Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Would You Like Help Writing Your Dating Profile?

I have a question for you guys. I’m thinking of offering my editing services to people who need help with their online dating profiles. For a small fee, I would help you write/rewrite an engaging profile that reflects your personality and presents you in the best way to attract potential suitors. I’d also help you select your most flattering photos. Is this something any of you would be interested in?

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95 comments… add one
  • avatar

    SpaceySteph March 28, 2011, 5:08 pm

    Gosh, Wendy this sounds like such a great idea. I did internet dating for awhile and making a dating profile is just SO tough! You try to sound interesting but not self centered, and come off sounding boring and just like everyone else. This is like getting help for your college personal statement- don’t lie to the admissions board, but present the best version of the truth.
    I’m taken now, but if I go back on the market I’m heading straight back to Jdate and I would definitely use that service!

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    • Roxy_84

      Roxy84 March 29, 2011, 4:45 pm

      I agree! This would be a great service. I was getting geared up for online dating just before I met the guy I’m seeing now, and I certainly would have appreciated help from an advice pro. If I do end up looking into it in the future I would totally hit you up.

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  • avatar

    Marie March 28, 2011, 5:09 pm

    From what I’ve briefly seen of online dating profiles, many people could use a little help expressing themselves better. It’s sad because being able to express yourself well in writing is pretty independent of what *actually* makes most people an attractive potential partner.

    Obviously you can’t make someone love you through one written profile, and a good profile is just a small first step to real attraction, BUT you can scare someone away pretty easily. From what I’ve seen it’s people shooting themselves in the foot with their awkward writing or odd admissions. Wendy if you could help people avoid that, and highlight their better qualities without a barrier of poor writing, then I think that’s great!

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  • avatar

    suesues March 28, 2011, 5:24 pm

    I’m pretty sure you would be really good at this. You sound like you could be morphing in to the female hitch. And I mean that in the best way possible.

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    • avatar

      DaisyJorts March 29, 2011, 8:04 am

      I read your comment quickly and thought you said “female bitch”. I was gonna say, I didn’t get that impression at all!

      But then I read it correctly, carry on.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy March 29, 2011, 8:26 am

        Well … sometimes I am that. But only on special occasions.

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  • avatar

    Sarah M March 28, 2011, 5:44 pm

    What a cool idea! See a need, fill it. 🙂

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  • avatar

    spot March 28, 2011, 6:01 pm

    Well, I’m on OkCupid and have been getting bombarded with messages from interested guys. I don’t think it’s necessarily because I’m all that great, but I do think my profile is quite good.

    One thing I’ve noticed about profiles I enjoy are that they “show, not tell” (forgive the 5th grade writing teacher advice). What I mean is that rather than saying “I have a great sense of humor and love to crack jokes” or “I’m a funny girl/guy”, SHOW me that by making me laugh while reading your profile, and let me conclude myself if you actually are as funny as you think you are. Don’t tell me you’re adventurous; include a picture of you doing something adventurous (skydiving, bungee jumping, traveling, rock climbing, experiencing a different culture) or simply mention that, for example, skydiving, was one of the best things you have ever done. Instead of telling me that there are so many great things in life that you want to experience, list some things that you want to try but haven’t yet. If you want me to think you are smart, impress me with a clever profile that signals your intelligence.

    I generally stop reading any profile that starts anything like this:
    –I’m a fun, laid-back guy, who doesn’t take life too seriously
    –I have a great sense of humor
    –I am (fill in any adjective)

    so my advice is to try to avoid describing yourself with adjectives–just write about yourself–your interests, hobbies, things you’ve done, your job–and let your potential matches decide if you are actually funny, or the like.

    I also think this is the best way to show how great of a catch you are without bragging or coming off as arrogant or full of yourself.

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    • avatar

      Marie March 28, 2011, 6:16 pm

      It’s funny how EVERYONE thinks they have a good sense of humor, yet in real life an actual good sense of humor, as in similar to mine, isn’t so common. “Good” in that context is so extremely subjective, why even bother saying that? Just one of many things that people need to learn in terms of writing about themselves.

      Writing is in the details people, show don’t tell!

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      • avatar

        Marie March 29, 2011, 12:19 am

        Oop, when I said ‘similar to mine’, I meant that universally, as in people like senses of humor similar to their own. Not to just mine specifically! What poor writing on my part… ironic! 🙂

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      • avatar

        jena March 29, 2011, 12:04 pm

        I’ve learned that if you have to tell me you have a sense of humor, you don’t. If I can’t tell by talking to you or reading what you wrote, you don’t have a good sense of humor.

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    • avatar

      anna728 March 28, 2011, 8:40 pm

      I don’t think I could ever come up with anything to say about myself like that.

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  • avatar

    heidikins March 28, 2011, 5:20 pm

    I would feel really uncomfortable going on a date with someone who hired a professional–a professional advice columnist, no less–to edit their online dating profile. I don’t know, it somehow seems like they would be putting forward a not-quite-accurate version of themselves. Or, as online dating is already that way most of the time, they are putting forward an even-less-accurate version of themselves. If someone is super self-centered, I want to know. If someone is really self-critical, I want to know. If they have a bad vocabulary, horrible punctuation and appalling grammar, I want to know.

