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How to read an online profile

Posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 in dating, Honesty, Relationships, Singles

“I need your help,” Sara e-mailed me.

“That’s what I’m here for. Dish, girlfriend,” I e-mailed back.

“Please come over tonight and help me look through the latest batch of OKCupid profiles.”

Not quite the evening I had in mind, but since I didn’t have anything in my tired, middle-aged mind, I said OK. If nothing else, reading online profiles is always entertaining.

When I arrived, she’d already bookmarked several potentials.

“I kind of like this guy, Mr. ‘I Believe in Magic.'”

“Are you kidding?” I asked. “You’re going to judge
a guy by his headline, and a cliched one at that?”    

“Well, it’s kind of sweet.”

“Sweet, great. What does he look like?”

“See, Kat. That’s the difference between you and me. You focus on the physical and I go for the big picture.”

“That’s not true! I look at the whole profile.”

After the picture.”

“Hey, physical matters. That’s the first thing we’d notice if we saw each other on the street.”


“Anyway, at least I’m not looking at his income

“I do, eventually.”

Not me. And it’s just plain weird that dating sites even ask for that; I never revealed mine because
it’s no one’s business! Even my parents don’t know how much I make — why should some 60-year-old from Turlock who thinks I’m Ms. Right (although evidently, PlentyofFish demands it, according to Online Dating Insider)?

But as “shallow” as I may be — or “picky,” if you believe Lori “Marry Him!” Gottlieb — by paying attention to the physical, I wouldn’t be surprised if more women care more about a guy’s income than his picture.

I know a lot of people don’t like online dating or at least feel conflicted by it (like Dad’s House) but, you know what — they’re wrong. Online dating is just another way to meet people. It doesn’t guarantee you anything beyond that, so you have to let go of any expectations. Really, any.

Still, what is it that we’re looking for when we scroll through all the profiles of men we might want to meet?  What matters more when we’re looking at an online profile? The headline, like Sara? The profile picture, like me (which, I discovered early, people lie about)? User name, income, height, weight, age, interests, kids/no kids? What he actually says about himself?

Can’t speak for anyone else, but when I was heavy into the online thing, here’s how I approached it, after looking in my general area (25 miles, give or take) and general age (five years younger and older, give or take):

  • picture
  • what he says about himself
  • interests
  • height/body type

A cliched headline or user name? It made me grimace but it certainly wasn’t a deal-breaker.

Marital status? Not an issue except if he was newly separated. I was a mess when I was newly separated; he has to be, too. Figure it out first, and then start dating.

Income? Couldn’t care less.

Now, there were times when I loosened my online dating requirements, like for the younger, 6-foot-8 1/2-inch hunk (hey, it was for NSA sex, and I figured all things being equal …) who lived far away (because it was going to be really awkward if we ran into each other at, say, my kid’s soccer game, if you know what I mean).

But, that’s just me.

When you’re looking for love online, what do you care about on someone’s profile?

Photo © Angelika Bentin –

Bring on the comments

  1. Steve says:

    I don’t list my income, I feel like you do that it is nobody’s business. Being inconsistent, I do check income on other people’s profiles. Unless the picture and profile match incredibly well I will not pursue a woman who makes substantially more than I do.

  2. Kat Wilder says:

    Steve — Really? Why?

  3. Mike says:

    The income thing is always weird to me. When I was online I didn’t list mine and didn’t care what others said. What’s always weird is all the women that want men who make over 100K which is about 80% of them. At least on Match. Hey I want a 40 year old with a 20 year olds body, but I know it’s not happening. I think these women are really setting them self up for some disappointment.
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Quiet Tuesday =-.

  4. dadshouse
    Twitter: dadshouseblog

    I’m not wrong. (Ha) Yes, online dating is a tool. But it encourages lofty expectations, and doesn’t mimic real-life. Chemistry is felt in person. If online dating gets you in touch with that person, great. But I’m guessing chances are, it gets you in touch with too many of the wrong people. I’ve met most of my girlfriends in real life, not online.
    .-= dadshouse´s last blog ..Funny Pick Up Lines – This One Rocks =-.

  5. Steve says:


    All of the usual reasons.

    I’m better than most, but it is still me.

    It introduces a lot of awkwardness and potential problems.

    Given the choice between two typically generic profiles I’ll pick the one without potential issues.

    Given a fantastic profile, a person who sounds like a good match everywhere else I’ll consider taking the risk.

  6. Dan says:

    OKCupid? How serendipitous;

    It’s the only on-line dating site I still use. Mainly because it’s free…
    .-= Dan´s last blog ..EVE Online: Old Storyline Intro-movie =-.

  7. Steve says:


    plentyoffish is free too.

