Wednesday, April 12, 2017

21 Tips For Your Online Dating Profile

Working in a middle school, I don't have the opportunity to meet people who aren't 35 years younger than me so I've used online dating as a way to discover new people. I really don't like online dating, but the alternative of trolling for men in bars is even less appealing. (Although I still hold out hope that one day I'll bump into the man of my dreams while selecting avocados in the produce section of Publix.) 

As an educator, reading profiles on dating sites makes me sad for the future of this country. As a blogger, it gives me plenty of fodder. As a single woman, it makes me want to give up and adopt cats. I don't know what makes me cringe more: the abominable grammar, or the awful photos. It's really a toss-up. I haven't had any great dates, but I wouldn't say that I haven't gotten anything out of online dating. I've gotten the idea to create a business fixing horrible dating profiles. 

Here's the deal with the online dating culture - you have a few lines of text and a couple pictures to make an impression. Are you much more than a couple lines of text and a few pictures? Of course you are! Is it fair that people will make snap judgments based solely on that? Nope. Is that the way it works anyway? You betcha! I don't think the majority of people fully understand this. Faced with an entire website full of potential dates, if you don't make a positive first impression, people will skip right over you and move on to the next profile. Period. You could be losing out on the guy/girl of your dreams simply because you're not smiling in your picture.

I'm a sucker for a happy ending and want you to be successful in your online dating endeavors so here's a little free advice for creating a dating profile that attracts attention (the good kind of attention; not the what the heck? kind.)


1.  Usernames matter!  Choose a name that stands out. Don't just go with your name and a bunch of numbers. Bill12345 is boring. The same goes for random letters and numbers - tn76Xgh4u. That's not a username; it's a password. Maybe you like to visit the shooting range, but Likesguns makes you sound like a serial killer. Think about possible negative connotations; don't be like Michael Scott and create a username like LittleKidLover.

2.  Show; don't tell!  This is the first rule of writing. Don't say, "I like to travel;" describe a trip you went on. 
Don't say, "I like to help people;" tell about the organization for which you volunteer. Don't say, "I'm funny;" tell a joke. I can't tell you how many guys have described themselves as funny yet their profiles read like a piece of dry toast.

3.  Be interesting!  Do you have any idea how many profiles I have seen that read - I like long walks on the beach? Do you know how many feature this little gem - I can dress in a tux or jeans and a t-shirt? By my calculations, there should be absolute traffic jams of people walking on every beach at any given time if this were true. And yes, although it is impressive that a grown person is capable of dressing oneself, it's not really necessary to include in your bio. Be creative! Stand out! Stop writing the same boring stuff that is in 97% of the profiles. Make a potential date want to learn more about you!

4.  Use proper grammar!  Although I believe what you have to say is more important than how you say it, I admit that I'm likely to move on to the next profile without finishing yours if you don't seem to know the difference between your and you're. Granted, not everyone is gifted with perfect grammar, but again, we're talking about first impressions here. You get one chance! One. Make it count. Ask someone to proofread and edit your profile before posting it.

5.  Use proper punctuation!  I've read many a profile that consisted of a single 300 word run-on sentence. Punctuation counts. It's important. It's the difference between I enjoy cooking my pets and my family AND I enjoy cooking, my pets, and my family. Don't be a psycho. Use punctuation.

6.  Use proper spelling!  I know, I know, we've already covered grammar and punctuation, but each topic gets its own bullet point because they are that important. Again, you get one chance to make that first impression. If you can't spell, get help. Seriously, get help. If you're old enough to date, you're old enough to know how to spell the word date. Have someone look over your bio before posting it. The winner this week for the most commonly misspelled word used on dating profiles is pique. As in - If I have piqued your interest, please send me a message. It's not peek. Or peak. Or peke (which isn't actually a word.) It's pique!

7.  Don't detail a long list of must-haves!  Sure, you're entitled to be selective about potential dates. You can have a mile-long list of must-haves and deal-breakers, but don't include all of them in your profile. It makes you look like a jerk. You might choose to only date thin girls who are Catholic, who don't have children, who are under 5'8", and who have blonde hair. That's your prerogative. But listing all of that in your profile makes you come off sounding like an egotistical donkey. People shy away from profiles that list such specifics.


