“I get people are trying to make life as normal as possible, but virtual dates aren’t normal. Then again, I said that three years ago about people who met on Tinder, so the joke will probably end up being on me when I write a sincere ‘Best Ideas for Virtual Dating’ blog sooner rather than later.” – Me
Two months ago, I wrapped up my investigation into the new phenomenon that was “virtual dating” with the paragraph above. Did the tables eventually turn more dramatically than the one in Jim Rome’s studio when Jim Everett stopped by after I gradually fell for the girl of my dreams over a series of Zoom calls? No. I’m still vehemently opposed to virtual dates and maintain it’s medically insane to be in a relationship exclusively facilitated by FaceTime. That’s some 90 Day Fiancé shit and I am not here for it.
With that said, I’m still an absolute fiend for dating apps. Getting a notification that you have a new match has always been a rush, but in these current times, the dopamine fix it provides hits harder than ever. I could honestly not care less about what happens after. If they insist on a virtual hang, I can just keep looking for someone who won’t. It’s like being the main contestant on Next and I am very here for it.
Getting matches in the first place is as much an art as it is a science, but luckily for you, I consider myself the Leonardo Da Vinci of the online dating game. Am I proud that I’m writing a guide on how to construct the perfect profile at the age of 25? Do I harbor feelings of jealousy for all of my friends with a high-paying job and a girlfriend of four years who’s about to add a giant diamond to her list of assets? I wish to assert my Fifth Amendment privilege.
It’s obviously a very weird time for everything right now and dating is no exception. I know people I once considered friends who are dating virtually, people who go on actual dates while wearing masks and staying at least six feet away from each other the entire time—which is better, but still odd—and people who are still swapping spit with strangers like it’s 2019. However, in order to have the option to do any of those things, you’re usually going to have to spend a good chunk of time on dating apps, and if you want to maximize your return, you need to know how to construct the perfect profile.
I could just be projecting here, but I think the reason the likes of Tinder and Hinge got so popular in the first place is because deep down, there’s nothing we love doing more than judging people. Given the current climate, there’s almost no chance I’ll actually meet up with any of the women I match with, but if I’m being honest, my primary endgame is simply gaining the validation of strangers. Will I eventually succumb to the temptations Stephen A. Smith prophesized players in the NBA bubble will be unable to resist. Who knows? America keeps opening, closing, opening again, and then half closing. I’m not even trying to keep up anymore.
My current strategy of pretending I’m on the prowl when I almost never pursue potential leads may result in me being the Weird Single Friend in 15 years but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, my online dating game plan is simple: stick to apps because approaching someone in person is completely out of the question (that’s not a new approach, by the way; I had that philosophy before all of this madness began). I’m perfectly content with exhausting my daily allotment of likes, pretending I’m playing it cool because I’m petrified of making the first move, and if the other person doesn’t initiate, it’s on to the next one.
Shockingly, it turns out this method doesn’t really produce results but it’s enough to keep my parents from losing faith in me entirely. However, it would be even less effective if I hadn’t honed my various profiles over the years. It didn’t take me long to realize you can’t be a regular-ass dude with two photos and a one-word answer to a question prompt. That’d be like walking around with a Magnum in your wallet without packing the heat needed to justify it.
You might be able to get away with it if you’re the kind of guy that even your fellow males look at and say, “Damn, that’s a good-looking dude,” but if that’s not the case, it’s just plain embarrassing. If you couldn’t get cast as one of the leading males in a teen drama on The CW, you can’t just sit back and expect your inbox to be flooded based on photos alone.
As of earlier this year, around half of Americans between the age of 18 and 29 said they had used dating apps at some point and 35% of them have either ended up in a long-term relationship or gotten married as a result. Whether or not you like these online cesspools, they’re where a sizeable chunk of millennials and the TikTok Generation will eventually find love.
I’m personally partial to Hinge, so that’s going to be the basis for the ideal profile I’m about to assemble. However, no matter what platform you prefer, I’m confident you’ll be able to apply these tips to find your soulmate (or, at the very least, get a few more matches and a little more gratification than you’re currently accustomed to).
Let’s get to it.
