Justine’s Dating Profile Isn’t Working For Her – Is Yours?

Dear Duana,

At 38, I’ve got a good job, good looks, and lots to offer. But I get nada when I email men via my Match.com membership. My dating profile sounds lame even to me, and I’m getting mixed messages from my friends about whether or not to include a photo. How do I create the perfect dating profile?


Dear Justine,

Successful fishermen often cast more than one line at a time, and you’ll cast a wider Net by purchasing three-month memberships to two or more of the largest dating sites simultaneously. But if the limits of time or money force you to choose only one, Match.com—with about 56% men and 44% women—is indeed the best-stocked of the dating Pools for heterosexual women.

So, if the fish aren’t biting at all, you’re right—it’s time to examine your bait and hook. And get recognized for the Catch you are. Here’s how:

1. Get your Man Bait on.

Contrary to stereotypes, men tend to fall in love faster and harder than women—and to fall out of love more slowly. The organ with which they first begin the fall? No, not that. Nope, higher up. Yes—their eyes.

In fact, seeing beauty is literally pleasurable to men , whose neural reward centers light up in response to viewing sexy women . Which answers the age-old question of why men pay good money just to *watch* us—and explains why three-and-a-half times more men than women request a photo in real-life personals.

So you must, must, must post at least one (recent) photo—preferably of you doing something interesting while looking lovely. If you’re not sure which to post, and you’re feeling bold, HotorNot.com can assist, free of charge—just as it has done for over 12 *billion* other photos. Upload a few pix, and await ratings of your Hotness on the proverbial 1-10 scale from the others who use the site; then, post the most appealing ones at Match.

And position your physical appeal—in photos and text—ahead of your career. For instance, in one online experiment, nearly three times as many men showed an interest in a self-professed great-looking waitress than a super-successful attorney of average physical allure. In your letter, you listed your career success first. But men are going to consider the matter in reverse order, so present yourself accordingly.

2. Cast for Fish that match your equipment.

As countless studies demonstrate, in real-life personals, women typically offer youth and beauty while requesting various markers of willing provision and protection—“financially stable,” “sincere,” “commitment-minded”. Men broadcast the reverse, subtly (or not-so) asking for sexual access to a youthful, beautiful partner, while offering resources.

Translated to your behavior, this ideally means one of two things:

Thing 1: You are gorgeous, so you can filter for greater wealth/status/provision-n-protection from a partner who is possibly a decade or more your senior; or,

Thing 2: You are average in looks, so you are best-off if willing to meet a Match in this and other regards, including income—or even to trade down financially, such that you make more money than he does.

Upshot? If you seek a lifetime with someone who knows he’s lucky to have you, and versa-vice, it’s important to set your line—-aka filters— for Fish whose size matches your bait and tackle. Anything else is shrinking the Pool.

3. Use a unique Hook.

“If you want worthwhile messages in your inbox, the value of being conversation-worthy, as opposed to merely sexy, cannot be overstated.” So says OKCupid, a dating site with the data to back up the statement. This is probably why pictures incorporating interesting activities, pets (but not your kids!), or travel tend to generate more responses than other images.

It’s also why your headline and subsequent text need to Hook your reader with style and substance.

How? First, write your list of Standards; not only will it clarify what you want, it’ll describe you accurately, too. Voila! You’ve got the outline for your best Match and the best Hook.

Next, craft a headline and ad that *uniquely* capture the spirit of whom you seek, and who you are. If you desire humor, don’t say “I want a funny guy”; be humorous. If you value intellect, be intelligent. And if you want to spend leisure time in a particular way, descriptively drop in some specific things you’d like to enjoy together.

For instance, which do you think more compelling? This?

—Sing to tune of Pina Colada Song—

If you like green Mini Coopers

And ideas are your game;

If you’re politically liberal,

And you have a big brain;

If you like making love at 1 p.m.,

When my kid takes a nap;

You’re the man I have looked for;

So let’s cut through the crap…

Or this?

Looking For Love

I’m a SWF, 38, non-smoker/non-drinker with two kids at home, and I’m told I’m smart. I like a man with a sense of humor, a sporty car, and intelligence equal to mine…

And if you put in anything about a beach, moonlit strolls, your ex, or backrubs—the Cliché Fish & Game Wardens will be right over. The fine will be dinner alone.

Finally, you can stop initiating messages to men, starting now. Men respond to ads over 11x more often than women do, so if you’re not getting hits on your line, it’s not because they’re too shy. Simply adjust your dating profile presentation, and then do what fishermen do: Sit back, enjoy what you packed in the cooler, and await your Fish.

The author wishes to acknowledge the following scientists and sources:

Erich Goode, for his empirical research showing that men are far likelier than women to answer online personals ads, and that men judge women’s physical appearance as more important than job status.

Michael W. Wiederman, for analyses of real-life personals ads and the differing preferences of men and women.

Thomas N. Bradbury and Benjamin R. Karney, for theiroutstanding textbook regarding Intimate Relationships, and the statistics regarding the expansion of matchmaking in modern America.

Helen Fisher, for her work on brain imaging, lust and reward, as partially discussed in her trade book, Why him? Why her? and elsewhere.

Spokespersons for eHarmony.com and Match.com.

OKCupid’s data analyses regarding facts and myths of successful profiles.

Amy Webb’s book Data, A Love Story: How I gamed online dating to meet my match. It’s a wonderful look at how one woman applied all these strategies and more.



© Copyright 2014 Duana WelchPh.D., All rights Reserved.