“Which Profile Caught My Eye”

Ever wonder what, exactly, convinces online daters to get in touch? Here, single people reveal the tiny thing that tipped the scales and won them over.

By Julie Taylor

sk any online dater what first drew them to someone they’re currently smitten with, and the answer nearly always boils down to something they spotted in that person’s profile. “The photo of him with his dog was just so adorable I had to get in touch.” “I was on the fence until I saw she was a Coldplay fan like me. So I figured, why not
He said he was a better dancer than Napoleon Dynamite and that struck a chord.
send her an email?” “In his essay, he recounted a story from his childhood that literally made me laugh out loud. That’s when I knew I had to meet him.”

The moral of the story: Seemingly insignificant details in your profile, no matter how small, can and often do tip the scales, prompting potential love interests to fire an email your way. So if you’re looking for profile-makeover tips that’ll snag someone’s interest, check out what convinced these online daters to get in touch—and what you can learn from them.

Use hobbies to reveal who you are
Case history: “The first thing that caught my eye was that she did The New York Times crossword puzzle every Sunday. So did I, so I instantly pictured us on the couch on a lazy Sunday morning doing our puzzles together. I also assumed she was smart, well read, and sophisticated, so I emailed her immediately. She was everything I hoped for and more. We’ve been together for eight months, and we help each other on the crossword every Sunday.”
—Zach Hoffman, Glen Rock, NJ

The love lesson learned: Hobbies reveal more about you than you might think! If you’re a Sudoku junkie, you’re brainy. If you’re a surfer, you’re adventurous! Trust us, online daters are reading your “interests” section not only to see if you two share any pastimes, but to piece together your personality. And be sure to tout hobbies that are fun to do together or even romantic—ballroom dancing and wine tasting certainly fit the bill. The goal? When that special someone reads your profile, she or he will picture the two of you sharing those hobbies together, side-by-side.

Build rapport with a pop-culture reference
Case history: “Jack’s profile cracked me up. He said he was a better dancer than Napoleon Dynamite and that struck a chord. I’ve seen that movie, like, five times. His profile made me laugh, and he’s been making me laugh in person ever since.”
—Jodi Murphy, Atlanta, GA

Love lesson: We all know that being funny in your profile is a good thing. Here’s a good way to do just that: Try comparing yourself to a pop-culture figure, such as “I’m not as brash as Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I’m close” or “I’m so bubbly you’ll have a Rachel-from-Friends flashback when you meet me.” Not only is it an easy laugh, but if you’re actually a fan of the show or movie you mention, simpatico types will flock to you, convinced you two see eye-to-eye in terms of your tastes and sense of humor (not to mention entertainment habits).

Add specifics to stand out
Case history: “I loved how original Marisa’s profile was. Most women said the same old thing—that they liked dinner and a movie and were looking for a lasting connection. Yawn! Marisa’s said she loved to salsa dance ’til she got blisters, and her favorite meal was tapas under the stars at this really cool restaurant downtown. Right away, I knew I had to meet this woman. She was one in a million.”
—Wes Daughtery, Kew Gardens, NY

Love lesson: Alas, pretty much everyone likes eating out and thinks they’re fun-loving. The key, therefore, is to say which restaurant is your favorite or to prove you’re determined to have a good time by, like Marisa, recalling a time in her past when she
Visuals work instantaneously, stopping people even before they’ve read a word of your profile.
literally danced ’til she dropped (which was cute and compelling). Review your profile, delete whatever sounds generic and replace with specific instances in which you illustrate your attractive qualities (like that Thanksgiving you spent at a soup kitchen).

Use props in pictures
Case history: “Cesar’s picture is what drew me to his profile. He was one of the cutest guys I’d ever seen, and he was posing with his pug puppy. I love pugs, so any guy who’s a pug owner always catches my eye.”
—Becky Frazier, Dallas, TX

Love lesson: A picture of you with your pet, your kayak, or your beloved VW Beetle can easily give others a better sense of who you are and convince them to contact you—plus, visuals work instantaneously, stopping people even before they’ve read a word of your profile. So go ahead and ask a friend to snap a shot of you doing what you do best, be it snowboarding or whipping up a gourmet meal.

Admit your issues
Case history: “When I looked at June’s profile, I noticed right away that her husband had recently died. I had lost my wife to cancer five months prior, so I thought we could help each other through our respective grief. It was wonderful to meet someone who understood exactly what I was going through and would hold my hand when I cried. Many times, she would cry with me. But after a few months, we noticed we were laughing more than we were crying. The grief was lifting, and we had each other.”
—George Taylor, Ontario, CA

Love lesson: Recently divorced, laid off, or otherwise fallen on tough times? Whatever your issue, you’re hardly alone. And since people often bond over mutual hardships, don’t be afraid to mention major transitions you’re going through—you may end up with a support network and love match, all rolled up in one.

Julie Taylor is a Los Angeles-based writer whose first profile said she loved a strong margarita, a stomach-dropping roller coaster, and lots and lots of kissing.
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