Do Women Still Get Attention in Online Dating Even If Their Profiles Suck?


Hi Evan ,

I have been reading your information regarding how men have to be unique and different when contact women just because of the sheer numbers of contacts they have. But do women have to do anything extra ordinary? I have looked at a few websites, and some women seem to not really try to attract as much attention as they could. Blurry pictures, pictures of pets, the dreaded bathroom mirror picture (why do they do that), no information in the profile, the list goes on. Do they still get attention and contacts?


A young attractive woman using a webcam photo could write, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you” as her profile essay and still receive 100 emails a week.

Dear Jim,

A young attractive woman using a webcam photo could write, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you” as her profile essay and still receive 100 emails a week.

So yes, they still get attention and contacts.

However, your question allows me the opportunity to address something that I don’t know I’ve ever addressed before when it comes to online dating — how women sabotage their own experience by not trying harder.

Everyone knows that men’s profiles, on the whole, are even worse than women. We can debate why, but, for the most part, I think it’s ignorance. Most men simply don’t know that a profile is the equivalent of a resume — if you don’t have a good one, you’re not getting called for an interview. Especially in a competitive job market.

Women have the same ignorance about the importance of a profile, except they don’t experience the same failure as men. As a result, they have no way to learn their lesson. As long as women keep receiving a steady stream of generic emails that say, “Hey, great profile. I think we have a lot in common. Would love to learn more about you,” they’re convinced that they actually have great profiles.

They don’t.

The only reason that many attractive women get these “great profile” emails is that the men writing to them need SOMETHING to say. Unless he wants to write a “you’re hot” (or more likely, “your hot”) email, all he can say is “great profile”. Why? Because you didn’t give him anything specific with which to work.

When women ask me (and boy, do they ask me), why do all the WRONG men write to them, I always have a two part response: 1) By your standards, 95% of men are the wrong men. So don’t be too surprised if you’re not enamored with 9 out of 10 emails you receive. It makes perfect sense. 2) Your profile is likely not attracting the small percentage of “right men” out there — which is something that we can easily change.

It’s because we — men and women alike — haven’t truly figured out what makes us unique. And unique profiles not only get more responses, but they get higher quality responses in return.

Yet some women really get indignant — they poured their heart out in their profile, put a ton of effort into saying what they really feel. And when I take a look at it, 9 times out of 10, she did just that. Except Nancy pouring her heart out as a 45-year-old divorcee in Seattle sounds just like April pouring her heart out as a 35-year-old single girl in New York. The lists of adjectives, the lists of hobbies, the lists of bands and countries and books and TV shows, the clichés, the personal philosophy about life and love and honesty and trust. You’ve seen it before. It’s perfectly articulate, perfectly earnest, and perfectly generic because most woman arrive at the same conclusions.

So when every woman’s profile sounds the same, what do men have to write to?

That’s right. Your looks.

And then we wonder why the level of discourse in online flirtation is so abysmal. It’s because we — men and women alike — haven’t truly figured out what makes us unique. And unique profiles not only get more responses, but they get higher quality responses in return.

One of my favorite online dating anecdotes is of a JDate woman I courted in the summer of 2004. She had a wildly entertaining profile, which included this line: “You’re witty and intelligent and consider me fully worthy of the 5,000 gold coins and two camels that my family has offered as dowry.”

My response:

Subject: Low on camels, high on yams

In the Trobriand Islands, anyway, yams are a very popular dowry staple. That’s about all I got out of cultural anthropology from my freshman year of college, but I think it was worth my parents’ $20,000.

In any case, you’re interesting. Very interesting. And, at risk of being cheesy (I risk this a lot), there’s something behind your eyes. It could be an optic nerve or a sinus, but I’m thinking that it’s some sort of intelligence or mischief or both.

If I’m wrong, well, no yams for you.


If you don’t like the responses you’re getting, it’s incumbent upon you to change how people are reacting to your profile.

