Feature photo by Don Hankings

Ok- even if you’re not tired of porn and just want that special someone to watch it with, the Internet may be the answer (disclaimer: please don’t try to get someone to watch porn on a first date).

More and more people are finding love online. One in five relationships, according to some online dating commercials. Granted, they might be a little biased, but what have you got to lose? There’s only so many times you can watch that You Tube clip of a guy getting his head stuck in an elephant’s butt before you realize there has to be something more to life.

Essentially, it doesn’t matter which dating site you choose. It’s your online dating profile that really matters. It says a lot about you- maybe even more than you’d originally intend. So download the lowdown and let me take you through a few keys to improving your profile and decoding theirs.

Taglines:

Most sites encourage you to use an attention grabbing statement to woo matches to your cozy corner of cyberspace. Some will nudge you in the direction of boldly proclaiming what you want. This is not necessarily a good idea. We all want “someone special”. This can lead to some really generic taglines that will be easily overlooked. “Looking for the one,” for instance or “Searching for my better half.” Yeah, you and about 75% of the potential matches. Snoozefest. We’re all also “tired of being hurt” and if you haven’t dealt with the feelings of rejection they could erupt into some bitter sounding taglines like “Done kissing frogs” or “Tired of being alone.” I don’t think it takes a sex advice columnist to tell you that people with these taglines are probably not in the healthiest frame of mind to start a relationship.

What I suggest you do instead is either sum up your life motto or make a statement about something you love. This way you’ll attract matches that agree with you and your tagline makes for a good conversation starter.

Pictures:

Definitely use a current picture. Yes, even if you’ve gained weight and are planning to lose it so you look the same as you did 5 years ago. Your profile isn’t like a pair of skinny jeans in your closet waiting for you to go down a size. It’s a snapshot of who you are right now. And if you don’t absolutely adore yourself, it’s going to show. It’s not even about looks mattering, blah, blah, blah. If you show up on a date not looking like you do in your picture it reads as dishonest and it’s not going to get you a second date.

Use sexy pictures with caution. Personally, I think pictures of dudes flexing biceps or of girls choking on their own cleavage just come off as douchebaggy. And it doesn’t matter if it says you’re interested in a serious relationship, you’re going to get creeps who are just looking to score. Also, pictures of you holding booze will either make browsers think you’re an alcoholic or remind them of why they stayed in on a Friday night in the first place. Next! A better option is to have a picture of you at your best- whatever that may be. Enlist the help of a friend to choose a good picture. Not a frenemy. A true friend.

Description:

This is the part that is full of red flags. If you’ve gotten this far on someone’s profile, this is the part you need to decode the most. What they talk about will give you an idea of how a relationship with them will be. If they spend most of the description talking about what they want their perfect someone to be like or talking about what they DON’T want in a mate, they’re probably highly critical. Run. It also says that they are more focused on what they can get out of a relationship rather than what they can give. For example, they’re already neglecting your need to know something about them.

On the other hand, messages that talk mostly about who the person thinks they are speak either of self-absorption or of a high need for validation. Good descriptions are a balance between information about yourself and what you enjoy about other people (I almost wrote “what you find attractive about other people,” but realized some idiot out there will take that to mean something along the lines of “I’m an ass man.” But you know what I mean).

Try to avoid that weird thing people do in profiles where they give a series of contradictory statements such as: “I can be loud, but I know when to be quiet. I’m a lot of fun, but I can be serious too.” And so on. That tells me nothing except that maybe you’re a people pleaser or will say whatever you can to get what you want. Oh, and please don’t describe yourself as someone who likes to have fun. Really? Because the rest of us- we all HATE fun.

Be careful with humor. While checking out the competition, I came across a profile of a woman who described herself as looking for someone with a good job so she could take lots of trips to Europe. I felt my imaginary testicles fall off reading that. God, at least I hope she was kidding.

Anyway, now you’re ready to type into the search engine of love (sorry, I couldn’t resist…). When you find someone whose profile you like, send them a message telling them what you like about it. Or wink or blow kisses or whatever weird thing your dating site tells you to do to show interest. Just be careful meeting for the first time. Check in before and after a date with a friend- the one who helped you pick out your picture. And don’t catch any viruses.

Share this! (You know you want to.)

Got something to say? Say it loud!