Before I met my current boyfriend—full disclosure: it was offline—I had an amazing run on OkCupid, where I was able to attract a lot of men who fit my criteria almost perfectly. With so many fish in the scummy pond that is Los Angeles, how did I make my profile stand out from every other cute blonde actress/writer out there? By being specific, witty and charming. Heed my wisdom, and you too could be fielding offers from potential men of your dreams. (Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee these tips will prevent your first date from being fantastically awkward. I'm not a magician, people.)
1. Be honest about what you want (but don't be scary)
It's not news that many men on dating sites just want to find an easy way to hook up. So if you are looking for "the one," say so—just, you know, without being frightening. "I am looking for a long-term partner" or "I'm seeking someone that wants to go running with me every Saturday morning, at least until next year's marathon" will get the point across. "Searching for the future father of my two girls and three boys" will get an entirely different point across.
2. Get specific with your interests
Being specific about my interests was a key reason I had such a good response to my profile. I mentioned I like to run around the Silver Lake Reservoir with my rescue dog every weekend and then get coffee at Lamill (a famous coffee spot in Silver Lake). This little sentence was my profile's golden ticket. It attracted men who also lived in my neighborhood, men who like outdoor activities, men who are into fitness, men who like dogs, men who were thinking about rescuing dogs themselves, men who enjoy watching girls run in shorts, men who like Lamill, etc.
The point is, these words gave potential men multiple ways to connect with me, plus a jumping off point to message me. Even guys who had no interest or knowledge in anything I talked about would at least ask me what kind of dog I have or what kind of coffee I like. So, if you like hiking, talk about where you like to hike. If you like artisanal cocktails, talk about your favorite bar. Into aerial yoga or mediation? What is your favorite pose or mantra? You get the gist.
3. Describe your ideal partner in witty detail
Another way that I was specific was in how I described my ideal partner: "Ira Glass or Joel Stein on a skateboard." Everyone wants someone who will love them, take long wants on the beach, nauseate them with annoying clichés, etc., but I am pretty sure not one other girl on the site said anything close to what I said. I wanted someone intellectual, like Glass or Stein, with a little bit of an edge. And, lo and behold, I got plenty of messages from men just like that.
Now, I'm not saying you should necessarily write "My ideal partner is Brad Pitt with an MLB contract." But it is a good idea to find a clever way to describe your ideal guy. For example, if you want a foodie who's also into sci-fi, write something like, "You like to travel by Tardis to parts unknown for a snack."
4. Weed out the creepers
Through all of my profile tweaking, I discovered a way to find out which men had actually read my profile in its entirety and didn't just contact me based on my cleavage. My OkCupid name was Lulu (plus some numbers), which is my dog's name. Toward the end of the profile, OkCupid asks you for five things you can't live without and I wrote, "My dog, Lulu." So, every message that started with "Dear Lulu" was immediately deleted. All the messages that started out with, "Dear Lulu's Mom" or mentioned my dog were worth responding to.
By following these tips, take it from me: You'll get way more messages than you can even respond to. Maybe you'll find that future father to your five children after all (just, um, don't say that).