For those of you who are trying to find love online, here’s an example of a dating profile you should avoid. I dated this person, and since his profile is public content, there is nothing illegal about re-posting it here. I will not post his dating-site handle (but I wish I could so women in my area who read this can avoid him) or his name. I will deconstruct his profile for you. My commentary is in red.
Most tell me I am warm, giving, knowing, and patient.
Most of what? Most of whom? If “most” apples in a barrel are good does that mean that ALL apples in a barrel are good? Do you not know whether you are those things? No, you don’t because your entire image of yourself is a construct built upon what others tell you.
Others tell me I have a good sense of humor and am fun to be around.
Here we go again with what YOU say OTHERS say. You don’t want to actually say that you have these qualities because deep down, you know you don’t really have them, you only present them when you are in the presence of others from whom you can benefit. Presenting these qualities is not the same thing as actually having them.
Many things interest me and I am entertained easily. I love kayaking, skiing, hiking, skating and most of the usual sports but I tend to gravitate toward the arts.
Note that this person places the emphasis on the more “extreme” sports, the ones that require more skill for the average person to engage in them. There is only a nod toward the “more usual sports” because this person feels the “more usual” is beneath them.
I am emotionally healthy as I am filled with positive feelings and energy most of the time.
Um, okay. How does that define emotional health? Notice this person doesn’t say “others” speak to the individual’s emotional health. This is something this person is CERTAIN of, and even goes so far as to define it for us.
I enjoy talking and listening and sharing emotions.
Be very wary of this kind of phrase in an online profile. It sounds innocent and it may well be innocent as well as truthful, but I happen to know this person. I dated him. He does enjoy talking – about himself. He listens for perceived criticisms and the emotions he shares are thinly disguised rage. He feeds off YOUR emotions and stores them up to use as ammunition against you.
I’ve been told I’m old fashioned and I’ve been told I’m eclectic, urban and modern.
Again, he doesn’t know himself – he tells us what others have told him. He has no clue what he truly is.
I think I’m a bit of mix since I strive for balance in most areas.
He doesn’t know what he thinks, since he’s already stated that his opinion of himself is garnered from the opinions of others. How many people strive for balance in just “most” areas? This is an individual who doesn’t know anything about balance and probably added the word “most” as a subconscious qualifier. I doubt he even realizes what he’s said about himself here.
I am honest and loyal and sometimes too trusting.
This is classic NPD in this case. Again, he shows us that he hasn’t got a clue. How can he be honest when he’s already told us that he has no clue what emotional health is and that he only strives for balance in “most” areas? The part about being loyal and too trusting is a classic set-up from NPD people.
This is a huge red flag, and it’s already setting his potential victims up to BE victims. He’ll be “loyal” and “trusting” until you evince dissatisfaction with him. At that point, his entire visage will change, his normal MO will cast off the cloak of charm, warmth and affection and you will be told exactly what a terrible person you are, and any emotions you may have “shared” with him will be brought out and used to decimate you. You’ll know you are nothing more than a thing to him, that you are disposable and he will attempt to convince you that you have misinterpreted him in all ways. Any hurt you sustain from your interaction with him is your fault. To paraphrase another source: “so sorry that you’re a casualty of my pathology.”
An Optimist-idealist grounded in the practical.
Note he doesn’t state “I am an optimist-idealist grounded in the practical.” To state that would not allow him to say “I never said I was that way.” While this may simply be poor grammar on his part, based on the preceding elements of the profile, one could reasonably ask: “Why is this phrase here?”
I’ve been known to act like a child and think like an old man, then think like a child and act like an old man.
He’s been “known” to do these things. Known by whom? Note that he doesn’t state that HE ACTUALLY DOES THESE THINGS. He simply invokes the ubiquitous and invisible “others” by use of the word ‘known’.
You? You’re easy to talk to and like to talk and laugh. You’re generally happy with yourself In body and spirit. You enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the fruits of the country but also like urban activities and the suburban typical.
First, he’s telling you what you will be if you are going to interact with him. He’s not stating qualities he appreciates in another, he’s stating WHAT YOU ARE and if you prove not to be these things, you’ll be sorry. He’s also pompous as hell – “appreciate the fruits of the country?” What the hell is THAT? You like to go apple-picking? His entire profile is written from the perspective of condescending pomposity. What does “generally happy with yourself in body and spirit” mean? Does this mean he’ll be okay if you’re sometimes not happy that way? No, in this profile it means you WILL be happy with these things because he has decreed it.
