Perhaps more important than what to put on your dating profile is what to avoid. There’s nothing more disheartening than swiping through profile after profile and coming across the same cringeworthy bios again and again.
Maddie Holden, a lawyer and writer from New Zealand (and also the creator of the hilarious – and very NSFW – ‘Critique my D*ck Pic’ Tumblr), was so disillusioned with the bios she saw while online dating that she started a side-hustle offering advice on people’s profiles for $25 a pop. It all started when she was writing a guide to dating app Bumble for a men’s lifestyle site and her editor asked her to take screenshots of some of the best examples of profiles she came across. ‘I really struggled,’ she says.
One of the most grievous mistakes, Holden adds, is what she calls the ‘wish list’ – when people rattle off a shopping list of traits their prospective match should or shouldn’t have. Negative wish lists are the worst. ‘Some women do this too,’ she says, ‘but it does seem to be more of a male trend, where they say, “I don’t like girls who do duck face,” or, “I don’t like girls who use the Snapchat dog filter,” or, “I’m not into women who wear too much make-up.”’ Entitled much? You’re supposed to be selling yourself, not putting in an order at Dates ‘R’ Us.
Avoid the following faux pas and you’re well on your way toa profile worthy of a swipe right.
‘Work hard, play harder.’
‘It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.’
‘Insert witty profile here.’
Cringe. Not forgetting the worst: ‘Looking for a partner in crime.’ Excuse me while I wipe the vomit off my phone screen.
The thing about jokes is they’re supposed to be funny. Anyone who’s spent more than ten minutes scrolling through a list of Tinder hopefuls will know that sinking feeling when you swipe right on someone you think has a great sense of humour – only to then see the same jokes repeated again and again in other people’s profiles. You know the ones:
‘Looking to leave the single market before the UK does.’
‘I’ve got plenty of suits so I make a great +1 for weddings.’
‘“Five stars!” – my mum.’
You might think you’re coming across as a great wit, but really all you’re saying is ‘I’m so boring I had to google what to put in my dating app bio.’
Excuses about online dating
‘Can’t believe I’m on here.’
It’s nearly 2020, love, we’re all on here. How else do you expect to meet someone – in real life? Pervert.
The obsession with people featuring their height on their dating profiles truly baffles me. For many, it’s the first attribute they list. Surely the fact you can reach the top shelf in Sainsbury’s isn’t your number one selling point? And if it is, perhaps you should get a hobby.
I’ve heard various justifications for including height, with straight men often complaining that they feel obliged to include theirs because women are only interested in men taller than them, and women complaining that they feel pressured to list theirs because men are only interested in women smaller than them. At this point, it seems that everyone is simply including it because everyone else does. While it’s fine to have preferences, measuring someone’s potential in feet and inches seems rather reductive to say the least (and no, putting something snarky like ‘6' 2" seeing as everyone seems to care’ doesn’t make you any better than the rest).
In any case, judging by all the men on dating sites who seem convinced that they’re well over six foot, the numbers count for little. According to the Office for National Statistics, the average height for a man in the UK is five foot nine – so unless tall men are somehow more predisposed to use dating apps than the rest of the population, a lot of people are being rather liberal with the tape measure. In the US, OKCupid compared people’s heights on their profiles to height distribution across the country, and concluded that both men and women exaggerate by about two inches.
You definitely don’t need to give any other anatomical descriptions or, ahem, measurements. At least save it until you know each other well enough to private message.