Illustration: Kagan McLeodBy Lisa Kogan
O come all ye single! Our Cupid-like columnist rewrites online profiles to save her date-challenged friends from...themselves.
Something has happened to the prune. I don't know why, I don't know how, I only know that I was at the supermarket one fine morning, minding my own business, when suddenly I came face to face with "the sun-dried plum."
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I've got a number of brilliant, beautiful, frank, funny friends, all capable of remarkable things, but writing an enticing online profile does not seem to be one of them. That's where I come in. Some people offer their services in soup kitchens, some volunteer to shampoo crude oil off of sad, gooey pelicans; I rewrite online dating profiles.
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It all started when my pal Paula asked me to figure out why she wasn't getting a response to her JDate ad. I didn't have to read beyond her opening sentence-"I like the library!"-to know why. All the exclamation points in the world couldn't save that line. "But I was being honest," Paula groaned. "Why can't I find somebody who gets that?" What I get is that we all want to be loved for exactly who we are. But surely there's a juicier way to bring up your literary fetish. "Dewey Decimal? You bet we do!"
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1. False modesty is, well...false. Still, I urged my friend to follow her goddess-like self-description of "an award-winning microbiologist who is Nigella Lawson in the kitchen and Megan Fox in the bedroom" with "I'm absolutely tone-deaf, and I can't ski, but I'd be open to a lesson or two." Soon she was swooshing down a bunny slope with an ophthalmologist from St. Paul. You see, you're better off copping to a humanizing flaw than coming across as too good to be true. (Mother Teresa was too good to be true, and nobody ever saw her having sushi with James Franco on a Saturday night.)
2. My friend Carol, on the other hand, is not one to blow her own horn. "I'm divorced, with a grouchy teenager and an incontinent beagle," she writes, neglecting to mention that she's also a total babe and one of the top labor lawyers in the country. "I wanted to be funny," she explains. Funny is good, I like funny, and God knows I enjoy a bladder control reference as much as the next guy.... Wait a second, I just remembered something: Guys don't like that. Let's save the fact that little Snoopy is in diapers for the fourth date.
3. You see, the key to any good punch-up is to finesse our little quirks. Let's assume that in some sort of misguided effort to emulate Johnny Cash, I once "shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die." A clever tweak might suggest that I "support the Second Amendment, adore the desert, and consider myself a keen observer of the human condition."
4. I review my manicurist's profile as she soaks my cuticles. It says that she's looking for "complete and total happiness." Darling, I'm looking for LL Cool J to feed me fettuccine as we watch an endless loop of Project Runway. But that's just not how the world works. Complete and total happiness comes in quick bursts of joy-it's the bite of banana cream pie, it's "Hey Jude" blasting from a car radio. Forget complete and total happiness; look for somebody who wants to meet you for a drink, and just see what happens.
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