Hey. I know you’re out there. You’re up late at night, the bluish laptop-light framing your face on your couch, in your bed, glowing brighter than the TV. You’re online searching for something. Trying to fill a small void inside but it’s too late to drink, you don’t have anything to smoke, and you’ve already surfed porn. You want to scratch that itch, get rid of that feeling. You know the feeling.

It’s that feeling you have had all your life.  That feeling that something was wrong with the world.  You don’t know what it is but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad, driving you to me. But what is it?[ref]This may or may not be directly pulled from IMDB’s script database. Or I might know the first part of “The Matrix” so well that I knew it by heart. You decide.[/ref]

If you recognized the last paragraph, you’ll know that I’m talking about the Matrix. Not the one where you-as-Keanu gets flushed down a giant human-making-machine toilet to eat gruel with other drably-clothed refugees from the remaining human existence, but the online dating Matrix.

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I’ve been on and off the online dating vortex over the past few years. On a good day, I speak to someone normal. On a bad day, I get a pretty good laugh and great story to share with my friends. On a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day? I am inspired to write a blog post to up the game of every man participating.

To that end, I’m going to give bros a guide to creating a non-creepy profile. The world wants to be in love. This means getting laid. I get it. I love my guy friends, and all bros out there, so I’m going to help you achieve these goals in ways that make you shine as the normal, cool, fun bros that you are.

The three steps to not fucking it up

In three simple steps, you can create a non-creepy online dating profile:

  1. choose an appropriate screen name,
  2. post the right pictures, and
  3. sound like a human in your profile.

STEP 1: Choose an appropriate screen name

By this, I mean follow a few guidelines:

A. Don’t use the number 4 or the letter “u.” For the love of God, don’t use them together. Horrible examples that make any woman cringe at this is are:

  • Chad4u
  • Gudman4u
  • Chris4eva
  • Schoolguy4u

B. Don’t be sexy/pornographic, because it comes across at creepy. Instead of being turned on by a mandatory screen name choice, I start imagining how I’ll be sold into white slavery if I go on a date with you. Perfect examples (that may or may not have shown up on my feed):[ref]They all did. None of them got any replies.[/ref]

  • Liqbutt
  • Heartbreakerz69
  • Likethatbutt
  • Pooter20
  • Portabledick
  • Playbigg
  • Youcum01st
  • Nipple01
  • Rockinit4u
  • Devourursoul

I know what you’re thinking: “but I want to devour her soul.” There, there. Now that you’ve crossed out your entire list of potential screen names, what’s a bro to do? Simple. Pick something that has no connection to anything sexual, creepy, or is really a phrase I have to decipher (Fungusisafunguy I’m looking at you) and you’ll be on your way.

C. Here’s a wonderful formula for making an absolutely non-threatening, non-creepy screen name if you’re still having trouble.

NON-CREEPY NOUN/GERUND + NAME/NUMBER = NORMAL SCREEN NAME

For example:

  • Coffeedrinker818
  • SwimmingTim
  • Runner773
  • Andy212

Oh Lord, get CRAZY. Combine the pieces of the formula:

  • BikingAndy213
  • MorningRunnerShawn
  • ChefJack310
  • LaughingLARyan
  • RunAndCode
  • JerseyKevin

None of these names make me want to run screaming, or makes me give my computer screen the sideways glance, or wish my best girlfriend were with me at a bar to say “back off, buddy.” DO THIS.

STEP 2: Post the right pictures

How do you choose pictures that accurately represent who you are? That will inspire a woman to want to meet you? That will show her just how big your guns are? If you are thinking about the third question, stop right there.

There are certain things I can count on whenever I look at a man’s online profile pictures: there will be tank tops, there will be motorcycles, and there will be women and babies. These are all bad.

Bros, here are some simple, yet really important dos and don’ts  (nay, rules) to follow when posting pictures.

A. DON’T wear a tank top in your picture

If you’re so worried about me noticing how huge your guns are, then you’re probably posting in the wrong place. You’re actually wanting to post in the craigslist personals. Or you just want to strut around the gym hoping someone will ask you out on a date.[ref]If that isn’t working, think about that. With your shirt ON. Because I’ve never been moved to reply to someone because of the circumference of their biceps. Not that circumference, anyway.[/ref]

B. DON’T post the bathroom picture

If you’re half-naked, you’re too late. Geraldo ruined this pose for you. We’re post-bathroom ab-pics, aren’t we?

C. DON’T take all your own pictures

I will think you have no social skills because you have no friends, or you have no close friends that you tell you’re dating online. What, are you ashamed? Also, when you take your own pictures, after a while your smile starts to look weird so you get your Instagram filter out and you end up taking these model-y/artistic shots in black & white and you look self-absorbed. Unless this is how you brood about your everyday life, leave them off.

