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Sex and the Single Fat Girl: Revamping Your Online Dating Profile
Posted by Guest in Sex + Relationships
Are Wii Having Fun Yet? by Peony

A few weeks back, Tee did a great job of breaking down some of the fat-friendly online dating sites, and you girls chimed in with your experiences. I'd like to continue that conversation with some tips on building an online dating profile that will get you noticed. As with resumes, it can be frustrating trying to sum up everything that's great about us in a single, flimsy document. Let's face it, girls: tooting our own horns is hard, and we all struggle at least a little when it's time to talk about ourselves and pick photos that capture our fully adorable selves - all in the hope of finding true love.

As for writing about yourself, each dating site has different sections with prompts. I'm not here to tell you exactly what to put in those little white boxes, but I can give you some help beyond the classic (and excellent) advice to "be yourself." To help boost your confidence, enlist the help of a trusted friend who will be honest and share your positive qualities. Avoid complaining about your past heartbreaks with cheaters and other jerks; so many women sound off about this, and it only drowns out their good qualities. It's kind of a given that most of us have had our hearts stomped on, so focus on sounding hopeful and enthusiastic about the prospect of meeting someone. Start by mentioning things you enjoy doing--not only does this give someone things to talk about with you, but it can offer prospects some great date ideas.

Finally, under no circumstances should you say that you don't know what to put here or that talking about yourself is hard. Everyone else on the site managed to do it, and you can, too. Just be positive and don't put too much pressure on yourself--you can always edit and refine your profile later. (Don't forget to check your profile every few months to make sure it's still accurate).

Next you'll need a portrait, and this is one thing I can tell you all about. I've worked as a semi-professional photographer and still pursue it as one of my favorite hobbies. I did a year-long self-portraiture project AND I've worked with curvaceous brides, so I know a thing or two about looking good in pictures when you don't have a model's body. OkCupid released an interesting study they did on how user pics affected interest in their dating profiles. Check it out here. You absolutely must have recent pictures. I have been on a date (twice) where the guy used old pictures and had become significantly less attractive in the meantime. Relying on old photos of a thinner you starts things off disingenuously, and it's very tough to recover from that and move on into a relationship.

Find a friend to help you take good pictures. Make a day of it ó change outfits a few times or go to the park. Wear something you feel pretty in, wear the amount of makeup you would for a normal workday, and have fun with it. Just relax and let yourself get used to your personal paparazzi. The great thing about digital photography is that you can easily take two hundred pictures to get three or four good ones. Natural light is best, but you can stay inside if it's gross outdoors; look for soft, flattering light from a window. Also, if you photograph yourself at home or at a friend's place, make sure whatever is showing behind you is tidy! Your sink full of dishes or overflowing dirty laundry basket shouldn't be someone's first impression of you.

You'll look best if the pics are taken from slightly above you to minimize a double chin. Stand up straight and tall, shoulders back, chin up. You'll get the best pictures if your photographer gets in close (3-4 ft for the average point and shoot camera) to fill the frame with you. Turning 3/4 rather than straight on gives a flattering silhouette that's pleasing to the eye. You should have a couple of good face shots and something that gives an idea of what your body is like. If you don't have a friend to take pictures, set the camera on something sturdy, use the self timer, and be patient - remember, you can easily delete any non-keepers as you practice.

A word about photo editing: donít Photoshop things too much. Covering up a blemish is okay, but heavy editing is best left to the pros. If you have the software and tools, fixing technical things (exposure, contrast, etc.) is a good idea. Flickr offers the Picnik photo editing service, which has basic free features and additional tools available for a low price.

These tips should get your online dating adventure off to a good start. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, and Iíll see if I canít answer them or point you to a good resource!