Your open-minded, funny, and can enjoy laughing at yourself.
He says nothing about compassion, independence, warmth, empathy, loving, giving, etc. You are to be open-minded, funny and you have to enjoy laughing at yourself. That is ALL you will be. Note he doesn’t state that you can enjoy laughing at him!
You are understanding and respectful and appreciate those qualities in me.
This time he tells you what you are. You are understanding and respectful – and you WILL appreciate those qualities in him. What he left off here is this: “…as I interpret those qualities.”
This is what he’s currently doing with his life:
Generally: Surfing the curl of the daily experience and picking the next big wave. (Ahh…Escapism through metaphor) Family and Friends are most important. Life is care and devotion to myself and those around me.
Okay, this statement is fraught with issues. First, he displays how “intelligent” he is by using metaphor. He also uses metaphor to escape from having to state what it is he is usually doing, which is trolling dating sites for his next mirror. That would be “the next big wave.”
He uses grandiose surfing metaphor to describe what he’s doing with his life, which is precisely NOTHING. He states that Family and Friends are most important. I know for fact that he doesn’t get along with his siblings. His sister moved to Guatemala not too long ago to continue her education through experience, and when I was told about this I got very excited. I wanted to know how she was, what her experiences were, etc.
His reply was: “I don’t know. She left three months ago. I haven’t had time to email or call her to find out how she is and what she’s doing.”
I was stunned. Had that been MY sister, I’d be emailing her daily, I’d be checking her Facebook to see new photos, I’d send her snail mail so she’d have things from home, cards and little things made and sent with love. I’d be in constant contact with her.
He stated his other siblings are “slobs” and had nothing positive to say about them. Yet Family is most important to him.
He spoke of his mother in glowing terms. His mother died in 2007, and she was an excellent surrealist. When I look at her artwork, I see the emptiness in her. There is one painting that is scarily desolate.
It is a depiction of four humans in the form of trees, and the center “tree” is obviously an older female who is oblivious to the trees around her. The other three trees (her children) surround her and their branches reach toward her. She stands alone, with clearly defined space around her, space through which her children will never be able to travel. She is powerful, she has no need of these other trees and in the painting, she is the tree given the most detail. This painting gave me serious insight to this man’s relationship with his mother.
This man has also told me that he only has one dream. It’s a dream where he is around 6, standing in the living room, watching his father chop the decorated christmas tree down with an ax. His father left the family unit when he was 7. He states that from that point forward, he never had a relationship with his dad because of what his father “did” to his mother. My guess is that the N’s mother made certain the children drank the kool-aid with regard to their father.
Notice in his last sentence above that he states that life is care of himself BEFORE it is care for others. In my experience, care for oneself comes naturally when one gives of oneself to others. If I actively nurture my friends and family, as well as the family of mankind, I am, by definition, providing care for myself. I’m not placing myself ahead of others, I am working in TANDEM with others.
These are his favorite books, movies and shows:
Most of my reading is done on the web.
Yup, most of it IS done on the web. On dating sites. He is a remarkably uninformed individual but if you read his pretentious list below, you’ll likely wind up with the notion that he’s remarkably WELL informed and well-read.
I used to enjoy really long hair stuff like Proust and really silly stuff like Kurt Vonnegut.
I’ve heard Kurt Vonnegut described as many things, but never as “silly.” Vonnegut is known for populating his novels with characters who are searching for meaning and order in an inherently meaningless and disorderly universe. He’s known for his irreverent humor, satire of contemporary society and his focus on the futility of warfare and the human capacity for both irrationality and evil. And this person finds Kurt Vonnegut SILLY.
Pedestrian stuff like Michener and scary stuff like King.
Michener is pedestrian? No. Danielle Steel is pedestrian. John Grisham is pedestrian. Michener? He wrote from wartime experience; he wrote from his experience as a world-traveler who immersed himself in various cultures. He wrote compelling epic portraits of those cultures. Nothing he wrote is pedestrian, yet he is casually lumped in with Stephen King, who, while being a great teller of scary stories, is rather pedestrian.
Poetry by Stephen Dunn and tanka (Japanese Poetry Method).