How To Construct The Perfect Dating App Profile
Any good dating expert will tell you there’s one rule more important than any other: “Be yourself.” This seems like pretty sage advice at first glance but it also undermines the entire goal of using a dating app in the first place. What could possibly motivate someone to subject themselves to the risk of developing swipe-induced carpal tunnel? It’s simple: they want to meet someone who actually likes them. Do you want me to be myself or actually find true love? Those two options are the textbook definition of “mutually exclusive.”
There are a lot of people out there who claim there is someone out there for everyone. That’s horseshit. Take my Uncle Mike. Unless you count a gentleman from Tennessee who goes by the name of Jack Daniels, he’s never going to find the “right” person. Not enough for you? I’m sure the Elephant Man would love to hear your thoughts on why he died without ever feeling the loving embrace of a woman.
As a result, you have to figure out how to strike a perfect balance between the person you are and the person you want people to think you are. I’m not saying you should craft an alternate persona constructed on a foundation of lies, as that’s not going to do you any favors in the long run. No, the goal here is to showcase your best qualities while doing everything in your power to hide your biggest flaws. There are some ethicists out there who would call this “lying by omission” but I prefer to focus on the opinions of the ones who don’t.
When trying to assemble your profile, there’s one question that should always be at the forefront of your mind: What do girls want to hear? If the words “You’re hot” just popped into your mind, you’re not necessarily wrong, but you’ve got to broaden your horizons. What’s the best way to do that? Ample amounts of research.
You can’t just mindlessly browse the apps while allowing your carnal instinct to dictate what direction your thumb goes in. You need to immerse yourself and channel your inner Mel Gibson (minus the racism and anti-Semitism) to figure out what women want. There’s no better way to do this than examining how they respond to questions. You’ll eventually reach a point where you start to notice patterns in their answers and possibly feel the urge to buy one of those markers that write on glass or purchase a bunch of string you can use to tie everything together. However, if you reach that point, you’re probably in a bit too deep.
I’ve probably devoted more hours to analyzing these trends than I spent studying for certain classes in college, and over time, I’ve identified three things every good profile should incorporate.
1. Have A Sense Of Humor
It is very evident that a sense of humor is viewed as a desirable trait. This makes a lot of sense, as I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who has “the ability to make me laugh” on their list of dealbreakers.
However, things get a little bit murky when you consider no one really bothers to describe the specific type of humor that really does it for them. Is she looking for an Anthony Jeselnik vibe that requires you to come to the table armed with a joke about a racist baby that was killed in a school shooting or can you adequately tickle her funny bone by simply showcasing your ability to recite quotes from The Office?
It seems like “liking The Office” is a trait that’s seen as almost as desirable as possessing a sense of humor, so that’s probably the safest route. If you find joy in the more macabre subjects in life, I would suggest suppressing that aspect of your personality as deep as you can for as long as you can. Just augment your profile with John Mulaney jokes or pluck a random entry from whatever article pops up first when you Google “Michael Scott quotes” and you should be golden.
It’s worth noting there are plenty of other ways to convey your ability to entertain. You can use photos that girls popularly refer to as “a goofy one,” come up with funny question prompts, or even put “comedian” as your profession if you’re feeling really brave.
Of course, there’s a difference between matching because you seemed funny and actually being funny once you start talking, but as long as you bone up on memorable bits of dialogue from NBC sitcoms that premiered in the 2000s, you should be able to hold your own.
2. Be Adventurous
We run into a similar problem here as the one we encountered when attempting to define what a sense of humor really is, because good luck figuring out what “adventurous” really means.
At first glance, it seems like traveling the world is a big goal for most girls, but that seems unrealistic. Even if their desires are a bit less ambitious, you still have to figure out if they’re looking for a hiking buddy or someone who isn’t afraid to venture out of their comfort zone by switching up their go-to order at Chipotle from time to time. Once again, it’s a tough call.
At the end of the day, I think girls who claim they want adventure are seeking a guy who is willing to try new things (with the caveat that they’re the ones who get to decide when it’s time to branch out). If they get fed up with what they are doing, then it’s time to be adventurous.
This video really sums it up better than I ever could.
