How To Write The Best Dating Profile EVAH! #atwys

You kids are in for a treat. This week, I am going to write a series of posts that give you the best advice and tips to help you datingprofileevah2write an amazing dating profile.

Today will start with the basics. The basic details, that is.



How To Choose a Username

You username should be something recognizable without being too common. It should also say something about either your personality, your hobbies, or your interests. As I have said many times now, the key to getting more emails isn’t sending out more emails, it’s drawing more people to your profile. That’s why you want your profile username to be something people with similar interests will get and understand. You can take a name of your favorite TV character (as long as he or she isn’t a sociopath, tyrannical ruler, or terrorist) or your favorite literary character, or author, or person from history. Whatever name you choose, it should speak to something about you. Let’s say you are passionate about yoga or meditation. Incorporate a word like “ohm” or a yoga pose into your username.  Take an activity that you love and make it part of your username i.e. ShutterbuginSeattle or VivaLasVegan or, my favorite, HerlockHolmes. Get it? GET. IT?  Your goal is to make people click on that username. You want to be clever but not so clever that your username is too obscure.

Usernames to avoid

Don’t use your first name or initials or birthdate in your username. For starters, that’s a perfect way to leave  a breadcrumb trail to your real identity. The main reason why you don’t want to do that is because it screams “BOR-ING!” Usernames that are your first name and a bunch of letters say that you lack both creativity and personality.

Also avoid using words like “lonely” or “sensual” or “endowed” or anything else that will make you look like a sadster or a creeper. I mean, look. If you’re just looking to hook-up, then by all means choose WellEndowedWarrior as your username. It gets the point across. If you’re looking for anything other than something very casual, there’s no need to share your loneliness or longing for love before they’ve even read your profile. Ditch username that talk about soul mates or how you’re looking for The One, too. Forget about the schmoopy stuff. Let your profile tell what what you seek. In order to do that, you have to get them to click. Usernames like SeeksTruLove will only impede the process.


Some sites allow you to choose a headline for your profile. This, too, appears next to the thumbnail sized picture you’ve chosen as your primary picture. These headlines are often viewable in searches. That’s why you want that headline to be intriguing.  Forget about the quotes from movies that everybody knows like Carpe Diem. Personally, I find quotes to be overused and boring, and we all know I feel about that. Your headline should also speak to something about your personality or lifestyle, or it can even ask a question.

Hiking enthusiast looking for a new trail.

Artist seeks mysterious muse.

Roger Moore was the best Bond ever. Agree or Disagree?

Write something that will get their attention without leaving them puzzled or lacking enthusiasm. Forget cliched sayings or movie quotes. Use something original.


You should always populate every field in the My Details or Basic Details sections. Yes, even the astrology one. These criteria are the ones most often used when people do searches.  That’s why you need to fill these in. Now let’s tackle the trickier and most popular details.

Height - I’ve said this before, if you want to add an inch or even two, go for it. Just don’t go crazy. Keep in mind that we all know the difference between someone who is 5’5″ and someone who is 5’8″. When it gets taller than 5’9″ you have more room to bluff.

Age - Shave away if you like, but keep your age in the same decade. If you’re 45, don’t say you’re 39, etc. Two to three years is fine. Anything more than 5 is unwise. People are more forgiving of a two to three year difference than they are a five plus one. You can reveal your true age in your profile text if you want, or you can come clean in your initial email exchanges. Try do do it before the first date. I will say this again: if they find you attractive, they’re probably not going to care. If they tell you they don’t want to see you again because omigod you lied about you’re age by 3 years, they’re most likely lying.

Ethnicity – Be complete and inclusive. Select any ethnicity that applies to you.

Income – Select the income range that applies to you. If you make more than what is standard in your city, then feel free to downgrade it by a hair. If you’re not comfortable stating your salary, then select the option that says you prefer not to say.

Body Type – This one is tricky. Keep in mind that “fit” means toned and that “athletic” means muscular. People conflate those two very often. Opt for “slender” over “skinny” and “average” over “curvy” or “a few extra pounds.” Let your pictures speak for you. No, you’re not lying if you’re overweight and you put average as long as you have a recent and clear full body shot included with your profile. This is about coming up in more searches, remember, and body types like skinny, curvy, or a few extra pounds are not selected as often as slender, fit, and – yes – average.

