How to Write Great Essays

Snappy essays are what it takes for you to stand out in the dating crowd and, more importantly, attract the people who are right for you.

The key to writing great essays? It's all in the details... in giving specific examples. The good news is that the details are all about you, and since you've been hanging out with yourself all these years, it should be simple.

...your essay writing mantra: It's all about me, me, me.

Make It HappenNeed some help in getting to the heart of the matter?

Follow these 5 simple steps and you'll be on your way:

  1. Check out these sample essays to get an idea of what works. Notice that they're fun, conversational and chock-full of very specific details -- both little day-to-day things and the big picture ideals.

    MoreThanMeetsTheEye
    You: Down to Earth, Me: Hovering Above It
    Jim from Minneapolis, 26
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    Man'sBestFriend
    Certainly Not A Dog
    Maggie from Los Angeles, 33
    Read essays >>
    Renaissance Man
    You Only Live Once
    Gavin from Chicago, 41
    Read essays >>
    One Lucky Mama
    Second Time's A Charm
    Evelyn from New York, 53
    Read essays >>
    Perfect Gentleman
    Dewey Defeats Truman!
    Charles from Miami, 62
    Read essays >>
    Quick Tip Dating profiles are like resumes, so put your best foot forward and make them as good as it gets.
  2. Get honest, get creative, get to your keyboard and get typing. Try these ideas to get you in the right frame of mind...
    • Write like you talk. Pretend you're hanging out with your best friends, telling them exactly what's on your mind.
    • Take a look at our list of things to write about if you get really stuck.
    • Get detailed. Use nouns instead of adjectives and give specific --examples for everything:
    Good Start Better Now We're Talking
    I like the outdoors. I like hiking with friends. I like taking a 30 pound backpack, a relief map, my guitar and a case of beer and spending a weekend in the Appalachians with a group of close friends.
    I like movies. I like science fiction movies. I braved the elements for 36 straight hours just to be first in line to see the latest installment of Star Wars (which sucked).
    I like to travel. I often vacation in Europe. Last time I was in Spain, I spent about two hours marveling at La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, I bought 2 huge prints at the Dali museum in Figueras, and I ate the most delicious paella in a little seaside town called Sitges.
    Quick Tip Be positive! Say what you want, not what you don't want
  3. Spell check.
  4. Check back in a day or two with a fresh eye. You like? You're ready to go.
  5. Keep it current. Feel free to update whenever you have a new idea or something new happens in your life. If you see a great movie that's made your top ten, add something about why you like it. If you go on an African safari, describe it with a roar. If you get a new mountain bike, suggest a ride as a date idea.

MoreThanMeetsTheEye
You: Down to Earth, Me: Hovering Above It
Jim from Minneapolis, 26
About me

My best buddy just got engaged off of this site and his fiance's a total winner, so I figured I might as well give this a shot. I don't know where to begin in describing myself, but since they say here that detail is important, I'm just gonna look around my apartment and tell you all the things that make me unique...Read into it as you like...Starting from my room...Memorabilia from the 1994 Rose Bowl (Go Badgers!), a single strand of Mardi Gras beads, a SAE pledge paddle... okay, moving on from college... a photo of me and my dad fishing when I was 8, a rack of four rods that he left me when he passed away, and a baseball mitt signed by Mickey Mantle (Dad was from New York)...out into the living room... TONS and TONS of music... Chili Peppers, Kid Rock, Eminem and some 70's classic rock that I sing out loud to in my car (but only by myself)...a few books that I'm currently juggling (I was the rare English/Finance major)...The Old Man and the Sea, Fight Club, and Rum Punch... I don't know. If you haven't found anything in common with me yet...let's just hope that opposites attract. :)

About the one I'm looking for

A partner in crime, a weekend football fan and a girl who can make me spit out my food because she makes me laugh so hard. Confidence is good. Having a solid relationship with your parents is good. Reading the newspaper every day is good. Preferring Must-See-TV to the bar scene is good. Being nice to waiters and lunch ladies is good. Being financially independent is good. Wanting children one day is good. And Victoria's Secret is just plain HOT.

My idea of our perfect first date

I get out of work at 3 (I work for my mom's accounting firm, so she'll let me), so I have plenty of time to prepare. I go to Kroger's, buy fresh meat and produce and later dazzle you with my mad gourmet skills. Butternut squash soup, chicken marsala with mushrooms and strawberries and cream for dessert. Maybe a bottle of pinot grigio, maybe a little bit of kissing, and then, well, we'll let you decide the rest...