8.  Smile! I think this applies to men more than women. So many men out there want to look tough in their pictures. Newsflash: you don't look tough; you look like a serial killer. If you're smiling, you appear friendly and approachable. So smile!


9.  Skip the filters! This one applies to women more than men. Yes, we all love those Snapchat filters, but save them for goofing off with your kids and friends. Guys don't want to see the airbrushed, flower headband version of you; they want to see you. The same goes for barfing rainbows, bunny noses, and any other creation Snapchat comes up with.

10.  Use good photos!  I think this is a problem for men more often than women. Guys just don't ask their buddies, "Hey, take a picture of me standing over here!" so they end  up using selfies that are dark or blurry. Use a couple good, well-lit photographs that are in focus. Use photo editing software like (It's free and awesome!) to crop or otherwise fix your pictures. But don't airbrush your wrinkles away, erase that double-chin, or obliterate 20 pounds. Be honest. After all, you're planning on meeting people one day, right? You want to look like your photos.

12/2017 with friends in Chicago (I'm in the middle)
11.  Use photos that feature you! It's fine to have a couple pictures of you with friends or family, but if every photo shows a bunch of people, it's hard to pick you out of the crowd. If you use pictures of multiple people in it, clarify which one is you in the caption.

12.  Use current photos! Yes, I'm sure you did look better 10 years ago, but guess what! When you actually meet someone in person, they will notice that you look much older than your pictures. If you really want to use an older picture to highlight your trip to Italy or the marathon you ran a few years ago, you can get away with one or two older ones, but make a note of the year in the caption so people will know that they are older photos.

13.  Feature your passions!  Include photographs of you doing things you like. If you like to cook, include a picture of you in the kitchen. If you're a runner, post a photo of you crossing the finish line. If you like traveling, incorporate pictures of you standing in front of the Acropolis, the Statue of Liberty, the Hollywood sign.

14.  Take off the sunglasses!  I'm sure women do this too, but in more than 50% of the photographs I've seen in men's profiles, the man's eyes are hidden behind shades. People want to see your eyes (windows to the soul and all that) and they wonder what you're hiding when you're skulking behind those Ray-Bans. Take off the sunglasses!

image: Morguefile
15.  Skip the photos with fish!  Yes, your cavemen instincts motivate you to show everyone what a good provider you are by holding up your "catch-of-the-day." I get it. But that would kind of be like me holding up a shopping bag to show off the amazing deals I got at the mall. You guys don't care about that. And we don't care about your fish. The exception is if you're a guy trying to attract another guy, or you're on FarmersOnly.

16.  Skip the selfies in the car!  I'm not sure why this is, but almost every man's profile includes a selfie of himself in the driver's seat of his vehicle. The unfortunate thing about this picture is that it's always taken at this low angle that shows right up the subject's nose. Unless they're holding an otoscope, no one wants to see up your nose. Trust me. It isn't flattering.

17.  Skip the bathroom selfie!  Honestly, it's probably a good rule to skip selfies altogether. Too many selfies makes you look like you have no friends and all you do is sit around all day taking pictures of your face. If you must take one, don't shoot it in your bathroom mirror. With a flash. And water spots on the mirror. And dirty towels on the sink. And clothes on the floor. And hemorrhoid cream on the counter. Don't laugh. I've seen these photos more than once.

18.  Skip the photos of your truck/motorcycle/boat!  Yes, I imagine there are women out there who are all about what you drive (but do you really want to be with someone so shallow?) And I guess it isn't inherently bad to show a picture of your toys. If, for example, riding a motorcycle is a big part of your life and you want to showcase that, it's fine to include a picture of your bike. But be in the picture with that motorcycle because potential dates want to see you! 

19.  Skip the photos of random stuff!  I can't count how many profiles I've seen that have pictures of food, sunsets, scenery, pools, pets, etc. Again, we want to see you! If you want everyone to see your dog, be in the picture with the dog. The Grand Canyon - lovely, but be in the picture with that beautiful scenery.

20.  Include both close-ups and full-length photos!  I've found that most people are pretty wrapped up in looks and want to know what they're getting into before initiating any communication. Include close-up (yet still in focus and flattering) pictures of your face and also full-length photos.

21.  Include more than one or two photos!  People want to get a sense of who you are and what you look like. If you've browsed profiles online then you know that the same person can look vastly different from photo to photo. Include a variety of pictures of you having fun with family and friends, doing things you enjoy, close-up and full-length photographs. 