Religion - It really sucks that people are judged for their faith, but it’s a reality. If you are devout in any religion and practice all of the more important traditions, then select a specific faith. If you’re not all that religious but do believe in something and abide by some traditions, then select Spiritual or Other rather than, say, Christian or Catholic. Choosing a specific religion will imply that you are a reasonably strict follower of that faith’s traditions and principals. I’m Catholic, but I don’t go to every church and I eat meat during Lent. Therefore, I chose Other for the Religion field. If you under no circumstances adhere to any kind of faith, then select Atheism.

Offspring/Has Kids/Wants Kids – This is such a double edged sword. If you’re a woman over 37 or so and you still want kids and you say that you definitely want kids, a lot of men will assume you’re going to fast track them. If you’re someone who doesn’t want children, you’re labeled cold if you’re upfront about that. I think the best thing to do here is to just be honest with the expectation that you might get passed over by many people or select that you might want kids and that will give you some wiggle room to reveal your true intentions in your ad or  once you meet. If you’re open to dating people with children even though you don’t have or want any, then state that in the profile text. If you want to come up in more searches, then choose might want kids. You can clarify that statement however you like in your profile.

Smoking -  By not selecting anything, you’re basically admitting that you smoke, so just select yes. If you don’t want to admit that you smoke in your profile, you should definitely come clean about that before the first date. Smoking is one of those things that directly affects those around you in a way that a slightly fudged age or height does not.

Drinking - If you’re in recovery, then all you have to say is that you don’t drink. You can say things in your profile like you’re taking one day at a time to help you clarify your reason for not drinking without having to come out and say you’re sober. The people who get the reference will understand. Or you can just say you’re sober. Whatever you prefer. Like smoking, not selecting an option says more than if you selected one.

Occupation - If you’re unemployed, you should still select a specific niche. Leave the details of your current employment for your profile or initial email exchange.

Any thoughts?

Next up….Primary photos, additional photos, how to address transitional issues like unemployment or separation, and how to answer and write profile questions/About Me Summary.

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37 Responses to “How To Write The Best Dating Profile EVAH! #atwys”

  1. JayD Says:

    Lying about material facts like age and height reeks desperation. Full stop.

    • Speed Says:

      A person who doesn’t understand that everyone lies and the world is full of lies reeks of immaturity. Full stop.

      • C Says:

        There are lies and then there ar lies. Somewhere between Bernie Maddoff and “you dont look fat in those jeans” are the 5’6 or 5’7 guys who try to date women who are 5’8 by lying about being her height or the guys who are 80 pounds overweight and claiming to be athletic. Sure lying about the obvious will get you lots of first dates, but how many 2nd dates will it get you?

        • Speed Says:

          I hope you’re not suggesting “lying is ineffective,” because the entirety of human history suggests otherwise. Lying creates presidents, generals and CEOs. Truth is so valuable for the very reason that it is so scarce.

          In dating, lying not only gets second dates, but sex, relationships and even marriages. There are secrets that every spouse takes the grave, from the one-night-stand on a business trip to the secret banking account that your spouse doesn’t know about, “just in case.”

          The key to lying—and I shouldn’t even to write this for an adult audience—is that you simply have to be reasonably good at it, and the lies you tell can’t be frequent, fantastical or obvious. In classical terms, we just called this discretion, diplomacy, tact, social awareness, social navigation, etc. I just call it being an adult.

          Those who believe that “they themselves always speak the truth” that “only villains lie,” that most what others tell them is “truth” are not living on planet earth.

          • C Says:

            You are dealing with non-specifics. Yes everyone lies.

            I never ever said that I dont lie. Thats why I used the “you dont look fat in those jeans” example. Who hasnt lied to spare another persons feelings. Hell I’ve lied on a resume in a case where I knew I was never going to get caught.

            The problem of lying about really obvious physical attributes is that that constitutes “not good at lying” because you are never going to get away with it.

            When I was single, I cant tell you how many times I showed up on a date where a guy claimed to be 5’8 (as am I) and I was literally towering over him. There was never ever a 2nd date. It became so common that I simply stopped accepting dates from men who were under 5’10 because I assumed all men padded their height by 2 inches.