    I mean, I like to think that you’d represent them well, I’m sure you would. But even so, it seems sketchy. I would be completely turned off, and kind of pissed to find out that I was attracted to a someone via an online profile when that person had HIRED someone else to make themselves a more attractive profile. I mean, would you include a disclaimer? **This profile was professionally edited by ________.

    I vote no. Big, fat, “no.”

    xox

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    • avatar

      WatersEdge March 28, 2011, 5:28 pm

      Have you ever made an online profile? It is SO difficult!

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      • avatar

        WatersEdge March 28, 2011, 5:29 pm

        And I was on one site twice. When I re-read my first profile a year later, I was like, “yikes… this is not nearly as good as I thought it was”

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy March 28, 2011, 5:33 pm

      How would you KNOW someone hired a professional to help write his profile? And would you feel equally deceived if a friend helped him write it or proofread it?

      My feeling is this: writing is a craft and a talent that some people are simply not that great at. Add to that the anxiety of writing about yourself, which can feel pretty awkward and unnatural, and it can be pretty easy to misrepresent yourself. I happen to be a pretty seasoned writer, and have helped friends write everything from dating profiles and personal statements to cover letters and emails. I have an ability to help people figure out what exactly they want to say and then find the right words to convey that message. I don’t manufacture the message. I simply help people — friends and family so far, not “clients” — articulate their own messages. Helping others write/edit their dating profiles would be the same idea.

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      • avatar

        Marie March 28, 2011, 6:13 pm

        Yes! Writing is a skill like any other- some are just naturally more gifted to begin with but all of us could use some help with techniques sometimes. Even professional, highly skilled writers go through rounds and rounds of edits with other professionals. It is possible to help someone in a real way with something as personal as a personal statement or dating profile without diluting the message that someone wishes to convey.

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      • avatar

        jena March 29, 2011, 12:06 pm

        You would know when, on a date with with someone, they were nowhere near as eloquent as their profile was. There’s a disconnect. You shouldn’t have to fake good writing skills to get a date.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy March 29, 2011, 12:15 pm

        If that’s your argument, then I would certainly hope you’re exchanging at least a couple emails with someone before going out with him, and I’d think you could tell in those messages whether the person’s writing skills were good enough for you to deem worthy of a date. Luckily, there are lots of people for whom “good writing skills” isn’t the top qualifier for a date. What matters more is whether they can get a good enough sense from a profile to pursue an email exchange. Some people need help figuring out the most important things about themselves to present in a one or two paragraph nugget and packaging those things in a way that piques people’s interests. There’s nothing deceptive or fake about that, unless, of course, they’re applying for a job as a writer.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph March 28, 2011, 5:35 pm

      I don’t think its lying… you put something you think sounds good, but probably anyone else- advice columnist, your best friend, your kid brother even- could read it and go “my goodness you can’t say it like that.” You only get that 2 minute profile peruse to either make it or break it, and I think there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
      If the person is a jerk or a self centered ass, you’ll learn it soon enough.

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    • avatar

      Erica March 28, 2011, 5:41 pm

      totally agree. it may sound bad, but if i were to try online dating, and someone used poor grammar or spelling on their profile, i wouldn’t even bother reading it. a person like that obviously doesn’t share the same cultural/educational values as me. or maybe i’m just an uptight bitch? either way, they’re not for me.
      if someone edited their profile to make them appear to be “on my level” as they say, and i did end up meeting them and finding out their real habits, i’d feel cheated; like i wasted my time.

      but the thing is, i’m sure there are more people who need wendy’s help than those that don’t. (and i don’t think it’ll ever come to online dating for me. knock on wood.) so go for it.

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      • avatar

        Marie March 29, 2011, 6:43 pm

        You don’t capitalize ANY of the words that you’re supposed to capitalize, I guess that means you’re poorly educated and your thoughts unworthy of my time.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 29, 2011, 7:41 pm

        So I assume if someone pastes their profile into MS Word and does a spell check before saving it, they are also lying about being “on your level?” Having the good sense to realize you aren’t perfect and ask for help is a much better indicator to me of whether a person shares my values than whether they have perfect grammar/spelling/punctuation.

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    • avatar

      TedKaz March 28, 2011, 5:55 pm

      Very well put heidikins. In addition I, for one, would never go out with anybody who doesn’t cut their own hair, sew their own clothes or perform dental work on themselves. To do otherwise be so misleading to potential suitors. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m representing myself in a murder trial and I gotta hit the books.

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      • avatar

        MissDre March 28, 2011, 6:20 pm

        @TedKaz… Bah hahaha! Love it! This goes in the running for comment of the week!

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      • avatar

        jena March 29, 2011, 12:08 pm

        Cutting your own hair is a lot different from explaining to someone what you are like as a person. Apple to oranges.