Follow my advice and see if that doesn't help you bring more attention to your dating profile. And as always, may the odds be ever in your favor!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Why Voice-to-Text is Dangerous

I use the "voice-to-text" feature on my phone all the time. I've gotten to the point where I rarely type out messages anymore because -


The problem with using voice-to-text is

1.  My phone likes to change what I say causing aggravation and embarrassment, like the time I asked my boss about the guy she hired. I dictated, "Does the new teacher have with-it-ness." (With-it-ness might technically not be a word, but it should be. It means one who is with it.) Unfortunately my phone changed it to this, "Does the new teacher have wet hotness?" See what I mean? Embarrassing. (By-the-way, he did not have wet hotness. Or withitness, if I remember correctly.)

2. Sometimes it doesn't record at all. For some reason, oftentimes when I push the little microphone icon and start talking, my phone stops recording after a word or two. I have no idea why. After doing this two or three times in a row, I become frustrated and usually rant, "You stupid piece of poop!" This is generally when my phone decides to start recording again. I have had to explain, more than once, to someone why I just called them a stupid piece of poop.

3.  My kids make fun of me for being old. Apparently, saving time by using voice-to-text is right up there with bifocals, Depends, and the early-bird special at Denny's. According to Austin, only old people who can't see "those darn buttons" use it. Punk.

4.  After using voice-to-text for years, I've developed the habit of maybe, occasionally, sometimes, sort of talking to individuals in person as if I was dictating into my phone. I may have possibly said, "Hi exclamation point." And maybe once or twice, I asked someone, "How are you today question mark." I may have said to someone, "Hi comma Brooklyn. Did you have a good day question mark."

5.  My kids and I like to play a game entitled "Bluetooth or Crazy" wherein we guess if a person is talking to someone on their bluetooth device, or if they're just crazy, holding a conversation with an imaginary friend, a crack in the sidewalk, or their turkey sandwich. I'm afraid, while using voice-to-text, I may have been the subject of that game for someone else.

6.  Sometimes people overhear you dictating into your phone and they wonder about your sanity. I was texting Lexi, Clay, and Brooklyn as I walked out of a store. I said into my phone, "Do you guys want to help me build my poop army tonight?" I was 
referring to the "number two" pencils I was making for school. The cute guy I passed as I walked out of the store, did not know this, however. I wish I could describe the look he gave me. (Shocking I'm still single, isn't it?)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The One with all the Fire

There was a brush fire in the field across the street from my school a couple days ago. Brush fires are a pretty common problem this time of year because it's just so dry here. Our school filled with smoke, making it difficult to even see across the courtyard. Our principal was immediately in contact with the fire marshal, making sure our students were safe. She decided to keep the kids in their classrooms for the afternoon instead of having them transition from class to class, forcing them to walk outside where the smoke was thick. In between classes, I took this little video of the fire and sent it to my kids. The following peanut gallery comments are from my dear, sweet children.

Then, on the way home, I saw this truck burst into flames on the Turnpike. 

So much fire in one day! And not a single fireman in sight. 


Sunday, April 2, 2017

I'm Going to be Single Forever!

I recently joined a dating site. In related news, I recently deleted my account on that dating site because ohmygosh, this is what is out there.

I'm sorry, but I prefer to eat my frozen confections before partaking in robberies, heists, or other assorted shenanigans.

Usually I just think my snarky comments, but sometimes I can't  stop myself from writing them.

Excellent! That is the reason I'm on a dating site after all - to find a good investor.

First off - ew! Secondly, no one likes the disclaimer of "you look good FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS KIDS."

Talk like Yoda you do.

How long did it take you to come up with that one word message?

Two words! Keep going, guys. Pretty soon you'll have a whole sentence!

I'm sorry, but what language are you speaking?

I'm not familiar with yoy. I love wine.

What did you call me? Wait, what???

Oh, look at you trying to converse using only emoticons like a 4 year old, or a teenager!

Ummm, what?

Pro tip - if one doesn't respond after the first three "messages" one probably isn't interested.

Are you calling me a dork? And using random abbreviations? Am I missing something???

If only I gave points for persistence.

:::Banging my head against the wall:::

The rambling ADD, the putting syrup on Italian food . . . Buddy the elf, is that you???

 You don't sound rude; you sound stupid. Who makes a mistake on their age? Or shall I say Aged?

