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The Opening Profile

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The opening profile is your first and perhaps most important dating tool. Learn how to avoid the mistakes made by 90 percent of searchers and create a profile that captures your strong points and stands out from the crowd.



User Name



Every word counts in your opener, including your user name. Save Susan6134 for your office or home computer. Your dating "handle" should be anonymous yet descriptive. One study of perceptions in cyberspace demonstrated that selective nicknames or handles influence the impressions others develop of the person using them. These little words count!



What two or three words fit you to a tee?



You might want to zero in on an activity or interest, like I did with my online ID, GolfNut. Or consider HappyHiker, NauticalGal, OutdoorLover, WalkingWoman, LineDancer, HistoryBuff, BirderChick, BridgeBelle, or HookedonBooks.



You may have a fascinating profession to brag about, as did PaleoGal, ArtLady, and Novelist53. Or you may possess intriguing physical attributes, like NordicBlondeBuddy, Blondie, Green-eyedLady, OleBlueEyes, SunnySmiles, Dimpled&Adorable, PolishednPretty, CuteRedhead, and Brown-eyedGal.



Personality might be your strong suit: HeartofGold, Warm&Lively, ThoughfulLady, Friendly&Affectionate, GreatListener, Spirited&Sensitive, CozyCharmer, FunFran, HappyGal, SueIsNice, SweetnShy. Good, honest humor also gets noticed. I chuckled when I read the refreshing MiddleageOverweightSchoolmarm.



Use colorful language and humor. Instead of "tall," how about saying you're "long-legged"? The latter creates a more sensual mental picture, like Lauren Bacall showing off her great gams in "To Have and Have Not". Instead of "brown hair with highlights," don't you think it would be more fun to meet a "nearly blonde dazzler"?



The Age Issue



Contrary to popular belief, most mature men don't want a younger woman. Statistically, they tend to marry women close to their own age. But women who age well or look young for their age seem to have the odds in their favor. In his study of marriage-minded men, author and image consultant John Molloy reports that a majority of men over 40 want a woman who is "going to stay in shape, keep her figure, and pay attention to her appearance." Molloy's survey, the subject of his book "Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others", also found that "half the men over 40 who have dated, lived with, or married much younger women would hesitate to do so again."



Personality



Share your interests. The way you spend your leisure time is one of the best indicators of your personality and values. (If you've been too busy for hobbies, you may want to consider rounding out your life.) Write down the activities that show both your playful and serious sides.



Notice the balance in these short profiles:



"My smile is contagious and so is my energy. I'm a gym rat, chess player, and volunteer community gardener, and I read all the historical fiction I can get my hands on. Let's laugh together . . ."

"I've built the kind of life where I can travel and have a good time. I try to walk every morning, and love trips where I trek around the countryside. I think that's the best way to really see things up close, and I can take time to enjoy a magnificent view, whether I just stumble across it or admire it during lunch at a roadside caf."

Notice the lack of balance in this one:



"Sometimes I spend too much time at work and leave out the relaxing pleasures of mowing the lawn and weeding the garden."

Appeal to your target audience.



Photo



Posting a photo on the opener is a must. Profiles with photos generate 80 percent more responses, according to site managers. Some women say they don't want to be judged by their photos. I would counter by saying that you won't be in the contest at all. "No pix, no picks" is how it's played. Not having a photo with your profile implies that you have something to hide. It's a caution flag. Think about it: Would you choose someone who didn't post a photo?



If the technical aspects bother you, note that sites now offer step-by-step instructions on how to get your picture online. If you have a digital camera, you're set. You can also get traditional photos inexpensively converted to digital at Wal-Mart, copy shops, or photo stores like Photomax. Some online sites, such as ThirdAgePersonals.com, will do all the work for you -- you e-mail or mail them your photo, and they'll do the posting and/or digital conversion for you.




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