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Are You An Online Dating Snob?

I just finished reading your post about phrases to remove from your dating profile. You tell people to remove comments about preferring someone fit, but what if fitness is important to you? I'm very active (cycling, pilates, some cross-fit training) and would prefer to date someone who participated in those activities so we could do them together. Why shouldn't I say that in my profile? Isn't that the point of writing the thing in the first place? - Alana

As I mentioned in the post you referred to you in your question, descriptors like "fit" and "active" are usually code for "thin" and "young." Additionally, those adjective are subjective. What is considered fit can differ from person to person. To be clear: when you say you are looking for someone fit, what many people hear is that you want someone conventionally fit, as in slender. Since so many people don't know how to accurately describe their body-type, you risk alienating a slew of possible matches. You might counter by saying you want to date someone who leads a healthy lifestyle and that's why you prioritize fitness. Note that a commitment to a healthy lifestyle and interest in fitness can and often are unrelated. When gyms were open, I was at Equinox five days a week. I know plenty of people who regularly attend cardio and HIIT classes who also drink regularly, east red meat and even smoke. When the focus is on fitness and not lifestyle, the underlying preference is usually about aesthetics. Who knows? Maybe you'll be the person that introduces someone to Cross-fit. Just because they don't enjoy it now doesn't mean they won't or never will.

That's the main reason why you want to avoid using these buzzwords like "vibrant" or "driven", either when describing yourself or your ideal match. They're a waste of real estate, as they usually create confusion as to what, exactly, the person means. You have but a few seconds to grab someone's attention. If a potential match gets the even tiniest whiff of possible rejection - or worse, boredom - they're going to swipe left. You will never be able to prevent those you do not wish to date from contacting you. These days, you're lucky if they take the time to read your profile completely.

If you want to meet someone who shares a passion for fitness, I can assure you they will talk about said passion in their profile. You'll see photos or read mentions of their love of certain activities. In short, you'll know. You won't have to explicitly state anything. All you need to do is make it clear you engage in these activities often. That's it. If you feel the need to drive that point home with a statement in your dating app bio, I would encourage you to ask yourself why. What are you really trying to say? There's usually more to it than just a desire to date someone who shares a certain passion or experience. Intentional or not, that kind of language is often perceived as exclusionary and - given where we are at in society, especially with body positivity - insensitive.

Speaking of buzzwords, another that I see a lot in profiles is "educated." As in, "I'm hoping to meet someone educated."

Let's be really clear: saying you prefer to date someone educated is just slick way of letting people know you won't date anybody who doesn't have a college degree. Which, okay, that's understandable, but it's also elitist. Preferring to date someone with a college degree and refusing to date someone without one are two different things. I prefer a lot of things, but as an adult, I know I can't always get what I want. Sometimes, that's for the best. Placing value on things like formalized education and travel usually indicates that a person wants to date someone from a certain socio-economic background. Which, again, cool. Also, again, elitist. Justify it all you like; education and the ability or desire to frequently travel is not and never will be indicative of someone's character or level of sophistication.

Then there's the height issue. I recently read a profile from a woman who stated she was 5'9" and loved to wear heels without being the tallest person in the room. 🙄

Never make your insecurity about someone else's attributes. Either own it and state it outright (and look shallow) or don't mention it at all and self-select. Much like how women negatively judge a man who refuses to date women his own age out of support for other women, men read comments like that in profiles and give the woman a hard pass, even if they meet her height requirements. Let's call that what it is: prejudice.

But I digress...

Specificity is key when writing a dating profile. As I mentioned to someone in a recent workshop, the more specific you are with your language, the more likely you are to attract the type of person you seek. Use words that evoke an image or emotional response. That's how you engage people. If something you say resonates with them, they will continue reading your profile.

That said, preferences associated with status or privilege - looks, race, height, body type, travel, education, money, influence - should be avoided altogether.


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