So it’s time I confess; I am on online dating sites (and no, I won’t tell you which ones). After careful study and application of my years of graduate education, not to mention my years as a woman, I’d like to offer the men out there some advice about how NOT to build a profile. Here are my suggestions for what not to include:

1. Shirtless pictures of yourself, especially taken in the bathroom mirror or with your webcam. Unless you are at a pool (which I can see) or on a boat (which I can also see), I do not need to see your chest hair or lack thereof at this point in our non-existent relationship.
a. Posting pictures you took of yourself. If you can’t find another human to take your photo, perhaps this isn’t boding well.
b. Not including a picture at all. I just can’t imagine positive things at this point.
c. Images of you and another woman. At least Photoshop her out. . . or ID her as your sister. Lie if you have to.

2. Bad grammar, mistyped words, not using spell-check. All of these things, especially for an English professor/writer, say you don’t care about how you present yourself. While I can certainly overlook your inability to spell Kazakhstan (maybe), not knowing the difference (or at least knowing someone who does know the difference) between “weather” and “whether” is not really getting me excited about our conversational possibilities.

3. Arrogant misanthropy or cockiness. For example, if your profile contains the sentence, “Most people don’t like me, and that’s their problem,” we have a problem.

4. Information that indicates you are more intimate with avatars than actual humans. Hint – if you combine The Lord of the Rings, anything by Robert Jordan, and Halo or World of Warcraft, I have probably nowhere near your level of commitment to alternate realities.

5. Announcing your hatred or general dislike of small living things such children or puppies. While I hope you don’t have posters of kittens on your walls, I would like to think you wouldn’t kick a child or roast guinea pig while camping.

6. Trying to sound smarter or more cultured than you are. You may have acted with the Royal Shakespeare Company, but using “forsooth” in your profile makes me think you fall under #4 or might wear tights for fun.

7. Dissing ACC basketball. I am not a sports nut by any means, but there is something sacred about the ACC. Enough said.

8. Including your guns, your mom (we all love moms, folks, but really), sports jerseys, hummers (both kinds), and your porn collection as things you can’t live without. Do I really need to explain this one?

9. Listing your skills as things such as buying movies, drinking coffee, or compiling mix CDS. COME ON – these are not things we brag about!

10. Screennames that are sexual, arrogant, a sci-fi reference, or too darn cute. For the sake of us all, just use your initials or some form or your name or if you must a completely random set of numbers and letters. I will not remember your mindless screen name; I will remember one if it’s idiotic.

Next week, stay tuned for tips on what makes me like a profile. (This upcoming list will be infinitely harder to compile.)

Shocked Woman Looking at Profile