  8. Scott says:

    Profiles are all fine and good..but if your a guy and your income isnt 100k or more on those profiles.. You will get 0 emails! I did a test.. income 35-50k 0 emails received and none replied too.
    A week later.. changed my income to 100k or 3 emails that day. Next day get one from one of the ones i sent to that never replied the week before. (told her thanks.. but i see how you work have a nice life 🙂 )
    Now im not saying all women are like this..but it sure helps to have a BMW or a Porsche or a big bank account to date the women around here. Please no hate mail im not a woman everything about em just hate the superficial ones.

  9. Dan says:


    Plenty of Shite is, bar none, the absolute worst collection of lying, phony, entitlement-princesses, scamming, F***ING WALKING GARBAGE I have EVER seen collected in one place.

    Sorry, mate, but my pride and self-esteem took enough of a battering there, courtesy of all the cliche’d broken ex-sluts looking for one man who wouldn’t treat them like dirt, low-minded skanks who get off on having their pathetic little egos stroked at your expense, “dinner-whores,” and washed-up desperate single mums looking for a “good man” whose spine is shaped like a dollar-sign…

    P-of-F is best avoided like the maggot-ridden heap of diseased filth it is.

    And if you give me a few minutes, I’ll tell you how I really feel, lol!
    .-= Dan´s last blog ..EVE Online: Old Storyline Intro-movie =-.

  10. Steve says:


    Dude, it isn’t good to hold in your feelings, let it all out. LOL! 🙂

    I haven’t found anyone interesting enough on POF yet to have those experiences. That site does something to the pictures were everyone looks worse than they are. The owner is a bit of a control freak.

  11. Steve says:


    My experience with OKCupid was not great. The interface seemed more complicated than it had to be while missing out on some basics.

    In my area most of profiles seemed to be from 20 somethings impressed with themselves for having discovered kinky sex and tattoos when the rest of the world, having no need for TMI, seems to have missed discovering those things 🙂

  12. Dan says:


    All I seemed to find there was how smugly impressed with themselves all the women were, and how us shaved-monkey men should be so thankful they even condescended to look at our profiles, let alone make us drive 100km to a date only to be stood up (one guy’s experience. Many others like it, and much worse).

    GTF over yourselves, you deluded skanks.

    The dating pool, at least hereabouts, is a puddle of rancid, rotting grease, and I no longer care how that makes me sound.
    .-= Dan´s last blog ..EVE Online: Old Storyline Intro-movie =-.

  13. Steve says:


    I’m guessing from you use of the metric system that you are not in the US.

    I hear yah about being stood up. It hasn’t happened in a long time, but I’ve had plenty of conversations that were going great, we agree to a date, I ask them for a time and never hear from them again.

    Why is it so hard for a grown woman to say “no thank you”? Oy. And women complain about guys who don’t call after dates. At least that isn’t starting something and then dropping it.

    I guess I have it better.

    I don’t have to drive 100 km or more than a half hour for any date I can get.

  14. Jenni says:

    For me it’s: picture, his age, his stats, and whether or not he’s willing to date someone with kids.

    I have enjoyed the different men I’ve met through online dating. But I have definitely not found anyone worth writing home again.
    .-= Jenni´s last blog .. =-.

  15. Kat Wilder says:

    Steve and Dan — so glad you guys worked it out; I was afraid I was going to have to send you to your corners …

    Scott — well, that was an interesting test. But I’m sure if women changed their picture and age to something younger, the same would happen. So, what are we saying here? And, why do so many guys pose with pictures of their cars!? Good Lord!

    Jenni — Ah, great minds think alike. So, has that experience turned you off from online dating totally, or do you just keep pluggin’ along?

  16. Dan says:

    Lol, I’m trying picture mama-Kat sending a near 40-year-old guy to the corner–and doing it in such a way that he obeys, smartly–and the visual just makes me grin…


    That particular experience didn’t happen to me, but it happened to another guy who wrote about it, I misremember where now.

    The “great convo advancing-to-sudden-flake-out” is quite well known to me, however.

    Another account I read was by a person who worked with a bunch of children-in-adult-bodies who worked at his company, who would loudly brag about setting guys up for dates, making them drive huge distances, only to stand them up, and then proclaim how ready they were to do it all again the next week.

    I especially like the ego-cases on that site: They’ll look and look and look at your profile, but the instant you try to make contact, the response is typically “Unread/deleted.” Then you log in in a day or two, and guess who’s looking at your profile again?

    I could go on and on, but that site and most of it’s denizens–of both sexes–are either parasites with no class, honour, soul, or style;

    Or desperate, broken ex-party-sluts looking for a “nice guy” to sucker into helping finance the raising of some other douche-bag’s kids.

    P-of-F makes me want to vomit…
    .-= Dan´s last blog ..The Story of My Life… =-.