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There is some scientific data on what you should include and how you should present yourself on online dating profiles if you want to maximize the number of dates you get.
A lot of data is not very useful. For example, did you know that people apparently associate the letters at the beginning of the alphabet with academia/intelligence? I guess that’s why it took my husband (Sean) and I (Tracy) over 30 years to find each other. We were just too buried in the alphabet!
Other data seems a bit more useful. For example, studies have found the ideal ratio to talk about you rather than your potential partner: 70% about you and 30% about them. They think it’s easier for someone to contact you if they not only understand who you are, but also that you’re looking for someone like them.
Finally, the researchers found that the old adage “show, don’t tell” also applies to hilarity in dating profiles. Don’t tell someone you’re funny – show them. Well it’s super simple.
What I discovered while digging through the piles of research on this topic is that, in my humble opinion, they were all focused on the wrong thing: getting dates. Yes of course if you are on a dating app you want to get dates. Dates can be great! They can be so great that you might have to stop the car because you’re laughing too hard to drive safely (as happened on my first date with my husband).
Then again, sometimes a date may ask you how thick the walls in your house are in a very threatening way (as also happened on a first date, but not with my husband ). It’s a less fun date.
And that’s why the best goal is quality rather than quantity. Instead of looking for ways to convert more dates, let’s look for ways to convert more quality dates. In my opinion, that means showing your swipers and clickers what makes you a cool person! And if you’re hanging out on Book Riot, that means showing them what kinds of cool books you like.
Obviously, I don’t know what kind of cool books you’re into, but I do know what categories I’ve decided you should focus on. So come with me, into a magical dream world where you’ll perfect the art of showing your fun, cool, nerdy personality, whatever it is, to all those lovers who don’t even know they’re waiting for you yet. .
Books that showcase your sense of humor
Let’s start with the subject that our scientific friends suggested we tackle: humor. Remember that you are not trying to impress people. Impressing people can increase the number of people interested in a first date, but our goal is to find you a quality date. So what we’re looking for here are the books that made you laugh out loud.
I’ve read a lot of books about and by comedians, so I can quite easily find non-fiction that gives a good indication of what makes me laugh. In fact, that’s exactly what I did when I wrote about The 15 Comedy Audiobooks to Get Your Funny Bone in Shape.
If you’re not a huge stand-up fan, no worries. Maybe this list of 100 hilarious must-read books will help you jog your memory on a piece of fiction you found amusing. Maybe there’s a subject you find hilarious, like the fact that Ted Cruz thinks 100 cans of soup is a normal amount of soup cans to buy? Is there still a book on it? Or maybe you could focus on memoirs you’ve liked from people you find funny. Funny in Farsi: A Memoir on Iranian Growth in America by Firoozeh Dumas comes to mind.
The key to successfully adding books that showcase your sense of humor is to focus on what YOU find funny. Don’t fall into this trap of questioning yourself. You’re not trying to impress anyone, you’re just trying to show what you like, in order to show what you look like.
Books that showcase your hobbies
If you’re really into botany, you should definitely mention it in your dating profile, but you can also use books to show how interesting your hobby is. Yes, it would be great if you found other botanical fanatics to date. But couldn’t it be just as great to find someone who thinks, “Oh, this person loves botany! I didn’t know it was a hobby. Look at those botany books they listed, those look interesting. This person seems interesting!
Could you find a few people who will answer more like “Botany?” Who the fuck is in botany? Wow, and they READ botanical books for fun? Yeah, but you want to date a botanist? I’m indifferent to botany but I don’t want to go to a botanist appointment, no thanks!
As thrilled as I was if I found a bunch of botany enthusiasts reading this, I guess most readers have hobbies other than botany. If you love video games, sure, list a few games, but why not list some of your favorite video game books as well? Or add some of your favorite cookbooks to the list if you’re a fan of knives and fire.
Whatever your hobby, include books about it. And if you haven’t read any books alongside your hobby, may I suggest you check out a few while you wait for your matches to arrive?
Books that present your political and/or philosophical opinions
If politics and/or philosophy are a big part of your life and worldview, adding books that match what you believe in can be a more effective way to connect than just stating your beliefs.
As a socialist, yes, I could simply say that I am a socialist. I could list The communist manifesto on my dating profile. But none of these steps would really show what my political and philosophical views look like. To do this, I could enumerate The time of socialism by Thomas Piketty, because he does a better than average job of connecting the abstract idea of socialism as a philosophy to socialism as a solution to the hellish landscape we currently live in.
Sure, you’re probably somewhere to my right on this topic, but wherever you are, adding a few books that show where you’re at can help you find the right people to date.
And please, if you’re a huge Ayn Rand fan, be sure to add her to your profile! This is very useful information for people who would like to avoid you. pow! Betcha didn’t think there would be a Rand-Slam here!
Books that show what’s most important to you
I want you to take a moment and forget the dates. Forget about that hot person you think you’re breaking your lips and/or hot body parts with. Forget French kisses and dry bumps and think about this: what is most important to you? If there’s one thing you’d want a potential date to know about you, find books that feature it, and then feature it!
When thinking about which books to include in your online dating profile, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to curate a list that makes you look cool the way you want to look cool. But why not look cool the way you actually, currently cool? And I promise you you’re cool! I think you are awesome!
Of course, you can always make a list of your favorite books. You can list the books that meant so much to you, changed your view of the world, or just made you feel hot and confused. And do it, I dare you!
But also, I challenge you to take some time and think about what the books you list show about you. Think about what you want people to know and how a thoughtfully curated list of books can show rather than tell them how coolio you are.