Profile Simplification

I was out the other night with five friends who actually date people they meet online. Five of them. One friend rarely dates and is very picky. She has a profile with maybe three sentences in it and two pictures (she is very pretty) and dated two guys within a month on being on Match. She is current still dating one of them. Another friend is going on 5 dates a week with women he meets on line. I have read his profile. It is kind of blah. The ladies don’t seem to care. He has cute pics (I actually helped him pick them out). Another friend just broke up with the third guy she has dated for a period of months that she met online. OK, they are all still single and dating, but they are DATING! I am not dating.  I should be dating.

I made them read my profile immediately in the bar and tell me what my problem was. The pictures were approved. The profile was wildly rejected. They said it was too long (I was told that men don’t have a long attention span. This sounds ridiculous to me, but they are  dating and I am not.) They also said it made me sound too serious and uptight. They said I should only reveal a few things about myself and not try to be funny. Hmmm….

A couple of weeks ago, my sister sent me this CNN article about a woman who did some experimenting with online dating. It’s a good read. The key takeaway I got from the article was that your online profile should be short and kind of vague. Interesting. The same things my friends were saying. This is also the exact opposite of the advice I got from Evan Marc Katz in Finding the One Online. Well, that has not been going so well…

I gave in and let them re-write my profile for me.  Their re-write seemed a little plain and boring to me so I tried to inject a tiny bit of personality back in there within their guidelines and just re-posted it. Here is a before and after of one of the sections..

My Self Summary…(before):  I have been lucky enough to practice yoga in Bali and Marrakech but I have a hard time making it to class in NYC. My day job in software keeps me busy and is a great conversation topic at cocktail parties. I own a cozy apartment with a great view of my neighbor’s television and easy access to the East River running path. I love the convenience of downtown Manhattan but have some serious Brooklyn envy. I am quite proud of my newfound, daily meditation habit. (It’s often more like 20 minutes of non-stop thinking, but I keep plugging away at trying to quiet my mind.) I have a blog about my quest to watch less television and do things like see the Book of Mormon, explore Greenpoint, and try rock climbing. I have the cutest nieces on the planet that have expanded my cultural tastes to include Elmo birthday parties and Barney songs. I am the kind of girlfriend who will save a show on TiVo if I know you want to watch it and make sure I try to keep your favorite foods in my fridge. I love being up early and enjoying the quiet of the city but am also very happy to cuddle in bed a little longer with the perfect guy.

My Self Summary..(after): I’ve been a New Yorker since college and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Although I am a city girl at heart, I do like to explore far-away places with friends or that special someone. Last year I traveled to Bali (amazing!) and Istanbul is on the top of my list for 2013. I own my own place with easy access to runs on the river and my favorite spots in the East Village. I am a bit of an entertainment junky so I challenge you to keep up with my knowledge of pop culture. My friends and family are a big part of my life, especially my adorable nieces. If the right man were to find his way into my heart, I hope he would be up for and princess birthday party or family visits in the big city from time to time…

I am going to give this shorter, simpler, more generic profile a whirl…..I could not possibly do any worse!

Am I Too Picky?

Here is where I am with online dating. I have been very busy with work. Emails keep rolling in. I have popped in now and again to scan profiles, but find very few of interest. No interest in the men who reach out to me.

Which brings me to the theme of this post, “am I too picky”?

I fret about this a lot, almost as much as I tweak my profile.

I got an email this weekend from a guy who is 6 years older than me. Not bad in theory but he looks kind of old. He runs multiple marathons a year so he is in good shape. He seems smart and interesting, but maybe also weird, and not good way. He wrote me a very LONG email. It is weird to go on and on to someone in an initial introduction. He did use proper English and correct spelling, which is a plus. He does performance art. He is also a biochemist and runs a non profit, but that music/poetry thing is a little weird.  I felt like I maybe SHOULD give him a try, but my gut was dreading it. Does that seem like a good way to go in to a date? I decided, no.

I have to be excited and looking forward to a date because dating sucks. It is uncomfortable and the chances of two total strangers connecting is slim. And I don’t have a lot of time. I have done the so-so dates in the past and none have surprisingly turned in to a love connection. Have I done 100 of them, no. Do I have to? There should be some level of interest, right?

I pulled out “Finding the One Online” and re-read the part about being picky. Evan Marc Katz pointed out that if I am more selective than Harvard (which I have to admit that I am, and I should be, I am better than Harvard), I should be able to pick over 30 people I am interested in out of 500. (Full disclosure: Harvard rejected my business school application. I’m not bitter.)

