Does your online dating profile need a make over?

by mssinglemama on April 18, 2008

In lieu of yesterday’s sarcastic and totally fake personals ad that some took seriously, I want to pass on some tips on the right way to write a personals ad for dating online.

Online Dating Profile Tips

1. Be honest with yourself. What are deal breakers? What must you have and what would you like to have? Try to express these and then you’ll be on a roll.

2. Be funny. (If you can) Don’t take yourself too seriously, but at the same time don’t go over the top with lame jokes.

3. Don’t post a picture of yourself with your shirt off. Please…oh, and drop the pics of you and your best friend Suzy snuggling up in a restraurant booth together.

4. Don’t brag about your amazing book collection and please don’t tell me how much you love to have candlelit dinners and slow walks on the beach.

5. Pick an appealing username. Don’t kill yourself with a play on words…try a play on something like your street name or your dog’s name. Be mysterious. Please, whatever you do don’t pick anything like “BigJohnForYou.”


FYI: I refuse to do online dating again after my past experiences with eHarmony. And after all it’s Spring – there are men every where in the flesh. The coffee shop, the book store, the park …

Here’s my list on the Top Spots for Single Mamas to Meet Men. Thought it deserved another look now that spring has sprung.

What are your profile writing tips? I am definitely not an expert…I am an expert browser. So I am an authority in telling guys what not to post, as most of us women are … but guys – what do you see on the other side in profiles that turns you off?

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Olly April 18, 2008 at 11:52 am

Hi –

I’m single myself and am vaguely starting to think of looking into online dating although the idea makes me pretty nervous so thanks for the advice.

One of our sites is a book on how to meet the right partner in life and is completely free (you can buy it in the shops but read it online for free). Some of the things in there might be interesting and useful to your blog readers. I like your writing a lot and have emailed you about doing some writing for us so please look out for that and get in touch if you’re interested! If not, good luck!


liz April 18, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Here’s a thought:

In addition to not posting pictures of yourself without a shirt on, DO however try and find one that does not include you holding an alcoholic drink.

Seriously? 12 pictures and beer in every one.


Leslie April 18, 2008 at 1:17 pm

I hate the beer shots and ones with a girl haphazardly cropped out. Pictures are a much better window into someone’s life than the schmoozy profile.


Andy April 18, 2008 at 2:28 pm

I would be curious to see what a realistic re-write of yesterday’s spoof post might look like. When you write that, you get to be edgy. Had a man written that, he would simply be a jerk. Yet, that really is the filter through which we as men are strained more often than not. And it goes both ways, I suppose, but not from where I am sitting.

At times it feels like we are men are answering: “Man must be perfect, or very nearly so for us to let him into our life and let us near our child. We really don’t him. He will have to convince us we want him. He needn’t be foolish enough to invest.” It’s hard to find daylight to seek in the lives of single moms and that is probably for the best of the child or children. Yet, starting out 0-2 in the count hardly feels like baseball.

Give me a woman who is caring, inclusive, smart, loving, strong… and if she has a nice ass? Great.

You are terribly smart and you have so much to say that lends perspective to single mothers and those of us wanting to date and/or marry one. Tell us what you REALLY want in a man.


mssinglemama April 18, 2008 at 3:33 pm


I hear you. I know sometimes it may seem like there are so many roadblocks from single moms, but there have to be. Because we have kids.

I call it the single mom dating conundrum. How do we date someone and find out if the relationship has solid legs without involving the kids? It’s tough.

And then there’s the sheer fact that we are single moms. To date you we have to take time away from our already packed lives.

Let me give you an example: To go out on a date with you I would have to spend the evening picking out an outfit, doing my make up all while making Ben’s dinner, giving him his bath and tucking him in before the sitter arrives. And then (it would now be 9:00pm) I would be ready to walk out of the door.

It’s exhausting. But it’s SO much fun. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing I love more than a fantastic date and the entire dating experience. I’m a girl after all.

But there are risks. And then after you go out on ten dates with someone and decide to spend an evening with them at home you realize they don’t know how to cook, clean and have a horrible credit score … and you’re like – damn. Would you really be a help to me? Or more of a hinderance?

That’s what I mean when I say … I’m not sure if I even want a man. And all too often men fall for us – think they can handle the baby thing and then freak out and leave after we’ve committed to them.

Dating as a single mom is downright SCARY!

I don’t even know how I would write a personals ad because I don’t know what I’m looking for. I will tell you one thing though the guy better be a help around the house in addition to everything else.

I don’t think I could truly fall in love with a guy who wasn’t making my life easier in some way …

He could do that in so many ways. Maybe he makes my life easier b/c he makes me laugh, or makes sure I am treated like a princess on a date, or cleans my kitchen or gives me a back rub.

