TIP 3: ALL ABOUT YOU
Next comes the part that just about everyone dreads. You need to talk about the cold hard facts of your life. The preliminary questions run through the basics like birthdate, hometown, height, body type, marital status, education and employment. A few questions probe deeper. They ask how much you drink and whether you do drugs.
I have read hundreds of women’s profiles over the past seven and a half years and have only seen one woman admit that she was a heavy drinker and another admitted she used drugs.
Warning: Here is where the House reference really comes into play. Remember: Everyone lies!
TIP 4: ESSAY
No one grades you, but you definitely don’t want to fail this part of the process. When I started out in public relations, I thought you wrote press releases to make the client happy. Someone corrected me quickly and said that you a write press release for the person who will read it. You might tailor it for an editor, the assistant on the news desk or a producer. If they don’t connect with what you write, your client’s message will never see the light of day.
Another wise individual gave me advice about resume writing. He reminded me to prepare the resume for the human resources person, or the boss who will read and evaluate it, rather than for my own ego gratification.
I now apply that advice to writing online dating essays. Give men and women what they want to see and read. But also make sure that you use a little creativity and set yourself apart to tell a compelling story. You also want to avoid spelling and grammatical errors.
Like a resume, keep the essay to one page. You don’t need to provide every detail of your life. If you tell all in the essay, people will have no reason to write and ask questions. In this case, less is definitely more.
I try to do my best with my essays and quickly gloss over the fact that I have two remarkable sons, two adorable grandchildren and a career I love. Doesn’t everybody have some combination of those things?
The essay instructions may ask you to write about what your friends and relatives might say about you.
I always try a little humor. Since The Big Bang Theory is the number one rated sitcom on TV today, I describe an episode where one of the main characters, Sheldon, tries to learn how to make new friends. He creates a survey for his current friends (actually all that amounted to was four people) to find out what they know and like about him.
I say I also developed a survey about what my friends and family like most about me and sent it to my 1,182 Facebook friends. I then include in my essay a list of about 10 wonderful qualities: great intelligence, very funny, terrific friend, dependable, honest, etc. Of course, this is exactly what my friends supposedly said about me.
Hopefully, it elicits a laugh and gets my point across in a somewhat humble way.
TIP 5: MORE THINGS TO INCLUDE
I have also found that when you list favorite activities, you might include as many things as possible that two people can do together: bike riding, dancing, horseback riding, skating, tennis, golf, concerts, movies and theatre, walking, going to the beach, museums, sightseeing, playing Scrabble or cards, dining out, preparing dinner together at home and weekend getaways.
If you haven’t hiked, skied, camped out, kayaked, played the flute or drums or refinished furniture in the last 10 years, chances are you have given up that sport or hobby and shouldn’t list it.
And if I had a nickel for every woman who said she loves to “walk on the beach at sunset,” enjoys New York City and “everything if has to offer,” looks forward to “fine dining” and likes to “take drives out East in the summer,” I would be a very rich man today and not have to use online dating sites to find Saturday night dates
Additionally, I find that less than 10 percent of the women whose essays I read say they watch TV. Yet when I meet them in person, 90 percent can rattle off 10 HBO, Showtime and A&E series they watch regularly.
If you watch TV, say so! With the hundreds of stations and networks available to us today, who doesn’t want some news, adventure, information, learning, comedy, drama, sports, cooking and cute animals in their lives almost every day?
One site asks “players” to list the “Six Things You Could Never Live Without.” I will never understand why some women waste their creativity and detail revealing choices on such obvious things as “my children, my grandchildren, air, water and the sun.” After all, don’t we all need and want these things? Here’s where you can get creative.
For sure, I definitely would have a hard time existing without my friends, my cell phone, my car, my spirituality, my pets and golf. I say, tell it like it is.
TIP 6: GET READY
If all your photos are posted, all the questions are answered and your essay is complete, you can go to work. You will probably need a lot of coffee, a pen and paper to take notes, a clear and open mind and the ability to take rejection over and over again.
You will learn quickly that no matter how hard you work on your introductory email to a potential date, if they are not interested the chances of him or her answering your message is infinitesimal.
Are people just rude and self-centered, or are they just lazy and uncaring? I really don’t know. But I do know that I send a polite reply to every woman who takes the time to write to me whether I am interested in starting a dialog with her or not. I figure if I need closure, so do they.
On the rare occasion that I do get a response from a woman who is not interested in continuing a conversation, she almost always says, “Good luck in your search.” So that’s what I am going to wish all of you. And if you are ever on POF or OK Cupid, feel free to send me a note; my screen name is QuiteASport on both and I guarantee that you will get a response from me.