I have looked at a lot of profiles but probably not 500.  I do have 27 people on my “favorites” list. I guess I am not THAT picky.  But, I do like to be precise, so this task clearly requires a spreadsheet. I am going to record every profile I look at and whether I am interested or not. If I continue to like at least 6% of the profiles I see, according to an online dating expert, I am not too picky.

I did get an email from a very cute guy almost 20 years younger than me who has a law degree from Stanford, a Jersey accent (so he says), and beautiful abs. Always flattering to have a good looking man tell you that you are “absolutely beautiful” and that they “really enjoyed your profile”, but probably not a good distraction. And he probably sent that same email to 100 women today.

I ignored the well educated, cute, Jersey boy for the moment and buckled down and sent out three more emails to age appropriate men who seem attractive and cool. The e-mails were middle of the line humorous but not over the top crazy. This approach feels the most “me” so I have to go with that. So far, no response.

Maybe I should send this to my rejectors. “Listen, it’s totally cool if you are not in to me, but I would love some feedback on what it is about my profile that turns you off, because clearly, it is not giving the right impression.  I’m awesome. I assure you. I promise I am not staking you like a crazy person. Just curious.” 

What do you think?  Should I give that a try?

While we ponder that, I will keep looking and recording and calculating my rate of pickiness.

Let the E-Mails Begin

My OK Cupid profile is up. (Read the highlights here if you missed it). I kept it positive and light. I did my best to illustrate my fabulous features instead of just saying I am this and I am that. I got some advice on my photos. Men are clicking on my profile and giving me high ratings. Things are rolling.

OK Cupid emailed me last week and told me that I am one of the most attractive users on the site. I have no idea how many people get this message, but even us hot chicks like to be told we are hot. Along with this honor comes more attractive users in your match list. Nice.

I read the next chapter in Evan Marc Katz’s “Finding the One Online” and it was time to send some emails. In the past, I have sent very generic messages that Evan strongly says DO NOT SEND. Things like…”I really liked your profile, let me know what you think about mine..blah..blah..blah”.  I was thinking that if I spent 8 hours writing my profile, just read it and let me know what you think! Why do I have to come up with something unique to say to you?  (As I read that back, I realize it does not sound like a good dating strategy.) I have on occasion sent other emails calling out things we have in common or things I liked about their profiles, which Evan also says is boring. Perhaps my emails have been my downfall!

One of Evan’s email strategies is to make up some kind of funny story about something in the person’s profile that is SO off the wall, it can’t be true, but it get’s their attention.  I had a favorite who said one of the things he can’t live without are the three guys he went to 1st grade with. I sent this email…

“No way! You went to 1st grade with Mike, Brad & Josh too? What a coincidence! We must have missed each other at the reunion. Brad went a little crazy with the car bombs as I recall.”

Did I not completely knock it out of the park? Weird, but funny, right?

No response.

I decided this method was SO out there that I would tone it down a bit for the next one. Besides, it is hard to come up with these funny stories and I need to get moving on this! I  picked a guy who said he was reading Buddhist tracts but the only think he had learned was that he was a bad Buddhist.  I sent this email…

“The fact that you are reading Buddhist tracts puts you leaps and bounds above me as I struggle to be fully present for 20 minutes every day. Are you a good meditator?”

Not as funny, but not totally horrible, right?

No response.

For my last try this week, I picked a guy who was really funny and said he liked the show New Girl. As I was catching up on some episodes, I noted a quote from the hilarious character Schmidt and sent the guy this email.

“‘Manhood today is about exfoliation, cheese courses, emotional honesty, and Paxil’ – was said by who?”

Funny..right? I suppose I could have elaborated more, but there is no way this would not get someone attention!

No response.

In the mean time, I have received several emails from men who have not remotely sparked my interest.  Here are a couple of good ones for your reading pleasure.

Well, hell(o) from this small space and from one half of an entreaty. Contents humbly submitted as an invitation and thumbnail sketch of suggested sensibilities which may just be in interesting ways aligned with yours, should you be inclined to peruse…as in fellow fine form of intelligent life as a basis for open-minded adventure appreciation.   (Wow..totally inarticulate)

I really enjoy your profile it made me laugh but I see how serious your request when searching for a partner. My name is xxxx. I’m not searching for anything just trying to communicate with a star. I find you beautiful very appeal to a diverse amount of eyes not sure why you remain single? Your beauty is made up of different things from physical to intelligence. With a women like you any man with a wide eye can go straight to the top. I would define you as a pillar cause ever building requires it within the foundation. I’m sure you heard all types of things and have gotten ridicules emails containing nonsense but I assure you that this is true words carefully thought. You are a fantasy, dream, and something out of a model book but a reality to man like myself. I look forward to hear back from you? I would like to know your favorite color? What’s your fear? What’s your passion the reason for your being? Wow very pretty good luck if I don’t hear back from you. One word defines your entire being “beautiful”.  (This guy’s profile photo is of his abs.)

