So, I recently had the opportunity to see some online dating profiles from a site other than Catholic Match. As a CatholicMatch Institute contributor, this is “manna from heaven” for me, because now, when I’m writing about things people do (and mistakes people make) in online dating, I can point to these anonymous examples without singling out anybody here, or sending readers scurrying into the CatholicMatch profiles to see who wrote it.
And oh boy, did I ever find a lot of examples.
I want to start with one of my biggest pet peeves, the one wherein the profile attempts to tell the profile reader something that the profile reader would be better off discovering by him or herself.
Case in point: people who use their profile to tell prospective dates how good-looking they are. I see lots and lots of violations in this regard. But my favorite was found in the “things I can’t live without” category. One gentleman wrote: “A mirror to see how sexy I am.”
Gee, what a charmer.
See, here’s the problem. Your profile, if you have any proficiency in online dating at all, will prominently feature a picture, (or even several) of you, preferably. The idea is that anybody who is interested in getting to know you better will look at those pictures, and will decide for him or herself whether he or she thinks you are attractive.
Here’s a “mixed message” you don’t want to happen: Your profile says that you think you’re beautiful. Or highly attractive. Or so sexy that you can’t bear to be away from your own reflection. But a potential date looks at a photo of that very same visage and says “Really? I’m not seeing it.”
Now you don’t just look unattractive. You look a little foolish, too.
I saw another profile of a gentleman who tried to get around the whole photo issue by refusing to post a photo “because I wish to be judged on more than my physical appearance” and then went on to describe his own visage in glowing terms. The message he gave is: “I’m so beautiful that if you see me, the radiance will overshadow my other traits. I must protect you from my attractiveness until the time is right.”
An update says he later relented and posted his picture, because so many people pointed out the ridiculousness of what he was doing.
But, you say, I posted a picture, and I AM attractive! It’s so obvious, everyone will agree. Still, do you think it’s in any way helpful to point it out? Your profile is your chance to discuss what you think is important—about yourself, about the person you’re looking for, and about the world at large. You don’t have a whole lot of words to do that in. Pointing out your own physical attractiveness doesn’t make you any more attractive, but it does tell the world that you think it’s a big deal, and a big part of what you feel you have to offer the world.
There’s a country song called “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful,” and it sums up the kind of woman I think a lot of men are looking for, and conversely the kind of man a lot of women are looking for. Physical attractiveness is nice, of course. But what’s even more attractive is somebody who isn’t aware of it, who doesn’t make a big deal out of it, who focuses on living in the world and loving other people instead of obsessing over his or her own beauty.
My four-year-old niece walked into the bedroom one night, wearing pajamas that said “Pretty Girl,” and declared “It says Pwetty Gail ‘cause I’m PWETTY!” Very cute behavior for a four year old. Not so pretty at 24, or 34, or 44 or beyond.
And so—in my humble opinion—whether you’re attractive or not, saying you’re attractive in your profile description makes you less attractive to potential dates. It says that you’re vain. It implies a certain narcissistic streak. I don’t know, there may be people out there looking for narcissists. If that’s the kind of person you’re looking for, go for it.
Otherwise, my advise would be to post a picture, talk about the traits the picture doesn’t show, and leave the beauty to the eyes of the beholder.