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    • avatar

      Mainer March 28, 2011, 6:33 pm

      This is the problem with online dating and why it is easy to get frustrated with it. People become way too analytical. You take every sentence, word, phrase, or interest and you dissect it to the point of redefining it into something it’s not. What if you met someone at a coffee shop or were introduced to a friend of a friend? Would you immediately hand them a grammar test? People speak and type very differently. Some people are better talkers, others are better writers. I think Wendy is looking to target the ones who just have a hard time putting their thoughts on to paper. That doesn’t make them any less true, they are just phrased differently or worded in a way that makes it easier and more pleasant to read. Would you suggest an author’s book is not their own because they had a third party edit it? No. How is this different? Wendy is not (I’m confident) going to tell someone they should remove the part of them being really good at chess and replace it with something more interesting, like owning a yacht. She’s is just going to help them eloquently portray what it is they have to offer. If word choice and punctuation is something so important to you that it becomes a deal breaker to an otherwise potentially amazing person, then I’m sorry to say that you may be missing out on quite a few catches.

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    • avatar

      _jsw_ March 28, 2011, 6:46 pm

      I can’t for the life of me see why this is deceptive. It’s like claiming it’s wrong to stage a home before selling it. Putting someone in the best possible light isn’t going to cause someone else to fall for them and then realize they were scammed. It’s just going to help the person to distill their essence into an online profile that showcases the aspects of their personalities and interests that others are looking for. It will help someone get a date. It won’t help them get through one.

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      • avatar

        Jess March 29, 2011, 5:53 am

        yea… but it’s misrepresenting how good of a writer you are. Like it or not, writing skills are not only a talent, but usually representative of how educated/well read someone is. Many people care about those qualities in a partner.

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      • avatar

        _jsw_ March 29, 2011, 9:46 am

        I’ve been on both sides of the hiring table, and I’ve seen and presented résumés that were done personally and ones which were done professionally. The professionally done ones generally did a better job of communicating the person’s skill set to me (or vice versa), which is the point of a résumé.

        Did they misrepresent a person’s ability to write one? Perhaps. But since none of the jobs I was interviewing or hiring for required résumé writing, that didn’t matter. Likewise, you don’t tend to expect the person you’re dating to write you profiles of themselves while you’re together. A well-presented online profile, like a well-prepared résumé or a professionally staged house, merely shows the potential there. It is up to the person on the other side to then explore actual compatibility.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 29, 2011, 10:52 pm

        Disagree that good or bad writing is what determines your education level. After all, as an engineer, I could say the same for math. Maybe I should put my phone number in my dating profile but wrap it in a complex math formula so only someone who is good at math and therefore has been educated at a level I deem worthy of my attention can call me?
        Thats silly. It would exclude plenty of wonderful people who were just not good at or didn’t want to do math. And just like math is not the only indicator of intelligence, neither is writing. There is more than one way for a person to be smart.

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      • avatar

        fallonthecity March 30, 2011, 12:44 pm

        Agreed! Plus, it was a joke in college that engineers can’t spell (obviously that doesn’t apply to you or me 🙂 ). That doesn’t mean they’re uneducated… I know some PhD engineers who send some absolutely illegible e-mails. But their papers are flawless!

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      • avatar

        jena March 29, 2011, 12:10 pm

        Alright. I’m a professional writer. Spelling and grammar errors annoy the heck out of me, because if you can’t take the time to learn the difference between your and you’re, I think it’s lazy and it makes you look uneducated. If someone had someone else edit their work, I end up going on a date with someone who is not as they presented themselves. Maybe I’m extremely picky in that regard, but I have it clearly posted in my online dating profile that “if you use the wrong version of your/you’re in a message, I will probably not respond,” and I still have people screw it up in messages. This shows that a)we don’t mesh on the whole education thing and b)they didn’t flipping READ my profile.

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      • avatar

        maynard March 29, 2011, 1:53 pm

        that’s slightly terrifying.

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      • avatar

        jena March 30, 2011, 9:10 am

        GOsh, I’m so sorry I don’t settle for people who aren’t my type. I’m an adult and I know what I want in a person. Why is that terrifying?

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      • avatar

        RoyalEagle0408 March 29, 2011, 1:59 pm

        Glad that you’ve never made a mistake when typing things in an informal setting.

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      • Firegirl32

        Firegirl32 March 30, 2011, 6:01 pm

        Like her “GOsh”? …and the inappropriate use of the comma?

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      • avatar

        Amy March 29, 2011, 2:08 pm

        Sheesh! Maybe you should consider yourself lucky that they did not read your profile – you come across as an uptight, pretentious snob. And I am surprised that you are willing to use contractions in your post. “Didn’t” is so much less dignified that “did not”.

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      • avatar

        mjh March 29, 2011, 4:39 pm

        Sounds like you need Wendy’s help to present yourself in a more flattering way. Geez.

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      • avatar

        jena March 30, 2011, 9:11 am

        No, I do just fine on my own, thank you.

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      • avatar

        hobbesnblue March 29, 2011, 6:33 pm

        As long as we’re playing this game, “alright” isn’t a word.

        Misspellings and poor grammar drive me up the wall too, but there’s a point when it crosses the line between charmingly fastidious and just anal-retentive.

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      • avatar

        sarita_f March 29, 2011, 6:40 pm

        Oh, snap! Love it!

