Because I thought it would be fun to make myself look like all I do is obsess over internet dating, I'd like now to offer a little advice to the dudes out there. This advice might also apply to ladies, but I've only gone looking for dudes on the internets, so this is what I consider to be my area of expertise. Here are some tips of things you should definitely do if you want to actually meet someone who is a normal person via internet dating.
1. HAVE A PROFILE PHOTO
See how that's in all caps? See??? Because it's really important.
What you're going for: you want to look like appearances aren't important to you, like you're much less superficial than that, and like your personality is deep and awesome.
What you actually achieve: Looking insecure or like a doucheface. Or both. There are two real reasons why you don't have a photo posted. One is that you're very unattractive, which is ridiculous because attractiveness is completely subjective and probabilities say that you are attractive to someone out there. Don't you want to find the person who finds you attractive? What you're really saying here is that you're very insecure, which is a very unattractive trait. The second possibility is that you're a doucheface who thinks he's "above" physical attraction or something ridiculous like that. Physical attraction is step one in attraction, and online dating is essentially shopping for a date. It's reductive, but that's the way it is. If I'm being honest about myself and what I look like, the least you could do is be equally honest with me. Also, the kind of photos you post of yourself give important clues to your personality that I cannot necessarily garner from the rest of your profile.
If you don't have any good photos of yourself, just freaking take some because you or someone you know has a freaking digital camera to take pictures with. These aren't freaking Sears portraits, they are snapshots. It's not a big deal.
2. Don't post photos of yourself with other ladies or where you clearly cropped a lady out.
"I'm a ladies' man! Lookiloo!"
What you're going for: looking cool and aloof and like you are socially competent with the ladies. "Look at me! I have lady friends! If they let me put my arm casually around their shoulders, they must think I'm cool, maybe you will too!"
What you actually accomplish: Looking like a dummy who's trying to show that he's cool and aloof and socially competent with the ladies. Or like you're trying to make yourself seem slightly unattainable, like "I already have all these ladies in my life, maybe one of them will become a girlfriend? Maybe one of them is or was? Quick, I'm slipping away! Message me!" This reads desperate.
3. Actually list things in the interests section!
"Under interests: I don't know, blah blah blah, I like stuff, hangin' out..."
What you're going for: My only guess is that you either genuinely don't care that much about your profile or online-dating possibilities, or you want to look aloof and cool and like you're not trying too hard.
What you actually accomplish: You look boring. Or like a doucheface who is trying to pretend he's above all this online dating stuff even though you are actually doing it so clearly you're not above it at all. I am looking at your profile to see if I am interested in talking to you. Like I've said a million times, it's shopping for dates. How many times in life do you get to read the specs on a date before you meet them? So give me a reason to be interested for PETE'S SAKE! Saying, "I don't know, blah blah blah, stuff, hangin' out" as interests does not make me want to get to know you more. I want to go out with someone who's interested in interesting things, and probably some of the same things I'm interested in. GO FIGURE.
4. List a variety of things in the interests section and not just outdoor activities!
Seriously, it's amazing how many guys only talk about skiing, hiking, and camping in their profiles.
What you're going for: Looking like an active and cool dude.
What you actually accomplish: Looking completely one-sided and boring. Maybe this is because I'm not super outdoorsy, so I'm not that interested in someone who only wants to do outdoor activities, but I'm pretty sure that even someone who was outdoorsy would want to see more of a variety. Variety is interesting. Singularity is boring. Also, you look really generic when that's all you talk about. Every other guy is, apparently, interested in those things. What are you interested in that's UNIQUE?
5. Listing only the stereotypical "good qualities in a guy"
I'm kind, sweet, and funny. I love to make a girl laugh and love to cuddle, and family is super important to me.
What you're going for: Sounding like a dream guy.
What you actually accomplish: Looking like you're trying to sound like a dream guy. Also, you're still looking BORING. You have succeeded in listing the generic traits that everyone is looking for in a guy. The thing is, those traits aren't enough. I know LOADS of kind, sweet, and funny guys who probably like to cuddle. I'm not dating them. Why? Because dating isn't just being kind, sweet, and funny with some cuddling. It's enjoying activities together. If you're me, that might include going to see plays, going thrift store shopping, walking for miles just because, indulging in 6 episodes in a row of Buffy or 30 Rock, reading, going to movies, dancing madly to Lady Gaga in my kitchen, eating popcorn for dinner, going on picnics, drinking tea, going dancing, watching documentaries, and so on. See how those are specific things that you are either interested in doing with me or not interested in at all? THAT is useful information. Me saying that I'm nice and sweet and funny and love cuddling is not useful information.
6. Joking about being interested in flings/sex/whatever.
I'm totally just looking for a one night stand! Just kidding! Or am I?
What you're going for: Either you're honestly looking for a one-night stand or you think you're being funny by joking about looking for one.
What you actually accomplish: Looking like a guy who really wants a one night stand. If that's the case, then for Pete's sake, no need to pretend it's a joke. You don't have to trick girls into it. This is not whatever-time-in-history-we-like-to-pretend-girls-weren't-sexual-creatures. If a girl wants a one night stand she knows it and well message you. If not then you're wasting your time.
So what it boils down to is: have a picture of you by yourself, and describe yourself accurately with a variety of interests and activities.