            The world has a way of “self-correcting” for constant fibbing. If lying about age becomes rampant, everyone will simply assume that 39 = 42.

            The only time lying about the obvious gets you a pass is when someone doesnt really care that much. When I was single, I listed the age range for men I was interersted in meeting as 35-45. Although I prefered guys my age, when an interesting 47 year old pinged me, I agreed to a date. It didnt matter that he was over 45 or that he was actually 48. It wouldnt have mattered if he had in fact listed his age as 49, because I just didnt care that much.

            You can fudge the nogotiables, but why bother? And you cant get away with the non-negotiables so again, why bother?

          • Gabi Says:

            Of course this got a ton of downvotes. Anything that’s too difficult for people to stomach gets relegated to the thumbs down territory. The truth is hard for many to handle.

        • Selena Says:

          I had a partner at one time who had the idiosyncrasy of lying about small, mostly inconsequential things. It was mostly annoying to catch him these little lies again and again. I would explain to him that it was the ACT of lying to me that bothered me more than the stupid thing he was lying about.

          One day I overheard him on the phone lying to his sister about how well his business was doing lately. (It wasn’t – business had been non-existent for weeks.) Two days later we got an increase in rent notice. His brother-in-law owned our apartment complex. Had he been honest with his sister, the rent increase would have probably been put off. Idiot.

          The thing about telling small lies for attention, to make yourself “look good”, avoid conflict is that if something really questionable comes up you may be disbelieved when you are telling the truth. You’ve established a *history* for yourself of sorts with the little lies.

          Remember the story “The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf”?

          • Speed Says:

            Your story isn’t relevant. A compulsive liar, a person who lies merely for attention or an ego boost, or simply an extremely clumsy liar is a failure as a human. But then again, so is a person who compulsively tells the truth in all situations or drops “truth bombs” all the time for ego boosts or to stir the pot or because they have no social skills.

            In all cases, the best lies are never brought to light because you have not constructed an entire architecture of other things on them.

            The best “lies” are those of omission, eliding, or elusiveness, because you have not directly said something untrue. Virtually 100% of people tell these, so it’s ridiculous that so many people on this board imply they are they angelic truth-tellers and so insist that their prospective partners be the same.

            Truths or lies have to be carefully measured out, depending on the time, occasion and person. This is just common sense.

            • Selena Says:

              My story was meant to illustrate that even small lies can have unanticipated consequences. Specifically, you may be less likely to be believed in a sticky situation because you have put your credibility in doubt.

              I’m not an angelic truth-teller. I’m far more likely to keep my mouth shut than tell a lie though. I understand why some people on this blog are put off by even small profile lies, it’s because they wonder what else that individual might be lying about. Is someone willing to lie about small things also willing to lie about more important things? Maybe not, but why damage your own credibility over something insignificant? Why even bother?

      • HammersAndNails Says:

        That’s what all liars say, but it’s simply not true.

      • JayD Says:

        It is not me being sanctimonious or casting aspersions on those who outright lie about material facts in their profile, so calm the fuck down. It is me saying don’t be stupid because why set yourself up for failure by raising the bar higher than you are able to deliver, and to compromise your integrity with no ROI, for what?

        • PGH_Gal Says:

          Ok I think people are really over analyzing here. Moxie said, a couple of different times in the post, that these fibs are more about showing up in searches.

          I’m 34. I hate to use the cliche, but literally no one thinks I’m 34. Ever. Men have an idea of what a 34 year old woman looks like and is interested in. I don’t like “lying”, but I list myself as 31 or 32. Yes that 2 years makes a huge difference in the messages I receive. I get less messages from men in their 50s/60s and more from men within 8 years of my actual age (which is what I prefer). When we meet, I usually bring up my age via normal conversation. No one ever cares.

          As for the height thing, that’s where men do their fudging. I honestly think that any more than 1 inch is too much, since it’s shorter guys who are the ones doing it. I have also run into many men who say they’re 5’8 and are my height (I’m 5’5″).

          My point is that there is a difference between these types of fibs and lying about things that are a fundamental part of who you are and where you are in your life (ie: a married man listing himself as single or a mother stating she has no children).

