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How To Write An Online Dating Profile

How To Write An Online Dating Profile
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BY KITT WALSH

I’ve been writing about taking a second (or third?) shot on love for those of us over the age of 50 by venturing into the world of online dating. Now that you’ve made your choice of which site or sites to use, how do you write your profile?  Here’s a few suggestions:

Let it all hang out? No. Don’t overshare, nor get too personal. There is no need to reveal everything about yourself all at once. You can maintain some privacy (and even an attractive sense of mystery) while still divulging enough to interest a reader. Also, remember, you will want something left to discuss when you finally meet.

Another note on privacy: Don’t ever give out your full name, email, address or phone number online. Remember, it will always be available on cyberspace and you will attract some raunchy responses even with the best crafted profile and you don’t want those following you to your personal email or phone (or worse—to your home!) Consider creating a separate, anonymous email just to give out to people who respond to your profile.

Take a minute. If you’ve been recently divorced, widowed (or dumped), you may be feeling down. Wait till you are in a better mental space before you write your profile. Your despondency will color your profile and you don’t want to be the wallflower or droopy dude at the online party. And on the subject of taking your time—take time to revise, spell check and correct the grammar of your profile. You don’t want to look like (or attract) an ignoramus.

Do be honest. Life is too short for misrepresentation. How would you feel if you thought you were meeting a man who described himself as “athletic” and “wealthy” but, when he showed up, had a Budweiser belly and lived in his kid’s basement?  If you are short, say so (though you might consider ‘petite’ if you are a thin woman) and if you have truly strong political beliefs, better write “liberal” or “conservative” so you won’t have a fistfight over your dinner conversation.

What if you are married? Better ‘fess  up. Unless you are truly “legally separated” (in that you live apart from your spouse), don’t say you are. There are people who will go out with you if you are married. I’m not one of them, but different strokes for different folks.

Don’t use clichés. How many people really go on moonlit walks at our age? Be creative. “I’d love to sail and will be happy to crew till you teach me,” or “I’m happy if you want to go play golf with the guys. I’ll be headed to the spa and meet you after” or, “Let me whip up my latest culinary creations for you. Many of the best chefs are men.”

Watch the headline. This can make or break whether someone reads your profile or not. One recently one sent to me was ”Ladies: Big Daddy’s home.” I shut that window in a hurry. Ditto for the user name you choose. The man whose handle was “toomuchmanformostladies” also got a pass.

Do include a clear (and recent) photo. Sure we looked good in our 20’s, but do you want to hear the gasped intake of breath when you show up and  look the mother or father of that person in the picture? And profiles with a photo are said to attract five times the responses. Some people will pass right over you based on your photo (I do for all guys wearing motorcycle leather) but you’ll be spared their disinterest and have more time for the person who might be right for you.

Be careful of financial references. If you have the mansion, own the yacht or are very proud of your fleet of Rolls Royce’s, why not just write “financially stable” and leave the big reveal for when you know each other better? You don’t want to attract scam men (and women), gold diggers or —even worse—thieves.

State your age. On the website, you’ll be asked for the age range of people you’d be interested in meeting (mine is 62-80. I like older men. I find them more interesting) and I always list my true age (58) so that if someone is looking for a spring chicken, they can keep looking.

Check the responses. If you aren’t getting the type you’d like, rethink and edit your profile. You can tweak it and rewrite it as many times as you’d like (don’t overthink it or get obsessed) and see if your “hit rate” rises.

Be brave. Hitting the button that posts your profile is a daunting moment, but go ahead and give it a try. When you check back and see that the first person wants to meet you, you are likely to feel your heart race a little with the excitement you probably haven’t felt in quite a while. That feeling is worth the slight discomfort putting yourself out there entails, don’t you think? Love, after all, is truly the stuff of life.

Good luck with your literary efforts and check back here for more articles on where to go on with your online dates and some things to watch out for in the online dating world.

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Kitt Walsh owns a web content company, Behind Blogs (http://www.behindblogs.com), is a regular contributor to CNN Money, a public speaker on Social Media, a book editor and ghostwriter, and freelances as a feature writer, editor and marketing consultant for magazines, newspapers and private clients around the world.