Checking out profiles on dating sites is great for your fantasy life, but if you really want a date, you’ll have to bust out of lurker mode and write a profile. Scary? Of course. You might know yourself by now in a way you didn’t when you were 30-something—but how to distill the decades into a neat paragraph? And how do you create a profile that’s going to appeal to your perfect partner? (OK, near-perfect. And just casual.)
Do think of your online profile as your first meeting with an individual who might be The One—not as an ad for a piece of meat otherwise known as you. You’re “in the market,” not at the market.
Do use your imagination when you’re coming up with a username, or you might end up being just another lookingforlove. If you’ve got a sense of humor, use it; you are who you are—have fun with that. Or you can just use your initials and some numbers, like VK53.
Don’t pick a name like GreatNeckGranny or DesperatenDanbury unless you want to attract GrumpyGrampa or FriskynFrisco. Think about the type of person you’re looking for and choose your handle accordingly.
Do take the pressure off describing yourself well by picturing yourself well – we’re a visual culture, after all. Pick a clear, smiling, recent close-up for your main profile pic, the closer the better, since it’s likely to be viewed as a thumbnail. Take a look at the majority of pictures on the senior dating sites. Does everyone over 50 have to upload a bad cell-phone camera pic? Just use a halfway decent digital or smartphone camera in good daylight, and you’ll have a profile that stands out from the fray.
Don’t cheat on your profile pic. That terrific photo of you from 10 summers ago might get some “flirts,” but unless you’re a major cougar, keep it real. And don’t take a picture of yourself in the mirror. Tacky, tacky, tacky. If no friends are available to take your picture (lots of pics—then you get to chose), hire a pro. It’s worth it.
Do add additional photos to your profile, ones that say something about you. The more pictures you add that show how you enjoy yourself, the less you have to say. For example: pics of you out to dinner, on your bike, at an art opening or your favorite coffee shop, in your garden. Get the picture?
Do stuff your profile full of real information about you, however good your photos are. Some sites, like eHarmony, present you with page upon page of checkboxes. At first glance, you might think, Nobody needs to know this much about me – yet. Would you rather go to out to dinner by yourself? Start checking those boxes. Others, like SeniorPeopleMeet and Match, want you to describe yourself (in no less than 200 words. Yikes!). Think about the person you want to find.Then think about the parts of you that are similar. Mutuality is the key to attraction—at least when it comes to profiles.
Don’t be dishonest. If you think you can skim off three years or 50 pounds, fine. But if you’re considering a long-term relationship, you might have some ‘splaining’ to do later.
Do avoid clichés like, “I love walking on the beach in the moonlight. ” Write something unique about yourself, however quirky it is, and then if you can summon the nerve, add, “Would you like to join me?” (A quick note on nerve: Try to summon it. The dating site Nerve.com, which appeals to people who are not shy about sex, was so successful, it spawned a site for new parents.)
Don’t make your profile a historical essay. “Make it flirty and fun,” says Lisa Copeland, “The Dating Coach Who Makes Dating Fun and Easier for those over 50.” “The only purpose of the profile is to get the attention of potential partners so they’ll want to contact you. Leave your life story for later.”
Do update your profile often. A few tweaks can send your profile back to top billing. Just got back from a trip to France? Add it. What better way to show that you’re active and living life to the fullest?
Don’t forget to be funny. Most human beings like to laugh and want somebody to laugh with them—joint pain and all. If you’re even just a little bit funny in real life, add a joke here and there.