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      • avatar

        jena March 30, 2011, 9:13 am

        I’m not doing it to be “charmingly fastidious,” I’m doing it because I value the level of education it takes to know the difference between to/too/two, your/you’re, their/there/theyre. I’m not sorry that I see laziness as a flaw! Judging by the shocking number of people who write in asking whether they should move on from relationships that do not make them happy, I think I’m doing okay by avoiding ones that I know I would not be totally satisfied with.

        If something like that is important to me, and it’s not to you, that’s fine, it just means I don’t want to hop into bed with you. Get off my back, it’s a personal fucking preference.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy March 29, 2011, 6:44 pm

        And if you really, really wanted to split hairs, the subject/pronoun agreement in this comment is wrong as well. Technically, “someone,” as in “If someone had someone else edit their work,” is singular. The “one” in “someone” makes it singular. However, the pronoun used here, “their,” is plural. Therefore, the subject and pronoun do not agree. The commenter screwed up again when she said: “I end up going on a date with someone who is not as they presented themselves.” If you go on a date with a someONE, he can not be a “they” or a “themselves.” He would be a “he” and “himself.”

        Obviously, this isn’t something most people care about. Even those of us who know the correct grammar in this case, find it much more natural to use the pronoun “their.” But wouldn’t it be a shame if the commenter were rejected, thought of as stupid, or passed over for a date because of this mistake? I think so.

        And if you’re going to be a pretentious stickler about grammar, you better make sure you actually know (and use) the correct grammar rules. If you don’t, maybe it’s time to ease up on others a little. Just sayin’.

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      • avatar

        _jsw_ March 29, 2011, 6:49 pm

        This reminded me that we need a gender neutral word for “his or her(s)” so as to avoid this sort of problem. Actually, I’m fine with using “their” as singular and plural. I just want to use one word, not three.

        Where does one make a request of the keepers of the English language?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy March 29, 2011, 6:58 pm

        I’m fine using “their” as well. But it would be nice to have gender-neutral pronouns so we could be grammatically correct.

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      • avatar

        jena March 30, 2011, 9:11 am

        So offer your service! If you weren’t interested in dissenting opinions, why did you even ask?

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      • avatar

        Amy March 30, 2011, 11:12 am

        Well – you do make a point about that… I think perhaps your original post just rubbed people (me) the wrong way. Maybe I got my dander up because I have been guilty of typing the wrong their/there in an email before… not because I don’t know the proper use of the word – sometimes I just type faster than I’m thinking. I’m an educated professional woman and perhaps you touched a nerve that frustrates me about my own typing. I usually try to reread and catch mistakes and to be honest – it does annoy me when people use the wrong word. Sometimes communication over email/posts breaks down because we can’t see the body language or hear the tone of voice – maybe that’s what happened with your post.

        And it is better to be too picky and miss out on a great guy than to settle for a crappy one. 🙂

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    • avatar

      anna728 March 28, 2011, 8:36 pm

      Do you think someone who is super self-centered, or whatever flaw, is explicitly saying so as is? No, but it can be difficult to highlight one’s *good* qualities. I can’t imagine Wendy would just do whatever to make them look good- we all know she’s pretty no-nonsense in her advice, so I think that although she’d be helping people present themselves in their best light, she’d likely also say something if they were trying to put something dishonest or ridiculous. It could definitely be helpful to see what someone else thought were the most flattering photos, too. As for the vocab, punctuation and grammar: I suspect the type of people who write like they’re texting are probably not the sort to pay to have Wendy edit their profile. Wrong demographic.

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    • avatar

      LennyBee March 28, 2011, 11:00 pm

      I don’t think it’s sketchy to get help with your profile – paying someone to respond to your emails would be sketchy. And normally online dating involves at least a few email exchanges, during which you would gain ample evidence of someone’s poor vocabulary/grammar/spelling if that were a serious concern. The profile is like your resume – everyone gets help with their resume to make it the best possible, but if your answering machine says something immature, no employer’s going to leave a message.

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    • avatar

      kali March 29, 2011, 11:56 am

      I have a good friend who cannot write well and I’ve created her online dating profiles for her and she’s been pretty successful with them. Of course the guy whi sent me an Instant Message while I was fine-tuning one scared me half to death – I didn’t want to scare him off but I also didn’t want to lead him on! I also gave her some pointers on dating since she’d just escaped a longterm relationship and has a tendency to overshare.

      I say anyone who needs help finding love should get it. Go for it, Wendy!

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle March 28, 2011, 6:58 pm

    I hate online dating. That’s all I got to say.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph March 28, 2011, 8:21 pm

      ME TOO! I found it to be so draining… all the emailing, chatting, dating. And making a profile was super stressful.

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  • avatar

    Painted_lady March 28, 2011, 8:29 pm

    Two questions, one ethical (and sort-of-but-not-really hypothetical) and one not. Easier one first: how would you go about writing dating profiles for virtual strangers? If I were on the market I would totally use you because the couple of months I had an online dating profile, I was attracting guys I was REALLY not compatible with. But do you have any idea how you might go about this, especially given that you’re getting self-reported info from people who already aren’t good at representing themselves in writing? I’m not doubting you could do it at all as you’re a fantastic writer, I’m just curious as to whether you have a plan in mind yet.

