Editor’s Note: Who is the wisest of them all? Who is more dedicated to your pleasure than anyone on earth? Who can help you when you’re going online for the first time to find love; or when your lover’s children hate you; or when you want to strangle your husband? Why, the Love Goddess, of course. She promises nothing less than celestial wisdom, heavenly sex, divine dating. Read on …
For every woman who has had success meeting someone lovely online, dozens don’t.
And it’s not because the men are so treacherous out there, but rather, sometimes, online “meeting” requires wildly different skills from meeting someone at, say, a dinner party — and the advertising process simply fizzles. Sexy as online copy pretends to be, dating sites are inherently a rough environment for grown women not used to blaring out information about themselves to people they haven’t met.
So, as if following orders they don’t want to follow, many women create profiles in the tone of a would-be beauty queen presenting themselves in front of a panel of judges; or, worse, trying to prove their value (“Fit, thin, interested in life, loves active sports … “) in a marketplace that seems only to value models and teen vocalists. The best profiles, to my mind, are subtle and vaguely private, even withholding. Like the best short stories, they stick to the structure asked for (Self-Presentation and Request) but then depart from the form in order to convey a real voice. Your voice.
You’re asking publicly for something very private — someone to spend time with — and the point isn’t to sell yourself (really: don’t spend much time on the Self-Presentation part; you can get stuck there, as though you’re a well-cared-for-but-used Cuisinart looking for a buyer. You wouldn’t reveal at a dinner party that you have four children, a law degree, two former husbands and that at age 50 you’re toned, have traveled around the world and love to read — would you? All at once? Who would ask that much? Who would care?).
No, the point is to locate IN yourself something you may not even have articulated: what you want.
And I don’t mean whether that’s a man that is this age or that weight, but instead what you like in a guy’s being, his character. What would attract you if you were meeting him tonight. Is he quiet or outgoing? Is he laid-back or type A? (You can be quiet and type A; outgoing and laid-back.)
Only you know which you like, and only your voice has a unique, gentle, idiosyncratic way of framing it.
My point is this: You’re the one looking. You’re the one paying for the profile. And so you’re the one who has to state what you want — but you must do it in code. A code that will be deciphered only by the kind of man you want to meet (and not legions of men. Again, let go of the desire to please, and the need to appeal to everyone;you’re not trying to be popular here).
Understatement, then. And specificity. Ditch all the great generalities — “attractive,” “considerate,” “fun,” “likes Chinese food” and so forth — that describe everybody I know, but nobody I would use those words to describe.
That’s why this is so hard. You have to home in: “Has a secret yen for Peking duck.” “I have full lips, good hips and like dancing the two-step.”
Subtle, sensual, specific, idiosyncratic. “Would like a guy who thinks The Leopard is one of the great books (but maybe didn’t like the movie), who has nice hands and who checks out the Huffington Post now and then.” There: better than “who reads, goes to movies and is politically involved.” And “nice hands” can mean a lot of things, but it conveys something about an aesthetic that many men will understand.
Go for what you notice, what pleases you and the kinds of things you’d click over if you met over coffee. You won’t click with every guy, but someone out there, maybe two or three someones, will light up and say, “Yeah, that’s me.”
It’s well worth the time.
Next time: More on the personal profile.
Like all savvy goddesses, the Love Goddess has her own blog, which can be visited by clicking here.