    • AC Says:

      I agree about age but the 2-3 times a woman’s shaved 2-3 years off it didn’t effect my opinion of her. Height – I’m 5 8 1/4 and list myself as 5′ 9″. No one’s ever called me out on it. If I said 5″11…then I’d be pushing it.

  2. MikeG Says:

    “If they tell you they don’t want to see you again because omigod you lied about you’re age by 3 years, they’re most likely lying.”

    I understand wanting to show up in more searches, but does it actually work? In your experience, have you had an LTR with someone who wouldn’t have contacted you at 44, but did at 41?

    Otherwise, I don’t see the appeal in saying in your profile that you have to lie to get dates.

    You’ve said it yourself numerous times, nobody is honest when it comes to saying why they’ve lost interest.

  3. bbdawg Says:

    Thanks Moxie, you are very generous. Thank you for everything you do. We don’t get to thank you often:)

  4. Marshmallow Says:

    I kinda get the thought the shaving off a few years or adding an inch or two aren’t a big deal since most ranges are probably arbitrary. It’s interesting to think how things would play out differently if you met certain people in person – where it’s considered impolite to ask someone their age and you don’t whip out the yardstick to find out how tall they are.

    • Selena Says:

      ” It’s interesting to think how things would play out differently if you met certain people in person – where it’s considered impolite to ask someone their age and you don’t whip out the yardstick to find out how tall they are.”

      Yes, and asking their income, religion, and whether they want to reproduce or not would be considered impolite as well. ;)

      • C Says:

        Age can be ambiguous when you meet someone in a bar but I never needed to whip out a yard stick to see that a guy was shorter then me and I’m sure men dont need to whip out a scale to see that a woman is not athletic.

        Age is tricky. Some people dont care some people do. When one of my friends wanted to date women who were 42-50 and agreed to a date with a 50 year old, he canceled it when he googled her and found out she was actually 55. Of course he configured his profile to show his age as 2 years younger then he actually was so theres no justice in the world.

        • Marshmallow Says:

          I see your point but I’m 5’4. If a guy is taller than I am, I can’t tell the difference between 5’10 and 5’11. That’s what Moxie means I think.
          Same with age. People don’t fall a part from one birthday to another. There isn’t much difference looks wise between a 40 year old and a 43 year old if you take reasonably good care of yourself,

          • C Says:

            So if you are 5’4, would you accept a date with a guy who is 5’6. If so, is there any benefit for a guy to say he is 5’8?

            I think the age carries similar issues. If someone being 43 is a negotiable, then someone doesnt need to lie and say they are 40. If being 40 or less is a non-negotiable for someone, telling them you are 40 instead of 43 seems like a short lived solution. Lets take a different number, is there such a big difference between a woman who is 34 and 37? There might be if the guy wants kids. Or say a guy is 38 and willing to date women between 30-40. He may think 2 years is negligable but opt not to date a woman 5 years his senior. Just a couple of possible scenarios….

        • Yvonne Says:

          Just out of curiosity, how old is your friend?

          • C Says:

            At the time I think he was 55 or 56 and listing himself as 53 or 54. He had gotten divorced a year or two earlier and since his wife was 6 years older then him, decided to date “the opposite” of his wife in every way.

      • Eliza Says:

        It may be rude to ask a woman or man their age–but when it’s at the forefront of anyone’s priority–they don’t care about being rude. They will ask if they can’t guage–by asking the obvious questions. A profile is merely how each of us sees ourselves. Some degree of deception is inevitable–to try to rope in more interested parties–as we only have seconds to intrigue–mostly based on the photos we post–whether they are current or 10 years old. You put your best foot forward. Not done to be malicious. When asked though–people SHOULD be honest about their status–ie.., whether they are truly single, divorced or separated. Separated = still married by the way. EVERYONE lies.

  5. Speed Says:

    We’ve gone over this “truth in advertising” topic countless times, but here we go again. Whenever it happens, truth-telling Internet angels descend with their fiery swords. The fact is, you have to deal with all sorts of lies in life—at work, among friends and family, everywhere. Big lies, small ones, white ones, black ones, life of commission and omission. How could online dating possibly be any different? Anyone who fist-pumps “All truth, all the time!” is a moron without any maturity, self-awareness or social skills. A dating profile is not a legally certified record of facts. This should be obvious to anyone on planet earth.

