(Online) Dating After Divorce: Pitiful Profile Edition

by Cali4beach

Last week, I was out with a guy friend of mine, and we were talking about my experiences at the RNC. After sharing with him that I was hit on by a few 20-something men during the week (which I found mortifying), my friend declared, “You're too young to be a Cougar. Maybe a Panther.” I replied, “Actually, it's Puma, not Panther”, at which point I was overcome with shame that I actually knew the proper terminology. That same evening I was talking with another guy friend–notice I have no shortage of guy friends, just guy more-than-friends–when the topic of dating came up once again; more specifically, the fact that I have not been on an actual date in nearly two years. As we talked, I gave my go-to defense, that in a town of just over five thousand people, many of whom I have known my entire life, I have not found it easy to just bump into new, appealing guys on the street.   Furthermore, as an elementary school teacher, my workplace is not really conducive to meeting new people. Finally, out of excuses, I decided to just take a chance and go for it. With that, I got out my debit card and subscribed to two of the largest, most popular dating sites in the country. What did I have to lose?

Of course, within minutes of signing up–well, it was minutes for the first site, while the second one took nearly an hour with its pages and pages of surveys and personality questions–I remembered why I left the online dating world shortly after joining it two and a half years ago. In fact, my very first piece for this website was one in which I shared details of my previous foray into online dating. That experience only lasted six months, during which time I deleted 2,000 profiles and went out with a whopping total of four guys–not a great percentage. Of course, online dating is kind of like childbirth; when you first experience it you think, “I’m never doing this again”, but time dulls the painful memories and eventually you decide to give it another go.

Upon joining, I was overcome with a mixture of amusement and dismay as I perused the profiles and checked the pre-selected matches. Sharing some of my thoughts on Twitter, I was encouraged to turn these observations and any future dating experiences into written pieces for the website. This sounds like a fantastic idea. My experiences will be much like those of a certain ‘Sex and the City’ columnist–except, of course, that I’m not having sex until remarriage and I live in a small town. Nevertheless I’m sure “(No) Sex in Small Town Iowa” will be a wildly popular feature.

At this point, I’ve only had the pleasure of reviewing matches–seriously, three of the ten guys in my lineup are sporting mullets; not cool, people–and reading miscellaneous profiles. Since I can’t critique any actual dates, I’m just going to share my opening observations, in hopes of helping the guys out there help themselves. Ladies, feel free to print this out and share it with your single guy friends.  
Spell Check Is Your Friend: If you're looking for an intelligent woman, don't phrase it "lookin for a inteligant women". Really? I realize I am a ‘grammar grouch’, but come on. It is a special kind of misery mixed with delightful disbelief to read some of these profiles. It’s kind of hilarious until I realize just how pervasive this problem appears to be. Flagrant misspelling/poor grammar/use of text-speak (hope U like 2 have fun–ugh) is just not going to cut it.

by Jeroen Sangers

I’m Looking at the Man in the (Bathroom) Mirror: There are far too many profile pictures of men standing in front of bathroom mirrors. I really don’t want to see your toilet before I’ve been out with you. Seems like a reasonable request. Bathroom pictures, along with pictures of you that are clearly a decade old, scream "I have no friends to take new pictures of me". When all else fails, pay your neighbor to take your picture. Learn to use the timer on your camera. Anything would be better than a picture of you taking a picture of yourself standing by the sink, or a blurry picture of you and your frat bros wearing flannels and drinking out of red Solo cups.

Flexing, just stop. Really. Stop. Especially the pictures that don’t even show your face, just your toned biceps or abs.   The most flagrant foul is when your pictures feature you at the bar flexing while holding a beer and wearing an Ed Hardy/TapOut/Affliction T-shirt. Seriously, what secure, self-confident man feels the need to wear shirts with foiled stars, skulls, roses or dragons plastered across them? The only thing more ridiculous is when you pair them with jeans more bedazzled than mine.

Bitter, Party of One: If your profile repeatedly states that you want someone who “won't play mind games”, won’t “jerk you around”, won’t be a “lying cheater”, etc. you aren't done healing. Also, DON’T YELL AT ME WITH ALL CAPS IN YOUR PROFILE. That’s annoying and comes across as angry. Whatever your issues, take time to sort them out before you resume dating, so you don’t wind up bringing them into your next relationship.  

Paging Captain Obvious: So, your profile says you like going out on the town and you also enjoy a night staying in? That really separates you from the pack...Oh no, wait, it doesn't. Unless you are a total recluse, it is assumed that you are interested in interacting in a variety of social settings. You “like good food and fun people”? Hmm, whereas I enjoy crappy food and boring people. Darn, not a match. In all seriousness, your profile is your chance to tell us what makes you different, what unique interests and attributes you bring to the table. Don’t waste that opportunity repeating clichés that are already all over the dating sites.

If I sound harsh, that’s not my intent. If anything I’m thoroughly amused by what I’ve seen in my first twenty-four hours of browsing. The thing is I know there are amazing guys out there. I have great guy friends who prove that point. It’s just painful to see so many men self-sabotaging by putting up lackluster profiles. Fortunately among the absurd there were a dozen or so promising options, so the possibility exists that I may eventually share what will no doubt be deliciously awkward details of my adventures in dating after divorce.