    Second question: if someone approached you with a request to write a profile for a friend of theirs, would you be okay with accepting the fee and the information from a party other than the person on whose profile the information would be going? In other words, being a ghostwriter to a greater degree than you were already being a ghostwriter? One of my friends just started looking online, and I’m totally stealing a line from another friend when I say that she could put up a photo of Cindy Crawford and she wouldn’t get dates. She’s asked for help…or more accurately we told her the profile was abysmal (and not a fair representation) and she agreed to accept our help. Would you be willing to play Cyrano de Bergerac? Again, it’s sort of hypothetical (mostly I’m just curious) but if the re-write gets confusing I may need to call in the professionals.

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      SpaceySteph March 28, 2011, 8:52 pm

      Why not just send her to Wendy herself? If she’s already asked for your help, it wouldn’t be overstepping your bounds to suggest she could get a professional to do it because you don’t think you’re doing her justice.
      And if its a question of her not wanting to spend the money, then if you would be willing to hire Wendy on her behalf, can’t you give her the money or pay for it for her but let her do the coordinating with Wendy.

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        Painted_lady March 28, 2011, 10:21 pm

        Because she’s one of those people who would never go to a stranger. She’s very grudgingly delving into online dating, and she’s very, very guarded. There’s actually only about three people who get to call her on her bullshit, and I happen to be one of them. She would take it coming from me – and she might even take “I asked someone who’s waaaay better at this stuff than me,” but she would NEVER admit she’s so “desperate” as to pay someone herself to write her profile. She sounds like a mess, I know, but she mostly just scares easily. Like I said, it was sort of hypothetical and mostly thinking out loud because it was a recent conversation. I want her to get the most out of this, and I’m trying to figure out the best possible route to do this before her lack of success makes her write the whole thing off.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy March 29, 2011, 8:00 am

      Well, to answer question one, I wouldn’t be writing profiles from scratch. I’d need a current profile, a rough draft of a profile, or, at the very least, answers to a questionnaire I’d send out. I’m imagining the answers to the questionnaire will form most of the profile, or fill in the already existing profile, with some editorial tweaks from me for clarity, etc. I would never make up something about someone I don’t know!

      To the second question, I would not edit or help with a profile for someone who isn’t hiring me directly. For one, I wouldn’t want to contribute to whatever hurt feelings might arise in that kind of situation. For two, I’d need answers to personality and lifestyle questions directly from the person whose profile I’d be working on. (In the instance of your friend, you should direct her to me … if this is something I decide to do, which I’m pretty sure it is).

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    anna728 March 28, 2011, 8:49 pm

    I have never done online dating, but I would have no clue where to begin writing a profile. My “About Me” on Facebook and everywhere else is always blank. I don’t have difficulty writing for things like research papers, but when it comes to describing myself I am clueless. It’s hard to strike a balance between sounding arrogant and failing to point out your good qualities at all. Trying to sound smart can come off pompous, trying to be funny can be forced and dorky sounding, and not knowing what to say makes you sound boring. When/if I ever do create an online dating profile, I will definitely be seeking some sort of help.

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  • avatar

    sarita_f March 28, 2011, 9:30 pm

    Just so long as this world is eradicated of such gems as:

    1. Any variation of “I am _blank_, but I am also totally-the-opposite-of-_blank_” (Oh, wow, you are ALREADY signaling that you’re non-committal, probably can’t plan a date, and will just tell me what you think I want to hear).

    2. I am looking for NO DRAMA (What the hell happened to you, dude? Clearly there will be ‘crazy-ex-girlfriend’ issues. Which, if this is something you’ve encountered more than once, dude, look in the mirror – who’s the common denominator here?)

    3. “If there’s anything you want to know, just ask” (You are lazy, and lame. Alternatively, you’re hiding something. On third thought, you really have nothing else to say).

    4. Gratuitous use of “lol” (it is sometimes bewildering where these three little letters creep up – particularly when what you just relayed is nothing more than…information, not presented in a noticeably clever way. Most of the time, I actually had no idea you were just now trying to be funny, so thanks for the info! LMFAO. But not at or near you, i just thought I’d throw in a text-speak acronym for the hell of it. FWIW).

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      sarita_f March 28, 2011, 9:41 pm

      And I have to reply to my own comment, which is probably lame. Anyhoo – #3 always makes me think of an episode my good friend, J, related to me. She was hooking up with this friend-of-a-friend, going down on him which is a big gift coming from her. But the guy just laid there, like a dead fish, no feedback whatsoever. She tried everything to get a reaction, and finally blurted out “throw me a bone, here, dude!”

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      Painted_lady March 28, 2011, 10:28 pm

      God, #3 is giving me OkCupid flashbacks. The only thing I ever wanted to “just ask” was “Given that your profile told me not a damn thing about you, why the hell would I go to the trouble of asking you anything?”

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    • avatar

      jena March 29, 2011, 12:03 pm

      No. Leave those “gems” so I can know who to avoid. Thanks.