She became my girlfriend a month later.

(She dumped me a month after that, but that’s not the point of the story).

Anyway, Jim, I know I’ve hijacked your question to say something that I’ve really wanted to say for awhile, but it’s an important point. If you don’t like the responses you’re getting, it’s incumbent upon you to change how people are reacting to your profile. This is why I offer E-Cyrano profile writing (, where you can fill out a questionnaire, talk to a writer, and have a one-of-a-kind profile within 48 hours. And if you are really serious about maintaining creative control, I offer all my profile writing secrets to you in my audio series, Finding the One Online ( and even give you a 35-page workbook to practice until you get it right.

At the end of the day, both men and women can coast by on their looks, and never feel compelled to have to improve their profiles. If you’re attractive, you will always get attention. But unless you bring your A-game in your essays, you’re probably not going to get the intelligent, witty responses that you crave.

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  1. 1

    I have looked at a few websites, and some women seem to not really try to attract as much attention as they could. Blurry pictures, pictures of pets, the dreaded bathroom mirror picture (why do they do that), no information in the profile, the list goes on.


    An online personal ad isn’t a Facebook page. You want to make contact with single people who find you attractive. A good picture of your face and a good picture of all of you will help with that. Pictures of your pets, your trip to the 3rd world and your garden will not.

    A lot of people will just move on if they can’t get a good idea of
    what you look like from your profile.

    Evan’s book on the subject is a good read on how to avoid writing
    a generic profile. Everybody likes “spending times with friends,
    good music and happy people”. As Evan wrote a million times online daters have an “illusion of many choices”, so if your profile is generic, hard to start a conversation with and you have a hair out of place they will click their next button before giving you a chance.

  2. 2

    Oh, if only the guys would read my profile more often. About 98% of the time, they haven’t even bothered. They’ve seen the photo and sent their instant flirt. It’s incredibly annoying; to the point where if someone hasn’t at least appeared to have taken a moment to read my profile, I’m highly inclined to not respond. But I always send the polite “no thanks.”

    1. 2.1

      I hear you in spades! I’m sitting on a roof in my profile picture, my one-line summary is a cryptic remark about M&Ms, and my profile launches straight into a one-sentence summary indicating that I taught middle school in Korea and am renovating a 19th century house. I practically spoon-feed them things to say, and I still get, “Great profile. I love your pictures.” (Please, guys, don’t say “pictures” in the plural and then not say a word about the one where it appears that I just set a student’s hand on fire in English class.)

      I’ve done two tweaks: My “What I think about a lot” section now says I’m thinking about how to tweak my profile so that men find it interesting and soliciting suggestions, and my “Message me if” section now says that I’d light up like the 4th of July if a man said something specific about my profile and/or pics, and adds that if he’s too shy to think of something on his own he can just say, “Nice roof” or “Did you really set that kid’s hand on fire?”

      It’s only been about six hours so I’m still waiting to see if this improves the quality of the messages I get.

    2. 2.2

      Funny that. I always read profiles and almost always respond in a way which not only proves I read it but ask questions about it. Know how many responses I get back? Practically none.

  3. 3

    The question of Do Women Still Get Attention in Online Dating Even If Their Profiles Suck?
    The answer as we all know is,of course they will.This is planet earth and men will respond to any and all profiles because it takes very little time & effort.Most of these men by the way would never approach 99.9% of these women in public for a myriad of reasons.
    The better question may be…. “how come women who’s profiles suck,won’t respond to most men even those with high quality pics and a high quality interestingly unique profile?”

    Sadly in the online world, both sexes judge whether a profile “sucks” or is “quality” by 98% photos & 2% rest of profile. Of course for men,we have to have not only good photo’s (be an 8,9,or10)but we have to be educated,have a good job title/income, and of course be TALL…lol Women?? You just have to have the PHOTOS and the responses roll in and always will. It will always be about “options”,”supply & demand”.

