How to Write an Online Dating Profile for Seniors

Online Dating

How to Write an Online Dating Profile for Seniors

Gina Kerrigan Gina Kerrigan • 9/25/14

The conventional rules of writing a good dating profile go something like this (loosely paraphrased):

  • Don’t use 10-year-old photos — no matter how hot you used to be. It’s delusional.
  • Get a photographer to take pictures of you, since you’ll appear the age you truly are — in a classy way, with barely noticeable photoshopping.
  • Don’t be negative, bash exes, act desperate or appear to dislike the opposite sex. If you do, you will automatically become the dating equivalent of a leper and be confined to a colony where the only other souls you will ever get dates with will be other “negative people.”
  • Adopt a cheerful tone — share details of stuff you care about, but keep it all light and upbeat. Unless you’re talking about your Tough Mudder race, in which case, it’s OK to depict the unimaginable intensity of your personal fitness challenge.
  • Be realistic in setting your criteria. In other words, keep in mind most of the choices out there are, well, mediocre.
  • Use good grammar and run a spell check for heaven’s sake.

What are the results of the conventional dating profile wisdom?

Well, after three years of sporadic (and, admittedly, sometimes obsessive) online profile browsing, I can sum it up as follows:


Everyone appears to be a positive, cheerful soul in exactly the same ways — the words “easygoing” and “upbeat” being the most ubiquitous (with the incorrect “easy going and “up beat” slipping right past the spell check).

Those who follow the pro-photographer advice end up replacing photos with context and meaning with bland studio shots.

Reporting hours in the gym and number of marathons and trendy obstacle courses substitutes for information about joys and accomplishments woven into the day-in-day-out rhythms of life.

Few share the high standards they truly have because they might just end up alone.

And no one with a shred of sense dares to utter a word that might be construed as (gasp!) negative.


“If 100 people contact you, you’re likely to

discover high standards are not unrealistic.”

An alternative to the conventional wisdom.

It’s something Scheherazade recognized when her head was on the line.

You fascinate others not so much by the subjects you avoid or the performances you can document — but by the stories you tell.

I used to teach college students how to stand out before college admissions committees, and I have also written copy to try to persuade lawmakers to change policies.

Whether I’ve taught writing in the classroom or tried to bring an abstract problem to life as a journalist, the one constant throughout has been the creation of a narrative with a beginning, a middle and an ending.

Seldom does a dating profile contain a narrative. But why shouldn’t it?

After all, if you show me a snippet of your life in motion, I will glimpse you as you are — if only for a moment.

And if you leave me with a cliffhanger, I’ll have to get in touch to find out the ending.

Perhaps most important of all, if 100 people feel compelled to contact you to find out the rest of your story, you’re quite likely to discover that high standards are not a bit unrealistic.

How are you going to incorporate a narrative into your online dating profile?

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