How to get the perfect online dating profile: Focus on your quirks and ban the mustache

"Mustaches are over," Hooker declared.

Are you a single gal who “loves to have fun” and is looking for “a nice, funny guy?” Or are you a single guy who is “currently obsessed with ‘The Wire’” and wants to meet a “cool girl?”

Then you, my friend, are an online dater with a chronically uncreative profile. It happens to the best of us.

Anyone who has ever taken the plunge and signed up for a dating website is well-versed in what can be the agonizing experience of writing a witty, clever and non-creepy (guys!) profile. And worse — choosing photos that don’t scream, “I’m doe-eyed and sassy. Look at my cleavage” or “See this six-pack? This could be yours.”  

But single New Yorkers — there is hope, and it comes in the form of Brooklyn-based startup Artful Online Dating. 30-year-old Christine Hooker found an untapped market for digital dating guidance after helping countless friends improve their profiles once she successfully met her own boyfriend online. She quit her corporate advertising gig and launched Artful Online Dating for singles who need a little help letting their personalities shine online.  

“For me, online dating was really fun and I found that because I had a marketing background, it came very naturally to me,” Hooker said. “But for people who are not used to writing that kind of description of themselves, it can be daunting.”   

Through Artful Online Dating, Hooker offers services (including a “Wingman Supreme”) that can help you maximize your online potential. Maybe you don’t have a knack for writing — she’ll meet with you and ask questions to bring out your more interesting quirks to include in your profile. For between $20 and $79, she will scan your answers for overused phrases, weed out your generic photos or even help you craft the perfect first message.

Hooker shared some expert advice with Metro about creating the ultimate profile, but first, we took the opportunity to ask her a question that has been burning in our minds: WHY DO SO MANY GIRLS HAVE MUSTACHES IN THEIR PROFILE PICTURES?!

“It’s an epidemic,” Hooker laughed. “The psychology behind it might be that you want to show a goofy side of you and it’s hard to do that in a picture without looking like an idiot.”

But will this trend ever die?

“I think people don’t realize that everyone else is doing it. It’s sort of the hipster lexicon of visuals,” Hooker explained. “I am going to declare that mustaches are over.”

Ok, now that that’s cleared up, Hooker had some other tips for both men and women when it comes to those dreaded questions and answers: have a sharp, clear head shot that shows your face well; if you say you like to “have fun,” for goodness sake, please elaborate; don’t waste space on details that aren’t necessarily interesting to potential matches (ladies, your obsession with ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: fellas, your penchant for working on cars with your boys).

“Think more about what you would want to do with that person,” Hooker advised. “Instead of saying you love taking cooking classes with your best girls, say you like to cook a nice meal for someone who appreciates it.”

How about making the first move? The same rule applies for both men and women.

“As much as you can, message, message and message,” she insisted.

But keep it short and sweet — four to five sentences. Make sure you mention something specific about the person’s profile that caught your eye and always include a question.

Hooker offers guidance on these topics and much more, including when to ask for a first date. Her experience spans a wide range of dating sites and she works with clients who have profiles on all the most popular choices, including OkCupid, eHarmony, J Date,  Gay.com and Zoosk. She’s willing to travel to meet with any single New Yorker who is looking for more from their online experience — but ladies, delete those mustache photos before you sit down with her. No really, we insist.


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