My perception of an ideal relationship

We spend lots of time together, but not an unhealthy amount. It's not a problem if I want to hang out with the guys on Saturday night, because you're hanging out with the girls and we're still having brunch on Sunday morning. Respect is huge - because if you don't respect someone, you're gonna try and change them - and if you're trying to change someone, you shouldn't be in a relationship with them. Other important and underrated virtues include: doing nice things for no apparent reason, lots and lots of laughter, a mutually satisfying love life, and the hope that you can have a long and bright future together.

What I've learned from my past relationships

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If it is broke, work on it as hard as you possibly can. And if you can't fix what's broke, it's smarter to cut your losses and get out than it is to stay for two years trying to fix it in vain.



Man'sBestFriend
Certainly Not A Dog
Maggie from Los Angeles, 33
About me

Dog lover (I've got a golden and a black lab), music lover (Moorcheeba and Travis, anyone?), fast food lover (In and Out), and, if you're lucky, a love lover (need I explain more?). Guys think I'm a cool girl and I'm inclined to agree. I'm curvy and feminine and won't miss a sale at Barney's, but then again, I won my office football pool two years running. I do PR by day, but I'm really a closet artiste. Give me a mound of clay and a wheel and I'll make you the best damn snake you ever did see.

About the one I'm looking for

I'm proud to say I've kicked my "bad boy" habit, but that doesn't mean I want a nice guy who bows to me when I enter the room and has no opinion of his own. There has to be a balance, a give and take, and the guy I end up with will naturally strike that balance. It's the inside that counts. That, and having fun together. A spontaneous guy is hard to find - the kind of guy who will take my hand and say, "Today we're going white water rafting," and then throw me my bathing suit. Oh, and being able to quote verbatim from the "Breakfast Club" is kind of nice too.

My idea of our perfect first date

Just cause I like In and Out doesn't mean you get away with that on our first date. Fatburger should do the trick. Really, any place that you think is cool is probably cool by me, as long as I can have a mojito (or two) and not find myself looking at my watch every ten minutes. Make me laugh, you'll win my heart. I find that most "bad boys" don't have much of a sense of humor, so you guys can spare yourself the time of writing to me. Thank me now - I'm saving you money.

My perception of an ideal relationship

One that lasts forever. Maybe I've watched a few too many movies, but the whole "Princess Bride" fantasy really stands out. Come on! What girl doesn't want a man who responds "as you wish..." to anything you say?!... at least a few days a week.

What I've learned from my past relationships

Not to echo a theme, but don't stay in bad relationships out of fear of being alone. Be vulnerable, because if you don't risk anything, you don't gain anything. Love unconditionally and give more than you receive. And if it's right, you'll feel like you're the lucky one in the relationship.



Renaissance Man
You Only Live Once
Gavin from Chicago, 41
About me

Here's all you need to know: I like my meat rare, my waffles with chocolate ice cream and my scotch neat. I'm American by birth, Italian by tradition, a world citizen by experience. I give up my seat for old ladies, spare a buck for the homeless, but won't let a jerk cut in from the shoulder of the highway. I studied bio in college and went into business for myself. Now, after 20 years in business, I'm starting to think I want to learn more about bio again. I'm more aesthete than athlete, more Felix than Oscar, more ego than id. I'm still learning and proud to admit it. I treat women like gold, I don't play games and I've never cheated on anyone in my life. If I'm in love with you and you're in love with me, we both feel like the luckiest people in the world.

About the one I'm looking for

Size doesn't matter. I've been with all types and at the end of the day, only one question remains: Will I care what this woman has to say to me over dinner eight years from now? I sure hope so. Common interests help, but respect and admiration are more important. But I would have to give bonus points to any woman who can snowboard, who can flip her hair from side to side without messing it up, who can name three Martin Scorsese movies and who can get ready to go out in less than a half hour.

My idea of our perfect first date

You, me, sparks, a kiss, a second date.

My perception of an ideal relationship

Yes, love is hard, but it shouldn't be that hard. We appreciate each others' good qualities and can laugh at each others' bad qualities. And if you don't think you have any bad qualities, well, that's a bad quality right there. Listen, we all know that nothing's "perfect," but if a relationship is to have legs, the trust needs to be there, the want has to be greater than the need, the laughter must be constant and the sex should be mind blowing. We are aiming for perfect, aren't we?

What I've learned from my past relationships

She's always right. Except when she's wrong, in which case, no answer is the best answer. It's not about who wins or loses, but who is big enough to apologize for the greater good of the relationship. Hopefully, it's you. :)



One Lucky Mama
Second Time's A Charm
Evelyn from New York, 53
About me

F. Scott Fitzgerald might have said that there are no second acts in American life, but that's because he never met me. I'm well into my second act (as my husband passed away four years ago) and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. For the first time in a long time, I can truly say I'm happy, and I think happiness tends to be contagious. I'm financially stable and love life, so I do get out and enjoy the finer things - a Caribbean cruise, an original Miro painting, season tickets at the Met - but those things, while enjoyable, are entirely secondary to my family. My adult children (30 and 27) are the light of my life, the source of my pride, my raison d'etre. Oh, don't get me started...