    The core of the Moxie’s argument, as I read it, is that you have to manage the information that you release and ask for. The way you manage this says a lot about your character. You can’t release all factual data about yourself in the profile (or in the first few dates), but then you can’t hide behind a total mountain of lies, either. Likewise, you can’t interrogate your date for any “inconsistencies” and you have to accept that at least some of the things he/she is telling you are lies—of some sort or another.

    It’s both art and science and any information fudging (lying) can’t be too far from the actual truth and/or it has effectively hidden forever. It’s an adult skill, and those too lazy, weak or immature to master this adult skill simply fall back on the fist-pump, “Make the world an honest, kind place for weak, naïve people like me!”

    Moxie gave some great, free marketing tips above. So let’s learn something!

  6. Selena Says:

    If both people who really want kids and those who really don’t are checking the “might want kids” box to show up in more searches, not appear desperate/cold…how does that work out on actual dates?

    Seems to me it might be very disappointing to meet someone you really like only to find out they want the total opposite of what you do. If the intent of this question is to establish a baseline compatibility, being disingenuous with your answer seems counterproductive.

  7. D. Says:

    “If they tell you they don’t want to see you again because omigod you lied about you’re age by 3 years, they’re most likely lying.”

    By “they’re most likely lying,” I’m guessing you mean “They’re most likely lying about why they’ve lost interest.” I don’t think that’s always the case. Look, lying — even if it’s just fudging the numbers here or there — bothers some people. Whether it ought to bother people is a matter for debate, but just the same way that lots of people lie, lots of people are also bothered by it when they find out.

    Maybe that’s because they have some idealized notion of how love should unfold, maybe it’s because they’ve been burned by people who lied about more important stuff in the past and now have a “zero tolerance” policy, or maybe they’re just people who prioritize factual honesty highly. The why doesn’t really matter. What matters is that, if you’re gonna do this, be prepared for it to turn off a certain segment of the dating pool, and yes, even if they think you’re hot (although, Moxie’s right that sometimes you’ll get a pass for that).

    On the other points…


    I honestly don’t think I ever paid attention to this. I guess I’d say better to go with a boring initials/birthdate thing than something “controversial,” but username seems to me more like something that’ll turn people off rather than act as an eye-catcher.


    Try not to be cheesy or cliche.


    Already talked about “fudging.” For the rest, at least when it comes to demographic details, I say provide as complete a picture of yourself as possible. The one area where I’d say this doesn’t apply is income. Frankly, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business what your income is, so I’d just put down “Prefer not to answer.” Also, for body style, I’d stick with “average” most of the time. If someone thinks you’re a body type that doesn’t match that, they’ll let you know. If they think you’re inaccurate, mostly they’ll just skim past you — which they’d have done even if you listed “skinny” or “curvy” or “big and beautiful” or whatever. Besides, your profile pictures will show this better, and one person’s “curvy” is another person’s “average.” Let the viewer make their own decision.

    Lastly, Roger Moore was probably the worst Bond. Certainly he had some of the worst Bond films.

    • Selena Says:

      My father was in banking. He made it very clear to me as a child that how much money people had/earned/spent was their own business and none of mine.

      Why would anyone want to share their income information to browsing strangers on the internet?

      • C Says:

        Its tricky. I always thought it was incredibly tacky to list your income especially if it was high. It came across as if the guy was just flashing his wallet to attract hot bottom feeders. However, I have a friend who (while she was single) filtered out any man who didnt list his income within her desired bracket. It wasnt that she is a gold digger. Far from it. She is highly ambitious and a high earner herself but she believed that income reflects intelligence and drive.

    • mindstar Says:

      Agree with D’s points except George Lazenby was worse than Roger Moore

      • D. Says:

        Depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a reasonably faithful translation of Fleming’s literary character, Lazenby wasn’t bad, actually. If you wanted more Sean Connery, Lazenby was a disappointment. That said, I really enjoy his one film, and while he’s clearly an inexperienced actor in it, I think he could’ve improved over time if he’d stuck with the role. Moore’s films, though, were just too damn goofy for my tastes, with a handful of exceptions.