But as one commenter said in my original Man Wanted post … every man can do everything on that list – the challenge is finding one who is willing to do it just for you.

Make sense? I hope so.

If not read this Andy – my entry on How to Date a Single Mom for the Guys …


Mikel February 5, 2015 at 4:27 am

Check your slipper cutclh nut to see if it is too loose. If it is then you will have a pain in the ass with over heating, etc. After that, if you still have it, then check for air leaks and tuning


emphysema March 31, 2015 at 12:58 pm

"Hey – why are you covered in blood?" If you stumbled into my livingroom covered in blood – I'd ask a question or two. Then, she doesn't mention to anyone "Oh and by the way, there's an alien squid monster down the hall – just FYI…"The sad part is that since it didn't feature cars transforming into robots and smashing things – I'm willing to cut it some slack. I'll take a flawed 'Prometheus' over 'Twilight', 'Hunger Games', 'Transformers', etc. etc. any day of the week.Hopefully we'll get a 'Prometheus 2', and with any luck Damon Lindelof (or Akiva Goldman) won't be allowed anywhere near the script.


Andy April 18, 2008 at 6:42 pm

I totally get that and I could have written it myself. And reading it here from you makes it that much more potent; perhaps more so than a list. And I guess that has always been the point I was trying to make.

It is so difficult to make room in one’s life for another. Children – whether they are one’s own or not – make this even more difficult. But here’s the big thing, that is not to say that children are a hindrance. They are, instead, as involved with the single parent’s partner as their parent is.

So what a single parent might be seeking out in another is a list of very big words. Words like reliable, committed, strong, patient, wise, kind, giving, selfless. And not the kind of definitions that we normally sell to a potential mate. There are no ‘sort-ofs’ that can be placed in front of any of these words. We cannot be ‘often reliable.’ All are required.

It’s work to parent WITH help. It’s unbelievable to see a single parent operate and humbling to see a woman do all that just to spend time with me. She is taking a risk to allow me into her life and into the lives of her children and it’s a great big one.

And that makes the list of what a single mother is looking for a heady one. Big words, nothing extraneous, nothing unimportant. And that is what attracts those of us who want the same things to single mothers. We know they don’t have time to waste on something hollow. They have so much love – tough, teeth-bearing love, gentle and kind love – to offer that if we can break through somehow, well, it’s pretty good stuff.


mssinglemama April 18, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Wow, Andy. I really, really think you should e-mail this to your single mama. Beautifully put. Perfect actually.

Thank you!


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Gayle April 19, 2008 at 8:57 am

Perfect timing on this post! I think online dating is not for me. I don’t have time to flirt and play online with a 2 year old crawling up my leg. I’d rather flirt in person. I’ve been on recently and here’s what I’ve concluded about profiles and my general pet peeves:

1. Agree 100% about having a normal screen name. Biggest turnoffs are names that are really dramatic, depressing, or sappy/stupid: “Steed”, “HandHolderFirst”, “LonelyGuy”, “CompleteMe”, “Alone”, “Buff4U”, and so on.

2. Photos taken from a computer quick-cam in their bedrooms…likely intended to be a nice face shot, but show too much revealing crap in the background …Empty pop cans & candy wrappers on the desk, clothes on the floor, lotion & kleenexes on a nightstand, beat-up hand-me down furniture from grandma’s basement…you get the idea.

3. Using too many cliches and catch-phrases while trying to sound romantic. Long walks on the beach, skinny dipping, your “knight in shining armor”, I want someone to complete me. AAAHHHHHHH!!!

4. If they don’t provide a photo, I don’t even bother.

5. Guys who want to spend their time “winking” back and forth and don’t have the balls to just write a simple “hello”. AND, if I write a “hi” email in response to a “wink…the best they can do is “wink” back. Waste of my time.

6. Guys who write emails as if they are texting: ” wd luv 2 meet U”, having problems with my puter”, “U like 2 golf?” Not a good way to make a first impression.

7. A first email communication from the guy is nothing but sappy flattery about my profile, and they say nothing about themselves. I know what my profile says, and it’s all true. Say something about YOURSELF so I have something to say back to you other than “yes…thanks…tell me about yourself”. Gotta wonder how these people get along conversationally in real life.

I have a lot more to say, but I’ll stop. My conclusion for myself is that I prefer to meet people in person. It was interesting to try, but I’ll pass for now. Maybe in a few years when I have more free time to have some fun with it.


shadowexit April 24, 2008 at 8:24 am

Eharmony notoriously sucks. OkCupid is free and has extremely good matching algorithm.


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