Are you unwilling to drop your phone at the drop of a hat and embark on a new journey like you’re a companion in a video game who’s obligated to accompany the main character whenever they feel like going on a mission? If that’s the case, you better be prepared to get hit with the “I think it’s time for us to part ways” dialogue option. You might not understand why she would want to go to her friend’s 28th birthday party after spending the previous night viciously dissecting every single one of her character flaws, but to her, the challenge of getting as drunk as possible while still managing to bite your tongue is what adventure really is.
This means you have to have things in your profile that make it clear you’re down to do anything and everything. It’s fairly difficult to achieve that through photos alone, so your best option is to convey your intrepid spirit through incredibly trite platitudes. You need to be a “citizen of the world” who “goes with the flow” and “collects moments, not things.”
You’ll also want to list lofty goals that will earn you points in the present even if there’s no realistic shot you’ll achieve them in the future.
3. Be Obsessed With Food
Based on my analysis, the only thing girls on dating apps love more than The Office is food. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a pretty big fan of food myself for 25 years—primarily because it’s been a key player in helping me survive that long. It might play a pretty central role in my continued existence, but I can’t say I consider it a core aspect of my identity like so many of the women I’ve encountered.
I’m not really sure what’s behind this phenomenon. There’s part of me that feels like it’s an attempt to come off as “one of the guys” even though it’s rare to encounter guys who are so obsessed with sustenance. I’m writing this article to help my fellow man, and while I like to think all of the advice it contains is pretty on point, I admit there’s a chance some of these tips could be a bit misguided. I also know there are women out there who’ve penned similar guides, and I can only assume one of them made the ill-fated decision to urge their sisters-in-arms to go all-in on the food thing at some point.
As a semi-fat individual, this is one of the tougher aspects of the profile to perfect. Are dad bods in? Out? Can you really only get away with one in the first place if you’re either attractive to begin with or rich and famous enough to pull it off because other people are too busy focusing on those two traits? No one really knows. What we do know for sure is the dad bod is really the furthest you can push the limit. Rocking one is actually one of the best ways to back up any claims you make about your affinity for food, but the one downside is you have to compensate with enough exercise to maintain the physique you so proudly flaunt in your obligatory shirtless picture.
If you’re going to maintain a fairly regular fitness regimen, you might as well capitalize on the opportunity to literally and figuratively flex. Yes, this shirtless workout photo is a risk due to the Douche Vibes they can exude, but if you manage to pull it off, you’ll kill two birds with one stone and reap the benefits that come along with that avian homicide.
Those are the three primary areas to target when fashioning your profile, but if you’re really serious about successfully navigating the uncertain waters of app-based dating, you can’t just stop there. There are a number of seemingly straightforward categories that you might not give a second thought to but you’re doing yourself an extreme disservice by ignoring them.
This is another tricky one. By now, everyone knows to stand six feet apart while exercising social distancing, which means there are a ton of guys who are actually standing 5’11” away from other people. Ayyyyyy! There’s nothing I love more than a good height joke that’s actually a self-inflicted wound that cuts me to the core because it’s a little too real.
If you’re 5’11”, say you’re 5’11”. If you add that extra inch, girls are going to think you’re 5’10″—which is the same conundrum people who are really six-feet tall are forced to deal with, as dating apps exist in a weird alternate reality where no one is actually 6’1″. I came up with a bit of a workaround for my Hinge profile but I should warn you I don’t have any quantifiable evidence to prove it’s worked.
Most apps usually want you to answer some variation of “Do you drink or use drugs?” like a bunch of narcs when they should really just ask one simple question: “Are you cool?” You could maybe throw a “;-)” at the end to make sure people get the hint, but that should really cover it.
This is admittedly a pretty invaluable section when it comes to screening a potential partner—as long as the other person is telling the truth. If you’re like me, honesty is simply off the table. You obviously don’t have to lie about drinking but you probably have to lie about your drink of choice, as you will be masquerading as a man whose perfect night involves opening a bottle of rosé and eating literally any food (because you’re obsessed with all of them) while watching The Office.
As for drugs? This will likely be the first time in a decade where you do what D.A.R.E. told you to: just say no. This includes smoking cigs and consuming marijuana in any form, so it should go without saying that it also applies to the other options Hinge presents you with (although I doubt many people opt to type in “a fuckload of opioids” when they get to “Other”). After all, no girl has ever excitedly texted her group chat to brag about finally meeting a guy who smokes a pack of Marb Reds every day.
