Will Your Profile Attract Your Soul Mate?

Make sure the answer is yes, and that you attract that someone special. Two writers who met on share their success secrets.

By Theo Pauline Nestor and Kent Miller

e know, we’ve been there: Your online-dating profile has about four seconds before that late-night surfer clicks right by. So how do you make sure potential partners read your profile and feel intrigued enough to fire off that first email? We met on and are loving life together years later. So let us share what first caught our attention.

Tip 1: Get happy; snap photo.
Kent: Theo’s picture was a bit out of focus. It was overlit. But those
Specific details give a starting point for that first email.
quibbles didn’t matter next to her brilliant smile, which was throwing off enough electricity to light a small city for a year! Given a choice between a song that’s polished but blah and one in which the singer’s voice cracks from passion, I’ll take the latter (like Twist & Shout) every time. And I felt the same way about Theo’s picture when I first saw it.

I also loved the fact that she was wearing this Betty Rubble sort of necklace, all pink beads the size of ’62 Cadillacs. Pink! I thought that was very sexy. Theo was saying, “This is who I am!”

Theo told me later that she was very happy when that picture was snapped (she was at her birthday party with old friends). Definitely snap the photo when you’re genuinely happy, because it will show.

Theo: Kent’s big smile also caught my attention, but what I found most endearing about his pictures was they showed him in the midst of other humans. Looking at other guys’ pictures, I found it disturbing to see these solitary photos men had clearly taken of themselves (the big give away: that arm extending up in the corner of the pic). I’d think: Who is this Unabomber guy? Doesn’t he have any friends?

Kent’s pictures were sunny and joyful. He was flanked by kids, though they were mostly cropped out of the picture. This told me he’s a proud Dad, and he respects children.

What completely creeped me out were guys who showed this great smiling picture of themselves but right beside them you could see just a fraction of the last woman who had the place that he’s now looking to fill. Sometimes just a few strands of blond hair frame the shot, or more frighteningly, a disembodied hand rests around his shoulder. Yes, he’s happy! He’s smiling! But what happened to her? And how long till you’ll be the woman he crops out for his next profile? That’s what I thought as I looked at photos.

Tip 2: Dare to divulge a flaw.
Kent: Theo wrote: “I’m a bit of an idiot savant, really smart about some things and utterly clueless about others.” That immediately made me think, ‘I feel this way about five thousand times a day!’ Especially when I’m trying to understand the whys and wherefores of medical insurance billing. Or nanotechnology. Or Simon Cowell.

Theo: I think men, in particular, try to sell themselves too much in
Snap the photo when you’re genuinely happy.
their profiles, listing all their feats and accomplishments. Kent boldly began his profile with a line about “My home probably isn’t as clean as some people might like.” Even though I like a pretty clean house, Kent’s openness about his flaws had a sort of hypnotic effect on me. I found myself thinking, “Who is this person who would be so foolish as to begin his profile in this way?” And I think, too, that I trusted him. Clearly, he wasn’t trying to present a perfectly polished image!

Tip 3: Show, don’t tell.
Kent: Jane Austen never wrote, “Elizabeth Bennet is witty.” Stephen King never wrote, “The old house was scary.” And Theo never wrote, “I’m funny and smart and brave and confident.” But with her profile, she showed all those things.

By posting a photo in which she’s wearing a Flintstones necklace, Theo revealed a tremendous sense of humor. By using a word like “savant,” I could tell that she was smart. By talking about her flaws, she hinted that she can be quite brave. And all of these things, but especially her megawatt smile, showed how self-confident she is.

Tip 4: Get really specific.
Theo: Kent’s profile was void of the usual clichés (pina coladas, getting caught in the rain) and full of quirky details. He listed among his likes “fresh gazpacho” and “when Huck decides he’d rather go to hell than betray Jim into slavery.” This told me that he knows what gazpacho is (I’ve been with a man who didn’t know and I’m not wishing to do that again) and that he’s read something other than The Da Vinci Code (which might be fine for some, but I’m a big reader). Specific details also give the other person a starting place to write that first email.

Kent: And just for the record, while I prefer mojitos to pina coladas, I rather enjoy getting caught in the rain… with Theo!

Theo Pauline Nestor lives in Seattle. Her memoir, How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed, is forthcoming from Crown.

Kent Miller is a single father living in Seattle. He is totally charmed by the way Theo gets along with his son who has Asperger’s syndrome.

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