Ahh. Now we are getting to the meat of it. Stephen Dunn. Read Poem for People That Are Understandably Too Busy To Read Poetry . G’wan. I dare ya. It’ll open in a new tab, so you can come back here without having to click “back.” Read this gem and you will know exactly what an N is. Until today, I hadn’t investigated Stephen Dunn. Wow. If I had researched him before I dated this man, I might not have dated him – or, being into poetry myself, would have thought him quite deep for being able to understand Dunn. Holy shit on a brick. Read Biography In The First Person . Wow.
Next he states he likes Tanka. He doesn’t state he likes Haiku, which is characterized by the 5-7-5 syllable rhythm. Oh no. He’s special, he prefers Tanka, which most people won’t know anything about, and is characterized by the 5-7-5-7-7 syllable rhythm. Yet, when I replied to one of his initial emails to me in Tanka he didn’t recognize it. When I pointed it out to him, he said it wasn’t recognizable to him as Tanka. Excuse me? Anyone familiar with Tanka would have recognized it immediately. Devaluation from the very beginning.
I have a wide range in taste in Movies but would watch an Oliver Stone effort over Ron Howard, Cohen brothers over Cronenburg, Burton over Zemeckis…
How many people take the time to tell the world what movie directors they prefer? This is simply an effort to prove to potential supply that he’s arts-literate. It’s grandiose, pompous, condescending and indirectly states: “If you don’t like Oliver Stone over Ron Howard…(ad nauseum) you need to get with the plan.” And the funny part about this? He doesn’t watch films like these with ANY regularity. He’s got a teenage son who monopolizes the television and they watch teenage-appropriate films. When I suggested seeing an art film at the local art theater, he turned it down without explanation. He simply said “no.”
Shows favorites go more abstract: Salome over Cameron, Carmina Burana over Coppelia, Aspects of Love over Gigi, Circ Du Soleil over Ringling Brothers…
I really wish I’d read his profile more carefully. He’s confusing opera with cult films, male choral performances with ballet, and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that he prefers Aspects of Love over Gigi. In Aspects of Love, as Alex, the male lead, traipses through life nonchalantly breaking female hearts and at the end, leaves not one, but two women, in favor of a third, who wonders aloud what the future will bring, to which Alex replies “love changes everything.” It’s not Alex’s love that changes everything. Alex has no love. In Gigi, Gaston marries her, because he understands what Gigi has been saying all along – that the world will perceive her as his mistress and Gaston has a conscience. He doesn’t want to harm Gigi. It would not surprise me in the least to find this list is merely a regurgitated reflection from comments he’s heard others make.
Music is a bit too large of a topic in my life for this textbox so I will leave it at, there is no genre that I don’t enjoy some part of. Food? Don’t like Brussels Sprouts unless they don’t taste like Brussels Sprouts. Other than that I go from the usual to the exotic in cuisine.
Wait. He dumped all kinds of pretentious and pompous crap in about other things, but music is “a bit too large of a topic in his life for this textbox?” If he loved all types of music, why not just state that? Why not just state that music holds a huge fascination for him and he gravitates toward many types? Oh no. He has to mysteriously let us know that it’s “too large of a topic in his life.” It’s SO large that it won’t fit in a text box that allows unlimited characters. It’s infinite. It’s much larger than YOU or I could EVER understand so he’s going to do us the favor of not expounding on it, because:
At this point his sick of writing a profile that has to impress potential supply well enough to reel them in, and he believes he’s already done that, so he leaves us with a lame comment about not liking brussels sprouts and the generalization that he goes from the usual to the exotic in “cuisine.” Not “food.” “cuisine.”
While this is the deconstruction of my N’s online dating profile, perhaps there are elements of it that will help you deconstruct profiles you encounter that just don’t read “right” to you. If your intuition is telling you that the person who has contacted you isn’t going to be a good thing for you, heed that intuition. I did not heed it. I allowed him to charm away my fears. I allowed him to talk me into dating him. Most men, when in receipt of an email that says “thank you, but I’m not interested in dating right now” will simply move on. Not an N. That presents a challenge for him and his perceived image of himself dictates that he MUST “conquer” this refusal NOW. So that’s what my N set about doing, in a sympathetic and charming manner – so much so that I capitulated.
Never again. Matter of fact, I learned so well from this that just prior to removing all my dating profiles, I received an email from a guy whose approach was similar to the N’s. I was on instant alert. I refused him. He persisted. I refused. He persisted. I refused. He sent his phone number, telling me he can’t wait until we talk. I tell him we aren’t going to talk. He replies that he’s made reservations for us at a fancy restaurant. I blocked his ass and took down my last dating profile.