Amber and anyone else wise to the wily ways of the beast that is online dating — and, of course, dating in general — will tell you that one of the most important things you can do is be yourself. Yes, you’ve heard it time and time again to the point that it’s practically cliché. Be yourself because who else can you be? Show your true colors. Be true to yourself. Keep your pants on at the dinner table. Ok, that last one was mainly just a reminder for my own future reference. I get confused sometimes.
Yes, showing your true personality is crucial in finding the right mate. After all, why go through the motions of creating a completely false, glossy version of yourself, knowing full well that sweet, chocolatey Magic Shell is going to be blown away the first time you accidentally laugh so hard you fart or irately shriek at another driver in rush hour traffic? But how much of yourself up front is too much? Is there such a thing as being too open of a book?
Are you an animal lover? Do you adore your pets? By all means, write about them. Post photos of yourself playing with the dogs outside, napping with the cat in your lap, or making kissy faces at your parrot. But don’t have your pets in every single photo, and don’t post 20 photos, 5 of them of you, and 15 of your animal farm without you anywhere in the frame. One might argue that your future mate would essentially be in a relationship with your pets, as well, but Fido doesn’t look nearly as good in tight jeans as you do. And if you think he does, then I suspect we can find a few special chat rooms for you with minimal Googling.
Do you have a bawdy sense of humor and a potty mouth? Mention that in your profile, or find a clever way to make that clear without getting booted off the website. However, don’t immediately bust out every curse word and raunchy sex joke in the first email. While it’s important to be open about who you are, some people aren’t comfortable talking about certain subject matters until they get to know someone better. They might very well have a very similar sense of humor to your own but may find being talked to in that manner by a complete stranger to be off-putting. Be edgy and funny, but don’t come off as a crass jerk. Unless that’s your thing (if so, meet me behind the dumpster at Panda Express — bring an awl and a heavy poncho).
Do you have an unusual or fringe interest or hobby some might consider to be odd? If you are a huge Star Trek fan and attend conventions in homemade costumes, go ahead and mention that in your profile, but make it clear that there is a lot more to you than Star Trek. If you are a Star Trek fan to the point that you own no flatware that isn’t embossed with a Starfleet insignia, and you’ve quit your job to hide full time in William Shatner’s bushes, perhaps you should be seeking dates on a Star Trek fan site or other online forum. By the way, your pastime doesn’t have to be considered nerdy or geeky for that advice to apply. If you like to run in a marathon each year, and staying fit and healthy is highly important to you, mention it. If you run a marathon each and every month and wouldn’t consider dating someone who couldn’t run all of them with you, consider finding an online community that caters to marathoners. Be unique in a fun and quirky way, but don’t come off as a one-note freak.
Are you as dry as 12 grain toast? You know who you are. Top 40 radio is just too torrid, a pinch of black pepper on a side salad drains your sinuses, and anything stronger than a lukewarm cup of Earl Gray keeps you up far too long past your 9 pm bedtime. You like it safe, you like it routine, and you want to find someone who takes comfort in the same. Be honest about your interests, but try to frame them in a positive way without complaining about how you hate going out, hate loud music, and can’t stand being kept up too late. You’re admittedly a homebody, you love quiet, soothing music, and you are a morning person. Positive! Sure that will sound boring to a lot of people, but those are the same people who are going to try to drag you out of the house to experience life. Don’t let them do it! There is someone out there just as bland as you who is willing to jump in and butter your Brownberry.
Of course, it’s easy to tell people to put all of their cards on the table immediately, but we all have our fears, character flaws, painful past experiences, and hangups. Part of the adventure of every new relationship is learning about each other over time. If finding the right person was as easy as walking around dropping f-bombs and burping openly, then online dating sites wouldn’t exist. Or they would consist only of photos and videos of people doing really stupid and gross things. In other words, they would be Facebook.
SuperFriends Friday is a weekly guest post featuring assorted triumphant champions (and ,sometimes, former victims) of online dating. If you’d like to read more of Jeremy’s musings, you can find him here and here.