check, please! (dot com)

I have once again been absent from blogging of late. You can thank a freakishly long data entry project, a recent surge of self-improvement efforts, and the propensity of spring weather to drive me from the confines of my social cocoon for not having much to read from the likes of me recently.

While the earlier part of the year saw a lot of success for my writing, enthusiasm seems to have waned with the appearance of the Sun and lime-flavored, limited-release cheap domestics. I took a look at my stats page today- and I’m pretty sure Jonas Brothers fan-fiction has better online readership than I.  While politics, religion, tragedy, and social justice all have their place in web-based amateur journalism, I owe you something a little bit more entertaining to read while you’re trying to justify wearing Bermuda shorts. Something juicy.

About a year ago, I signed up for an online dating site. The one whose commercials feature overplayed 60s pop songs over montages of its successful couples while a little old psychologist guy explains how things work to prospective site users. Though the majority of people it has matched me with were not quite right for me, I have had some significant success with the site, and would recommend it to people considering the system.

But this post does bear a warning. That’s right. I’m breaking out the juicer. And bringing you a list of 5 of my biggest Dating Site Profile Pet Peeves.

1. Not Knowing How to Use Your Words: When filling out a dating site profile, remember to pay attention to 5 things: grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and vocabulary. We have the language of Shakespeare, Dickinson, and Dylan at our disposal. Its elements could be our greatest ally when attempting to woo a prospect and impress him or her with our clever means of self-expression.

But like Tolkien’s Rings, these things can be sinister when misused- or worse- disregarded completely. Don’t get me wrong, I know colloquialisms have their place: song lyrics, jokes and lighthearted stories, or Beverly Hillbillies scriptwriting sessions, for example. But telling me your interests are “huntin fishin” and “muddin in my truckk” are not going to get you anywhere- except the Archive pile.

2. Posting Pictures with People, Things, or Animals in Them Who are Not You: I have spoken to people of both sexes who use dating sites, and this seems to be a problem across the board. Post pictures of yourself. That’s who your matches are interested in seeing. Not your cousin Mikey, your F-150, or your ex from 3 relationships ago. Also, not having any pictures is not modest. It is not giving me an opportunity to use my imagination. It’s creepy. It makes me think you’re one of those email spammers with the fake names. Simmers P Quiqleymax: DENIED.

3.  “I don’t really read lol” and Like Statements: Don’t give me that. Of course you read. Even if you’re not much for books and prefer magazines, the paper, or the back of cereal boxes, tell me that. Don’t tell me you don’t read. The same with movies, music, or any other area of interest. Make some effort to make yourself look well-versed. Literacy makes your eyes prettier. There are studies.

4. Being a Little Too Televangelist-y: Because my faith is very important to me, my settings for the site are such that faith and involvement with a place of worship should be very important to those with whom I am matched. This is a great thing in that it takes the guesswork out of it for both parties and offers important common ground for the building of a healthy relationship. However, there is a difference in being devoted and being- well- kind of weird, really.

You don’t have to overstate  things. If your faith is important to you, state that. If it is important in the person you’re looking for, state that. If you are interested in theological books or religious music, list them in the appropriate places. But don’t feel compelled to turn your “Favorite Movies” field into a Statement of Faith or the answer to “Do You Have Any Pets?” into a sermon. Your faith and its place in your life will be obvious as a natural consequence of normal conversation. Be approachable and present yourself as a person of faith, of interests, and of quirks. That’s the way He made you anyway.

5. Tooting Your Own Horn: This one is simple. Tell me you like to exercise, not how many grams of wheat germ you ingest daily in your protein shakes. Tell me about your job, not how successful you are at it. Tell me what your favorite team is, not how far you can throw a pass. Tell me about what kind of music you like, not about how your agent said your band was going to be the next Nickelback. In fact, tell no one that.

It’s simple, folks. A dating site profile is an introduction. It’s not a Master’s thesis or a note you are passing to your crush on the playground. It falls somewhere in between. While you shouldn’t agonize over every minutia, make sure you dot your Is and cross your Ts in a series of well placed words- whose sum total gives a full, clear representation of who you are and why you deserve to be taken out on the town.

Good luck. Remember to always do two things: put your napkin in your lap, and use spell check.


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