Why Are You Getting Crappy, Unimaginative Messages?

I’ve cracked the case. I’ve discovered one of the biggest scourges of online dating success, for both men and women.

This, ladies and gentleman, is why you never get any good messages from people you find hot:

  • Your profile contains 0 proper nouns 

Okay, so I didn’t do a scientific study to establish this, but it is, in my humble opinion, an open-and-shut case. I’ve studied thousands (no, I mean, thousands) of women’s dating profiles, and at this point, hundreds of guys’ profiles (no, I haven’t gone to bat for the other team; I’ve started reviewing guys’ profiles to help improve them). And the problem is pernicious and persistent for both genders.

This is how it typically goes for a woman:

  • Check out a guy’s profile
  • It’s generic, boring, bland, blah
  • This guy doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
  • Why should I message him?
  • I can’t think of a reason.
  • NEXT!

Girls, you are guilty of this too — and this is what the experience is like, from a guy’s perspective:

  • Check out a girl’s profile
  • It’s generic, boring, bland, blah
  • There is literally nothing in her profile I can reference, make a joke about, etc.
  • So what do I message her?
  • I can’t think of anything.
  • Wait, maybe I’m supposed to make something up that’s witty, but it’ll sound generic and copy-paste without any reference to her profile.
  • Too much effort.
  • NEXT!

And that’s just for average-looking girls. The bland-profile problem seems to be exacerbated for better-looking girls — or to be more precise, for the girls I can deduce spend more time thinking about their appearance, as evidenced by the numerous “hot” photos they’ve posted, the amount of time they spend in makeup, with hair done, cleavage-enhanced, etc.

Here’s how things go for those “hot” girls:

  • Check out a girl’s profile
  • It’s generic, boring, bland, blah.
  • She’s given me ZERO opportunity to relate to her as a human being.
  • But wait, she’s hot.
  • So what do I message her, “You’re hot?”
  • I guess I’ll just do that then. It’s my only chance.
  • Woman is all like, “Ewww, guys are just after me for my looks!”


(Hot) women, you are complicit in the type of messages you get!

If you are tired of being called out by guys just for your looks, then please, for God’s sake, give us something else to call you out for! 

If you’re tired of getting these crappy, unimaginative messages, maybe it’s because you have a crappy, unimaginative profile!

But wait, I hear you say. I’m a hot woman! “Effort” is anathema to me! I put my effort into my appearance, and in uploading hot photos to the site!

Then don’t be disappointed when that’s all guys comment on.

If your social and reproductive value is primarily in how hot you are, don’t be surprised when guys pick up on that, and ask to date you simply for that reason. There’s a sick double standard in asking you girls to be pretty, and then asking you to get mad at guys who comment on the fact that you’re pretty.

It’s easier in person because in person, I get a sense for your personality, goals and ambitions in the first microsecond I meet you. I don’t know I know these things, but I do, and they enable me to relate to you as a human being.

On the internet, all I have is photos and text — you might as well be a dog I’m thinking of adopting. If you’ve failed to do a really good job convey your unique personality in those photos and text — and let me be clear, this is not easy to do — then it’s an almost hopeless game for both of us.

(And, yes, I know most of the guys commenting in your looks are doing it in an incompetent way. We’ll leave a discussion of competent vs. incompetent male attention for another day. For today, I’m just trying to drive the point home: bland profile = bland messages.)

One of the big sins of online dating is that it equalizes the playing field, i.e., it doesn’t take into account male and female sex and gender and value differences. So, until a site comes along that does, you might have to think and behave a little outside-the-box in order to get the results you want.

It’s really simple: don’t want to be objectified? Stop objectifying yourself. Put the cleavage away. Show us pictures of you cuddling your cat in a sweater while sitting on a stack of Great Literature instead.

You know what attracts smart guys? Mystery, intrigue, and a commensurate display of intelligence on your part. Guys like solving problems and puzzles. Give them a freakin’ puzzle to solve. Give them an obstacle to crash through. (And no, that obstacle shouldn’t be “I’m not on here much.”)

And please, God please, add some proper nouns to your profile. 

Proper nouns are easy, and fun. See, like this!:

  • Azores
  • Baryshnikov
  • Chlamydia
  • Dostoevsky
  • Euripides
  • Frank Zappa
  • Garfield
  • Hemingway
  • Io

See? So easy!

Just to spell it out further, here are the clear win-conditions and lose-conditions I’m trying to convey here.



Can’t imagine my life without my
Friends, Iphone, my bike, potato chips, tea, and chocolate.

“iPhone,” while technically a proper noun, is so ubiquitous as to be useless. I love my iPhone too! I don’t know anyone eles who likes iPhones! Let’s date!


I party, study, play with my cats, make a mess of my apartment, and clean it back up again. To understand my day-to-day, imagine this on a never-ending loop. That’s all I’ll give you, ask me if you want more.

Hi, I would really like more detail about your never-ending-loop of a life. Like, why don’t you insert me into this loop, since your pictures prominently feature your ample cleavage, and I am the #1 fan of ample cleavage?

WIN CONDITION (so rare I could only find one example)

Here are some things I’ve done in my life. . .

Collected ancient Greek pottery in Thebes.
Went to Disneyland in Tokyo when all the elementary schools had the day off (Jesus…).
Made Kid Cudi buy me a drink because he was mean.
Played with halogenated solvents.
Dressed up like Ke$ha, only to be mistaken for her later in the night.
Danced to Biz Markie with the huge guy from The Green Mile.

That block of text is almost 50% proper nouns. I don’t even know what half that stuff is, but it sounds impressive, so I’m attracted. And, she name-drops famous people, which is both obnoxious and hot. That’s the way you do it.

Listen, men and women are equally guilty of writing these snore-fest profiles. But men and women are equally interested in the love & affection that can result from a really good match on a dating website.

You want that really good match? Then hang that personality out there — your specific personality, as identified through proper nouns.

Get the eBook! Tips that maximize your time spent online dating for minimum effort. Just $7.99. Instant PDF download. Click the cover to buy

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One thought on “Why Are You Getting Crappy, Unimaginative Messages?

  1. reviewmyonlinedate November 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm Reply

    Great post! You made a lot of good points in it.

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