    1. 3.1
      Anthony Thomas (@djfourmoney)

        If only so many women were approachable….. Women act aloof in public. The only place they don’t are social environments where they give off negative vibes unless the “right” one ask them to dance or join them in a drink. This is why PUA has picked up and taken off, because it uses a woman’s instincts against them.   As Adam Corolla has said (not like I agree with him very much) is that you would think women would grow out of liking artsy, car-dude, douche bag, dangerous guy by their mid 20’s but it continues deep into their 30’s!  
      Men are told its evil to consider a woman by her looks only. Ummm its worked that way for a very long time. This is why women are upset and often depressed as they get into their 40’s…. The campaign to make women in their 30’s and 40’s more viable to men of all ages started in the 1990’s.
        Men don’t care about bad profiles if the woman is attractive, guess what? = Pump And Dump

      1. 3.1.1

        This attitude is why I don’t bother with online dating.   If you are that shallow you rely solely on looks, you are a loser in my book.

        1. Buck25

          Tonysam, it often seems that way, doesn’t it? Yet, the fact is that at least on most sites, the first thing we get to draw our attention to someone is…yep, a photo. So what do you think most everybody does in deciding which profiles to even read? Yep, the decision is based on that photo… and that’s to be expected, because when it comes to attraction, looks DO matter… and to both genders. Sure, on balance, most men may give more weight to looks than most women, but the difference is more a matter of emphasis, rather than of looks being everything to men, and irrelevant to women.   Bottom line: your profile (or mine) is only as good as the weakest thing in it. If your photo(s) suck, it’s not going to help much to write a great essay. If we get both of those done as well as possible,    it’s still no guarantee of success. If those we’re interested in don’t want someone of   say, our age, our body type, our ethnic/religious background, w’re going to have to wait for someone to come along who does, no matter how strong our profile is. It’s not a matter of a great profile being some kind of “magic bullet” for attracting someone who has no interest in us; that is NOT going to happen. It’s just another tool (a pretty important one) for possibly getting the attention of someone who MIGHT be interested, rather than being lost in the shuffle of a massive numbers game. At the end of the day any man or woman is going to have to (1) put the best profile possible out there, while remaining authentic, (2)have at least SOMETHING really going for them that attracts the opposite gender, (3) send or sort through a LOT of emails, and (4) depending on how selective he/she is , have a LOT of patience, persistence, and maybe some luck. It’s competition, and the competition is intense; get outsmarted, or outworked, or even outwaited, and chances are very good you WILL lose. No point whining or blaming the opposite sex, or the dating sites; we all have to do the best we can with the tools available and the material we have to work with.

      2. 3.1.2

        I’m over 50, fun, energetic, smart, and the pick of middle aged men out there is pathetic. Losers, no real interests, overweight…needy, yuck!

    2. 3.2

      It really, really helps if you say something specific about her profile or picture. I’d be thrilled to get a message that just said “M&Ms?” because then I’d know the guy had at least paid attention to SOMETHING in my profile.

      Generic messages give the impression that the man’s criterion is “I wouldn’t want to gnaw off my own arm to get away without waking her in the morning.”

      And the best profile on earth isn’t going to help if she thinks you’re spamming her.

      1. 3.2.1


        No doubt of that (as those of us guys who have written enough emails have learned), and where we have a profile like yours to work with, it’s easy; no problem there in finding a hook (or a couple of them) to hang a good, individualized initial email on. What you’ve done appears to provide several to choose from, AND, you’ve provided more in your pics; I would be surprised if you didn’t see some very good results from that. You’ve made it about as easy as possible for a guy to send you an email that obviously ISN’T “cut-and-paste” spam. Unfortunately, all too many women don’t do profiles like that; their verbal section is brief and totally generic, and there’s not even a picture with something zany, or an unusual expression; I’ve sometimes had to look at the background of a picture, to try to find something specific to her to ask about. Beyond that point doing anything remotely creative with an initial email is pretty much a lost cause for me, and I don’t even email those at all.

