a Twitter troll.
Using discriminatory language like that could also reduce any opportunities to meet someone amazing.
With that said, it wouldn’t hurt to be open to different “types” of folks, even if you think a date with a certain someone won’t go well. Make mental roadblocks your bitch and throw away that laundry list of “perfect qualities” you think you want in someone; instead, focus on how you feel when you’re with him (or her).
In addition to tapping into your feels and intuition, dating can be a numbers game, and chances are you’ll end up with someone you wouldn’t expect. (I can attest to that.)
To wrap this up, adventuring through the interwebz to see what others are saying about writing dating profiles brought me back to the same destination: Everyone has their own say about what you “should” do, but ultimately, you know what’s best for you. It’s like knowing what your diet should be based on your body type. That personalized attention, my friends, is how life coaching works.
I offered my own approach (with many “b” bombs) for you take as you will, without playing down your smarts. Please, ladies, don’t play down your smarts. Happy online dating!
Do you need to revamp your dating profile? Have you been unlucky in the online dating world? Are you battling weird algorithms to find the (wo)man of your dreams? Comment below or talk to me in a safe space.