  8. mindstar Says:

    I’ve said it before if you feel it’s okay to lie in your profile, to show up in more searches or for whatever reason, then you better be willing to accept that people will lie in their profiles to show up in your searches.

  9. Yvonne Says:

    As far as lying is concerned, many short guys pad their height somewhat. If it’s an inch or 2, I probably won’t notice or care if I like you. As far as lying about age, it’s definitely been on the increase as I’ve gotten older among both men and women. Women are especially at a disadvantage here as men their own age shoot for women 10-20 years younger. But I agree that more than 5 years is a bad idea. I have encountered men who are knocking off 10-15 years (and trying to meet someone of equivalent age) and it’s completely obvious.

    Personally, I will cut someone slack on one profile fib as long as it’s not several years or inches or 10-year-old photo, in other words, if it’s really obvious that you lied. More than one, and I’m probably going to think you’re not honest. I’m also a stickler for recent photos. Even if you’re knocking 5 years off your age, I want to know what you look like today.

    Otherwise, good advice here. Another reason to choose an interesting profile name is that it’s easier to remember if I want to go back and view your profile again, since I don’t really save favorites.

  10. bbdawg Says:

    I wonder if anyone has had the experience of meeting someone and realizing that they are obviously at least 5-10 years older than what the age they claim to be? I kept quiet when I met someone who said he was 41 but looked 49-50. I didn’t say anything because I was not attracted to him and knew this was going to be the only time I ever saw him, but I am wondering if in cases like that, you have confronted the person with the obvious lie.

    PS: I am not against lying, as long as it’s “cosmetic” and not essential lying (i.e. 2 inches added to height vs. being married and saying he is single.). Or when the lie is overt and obvious.

    • C Says:

      Naw. Theres no reason to become confrontational. Not interested is not interested regardless of why you’re not interested. In those cases, we just had a friendly chat for an hour then went our separate ways. If the 35 year old guy had actually been a 21 year old girl, I might have said something. Lol.

    • mindstar Says:

      A friend/coworker of mine has been confrontational in that situation.

      She once met a guy on OK Cupid who claimed to be 49 (which was at the end of her stated age range), who claimed to be 5’11” (which was her minimum height requirement) and claimed to be a Manhattan resident like her.

      Guy was actually over 60, under 5’8″ and unless Yonkers is now the sixth borough also lied about where he lived.

      His defense of what he described as “algorithm adjusting” was:

      (1) the women he was interested in (45 and younger) were not interested in guys over 60;

      (2) “height is a foolish limit as long as the man is taller than the woman” (his words) and

      (3) he wanted to show up in more searches because he was certain once women met him they’d be swept off their feet by his charm and wit. My friend wasn’t.

      She has also met guys who have lied about education status (a GED is not the equivalent of a degree from an Ivy League school), the presence of minor children (4 kids is not the same as stating you have zero kids) and employment status.

      Now her practice is the first question she asks after meeting is along the lines of “Is there any information in your profile which you wish to correct?”

      Her position is that she states her preferences for a reason and she does not like being subjected to a bait and switch. Now she has dated men who don’t fit her criteria but in all such instances they were clear from the outset that they were outside her stated ranges so no deception involved.

  11. Tinker Says:

    I think people expect embellishment on some things- ‘avid runner’ could very well mean ‘runs one 5k a year’. Avid is up for interpretation. But I don’t think it’s reasonable to *expect* people to lie about material facts like their age. Knowing that some people do it and expecting almost everyone to do it are two different things. And that is not immature or delusional.

    Lying about your age on a profile does not say anything positive about you. It doesn’t mean you are a villain, a psycho, a compulsive liar or any of those overly negative things, but to be sure it is also never a plus.

  12. Damien Says:

    “If you’re a woman over 37 or so and you still want kids and you say that you definitely want kids, a lot of men will assume you’re going to fast track them.”

    I don’t think this is necessarily true. As someone who does want children, and realistic about my target age demographic, I would prefer to meet a woman who shares the same goals as me. At least she is being honest about this, and if she is realistic, I know she won’t be wasting our time “working out her shit” during the dating process.

    However, the reality of what I experience is that if a woman is “over 37 or so and still want kids” there are reasons why this is the case, and it often manifests in her “working out her shit during the dating process” leading her to continue her situation on and on… and I see the same profile years later…

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