        All that said, there will be a lot of guys who will search through pictures,   never read a profile, and simply spam the inboxes of all women whose photos they like; I’ve even seen software for sale that automates most of the process. ( I can’t imagine that approach working very well, but there’s a sucker born every minute, and apparently a lot of guys with minimal writing skills looking for a quick fix.

  4. 4

    I just want to add that while most everyone’s profile could probably use at least a little tweaking, including my own, I have specific details in my profile that make it easy for someone with a likeness to grab on to, but they rarely do. And I promise; they’re not outrageous and bizarre. 😉 Really.

    I don’t think the generic emails I receive are due to a total sameness in my profile. I think it’s due to first, copy and paste emails sent to a lot of women, in hopes of their dart hitting a target, and how most people do not have the articulate and creative writing gene, as you do Evan. 🙂 For those that struggle, they could have seen your former girlfriend’s profile and have been dumb struck as to what to say to her. I think some men (and women) read a smart and witty profile and much like seeing a pretty woman and feeling too intimidated to say hello, they feel intimidated by her words.

  5. 5

    What continues to absolutely boggle my mind is these 2 and 3 sentence profiles from “college grad’s” and “Post Grad’s”.

    Latest “college grad” profile for “Me and My Ideal Match” we get…
    “I always try to look for the positive. I like to socialize and stay home. I’m interested in meeting someone who is happy with who they are. Someone who understands life is short so we need to enjoy it now.” She has 1 cute pic,she’ll get 75 responses.

    Latest “Post Grad” profile for the same:
    Despite all odds, I believe the impossible can come true. Life has shown me that anything is possible with a little faith, work and courage. She has 1 head shot I’m sure she has more responses than she can handle and we have no idea how “big” she is.

    If I told my 7th grade niece to make a profile she could do much better I can assure you even without my help….lol

  6. 6

    I had a very funny handle when I was on Match and my first profile I talked about moving across the country by myself, starting a Buffy the Vampire Slayer “club” where I cooked dinner for all my friends once a week, and starting a two-hand touch “club” that eventually grew to 20 or 30 people. I also outed myself as an English major and declared war on adverbs and adjectives in online dating profiles. It was a lot of fun! I am pretty sure that I read a bunch of women’s profiles before writing mine and decided that telling 2 or 3 funny stories was better than listing the most generic version of my interests 🙂

    1. 6.1

      If I was a lesbian I’d propose to you just for the cleverness of the profile.

    2. 6.2

      Excellent!   In writing class I was taught to “show” not “tell”.


  7. 7

    EMK, glad you brought this up, this is something I complain about whenever I go through an online dating stretch. Like right now. Gents, if you really want some insight, you might try two strategies. First, do a search on women looking for men and read a ton of guy profiles. You’ll almost immediately see patterns and trends of mediocrity in both the writing and the pics. This will give you ideas about how to stand apart.
    The second strategy is a bit more insidious but tremendously insightful. Set up a fake profile with women’s pictures and fake profile text that is poorly written. Track the response rate you get. If you’re really hardcore about it, pay for a subscription to this “scout” account and note the quality of the emails that you’re getting. I draw the line at actually responding to emails and you can debate the ethical considerations of this technique.
    I have a pretty good profile, not awesome, and I write great emails. Despite all that, I get about a 10% response rate to my emails. So even if you’re doing everything right, it’s still a massive numbers game.
    I feel really lucky, though, because I just met an awesome gal via an online site.

