I can’t believe it’s already Friday, and my chance to plague 11D’s readers with questions and random thoughts is nearly at an end. Got to grab it while I can. Thanks to Laura for the opportunity to guest blog this week.
A few years ago, Laura, among others, persuaded me to take up online dating. My secret theory is that she and my other married friends were feeling a deficit of comedy in their own lives and so decided to introduce it into mine. But I figured that I couldn’t do worse picking my own dates online than my friends had done in setting me up, so after some hesitation, I signed up.
I have some amusing stories but no outright disasters, and I met a lot of terrific guys I would never have known otherwise. One of them I’m still seeing. Others have become friends. Even the duds were entertaining in their own way.
In the time I was doing a lot of dating, I was frustrated by the sameness of most of the profiles, and frequently horrified by the mistakes: spelling, grammar, and just plain bad ideas (don’t volunteer that your ex-wife is a ho; don’t use a picture of you standing in front of your red convertible—it makes you look anxious about other possible shortcomings). I was assured by my dates that the women’s profiles were equally bad, and a little research bore this out. A lot of lovely, attractive, smart, solid people have no idea how to present themselves online.
Then a former boyfriend (whom I met online) forwarded my profile to his female friends and advised them to make their profiles more like mine. My sister begged me to write hers for her. Another date asked if his sister could call me so that I could give her some safety tips; he was worried she wasn’t careful enough. I began to think that there’s a business here.
When I’ve floated the idea of a profile editing/writing service to some friends, a few have said, “That’s cheating!” (others think it’s a goldmine). But you’d never send out a resume without having someone proof it, right? And many people have their resumes written entirely by professional services. A dating profile is essentially a personal resume, so why wouldn’t you get help, especially if writing and marketing are outside your expertise?
I have twenty years’ experience as an editor, and in the course of that work I’ve done a lot of writing and marketing as well. I just finished a Master’s in English/Education (just in time for the hiring freeze in NYC schools). And I have my own online dating experiences as well as a fair bit of research to rely on.
So what do y’all think? Is it disingenuous to get help presenting yourself to advantage in your dating profile? Do you know people who might use such a service? (There are already several operating, run mostly by dating coaches rather than by wordsmiths.) I’d love to hear ideas about what might make a business surrounding online dating a success (keep it clean!). And if anybody has the winning name for the business (including domain name), there’s a Tootsie Pop in it for you.