Are you busy? (Really, that was it. And his self summary says “I am a good person I wear glasses. But I am far from blind.” Really, that’s it.)

Good times..but I carry on! There are more men to favorite and more creative emails to write…

Finding the One Online – Take 3

You may recall that I had a brush with Evan Marc Katz earlier this year, when I dissed his”Finding the One Online” product without giving it much of a chance (Read that post here including his comment on the post).  I was all set to give it another try, but got distracted by an offline relationship and never got back to it. I am happy to say, for all of those dying to know whether “Finding the One Online” can make a difference, I am ready to try again.

Last weekend, I pulled out the 182 page transcript of the audio “Finding the One Online” series. I do love Evan’s very positive attitude towards online dating. He got me pumped up.

I had been hearing about OKCupid for a while and decided to check it out. It is a cool hipster start-up in NYC founded by these guys from Harvard that use math to get you dates! Love it! I am still exploring all of its various features. I will write another post on on that topic. First, I had to get myself profile up and going.

Step 1 was pictures. I had a guy friend who does a lot of online dating review my pics. He liked most of them. He recommended against the one of me and Elmo and Cookie Monster in Times Square. I took his advice. I decided to wait on professional photos for now, but that is still a definite possibility. Done (for now).

Step 2 was to brainstorm a good user name. I spent about an hour trying to think of a cool play on words related to something about me,  but ultimately decided to go with something I have used in the past related to the fact that I get up early. I do get up early and I would prefer not to date a night owl. Hopefully I won’t put off an amazing night owl. Done.

Step 3 was the profile. I spent about 8 hours this weekend writing a whole new profile from scratch. Then I spent about an hour this morning changing it. I considered paying someone $100 to write it for me but with a 182 page guide that I already paid for, and examples of successful profiles on Evan’s e-cyrano web site, I should be able to write a decent profile. I never really feel like my profile captures my essence. It still seems a bit formulaic to me, but here are my “self-summary” and “why you should message me” essays. You tell me if this is a decent profile..

Self Summary… I have been lucky enough to practice yoga in Bali and Marrakech but I have a hard time making it to class in NYC. My day job in software competitive and market intelligence keeps me busy and is a great conversation topic at cocktail parties. I own a cozy apartment with a great view of my neighbor’s television and easy access to the East River running path. I love the convenience of downtown Manhattan but have some serious Brooklyn envy and love the vibe in Harlem. I am quite proud of my recently acquired, daily meditation habit. It’s often more like 20 minutes of non-stop thinking, but I keep plugging away at trying to quiet my mind. I have a blog about my quest to watch less television and do things like see the Book of Mormon, explore Greenpoint, and try rock climbing. I have the cutest nieces on the planet that have expanded my cultural tastes to include Elmo birthday parties and Barney songs. I am the kind of girlfriend who will save a show on TiVo if I know you want to watch it and make sure I have your favorite foods in my fridge. I love being up early and enjoying the quiet of the city but am also very happy to cuddle in bed in a little longer with the perfect guy.

You Should Message Me If… You possess many of the six things I could never do without (see below – this is a separate question on the site). You are ambitious about something and smarter than the average bear. You will carry buckets of water up seven flights of stairs for me if the power goes out. You like to take in an occasional talk at the Tribeca 92nd Street Y  or the Paley Center. Giving back is an important part of your life. You are close with your family, even if they make you a little crazy. You have BFFs from way back in the day. You try to see all of the Oscar/Golden Globe nominated movies before award season. You think Louis is hilarious. You get emails from Barack Obama. You will surprise me by remembering things I said on our first date.

The six things I could never do without: A sense of humor, equanimity, comfortable shoes, people I can completely be myself with, endorphins, intellectual curiosity

So my profile is up and I have done some site exploration and browsing. I am officially back out there in cyberspace. Now I have to re-read the chapter on what to do next.

Finding the One Online – Take 2

Evan Marc Katz stopped by my blog this afternoon to give his two cents on my pseudo-review of Finding The One Online. Not only do I kind of feel like I had a brush with fame (I spent so much time on Evan’s site, he is like a celebrity to me), I also feel kind of like a schmo.

(Side bar: If you accidentally Google shmoo instead of schmo, you get picture of these white roly poly things.)

I did do a few things he advised, but mostly I ignored them and just went right back online exactly the same way I have in the past. Shocker, same results.

Was that me talking about the definition of insanity a while back? Was that me talking about Sisyphus and that big rock?