    1. 7.1
      Anthony Thomas (@djfourmoney)

      If you get a 10% response rate you’re doing very good actually. To do more than that, its LYING! The opposite is true for women. Like I said before, watch Amy Webb’s TED Talk, its very constructive. But of of course being a woman it wouldn’t have been TOO hard to find a man. She had pigeon hole’d herself; IE making it harder than it needed to be. Tone down on the “I know Japanese fluently” crap, guys really could care less about such items.   That might draw in fanatical Anime fans who like Cosplay and Sub-tittled content but most guys are not that hardcore. Its beside the point, she’s married with a kid, so mission accomplished.
        For men however, a better profile and better pictures help but overall the response rate is poor. As I said, you don’t have to work NEARLY as hard to attract the attention of a foreign woman.
        Lastly I will say people get what they deserve because they spend too much time narrow casting in a multicultural environment.  

  8. 8

    Lance is right.Setting up “recon” profiles teaches you sooo much…lol I never stop learning about women this way and they always continue to shock me. I get about the same 10% response to my profile…lol and believe me ….we’re lucky !!

  9. 9

    Seems like you are a true professional. Did ya study about the matter? *lol*

  10. 10

    @JB #8- but are you really learning a lot? All of the things you’ve learned (women respond more often to tall, good-looking men with money) you already knew! Shoot, i’ve never set up any recon profiles and I already knew it lol.

    I would think looking at profiles of ‘the competition’ would prove to be more useful as you could see what they are doing and be sure to set yourself apart.

    1. 10.1
      Anthony Thomas (@djfourmoney)

      So if you’re short, average looking and have a service sector job……  
        I guess women are expecting these guys to either get more education, be a kiss-ass at work to move up or ? At some point when men demand more responsibility he will do what’s necessary to increase his income, sometimes illegally.
        But without any meaningful relationships on the horizon, shoot you don’t need to be a scientist or researcher to understand that the basics to being a man only cost about $10-25K. Girlfriends and Wives ALWAYS INCREASE COST.
        Where’s the “equality” in that?
        The truth is this and read carefully….
        It could be argued that the standard middle class life in America cost at least $100,000 a year. So if your annual income is less than $50K… = SOL
        Again that would live BBW’s, some Single Mothers and Black women to date…..
        If none of those options are appealing, get your passport and don’t look back.  

  11. 11

    @Jennifer: The primary benefit of the scout/recon profile is actually reading what guys are writing to attractive women. You can’t get that any other way. When you read, say, 100 emails from guys, you have a huge database to draw from when crafting you own emails, which of course will need to stand apart from the legions of douchebags you just scouted. I think this info is so valuable for winning at online dating that it’s worth paying for the extra subscription for at least a month, perhaps more.

  12. 12

    Completely agree about the recon. It is not necessary, but it is insightful. I have not done it because I read other people’s experiences in this strategy, and it did change my emails. And I was never the one liner “you’re hot” variety, I actually put in some effort, but it was helpful to see some examples of “so THIS is a compelling email.” Generic first email writing advice is just that: generic.
    Of course, there was the OKCupid analysis where you are more likely to receive a response the longer you write, but given the extra time involved, you are more likely to communicate with more people if you keep your emails short and simply write more. So my strategy is simple: if I encounter an engaging profile, I engage her with a thoughtful email. If her profile sucks, I don’t put forth any effort other than copying and pasting something quirky and random that I expect most of them to think “wtf?,” but the creative, bohemian ones who are my type sometimes engage and then tell me “that was so different, I had to respond.” Then I wear a big shit eating grin across my face as I think to myself “I had to say that because your profile SUCKED!”

    1. 12.1

      I don’t expect a huge effort from a first message, but I don’t think “Can name one thing that interests him about my profile and/or pics” is a really high bar.   In my POF profile there’s a picture of me apparently setting a kid’s hand on fire, captioned, “Best English class ever!” If I’m giving you a flaming child and you can’t come up with SOMETHING to say other than “Hi, Beautiful! You’re profile is so sweet and amazing,” I’m baffled as to why.

  13. 13

    @Lance #11- I hadn’t look at it that way before, but now I understand and can appreciate that reasoning.

