Grammarian Greetings

by Caryn Alper under JDate,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Does grammar matter in your online dating profile? YES! I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I keep encountering profiles that would make any decent English teacher squirm. Poor grammar, misspellings, and general linguistic mangling are infiltrating both written profiles and verbal speech. I’m somewhat of a grammar nerd, but I know that poorly-written prose is a huge turn-off to more people than just me. In fact, a quick Google search yields dozens of articles on the topic, some of which quantify the decreased rates of response received by poorly-written profiles. And I’m not talking about a misplaced modifier or a preposition at the end of a sentence (although some of us may consider such egregiousness unforgivable)! I’m referring to those profiles that look like they were written by an overzealous 12-year-old girl who is texting her BFF!!! Or even worse, those that somehow managed to evade spell check and all junior high language classes. Is your profile in less-than-pristine condition? Don’t despair. Ask Tamar for content help, and contact me for editorial assistance – I will happily proofread your profile! Here’s a brief primer to remind you of some common grammatical or usage problems.

1. Capitalization

PLEASE DON’T YELL! Typing in all capital letters looks aggressive and angry. Don’t do it unless you’re making some kind of point. Similarly, don’t use all lowercase letters. Remember to capitalize the first letter of new sentences as well as names and places.

2. Sentence Structure

Have you ever come across a profile that says something like, “I like to travel. I like dogs. I also like pizza. I have a big family.” Never mind that this profile is generic – but it would come alive with some varied sentence structures, like “Having grown up with 5 siblings,…” or “New York is my favorite place to visit…” or “Pizza drives my daily ambition to finish work by noon…” etc.

3. Abbrevs

Using abbreviations in place of actual words looks either lazy or like you’re trying to be cool. Or maybe cool’s not the right word here. But neither situation is ideal. No need for AIM speak (hey, wut r u up to? Do u like me?) or your generational equivalent of popular social communication forms (telegram? Snapchat?).  Similarly, don’t assume everyone knows the same acronyms. When it doubt, write it out!

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4. Punctuation

This is a big one. If you aren’t sure of a punctuation mark’s correct usage, avoid it. In other words, don’t randomly add semicolons to look smart or throw in quotation marks unnecessarily (My name is “Caryn.”) For some reason, people like quotes, but if used improperly, the text looks suspicious, like, my name might be Caryn.

 

 

5. Spelling

Most browsers have a built-in spell check, meaning that typos are clearly denoted by a squiggly red line. So no excuse here. I realize spell check doesn’t always catch errors like your vs. you’re, but human eyes do, so proofread! Or send to me or a friend to review.

Is writing not your strong suit? Or maybe English isn’t your first language? Not to worry – you can still craft an eloquent, enticing, error-free profile. Elicit the help of a friend or even read the text out loud to yourself to check for typos. People online don’t know you, so to the internet world, a sloppy profile = a sloppy person. Luckily, it’s time for spring cleaning, so no more sloppiness!


Updating Your Profile

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating

While perusing various JDate profiles, I have found a few update tips that are good lessons for all JDaters® to learn.

  1. Don’t be time specific. If you say “I’m moving to [city] in November,” except now it’s December, you will eventually just have to go back and update it. Better to say “I’m new to [city]” — even if you aren’t moving until next week. Same goes for discussing your 5-year-old kid/niece/dog, because in 12 months that kid/niece/dog will be a year older and you’ll have to update. No need to state the age at all!
  2. Try to avoid cliches. Or at least poke fun at yourself for using them before elaborating to make your point.
  3. Don’t overdo the photos. Having 12 photo options doesn’t mean you need to use them all, especially if you’re not using them smartly. Edit. Eliminate repetitive photos of yourself wearing sunglasses, holding a wine glass, or posing with your dog.
  4. Don’t “Select All.” Narrow down your preferences in the Ideal Match section. You’re not fooling anyone when you select that you’re looking for “a friend” — you’re on JDate after all! And it’s not realistic to choose that you’re looking for both a Non-Practicing Jew and an Orthodox Jew.

Whether you edit often or haven’t touched your profile since you created it, follow the above tips to make sure your profile isn’t dated and is always doing a fair job of representing you.

Buy Tamar’s new book How to Woo a Jew, on sale now!

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Supporting Child Supporters

by Tamar Caspi under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Dear Tamar,

Is it okay to write “Only respond if you like kids” upfront in your profile? Many men say they are “anti-child support.” And I, like many women, am for child support reform.

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Dear Child Supporter,

I don’t think it’s necessary to be so blunt, but you can convey your desire in many other subtle, yet firm ways. Simply stating that you have kids will eliminate many prospects who don’t want to date a woman with children.

For the others who think it’s not a problem, but clearly aren’t going to be supportive co or step-parents, then make sure you mention — in just one sentence — about your love for your children or your desire to have children. I caution people not to discuss their divorces or children too much as you want someone to date YOU first and foremost, and to get to know YOU outside of your other roles in life.


Do I Look Like a Loser?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Online Dating,Single Life

Dear Tamar,

I want to date honestly and sincerely on JDate. I’m pre-med and trying hard to get into medical school, but I may not get in. How do I convey this interest in medicine — even though I’m not in a program yet — without sounding like a loser?

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Dear Not a Loser,

Simply be honest and sincere. List out in the appropriate sections that you are pre-med, and discuss your passion for medicine in the “About Me” section. You do not need to discuss the fact that you are not in, or even accepted to, medical school yet. That’s a conversation you can have on the first date.

However, you should be ready to discuss your “Plan B” if you don’t get into med school, but there is no need to explain that in your JDate profile. The same would go for someone who is applying for law school or to an MBA program — you don’t need go into too much detail in your profile about how you bombed the LSATs the first time, or got rejected from Wharton — just talk about your career path! People are attracted to those who are passionate about what they do (or plan to do) with their lives, regardless of what that is.


I’m Bored

by Aaron under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Though I live an exciting life (I’m one of those people who has at least two things planned most weeknights and even more on the weekends), I often find myself running into a frustrating dilemma: boredom.

You see, even dating can be tedious — especially as I browse through JDate, reading the same lines again and again: “My name is _____ and I enjoy _____” or “I totally don’t know what to write here.” What makes it even worse is that we men are often even more boring (I’ve done my share of browsing the competition). My worst fear? That you’re going to be bored reading my profile.

So when I started taking this dating thing more seriously, I let my “About Me” section get a lot less serious. After seeing a friend’s brilliant newscast style profile (with quotes from international selections of women raving about him), I knew a new game needed to be played. So I stirred for a bit, creating profiles for friends after they asked for my help (there was the one where I recreated the Lebron announcement and asked women to take their talents to him, and then there was another where I tailored the profile to my friend’s personality and made it about building the “ultimate computer”). Eventually, I came to a conclusion: who better to sell Aaron Stayman than the greatest salesman of all time, the late, great Billy Mays?

It may turn some people off (“Who is Billy Mays?” some may wonder — well ladies, just message and ask!), but for the most part, it allows me to tell people the boring stuff in an exciting way. So many people come off as boring or generic in their online dating profiles, but every person is awesome in their own way, and many of us just don’t know how to show that. Most people would describe me as a goofball, and I display that as honestly as I can in the best way I know how.

So whatever you are, it’s time to show it — and in the least boring way possible — because if there’s one thing no one on this site is, it’s boring. I’m sure I’m not the only person bored with the selection, so go ahead and make someone’s day with something different.