About the one I'm looking for

I want to focus on the positive because I'm a glass half-full kind of person, but the one thing I'm NOT looking for is a lonely old man to take care of and cook for. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook, but I must admit I'm enjoying my recent independence. So this Internet dating thing isn't about marriage for me at all; it's about companionship. There are only so many times you can play canasta with the girls without thinking about what you might be missing out there. So all you have to do is this: Please be a gentleman, please be family oriented, please be silly, please be romantic, please be bright, please be sophisticated, please be stable, but most of all, please be yourself. If you're not, we'll both find out very quickly.

My idea of our perfect first date

I grew up in the 50's. You plan it. :) Okay, fine. If I were to help you out... I might recommend a small bistro in Little Italy. Great atmosphere. Casual, but fun. Two hours pass like two minutes. The meal ends and without telling me where we're going, you take my hand, we hop in a cab and end up eating chocolate fondue at the Velvet Room and washing it down with a bottle of champagne. A warm hug, a kiss on the cheek and the anticipation of knowing that there's a lot more in store for us in the future makes it a perfect first date. At least that's MY suggestion...

My perception of an ideal relationship

I wake up before you (of course, I wake up before roosters do). I look over at you sleeping. I make eggs and toast and fresh squeezed orange juice because I want to. I wake you with a kiss. We eat. We go back to bed. You wake up before me. You do the dishes that I left in the sink because you want to. You wake me up by opening the blinds. The Scrabble board is already set up. I kick your ass on a triple word score (Now, ideally, you'd win once in awhile for competitive balance, but today I feel like winning, okay?) We finally get out of the house and go antiquing for me. We catch the second half of the Jets game for you. We come home, order in Chinese and watch 60 Minutes and the only thing we disagreed about the entire day is Mike Wallace's age.

What I've learned from my past relationships

Men are from Venus, women are from Mars, and that no self-help book can substitute for true love and strength during trying times. At this point in my life, I don't need any strife, so if it doesn't come easily, it's probably not right. Also, you should always trust your gut and never, ever go to bed mad.



Perfect Gentleman
Dewey Defeats Truman!
Charles from Miami, 62
About me

I'm okay on my own, but I'd rather share my life with someone special. Who wouldn't? My marriage ended six years ago, so I'm past the tough part and looking forward to meeting some new people that I probably wouldn't ever get to meet unless they were in the hospital. That's right, I'm a doctor (retina surgeon). I enjoy my profession, but it's not the be-all and end-all. Really. It's just a job. It's what I do by day to keep me from selling drugs or betting on the ponies. (Kidding - about the drugs, anyway) Let's see. What else? I only sleep four hours a night because I get a lot more accomplished when I'm awake than when I'm asleep. I like watching PBS documentaries (anything by Ken Burns: The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz), but I still play poker with the same three guys for the past 18 years. I do charity at a local homeless shelter, I jog 3 miles each morning, and I'm an avid amateur photographer. Ask me more, I'll tell you more!

About the one I'm looking for

You never cease to amaze me with your wit, your charm, your smile, your warmth, your compassion, your energy, your very being. And hopefully I like your kids and you like mine.

My idea of our perfect first date

For lack of a better phrase, I'm ‘old school'. (Repeat: Not old, but ‘old school'). I'm a gentleman and a romantic and if you don't feel you've been treated like a queen by me, then you weren't paying close enough attention. Ideally, I'd pick you up at your place, find a restaurant that's conducive to good conversation and hope to find that spark within the first ten minutes. And if not, we should probably still be friends. Seriously. There are plenty of good people out there. It doesn't mean you should discard them if there's no love connection.

My perception of an ideal relationship

Marriage would be nice, but I've been there and done that. I'm just looking for a life partner, someone to fill in the last three words on my New York Times crossword puzzle, someone to remind me to lock the door behind me, someone to explain what they're fighting about in Bosnia. I guess I'm looking for a woman who is mature, brainy, fit, and down to earth. In other words, an equal. Is that too much to ask?

What I've learned from my past relationships

At risk of sounding cliché (and remember, clichés are clichés for a reason), it's all about compromise. Two adult individuals merging into one unit is a tall order, especially if both are bright, independent, and in my case, stubborn. So follow those clichés and they shall set you free. Be honest. Communicate. It's better to be silent than to be right. Don't leave the toilet seat up. And if you don't know this stuff by now, I'm afraid I don't have time to teach you.