As is the case with the overall goal here, you want to do everything you can to make it appear like you have your life together. If you admit your ideal Tuesday involves sparking a grape Swisher in the afternoon, don’t be shocked when you get passed on quicker than the blunt (am I proud of that joke? No. It’s a 6/10 at best, but I had to do it).
Isn’t this what LinkedIn is for? Why do I have to disclose that I currently don’t have a job? I honestly feel like these apps are mocking me. “Oh, you’re desperate for love and aggressively unemployed? You’re really killing life right now, Tj. This is definitely going to ultimately end how you’re hoping it will.”
If you actually have a job, then the best thing you can do is just put your real profession. Feel free to drastically overstate the importance of your day-to-day responsibilities on the actual date but it’s best to be honest about your title because (again) LinkedIn is a thing that exists.
However, let’s say you’re currently out of work due to the current state of the world (even if you were actually fired for being a horrific salesman). You have a couple of choices. The first is to not even list an occupation to add an air of intrigue and mystery and the other is to make up something funny. I like that second one because it allows you to supplement the aforementioned “sense of humor” category; you can play around a bit and flex your creativity while proving you can be a little silly—like this:
There’s nothing I’d love more than to just eliminate this entirely. If you’re one of those cool nerds who went to a top-level school and are also able to convince people to have sex with you, there’s not much of a downside, but if you’re just a dude who got a 2.7 at SUNY Binghamton, it won’t do much for you.
I guess proving you went to college isn’t going to hurt, but more often than not, the only thing that’s going to come out of it is matching with someone who went to the same school who will rattle off the names of seven people they knew that you’ll say “sound familiar” even though you’ve never heard of them in your life.
This is one of those ones where you should just blatantly lie. You may adamantly believe the only “God” that exists is whoever created the simulation we reside in, but A) sharing that belief isn’t going to do you any favors and B) the majority of people you encounter are lying too.
So what’s the right move here? Just list whatever religion you were indoctrinated into as a kid before you abandoned it entirely. Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Scientologist—it doesn’t really matter. When you put some sort of faith on an app, you instantly boost your marketability.
It’s a great way to give the impression that your moral compass is fully functional as opposed to perpetually spinning and it’ll also come in handy if you ever get invited to meet someone’s parents, as they can take solace in knowing a religious man like yourself would never pressure their daughter into committing impure acts before marriage
Ohhhhh boy. This is quite the conundrum. In this day and age, you probably want to go with “Liberal” and literally nothing else because that’s what plays online in the current climate. I’m not saying it’s right or fair, but the reality is listing anything right of center will result in most people seeing a flag as red as a Make America Great Again hat.
There are a lot of people out there who aren’t necessarily apolitical but who largely stay out of the fray. They don’t spend all day on Twitter engaged in a war of words with an algorithm hosted on a server in a former Soviet Republic because they realize that’s an objectively unhealthy lifestyle to lead. They’re not constantly on the prowl for breaking news, and on the occasions they do encounter a notable story, they’ll either react by thinking “Hmmm, that’s nice” or “Oh dear, that person probably shouldn’t have done that” before immediately moving on.
To be honest, I’d just stray away from this issue entirely, whether you’re generally passionate about politics are simply doing some good, old-fashioned virtue signaling. If a girl is afraid she won’t be able to bring you home for the holidays because it’ll result in dinner being ruined when you and Aunt Judy exchange some choice words while debating immigration policy, she’ll probably decline to match with you in the first place. If you leave it blank, there’s nothing stopping you from broaching the issue on the first date by following up her question about what love language you speak with “So what are your thoughts on assisted suicide?”
Welp, that’s basically it. I’m not sure what more you could ask for when it comes to a guide concerning the perfect dating profile. Am I guaranteeing you’ll now be able to land a girlfriend by the end of the summer? Of course not. The actual groundwork of meeting up, being funny, interesting, smooth, and then setting up a second date is a fucking nightmare and I have nothing to contribute on any of those fronts.
By the way, while doing my research for this article. I came across a young lady who—if you remember my (apparently very controversial) Beach House vs. Lake House article—may very well be my soulmate.
Wish me luck.