Online dating profiles: mysteries revealed

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A person lays in their stomach on a bed with their feet up in the air, looking at their phone in their left hand with a smile as they play with their curly purple hair with their right.
A one-sentence bio and only pictures of their pets? Must be a catch. 99mimimi via Pixabay

From bios to profiles to the first interaction, here are the tips to make matches happen

Most of us have at least heard of, if not personally tried, a variety of online dating platforms. Tinder is a classic, Bumble has been increasing in popularity, Hinge boasts itself as the best spot for serious relationship seekers, and there’s a host more beside those.  

The first hurdle to get over if you’re looking to get into online dating is choosing the platform, but the second – and arguably much more treacherous – hurdle is setting up your profile. I’ve set up a handful in my time, have swiped through thousands of the best and worst around, and I’ve been dating someone for nearly two years now who I met through online dating, so I took my expertise and put together this list of tips for you to try out this spring fling season. 

In order to start this journey, you’ll need to sort out some self-promotional boundaries, and be sure to stick to them militantly – there’s nothing hotter than a complete lack of flexibility or unwillingness to adjust. I like to begin by deciding how much information I’ll be divulging for the masses. ‘Go big or go home’ is a pretty flawless personal philosophy, so try to stick to one of those two extremes at all times. 

When it comes to your bio, you should give all or nothing. If you’re leaning toward the nothing route, a classic “message to chat” bio gets that stance across while leaving something (everything) up to their imagination. Who cares if you have hundreds of characters you could use if three words gets the job done? It’s sexy to leave a little mystery, so there’s no way that giving people absolutely none of your characteristics, preferences, interests, hopes, or dreams could possibly go wrong. If dating profiles were lingerie, you’d be a chastity belt worn under a nightgown worn under a parka. Stunning. 

If you want to do one better, write a list of traits you want in your matches instead of relaying anything about yourself. You’ll be swimming in matches with a bio like “You must have perfect white teeth and flawless skin and long hair and sparkling eyes, no feminists or fatties. Be smart enough to realize I’m right all the time without believing that you’re actually smart, must have extremely loose principles and values, will earn the household income and raise any kids we have. Hell, better be ready to mother me, too.”  

On the other hand, there are hundreds of characters to be used up in most online dating profile bios, so why not skip ahead in a relationship three weeks by laying out all the personal information you’re sure to give out in that time anyway? You can – and should – include every bit of dialogue from your Thanksgiving dinner argument with Uncle Jeremy, because it’ll come up again at Christmas and you’ll want your match – who you’ve already decided will be attending – to be briefed. A list of everywhere you’ve been fired from is also a great idea so your matches will know where they shouldn’t take you for dates, or a list of every previous partner’s red flags so potential matches know you’ve really been working to heal. 

Now, on to the pictures. On most platforms you’ll have the chance to add many images, so it’s important to curate the selection depending on who you want to attract. The boundary you selected when writing your bio will be useful as a starting point here; consistency is key, you know. If your bio has little to nothing about you, why should your photos reveal anything either? Look through your saved images for shots friends took while standing behind you at concerts to show off that full head of hair you’re still sporting while leaving every facial feature a mystery.  

If you’re feeling more risqué, it’s never the wrong move to upload a shirtless bathroom selfie taken in a dirty mirror, but be sure to crop the image just below your chin to be clear to anyone looking at your profile that your smokin’ hot bod is the only asset you have to offer. On the flip side, if you want to convey that what you truly have to offer is your brilliant mind, don’t upload even a single picture – if it’s meant to be, they’ll realize somehow and swipe anyway. 

Don’t worry if you’re planning to reveal your whole hand, I haven’t forgotten about you. If you want to really impress potential matches, make sure you upload as many images as you possibly can, and that every single one is a group picture so they can see how social and well-connected you are. Who cares if there are so many different faces in the pictures that people on the app can’t tell who you are, you’re just being considerate and giving them notice that if they attend a party with you they won’t actually get any time with you – you’ll be off with the boys. Such a gentleman.  

Now, what’s the move when you inevitably get hundreds of matches and you’re trying to choose how to begin conversations? “U up?” may be tried and true in some contexts, but you usually need a bit of rapport before you can depend on that sort of go-to. To start, I’d recommend something simple but honest.  

Don’t ask what they’re doing later as if you care. Instead, tell them what big date you have planned for the two of you that evening and demand their address so you can pick them up at a time you’ve already chosen. If they appreciate the thought and time you put in to plan something for them, of course they’ll say yes, and if they say no or get upset you didn’t ask about or even consider their wants (or whether or not they might have already had plans), then you’re dodging a bullet – you wouldn’t get along anyway. 

If that doesn’t sound up your alley and you’d rather continue playing up the mystery, wait for them to message you. They obviously know that you’re waiting for them to make the first move, that you won’t be starting the conversation, and that you’re expecting them to step up and do it. If they can’t be bothered to say “Hey,” you’re totally justified in feeling butthurt and ranting to all of your friends about how you never have any luck on these platforms.  

It’s not like you’re asking for much, you just want them to cater to your every whim, anticipate your every thought and need despite never having met you, and to do things you’re not willing to do. Only a bitch would say no to that, you stud.   

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