Men: Nobody wants to tell you to this to your face, so listen up.
Across all age groups, men often make the same mistakes when presenting themselves in their online dating profiles.
Although women may find some helpful hints in this post, these dating profile tips are mainly for the date-seeking men out there:
1. Your photo location sucks.
There are several mistakes men make when it comes to their dating site profile picture. Did you take a picture of yourself in the bathroom mirror with the toilet seat up and the shower curtain open?
This tells women three things: your bathroom is messy, you will probably leave the seat up at her house too, and you have no friends. (If you had friends, one of them would have taken your picture.)
Most women assume every man leaves the toilet seat up at his place and that men’s bathrooms are messy, but a first impression is not the time to remind her of these details.
Maybe you took a selfie, not in the mirror but holding your phone below your chin. This is the most unflattering angle possible. It makes you look like you have a double chin (and again, no friends).
You must know at least one person who would be willing to snap a picture of you. If not, find something interesting to stand in front of, pretend you're a tourist and ask a stranger to snap a photo.
2. Your 'props' are sending the WRONG message.
A friend took your picture (that is an improvement over the selfie and shows that you have at least one friend). But, you are wearing camouflage and/or showing off a dead deer, fish, goose, duck, or some other variety of carcass.
What are you're trying to say, "I can provide food"? Most of us get food from a grocery store, which is actually cheaper and less time-consuming than hunting. Unless the woman you seek also hunts and fishes, dead animals are not a good way to lure her in.
If you're looking for a woman who will be your hunting and fishing partner, hunting and fishing pictures may work for you. It may be useful to keep in mind that if you're limiting yourself to a woman who hunts and fishes, you have decreased the pool significantly. But that's up to you.
You also include pictures of your dog— without you in it. Dogs are cute, but no one is planning to date your dog and if that is the most interesting first impression you can make, that’s a bad sign.
You have a picture of your truck? Great! If she needs to haul something, she knows she can call you. If you're young enough that your parents probably helped pay for that truck, you just suggested you cannot take care of yourself. If you're old enough to have bought your own vehicle, she probably expects you to have something decent to drive.
Then, you have pictures of your toys, which may include a Harley, four-wheeler, sports car, snowmobile, or boat. If these are not paid for, you are advertising you are a poor money manager, especially if a truck with a high payment is paired with any of those toys.
Most women enjoy being around someone who can hold up their end of an interesting conversation, not someone who just owns a lot of toys. Oh, and if that Harley does not have a nice touring pack, you're also advertising that you care little about her comfort.
It's fine to mention you enjoy any of the above activities, and if you did something particularly interesting while practicing one of your hobbies it is great to mention that. That will give her something to ask you about and start a conversation.
3. Your photo is more than two years old.
If you are over 35 and your picture is more than two years old, it needs to be updated. You may think you still look the same as you do in the picture, but chances are you have aged more than you think.
This may work to get someone to meet you, but her first feeling will be disappointment because you don't look as good as your picture. This same problem can arise if you post a picture that's been enhanced. It's much better for her to think you look better in real life, not worse.
4. You're lying about being a smoker.
Many dating sites give you an option of trying to quit smoking in addition to smoker and nonsmoker. You either smoke or you do not smoke.
If you're trying to quit, just do what you need to do and quit. Wait a few weeks to post a profile until you have quit. Do not lie about this. Most non-smokers can smell smoke a block away.
5. You purposely left out your age.
Sometimes men try to make themselves seem more attractive to their target date. Maybe they shave a few years off of their age, for example. You may be able to get a younger woman to go out with you, but it will be awkward at best when you come clean and she wonders what else you are lying about.
There will be several lies you have to tell to maintain the image that you are younger than you are and these inconsistencies are more obvious than you think. Related to this, don't say anything like "I'm young for my age,"
You may be out of touch with reality. If not, let it be a nice bonus when your date meets you, not a disappointment when she thinks you seem the age you are. It’s better to stress that you are active or what other attribute makes you young for your age.
6. You left your 'occupation' and 'education' blank.
It is a mistake to leave this blank. Most women want to date someone with a means of supporting themselves and if you leave this blank, she'll wonder if you have one.
Be honest about your education. Do not overstate either of these items. If you see her more than twice, you're just putting yourself in an awkward position.
If dating works out, you will have a real relationship with a real person and you will want to be appreciated for who you are, not who you think someone wants you to be. Own all of it. If you can’t, maybe you’re not ready to publish that Match.com or Tinder profile.
Tamara Mason is an individual, marriage and family therapist for over 25 years.For more information on dating as a parent, you can find it in Sensible Dating Guide for Single Moms and Dating as a Single Parent.
This article was originally published at parenting2homekids.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.