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    Addie Pray March 28, 2011, 11:24 pm

    So how much does it cost? And would you meet with the person first or talk to them on the phone or have them fill out a form so you can get their info? And you’d have to pic flattering but accurate pictures. I will put up the pretty ones and am certain the guy shows up and thinks “damn, she was not as pretty in person.” So I guess the line is hooking them but managing expectations. … I’m exhausted already. So, yeah, I’ll take your help.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray March 28, 2011, 11:25 pm

      *pick (not pic)
      * fine line (not line)

      See? I need help.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy March 29, 2011, 7:51 am

      Just gauging interest right now, but I will have answers to all those questions if/when I decide to pursue this.

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      • avatar

        MissDre March 29, 2011, 9:14 am

        Go for it Wendy 🙂 Good for you for seeing an opportunity and taking the time to explore it!

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    Lydia March 29, 2011, 5:28 am

    I actually noticed that you don’t necessarily need to present yourself in the most positive light to get dates online – I’ve always been bluntly honest on my OkCupid profile, describing myself as a cultural snob, a bit weird, and a know-it-all. As a result I actually got a lot of compliments on my profile, because guys apparently found it refreshing. I also posted pictures that were not necessarily the most flattering, with the idea of ‘this is what I look like, take it or leave it’. I had plenty of dates and am now living with my boyfriend of nearly two years, who I met on, yes, OkC.

    That said though, I did see plenty of profiles that could have used some help.

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    • avatar

      Jess March 29, 2011, 5:57 am

      I’ve noticed the same thing. I’m pretty sure woman can put whatever the hell they want on their online dating profile, to not much effect. I made a match.com once, and didn’t fill out any of the qualifiers, just a picture and basic info, and got tons of messages. I don’t think guys analyze womens’ profiles the man women analyze mens.

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      • avatar

        Jess March 29, 2011, 5:58 am

        I don’t think guys analyze womens’ profiles the *waz women analyze mens.

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    Jess March 29, 2011, 5:49 am

    It seems pretty artificial to me to pay for someone to edit your online profile. It’s one thing to have your friends look at it, because your friends *know* you and can help you make the profile a more accurate representation of your profile. A stranger editing it, however, would only be able to make it a ‘better’ online profile- to me there is a big risk of it just becoming a version of you that is not true.

    Plus there’s something that just screams desperate about *paying* someone to make your online profile better. If I knew a guy had done this… well, it’s not very attractive.

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      anna728 March 30, 2011, 1:11 am

      But most dating websites charge money already, what’s more desperate about making sure you’re making the most of that…

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    RoyalEagle0408 March 29, 2011, 8:15 am

    I think it’s brilliant and not in any way deceptive. Not everyone is good at selling themselves. And sometimes friends bend the truth a little to help a friend. Or at least sugar coat the bad a little too much.

    Everyone who is concerned with a person’s writing skills- would you agree to go on a date with someone without communication? Most likely not, so you’d quickly realize if the person wasn’t up to your standard. Also, when you meet someone at a bar/party/in real life, do you request a writing sample? No.

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    maynard March 29, 2011, 9:18 am

    I think this is a decent idea. I met my ex-fiance within a month of being on match.com a couple years ago so I guess I was pretty lucky (at least I thought that at the time!) but I think a lot of guys could benefit from this. I know a lot of girls get bombarded by guys on these sites and like someone mentioned above so many guys had the same “I’m laid back, have a great sense of humor, etc” template that there was often nothing popping out that was unique to the person.

    Oh, for an additional fee you should give advice on what to say in their inital email/message to others. It’s amazing how many guys either ask you to meet in that first message, talk about how hot you are, or ramble on about nothing for way too long (though maybe some girls like that).

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    honeybeenicki March 29, 2011, 9:25 am

    I think its an excellent idea; however, I’m married so I’m thinking having a dating profile may be frowned upon! But, I think its great for people who really just don’t know how to get their profile noticed or just need a revamping. I have a friend who continuously gets the same people/type of people on her dating profiles, so maybe I should send her to you if you decide to do this.

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    _jsw_ March 29, 2011, 9:56 am

    I’ve been busy and haven’t commented much, but I wanted to say that I think this is an excellent idea. I trust in Wendy’s ability to distill the essence of the person and present an appealing but accurate representation of who they are. I think that both the person who hires Wendy and those who read her/his profile will benefit.

    I would imagine the the results would be in a form that could be fit into various online sites (as opposed to a particular one) and that there’d be a brief summary one (a sentence or two) also included for places that can use a blurb as well.

    It would be interesting if Wendy would publish a few before/after profiles to allow people to see the improvement. It’d be fine by me if the examples were culled from anonymous online profiles and mixed up (so none were used in whole) or if they were from people who got a discount for volunteering or whatnot… I think the obvious improvement would help sell the service by making people feel better about what they could expect in general.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy March 29, 2011, 10:05 am

      Thanks, Joe. That’s a great idea.

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  • avatar

    _jsw_ March 29, 2011, 10:06 am

    I have decided to launch my own business on the coattails of Wendy’s. For a fee, I will handle your dating profile and correspondence completely, leaving you with the sole tasks of: (a) telling me which suitors to court and which to scathingly mock, and (b) showing up to the actual dates.