    The only reasons i’d heard for having recon profiles before was what i mentioned in my post above or to ‘check up’ on someone- like if you wrote a girl but she ignored you, ‘testing’ her to see if she’d write back to your recon profile. Or if a girl told you she met someone else, ‘testing’ her to see if she’d answer your recon profile. Those are the things I don’t get.

  14. 14

    @Jennifer:Or if a girl told you she met someone else, testing her to see if she’d answer your recon profile” Obviously it’s to see if she’s lying when she could just say “I don’t think we’re a match”
    Or the vindictive side of me could come out and my recon profile can give her a taste of her own medicine.

    Sometimes I use them for the same reason Lance does and other times I’ll use them to get women to add more photo’s to their “1 bad photo profile”. You’d be shocked at how fast women ADD new pics when a “10” tells them to because that’s when they figure out that one bad pic isn’t going to attract a guy with 4 great ones… Then I can see what she REALLY looks like…..Yes,it works.

    “like if you wrote a girl but she ignored you, testing her to see if she’d write back to your recon profile”. Well if she’s a “3” and she ignores me and responds to my “10”recon,Then I know clearly she’s delusional……lol Aren’t we all?….LOL

  15. 15

    oh JB …even if she’s lying does it matter? if she turns you down but sends recon guy 10 more pics does it matter? I’d just chalk it up to the game 🙂

  16. 16

    Nothing matters….. that’s the point. It’s all part of the fun of the game. She doesn’t “send” the recon 10 more pics. She adds them to her profile for all of us to see & judge. So in essence I’m helping everyone by making these women improve or in some cases make “worse” their profiles.We’ve all seen people who add photo’s and lower their value because the “new” pics are recent…lol Then you go “Ohhh,that’s what they look like NOW”….LOL I’ve seen it go work both ways.

  17. 17

    I find it amazing how you now have to have a background in creative writing in order to attract a date.

    Sarcasm aside, I agree with this advice. But I also find this is the frustrating part of online dating – many people get their friends to help them write profile/letters, but even if they don’t, people who make good writers don’t necesseraly make good bf/gf’s. I realize it’s what you have to do to atract someone but it’s so artificaial – you have to MEET the person in order to tell.

  18. 18

    I’m gonna be honest: few people take much time or effort to put up great photos or write an interesting profile. So, the ones that do immediately stick out.
    My profile is great. I’m not bragging–it just is. I get lots of compliments on it. I put something like, “message me if you like my special brand of crazy” and a guy (too far away to date) wrote, “You’re my special brand of awesome!”
    BUT. On another dating site, where I actively blog, I have a sock puppet profile so that I can blog there anonymously without worrying that my dates will know I am writing about my dating adventures. The profile has almost no text. It simply says, “I’m just here for blogging.” I stupidly put up a VERY attractive photo that I copied from a UK hairstyle site, and I got TONS of email from men. Most of it went something like this, “What an adorable mug…” “OMG, you are SOOOOOO PRETTY” and etc. The difference between the amount of email I’d received before and after putting up the photo was completely shocking. I had to take the photo down because the men just did not understand why I was there. And as soon as I took the photo down, the emails dropped to zero. It was an interesting experience.

    1. 18.1
      Not Jerry


      Which shows how superficial men are. Emailing a fake profile that is marked as such.

      This is the problem with some people, sending out thousands of inappropriate emails to inappropriate matches.   They don’t know a thing about that person, and in your case there was nothing to know, it was all fake.

      Which is why I am very selective. And how I let the girls email me, mostly. For a man, I realize how different that is.

  19. 19

    This post reminds me of a recent one on this site where the guy asked why he should continue to correspond w women on line if they have nothing to say, but their photos are hot. Like, duh!

  20. 20

    Wondering: even though your opposite-sex recon profile may get you hundreds of examples of e-mails sent by members of your same sex, what is there to tell you which ones members of the opposite sex would actually respond to? That is, how do you separate the “good” e-mails from the “bad” ones (aside from the obvious ones that no one would respond to)? You can only guess, or select the ones you would respond to.

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