What Women REALLY Think Of Your Profile

Do phrases like “I know how to treat a lady” draw the opposite sex to you, or send them screaming? Here, women share their gut reactions.

By Matt Christensen

ake no mistake, fellas: Describing yourself is one of the hardest tricks to master. But it doesn’t help your case if she scans your profile and sees a stale cliché about long walks on the beach (even if she happens to like them). So which common lines are too tired to use? We asked real women (including an online dating expert) to tell us which stock phrases to keep and tweak—and which to ditch.

Profile line #1: “I know how to treat a lady.”
The regular gals say:
“While your heart is in the right place, this sentence makes
“Is there anyone who doesn’t enjoy walking on the beach?”
me think you haven’t actually talked to a lady since high school. Cut the chivalry crap—it’s corny and suggests that you read about dating more than you actually date.”
—Elizabeth, 31, retail, Erie, PA

“You’re assuming that all ‘ladies’ like to be treated the same way, as if all women can be lumped into a single category of flower- and chocolate-loving dorks.”
—Emily, 27, nurse, New York, NY

“I read this and I think the guy assumes dating is some kind of exchange. He expects women to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ if he accomplishes such marvelous dating feats as opening doors and paying for dinner, and he will pout if you don’t acknowledge his effort.”
—Erin, 29, writer, Lincoln, NE

The expert says: “Remember the ‘Ladies Man’ on Saturday Night Live? No one who really knows how to treat a ‘lady’ will call her that. Nor does he have to say it in his profile. The man who says this thinks spending money on a woman, opening the car door, and stuff like that means treating her right. But the man who really does know how to treat a woman (not lady) listens to her, respects her, and doesn’t think that spending a lot of money on her is the way into her heart.”
—Alyssa Wodtke, co-author of Truth, Lies, and Online Dating: Secrets to Finding Romance on the Internet.

Rx: Keep it, but tweak it. Unless your wardrobe is stocked with Victorian-style garb, swap this seasoned sentence for something that is more specifically thoughtful, like: “While I consider myself totally modern, I’d love to find a girl who appreciates a held door.”

Profile line #2: “Are you the special girl I’ll bring home to meet my mother?”
The regular gals say:
“This guy thinks he’s wowing me with the
“It’s better to be funny in your profile than to say you are.”
sentiments ‘I value my family,’ and ‘I’m ready for something serious.’ I’d rather see ‘Are you the special girl I’ll ask on a second date?’”

“I love a guy who has a healthy relationship with his mom, but this suggests that this guy is a bit of a momma’s boy, and that his mother’s approval is the only one he needs when dating a girl.”

“A quote like that makes me think you’re already in sixth gear and looking for a wife, rather than someone to have a good time with. The strong overtones of ‘momma’s boy’ are a real turnoff, too.”

The expert says: “Talking this early (before you even know who might respond to your ad) about taking her home to meet your mother suggests that you might be a little too close to your mother. If you’re trying to suggest that you’re looking for a long-term commitment, try, ‘I’m hoping to find someone I can laugh with, be myself with, and possibly build a life with.’ Leave Mom out of it.”
—Alyssa Wodtke

Rx: Lose the line. Make no mistake, dude: A healthy relationship with Mom is a definite indicator of a solid set of family values. But, use her approval as a hoop for your date to have to jump through, and you might as well change your username to NormanBates4Eva.

Profile line #3: “I enjoy walking on the beach and holding hands.”
The regular gals say:
“It’s a nice thought, but who’s actually ever done that? Give me an idea of your lifestyle and spark up some travel conversation by telling me about the last time you were on a beach and where it was.”

“This one might be the cheesiest attempt at sensitivity in the book.”

“When was the last time anyone actually walked on the beach and held hands? This line is so overused that it doesn’t even work ironically. I’d honestly rather hear anything else— ‘I like walks in the fog,’ or ‘I like walks before the sun comes up.’ At least make it something original.”

The expert says: “Honestly, is there anyone in the world who doesn’t like walking on the beach and holding hands? Saying this won’t make her think you’re romantic, and it tells your potential date nothing about you. If you’re a fan of the beach, talk about surfing or scuba diving. Doing so will actually tell her you have hobbies, and maybe you’ll find someone who enjoys the same things. Or express that you’re a romantic guy in more original ways.”
—Alyssa Wodtke

Rx: Keep it, but tweak it. Lots of people like the beach. Lots of people also sleep and breathe oxygen. But, you wouldn’t mention an affinity for either of the two in your profile, would you? Spell out what you really like about the life aquatic (“I love running on the beach before anyone is awake”) and what romance means to you (“I love collaborating on cooking a great pasta meal with a date”), and you’ll have a better chance of meeting someone you really connect with.

Profile line #4: “I’ve never done this before.”
The regular gals say:
“This statement is so condescending. You’re implying that you’re above the concept of online dating, and you’re willing to ‘slum it’ temporarily because the rest of your awesome life isn’t panning out. Instead of saying this, say… actually, don’t say anything at all. Just tell me about yourself. We can have the ‘So, how long have you dated online?’ convo later.”

“I think showing a little hesitance about online dating is kinda cute, but this is so trite! I’d feel more at ease reading that he’s new to the scene, rather than ‘Oh, yeah, I do this all the time!’ but there’s got to be a better way to do so…”

“A lot of women feel nervous about dating online. If a guy is obviously nervous, too, that’s one more thing the two of them have in common. But it also makes you both feel nervous, like total beginners.”

The expert says: “This doesn’t make you unique; it makes you look like you’re using your rookie status as an excuse to write a bad profile. If you really feel the need to say you’re new to online dating, do it subtly and with enthusiasm.”
—Alyssa Wodtke

Rx: Tweak it or lose it. Everyone has first-date jitters, but describing yours with a mix of originality and eagerness will make you more appealing to women in the same position. Try something like this: “OK, I admit it: I’m new to online dating, but I’m really psyched to try this.”

Profile line #5: “I’ve been told I’m a very funny guy.”
The regular gals say:
“It’s not the ‘I’m a funny guy’ thing that irritates me. It’s the ‘I’ve been told that…’ Remember, you’re selling yourself on your profile, so have some self-confidence. If you’re funny, say it. Would you be attracted to a girl who said, ‘I’ve been told that I’m pretty?’”

“My first thought is to wonder why, if you’re so funny, you couldn’t make me laugh. I’d also have no idea about your sense of humor. Was the person who told you that your college roommate, laughing hysterically because you just threw up on yourself? That’s not the type of funny guy I’d wanna date.”

“Don’t tell me. Show me. I’d rather read something modest and witty that makes me laugh out loud with you, not at you.”

The expert says: “When writing your profile, it’s a great idea to ask friends to weigh in on your good qualities. If your friends tell you you’re a funny guy, you probably are. But, keep in mind that everybody likes to describe themselves as funny, smart, good-looking, and interesting. It’s much better to actually be funny in your profile and prove it, rather than just say it.”
—Alyssa Wodtke

Rx: Lose the line. While the modesty angle might work (claiming other people tell you you’re funny, rather than flat-out saying, “I’m hilarious!”), you’re inevitably going to have to prove it. If you’re funnier in person than in print, don’t track to crack jokes in your write-up. Instead, mention how many times you’ve seen Spinal Tap or your current obsession with The Office (specify U.S. or U.K. version), so she gets a clearer picture that you’re a guy with a sense of humor.

Matt Christensen has written for Maxim and WWE Magazine. Instead of holding doors, he occasionally lets his dates win at thumb-wrestling. That’s chivalry.

Want to hear the other side of the story? Read What Guys REALLY Think Of Your Profile

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