    One of the other mistakes of online dating – in addition to poor profiles – is over-eagerness. I assure you, I will have no interest whatsoever in the men who are replying to you and so will do a perfect job of acting aloof, which will drive them crazy with desire. I’ll offer the same service for men, but I can’t promise to not be a little interested. I can, however, promise not to act.

    Imagine how simple life could be! Wendy write the profile that draws them in, and I handle everything until the date. It’s so easy it should be illegal.

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      _jsw_ March 29, 2011, 10:11 am

      To be clear: I will handle the profile replies. I’m not offering to create any. I’m much happier making snarky replies to the idiots who contact you and tin drawing in the interesting ones. Actually creating a profile just sounds like too much work and no play. 😉

      To be even more clear: I’m kidding about all of this.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 29, 2011, 8:34 pm

        Thats too bad, I was totally interested. All that weeding out the idiots and replying to the messages is so tiring. I mean why should I have to do anything at all? Does the Queen of England have to reply to her own OK Cupid messages? I don’t think so!

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  • Jess

    Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com March 29, 2011, 11:50 am

    I have always had male friends review my online profiles both for content and for photo selection since represent my “target audience.” Funnily enough, I just logged into OkCupid this week to help review a friend’s profile. My boyfriend was with me and we pulled up my old profile and he went over it point by point (reasons why he thought it was a good profile). Even though it was obviously a success with him (we met in person but it wasn’t until we saw each other on OkCupid a month later that we started dating!), some of his comments surprised me.

    So I tend to think that opposite sex editing works best. Certainly good writing skills would help ANYONE’s profile but as for the “marketing” aspect, I’d want a member of the opposite sex.

    Just my 2 cents. I think it’s a great idea regardless. A pretty obvious extension of what you are doing and something that you can take on as much or as little as you choose. Good luck!

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      _jsw_ March 29, 2011, 12:00 pm

      “So I tend to think that opposite sex* editing works best. Certainly good writing skills would help ANYONE’s profile but as for the “marketing” aspect, I’d want a member of the opposite sex.”

      I agree with this, but I’d add one little caveat: perhaps even more so than a same-sex reviewer, someone of the opposite sex is probably more likely to point out what they specifically like, as opposed to what is good in general. I think that if you have opposite-sex friends who are similar to your preferred dating type, then it’s an ideal thing for them to review it. Otherwise, I think having someone less biased is a good thing.

      I don’t in any way mean that it’s bad to have opposite-sex friends critique your profile. I think it’s a great idea. I just wanted to mention that some subconscious biases might come into play in ways a same-sex review wouldn’t spur.

      Note: I think it’s be better to say “same/opposite orientation” for “same/opposite sex,” but I went with the common terms here.

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  • avatar

    jena March 29, 2011, 12:01 pm

    No offense to you whatsoever, but if I found out someone else had written a potential date’s profile, they’d be out of the running. If you need to attract someone using someone else’s skills, it’s not honest.

    Pictures? Sure. But writing? No. Because I enjoy when people are naturally witty and expressive both in person and in writing. Finding out that they hadn’t written it would be a cheat and a letdown.

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    • avatar

      _jsw_ March 29, 2011, 12:28 pm

      jena, I think we will simply have to agree to disagree. In my opinion, very few people are 100% themselves in the initial stages of dating. People are generally far more attentive to what they wear, how they’re groomed, how they act, and so on initially than they are later on. It is known by all that you are generally getting the best – or at least a better – version of someone initially. It’s not misleading in the sense that it’s deceitful because it is generally known to be the way things work. The person you see on those first dates probably bears only a passing resemblance to the same person at home on the couch late the night before.

      Likewise, with the initial profile and first message exchanges, it’s merely an initial attempt to show some traits and/or to determine tentative levels of interest. It is not as though the person is out to completely misinform others as to who they are by employing someone to help with their profile. And, even if that were the case, it would be quickly discovered with the initial few exchanges. The whole point of the profile is to represent yourself in a way such that the type of person in which you’d be interested will be more likely to respond. As with résumés, it is never right to lie, but it’s certainly OK to emphasize some things and neglect to mention others. It is just the initial stage.

      As far as you ruling people out as soon as you see a typo or a misused word or discover that they’ve had help with their profiles: that’s your prerogative. However, if your primary qualifier for a potential mate is their grammar, you might miss out on some far better people who – because they have never met you and also because they might be replying via phone or at work as someone is coming into the room or in some other situation where they cannot proofread their reply to you – have merely made a simple mistake.

      I’m a reasonably good speller. I am fairly good with grammar. I typically can express my thoughts reasonably well. However, I very frequently make minor mistakes while commenting on these sorts of sites or while writing quick replies on other areas of my life, and it’s not an indicator of my ineptness or carelessness, but rather a combination of my desire to reply at the moment with, typically, poor if any editing options once I’ve done so.

      To judge someone so harshly on simple mistakes with many possible explanations seems – to me – to be far more shallow than to use someone to professionally review your profile.

