I’m a serial dater, I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in relationships, but when I’m not in a relationship, I love getting out and meeting people. I treat it like a game, if it’s a great date, awesome! If it’s an average date, I’ve got something to talk about at the next dinner party. If it’s a shocker, I’ve got something to talk about on the radio.
I’ve been online dating on and off for over 15 years. I was one of the first to sign up to RSVP and I’ve been on everything at least once, POF, Tinder, RHP, AFF, AMM, and every acronym in between. My friends say I do single better than anyone they know.
I’ve just returned to Australia and I’ve decided to give it another go, but one thing I’ve noticed is that the girls are making it harder for themselves and potential partners, so I’ve decided after years of experience as a male online dater to pass on my observations as to what makes a great profile.
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Top 10 tips for online dating.
1 – Have a photo. Profiles with photos get 10 times more hits than profiles without. You wouldn’t buy a car without first seeing it, so why should dating be any different? Studies have shown that people without photos are considered to be hiding something.
2 – Have a great photo! You know who looks good in selfies? Nobody. No selfies, no duck face, no gang signs and keep your tongue in your mouth. Get someone who is good with a camera to take a few photos or get some professional shots done. Most people won’t admit it, but it’s the first and last thing they look at. For your main profile shot have a photo of you and only you looking directly at the camera, show your eyes.
Summer style shots make you look more outgoing, healthy and attractive rather than that shot of you at Perisher in the middle of August with a puffy jacket, beanie and goggles. Do not use a photo of you in a hat and sunglasses standing a kilometer away. Don’t use group shots as your main profile shot as its hard to work out who is who and don’t ever ever ever use a photo of you with your arm around some guy, it could be your brother, but it could also be your ex and that would just be weird. Have a few nice head shots and at least one full length body shot.
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3 – Use a recent photo. I’m sure you looked great in 2001 on that Contiki tour, but one day you guys are going to meet and if you had long blonde hair and you turn up with a dark bob, (or the other way around) he may be a little miffed. Smile in your photo, everybody looks more attractive when they are smiling, keep the moody blue steel shots for your modelling portfolio.
4 – Writing something like ‘dickheads need not apply’ or ‘no time wasters’, is, in fact, a time waster. The problem is dickheads don’t know that they are in fact dickheads and time wasters …….well you get the picture.
5 – Concentrate on what you want (not what you don’t want) for example, “I want a guy who accepts for me for me, I want a guy who likes children.” Not “I don’t want a guy who judges my weight or who hates his family.” Like attracts like.
6 – Be specific and genuine. If you want kids, mention it. If you want a tall guy write that down, if you want a midget who rides a pony and makes over 100k per year….well internet dating may not be for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, this will save a lot of time later on and nobody wants to start a relationship based on a lie.
7 – Be open minded. An ex of mine had a strategy of going on 1 date a week. It didn’t matter if she didn’t like the guy, hadn’t built enough rapport or thought he was unattractive. The strategy was to get out of the house and meet people she wouldn’t normally date. Sure not all of them worked out, but some became friends, some introduced her to new friends and then she met me. Be positive, don’t bag out online dating, don’t complain about being single and don’t write ‘my friends made me do this.’ Embrace the experience.
8 - Pay attention. My profile clearly says no smokers, but I can't tell you how many times I have gone on a date, only to find that they are a smoker. Read the other person's profile carefully. Does it say no smokers? Does it say no kids? Does it say you must love dogs? Do you fit?? Don't let the bedroom eyes distract you, don't let a six pack make you swipe right, really drill down into their profile.
9 - Keep your first date short, don't agree to dinner, agree to a drink or a coffee. That way if he's a dud, you can offer a polite and easy escape inside half an hour, without seeming rude. Nobody wants to sit through three courses with a bore, if the date is going really well, it can stretch into a couple of hours and continue into lunch or dinner, but don't start there.
10 - Write down your likes. I can't tell you how many people write, "I like doing anything fun!" As opposed to people who like not having fun? Or: "Movies - anything good, Food - Anything yum." I'm still waiting to meet a person who doesn't like having fun, prefers average movies and likes eating foul food (although I did meet Bear Grylls once).
Write down your favorite authors, directors, and restaurants, anything less just screams lazy and I can’t be bothered. Avoid using clichés like taking walks on the beach, meeting people and socialising. Everybody writes that. Write something specific to you, something that could be a conversation starter. The more specific you are the more you know the person wants to meet and date you and not some generic and imagined version of you.
So go out have fun, be positive, be open minded, kiss a few frogs and see what happens. A bad date out is better than sitting at home alone eating a tub of cookie cream commotion.
Phil Brandel is a broadcaster, freelance writer, blogger and serial dater.