 Hear that, folks? I'm a good writter. And, apparently I'm a mile away from wawa.

 Um, I'm not a guy therefore I don't have any pictures of my car on my dating site, but if I did, I'd completely understand why you love my car. I mean, minivans are hot!

Is this an existential question?

Oh yes, yes, I completely agree. Wait, what are we talking about?

I just threw up a little.

Although you show the utmost class, I'm going to ignore you anyway.

It's not exactly a smile. No, I'd say it's more of a grimace.

Yeah, I'm gonna pass on you texting me pictures. Thanks, but pass. Hard pass.

Shoot me now.

Sure, you can play the part of a freak, and I'll play the part of someone who is going to be single for the rest of her life.

(If you're wondering, this was just a very small sampling of the kinds of messages I got on POF. Supposedly POF stands for Plenty of Fish. I think Plenty of Freaks is a better fit, however. I'm on Match now which is much better, but still . . . I'm thankful my membership expires soon!)

The Reason There's a Sparkly Frog on the Loose

I was curled up on the couch with my book when, out of the corner of my eye, I sensed something brown and buglike. Great, there’s a creature in my apartment. Before I could turn my head to look at it and/or scream for my kids to get it, I sensed, from the corner of my eye, that it kind of hopped in a very unbuglike way. Great, it’s a mutant bug with hopping powers. Naturally, I jumped up on the couch and yelled for the kids. “There’s a hopping bug! It’s brown! It hopped! It’s under the couch, I think. IT HOPPED! Get it! Get it! GET IT!!!”

Clay came to my rescue and started looking under the couch. “There’s nothing there, Mom.”

“Yes, there is!” I squealed, only slightly maniacal.

“Oh wait, I see it! It’s a frog It’s a tiny, tiny frog!” Clay announced, his head stuck under the couch.

“Ohmygosh! A frog?! Get it! Get it before he hops into my bedroom and kills me in my sleep!”

I jumped off the couch and ran. Of course, I didn’t actually run. Run is just an expression that means scream and trip over your kids while trying to get away and save yourself.

Clay shone his phone's flashlight under the couch. I gathered my courage and pulled the couch away from the wall so Clay could find it more easily.

“I can’t find it. He disappeared,” Clay said, giving up.

“No, you HAVE to find it! He didn’t disappear! He’s just waiting to come out and scare us! Find him! Keep looking!”

I pulled out the other couch under which Brooklyn has a poster she made of the solar system. There’s enough glitter on that poster to light up Hollywood. I thought the frog had hopped between the folds of the poster. I waited for him to emerge and spread glittery fairy dust throughout the apartment. At least we'll be able to find him if we follow the trail of sparkles. I wondered what his frog friends would think of his fabulous new look when he returned to the pond.

While I was standing a safe distance from the poster, Brooklyn suddenly yelled, “Ohmygosh!” This prompted Lexi to look up and scream, “Oh jeez!” which, of course, completely freaked me so I started screaming bloody murder, convinced the mutant frog was killing my children one by one. I heard laughing at the open front door where Savannah was standing. She decided to stop by the apartment because, in her words, “I need help, Mom. I can’t adult.” Apparently, when Savannah walked in the apartment it scared Brooklyn, causing her to scream, which scared Lexi, causing her to scream, which scared me, causing me to scream. Meanwhile, Savannah fell to the floor laughing, not even knowing what was going on. Clay continued searching for the mutant glitter frog while the girls and I laughed uncontrollably which is the only way you can laugh when your adrenaline-to-blood ratio is off the charts.

We (and when I say “we”, I mean “my kids and NOT me” decided to run to the store.) I wanted to stay and stand guard to make sure the frog didn’t invite his friends over and stage a coup. As I was beginning to get hysterical, Lexi suddenly exclaimed, “I found it!” She scooped it up and relocated it outside.

I, as usual, required proof because I’m convinced my kids say they’ve gotten rid of creatures when they actually haven't just to appease me. I got a picture of the frog next to her hand for proof. Don’t let the size fool you though. What did Shakespeare say? Though she be but little, she is fierce.

When I related the story to a friend, he suggested I kiss it. Now, I enjoy making out with amphibians as much as the next person, but I've kissed enough frogs from to last a lifetime thankyouverymuch. I am not that interested in finding a prince. Just no.

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