      It’s not as though Wendy is going to add jokes and modify interests. She’s merely going to organize and phrase things in a way which will improve the likelihood of someone responding. After that, it’s up to the person to take the ball and run with it.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 29, 2011, 11:03 pm

        I can see it now.
        Dear Wendy,
        I met my boyfriend on a dating website. I used a profile building service to help me create my profile. Now my boyfriend wants us to go skydiving and camping and alligator wrestling! He thinks I am into all these things because my dating profile said I was. The only problem is… I don’t like any of these things! Am I obligated to tell him before things get too serious?
        -Too pretty to be eaten by an alligator

        Wendy would never encourage a person who wrote for advice to lie to their SO or potential SO… so we know she wouldn’t help them lie on their dating profile either! All she’ll do is help you turn “I’m a laid back, fun loving girl” into something with actual substance– YOUR substance.

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        anna728 March 30, 2011, 1:19 am

        That is just what happens in 27 Dresses between Katherine Heigl’s boss and sister.

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        jena March 30, 2011, 9:19 am

        Honestly, though, all I’m saying is that you can’t organize your thoughts into something like, “I like volleyball and going to the beach” and your most interesting sentence is “I’m a laid back kinda guy who doesn’t take things too seriously, email me is YOUR interested,” I know to avoid your profile because I know we won’t mesh. I’ve been on enough shitty dates to avoid the type of person who can’t eloquently talk about themself for a few sentences. Everyone is turning me into a villain, but fuck, when did it become a crime to say, “NO, I would prefer to go on a date with someone who didn’t need an editor.”?

        If she didn’t opposing opinions for running the service, why did she ask? Obviously there were going to be yes’s and no’s. People would be interested, but I would feel slighted if I knew someone had to have an editor for a fucking DATING profile. Edit your resume. Edit your cover letter. BE YOURSELF WHEN LOOKING FOR A DATE.

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        jena March 30, 2011, 9:20 am

        and yes, there are a few grammatical errors in that comment, but there’s no edit button, so I guess I’m a big dumb idiot for asking people to learn the English language.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy March 30, 2011, 9:21 am

        Actually, there is an edit button.

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        RoyalEagle0408 March 30, 2011, 9:29 am

        1. Simmer down. No one is making you a “villain”, just pointing out how limiting your criteria can be.
        2. You can modify your last comment.
        3. You proved earlier criticisms of your stance to be correct. Sometimes people make grammatical or spelling errors because they’re typing on their phone, or on a crowded subway train or maybe they’re secretly typing at work and their boss came in and they did not have a chance to proofread before they hit send.

        No one is perfect all the time so to rule out someone because they made a minor error in a message comes across a bit extreme.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy March 30, 2011, 9:30 am

        I couldn’t care less whether you have a dissenting opinion or not. I merely wanted to point out that perhaps someone who is going to be such a stickler about other people’s grammar might want to brush up on her own or proofread a little more carefully before hitting “submit.” Free advice from me to you. The truly ironic thing is that while you would “prefer to go on a date with someone who didn’t need an editor,” YOU need an editor. Your comments are packed with typos and grammatical mistakes. It’s not a big deal — we all make mistakes — but YOU are the one who seems to look down on those who make ’em, calling them uneducated and lazy. Perhaps a better word is “human.”

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    eelizg23 March 29, 2011, 12:22 pm

    My writing and sense of wit is very important to me, and I would hope that the men I date would appreciate it as well, so I would definitely not feel comfortable having someone else write for me. As for pictures, OKCupid already has a feature that helps you choose your most flattering or appealing pictures…

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    _jsw_ March 29, 2011, 1:10 pm

    One other point that I don’t think has been brought up yet (forgive me if it has): even if someone is perfectly capable of creating their profile without any external input, having a professional rework it might tend to give the person an additional degree of confidence in the profile and, as a result, in their dating chances, and that additional confidence might just be all the additional edge they need… even if the professional result isn’t any better in an absolute sense than their own would have been.

    Not everyone needs profile help, and not everyone needs additional confidence, but for someone with either or both needs, this would been a boon. Be happy if you don’t need either, but don’t harshly judge who recognize that they do and seek the assistance they need.

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    • avatar

      RoyalEagle0408 March 29, 2011, 1:22 pm

      Well, I did say, “not everyone is good at selling themselves”, which is a similar point. You, however, used a lot more words and inevitably made it sound better. 🙂

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    fallonthecity March 29, 2011, 2:05 pm

    I think it’s an awesome idea. I mean, I’m bad to make all my social media profiles look something like a resume — it’s hard for me to represent my “social” self in writing, even though I am a social person. So if you decide to do this, and I decide to do online dating in the future, I’d definitely ask for your help!

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    Betty March 30, 2011, 9:19 am

    I think the concern for people using a professional to “misrepresent” them is unnecessary. The people with the most egregious spelling, grammar usage, and cliches are not going to be the people looking for help! When I was on OkCupid I too LOVED the people who put up something terrible for a profile because it was an easy way to rule them out. Don’t like the size/race/height of someone like me? Good to know! The people who feel strongly enough to put out something potentially unflattering to themselves are, in my experience, so confident that they are right, they would never look for help. Good lord, I’ve been taking too many English courses for school. I cannot stop editing this for the best wordage…

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