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The online dating bookstore of love

Let’s say you walked into a bookstore, and there was a book called, “The Scientific Answer to Your Most Common Questions.” Would you buy it?

Let's say you walked into a bookstore, and there was a book called, "The Scientific Answer to Your Most Common Questions."  Would you buy it?  Now, what if the title was instead "Why Do Men Have Nipples?: Hundreds of Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini" that graced the shelf?  Perhaps some of us, out of sheer embarrassment, would opt for the first choice, but I'm guessing that more of us would at least be intrigued by the scandalous title of the second choice… and then maybe go home and buy it online so no one can tell just how intrigued we are.  (And for the record, this is a real book.  I own it.  Don't judge.)  

After you read the title of the book, you likely then read the first line on either the back or inside cover, searching for something to catch your attention or to reel you in.  Would you rather buy the book with the line, "This book is about a woman's adventure and coming of age," or the one with the line, "Read a rare tale about a woman's 14-month trek through the Amazon to learn about love, hope, passion, and, most importantly, herself"?  I know which I'd buy, and I'd venture to say that you would, too.

On most of the dating sites, just a few words of your profile are shown.  Someone needs to actively click on you to see the rest.  For that reason, it's important to make the first sentence memorable in order to catch someone's attention.  Believe it or not, when perusing online dating profiles, people are often using the same criteria as those from the bookstore.  I'm not saying that you have to include mystery, intrigue, and drama all within one sentence.  (In fact, drama is usually something people do not want to see in an online dating profile.)  What I am saying, however, is that you should consider the first line of your profile as a "hook."  With so many people using online dating sites and so many profiles to weed through, it's best to take that one extra step to make sure you're catching someone's eye.

Below are some real examples from popular online dating sites of not big and bold (aka boring) opening lines.  And then I'll show a few examples that make the "big and bold" cut.

  1. Yes, I am single. I am throwing it out there!

I sure hope you're single if you're on!

  1. For the past few years, I've lived under the assumption that I'd meet someone in my normal circles of work, friends, and activities.

I'd say most people would have made that assumption.  La dee da.

  1. So… I have never done this online dating thing before, and I'm still on the fence about how I feel about it.

This one is not only boring, but it's also negative. 

  1. I work a lot and I don't really have too many opportunities to meet new people.

On the surface, this one's not bad since we all likely work too much, but by starting with this fact, it leads others to assume that he or she is a workaholic and has no time to date.  Remember, people will infer things based on what you write, so make sure they infer correctly. 

  1. I enjoy life and like to have fun.

This is the worst!  Raise your hand if you don't enjoy life and like to have fun.  I better not see any hands raised!

Ready for the examples of some big and bold intros?  Here we go.

  1. Pick me, pick me!  As a teacher, this phrase is all too familiar.

Not only does this line show that the online dater is a teacher, but it also shows that she has a sense of humor.  Well done.  She gets an A+.

  1. Being an engineer, the last time I wrote this profile, I approached it like a car engine… it functioned okay and got 32 miles/gallon, but it didn't attract women.  (This was kind of a problem.)

He's able to make fun of himself.  Many people see this as a very attractive quality in a partner since he doesn't take himself too seriously. 

  1. I like extra salted buttered popcorn and malt balls at the movies. 

She sounds like fun.  Heck – I want to get to know her!

  1. I've lived in the US for over 30 years, but I still have my accent from where I grew up.  Care to guess where?

This says so much – she's American but grew up abroad, so she's clearly fairly cultured.  And the line adds a bit of intrigue, challenging the reader to guess where she's from. 

  1. Most people say that they don't want drama in a relationship, right?  But what if your partner's a theater teacher?  I think I just found the loophole.

This is hysterical.  Not only is it a commentary on dating, but it also shares what he does for a living and shows that he has a clever sense of humor. 

Don't let people pass you by simply because your first line bored them to sleep.  Remember: When they go to the online dating bookstore, you want them to leave with your profile… or at least smile and send you an email to say hello.