I am smarter than the average bear, but I do suck at online dating. Why would I pay $200 to ignore someone’s advice? (There’s a whole therapy session in that sentence right there.)

I am going to start again from the beginning. What do I have to lose but time?  I already invested the money. I can multi-task while I watch the Bachelor, right?

Before I left work today, I printed out the 182 page transcript and the workbook. I listened to Volume 1 on my commute home. We started again with attitude. Apparently, I need three things for online dating: patience, honesty, and self confidence. Got it. Next up, I have to brainstorm a more creative username.

No more blogging.  I have brainstorming to do!

Cyberspace Dating Advice

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about how I have pretty much dropped the ball on my quest for love in 2012.  I decided to randomly Google “where to meet men over 40” and I came across the web site of Evan Marc Katz, a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women (his words).  I read his post on Where To Meet Men Over 40 and his answer was, online.  Evan Marc Katz is a huge fan of online dating.

I have not had success with online dating.  I have tried it on and off for years, between my failed real life encounters.  I could have put more time and effort in to it, but, it is very discouraging to be constantly emailed by unattractive, uninteresting men and never have the attractive (seemingly) interesting men reply to you.

In real life, I don’t generally have a problem getting men to be interested in me. I just don’t meet enough men that I am interested in.  My pool of potential candidates gets smaller and smaller as I get older. Finding a needle in a haystack , is pretty challenging.  At this point, I don’t even know where the farm is!  Apparently, Evan Marc Katz thinks the farm is online.  At a minimum, he has realized he can make money by telling people the farm is online and helping them navigate the farm.

I read a lot of Evan’s free advice and thought what he had to say was smart and made sense.  The site is really a marketing tool for his paid products (personal coaching and online dating advice/tools). I started to wonder if he really had some magical tricks up his sleeve that might improve my online prowess.  Which site is the best?  What should my profile say?  Which pictures should I post? Should I be honest about my age? Should I be winking or emailing?  What should I say in these emails?

I considered paying him $3,000 to for personal coaching which would include writing my profile for me and logging in to help me choose the guys I should write and reply to.  I had clearly failed at it myself, why not have someone else give it a try?  I ultimately decided that $3,000 was too much money.

Evan also has a $200 product, “Finding The One Online”, which includes 6 1/2 hours of audio, a 35 page transcript of the audio sessions, and a workbook so you can do it all yourself.  I finally decided it was worth $200 to find out if there was something I was missing.  If there was nothing of value in this “Finding The One Online” thing, then at least I would confirm that my online dating skills were as good as they could be and I could move forward and get back online. (I am a sucker for a good sales person.)

Since I could not find any reviews while I was debating, I decided to write one.

I scanned the transcript in about an hour and did not bother with the audio or workbook.  I am not going to list out everything he said. It is his product and he makes money on it (He is an amazing marketer).  I would say that most of his advice was common sense to me and things I had already applied.  After reviewing his materials I felt like my profile was creative enough and I know my pictures are fine because I get a lot of hits on my profile.

Evan suggested NOT to send standard emails to people that say “Hi, I liked your profile, check mine out and see what you think.”  This has pretty much been my standard email. If you have a profile really reflects who you are, why should you then have to write an incredible, mind blowing email.  I already spent hours obsessing about my profile.  If I have to write a super creative email every time, it will never happen.  For me, I think it is more important to make more moves.  This could be my fatal flaw.  Sometimes I do step it up and get creative, but I still get no reply.

Evan is also a big fan of the phone screen before actually meeting in person. He thinks this can save time and reduce the number of bad dates. To me the phone screen is even more uncomfortable than a quick drink. Perhaps I could do a bit more email before moving right to drinks.  I will have to see how this goes, if anyone I am interested in ever writes me back.

I did agree with his recommendation to spend one hour every day on this quest. You have to put in the time and try to be open.  Two things I have not done in the past.

The biggest thing I got from “Finding the One Online” was to focus on the men who are looking for me. There is no point writing to the guys who only want to date younger women.  I am not likely going to change their mind on the internet.  I do want to date mature, emotionally healthy grown- ups.  This is non-negotiable.  He also reinforced what I had already decided, that I should not lie about my age.

After reading Even Marc Katz’s $200 advice, I did sign back up for Match, tweaked my profile a bit and send it out to the universe.  He did get me back online with a more positive attitude. This is a start! If I meet someone I will then say it was definitely worth $200.  So far, the results are exactly the same (lots of emails from unattractive, uninteresting guys and no responses to my emails) but I will keep plugging away.  It always feels better to be trying. I will also keep trying to find that needle in the haystack of the real world, and I will keep you posted…