D. DON’T post pictures with kids unless they are yours

If you have kids, and feel comfortable showing them online, then awesome. If you don’t have kids, you won’t make my uterus twinge by showing me the picture of you with your neice. It’s confusing. You’re confusing me because your profile said “doesn’t have kids” but here is a picture of a kid. Then I have to go read captions of pictures to make sure you aren’t deceitful … just save us all time and post pictures of YOU.

E. DON’T post pictures with women in them unless they are yours

Unless you’re half of a couple seeking poly-amorous situations, then stop posting pictures of you with women in them. Learn how to crop and make a new picture. Also, cut it out with the Microsoft Paint black bar crossing out their face. I’m not impressed that you can hang out with women. It’s kind of a requirement. Let’s just say that we should all assume that you can share space with someone from the opposite sex without her running screaming. It doesn’t make me jealous, or curious, or interested. It makes me wonder why you haven’t learned the simple skill of cropping a picture.

F. DON’T post the picture of you standing in front of your motorcycle

I get it. You have a big hog between your legs. Or a really powerful machine between your legs. IGETIT.

If being on your motorcycle is important, tell me in your profile that you like it, or better yet why you like it. And then post a freaking picture of somewhere you actually went on your motorcycle.  That’s more exciting to me than the endless parade of pictures of motorcycles with you leaning in front of it. “Top Gun” was in 1986. That’s 27 years ago. Let’s drop it. And if you’re making a “Sons Of Anarchy” reference . . . We’re back onto creepy. Same goes for cars.

G. DO post a picture of your face.

This is simply a matter of supply and demand. There are what seems like limitless numbers of profiles online . . . With pictures of their faces. So please. Post one of yours. If I don’t see a face, I don’t bother reading your profile. It tells me you’re not interested in being open and honest (and you’re probably married).[ref]I may or may not have engaged in an email debate with a man who would not post his photo online and claimed to be in public service. When a simple Google search outed him as an x-ray technician at a local hospital, he suddenly got angry. At me.[/ref]

H. DO post normal pictures.

Now that you’ve trashed all the possible pictures you had lined up, what are you going to do? Simple – go out with your friends and take pictures when you’re having fun. Clean up, for goodness sake. Wear a nice shirt. Brush your teeth. Comb your beard. Find pictures from a wedding you went to where you were dancing wildly on the dance floor. Did you run in a race? Before or after pics are great. Traveled? You’ve taken pictures of yourself not in tank tops half-naked-on-a-motorcycle-out-and-about in the world. Show me those. If the pictures you’re thinking of posting are over two years old, stop. We can tell what is a digital picture and what is a scan or picture of a picture. And what looks like it is from your high school yearbook.[ref]This actually happens. Mostly from the 50+ year-olds messaging me.[/ref]

STEP 3: Sound like a human in your profile

Let’s just put out there what every single dating site will never say explicitly: Everyone would rather meet people in person.

Everyone wants to strike up a conversation with a cutie at a bar, in line at a deli, at the gym, at a party, at a movie theater, wherever. But we’re all getting poorer and working longer and so we don’t have time for meet cutes. When we have a free moment, we call our friends and beg them to forgive us for not hanging out because we are so busy. We watch our TV shows on the treadmill. We eat standing up. We text while driving. We turn to online dating.

We wish it weren’t online. We wish we could gaze into each other’s eyes, sense pheromones, and feel the spark between glances across the room. But we’re down to this kind of impersonal, algorithmic process where we make selections off screen names and pictures (are you getting the importance now of steps one and two?), so let’s not call out that we’re looking for a human touch through the cold click of our keyboards and the electronic glow of our smartphones any more than we have to.

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Here are some tips to make a ladyfriend want to keep reading about you:

A. Don’t use computer/text speak in your profile

If you have to say LOL in your profile to explain why something was a joke, then remember that almost all emotion is lost in electronic communication … so your funny attempt to lighten up the slightly rude/bigoted/sexist remark you just made might not land as well as you’d hope. Just be human. Please.

B. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say in person if a living, breathing female were standing in front of you

Imagine you’re at a bar, ordering a drink. It’s a busy night and the bar is two-deep. You and a woman are standing side by side, waiting for the bartender. You make eye contact. You wink and smile. She says “hi.” If the next words out of your mouth would honestly be: “I don’t like game players, so don’t even bother calling me if you like to play games” or “You must be someone who likes hip-hop” or “Don’t even talk to me if you ever wear men’s clothing–like jerseys or stuff”  . . . then good luck to you.

If you wouldn’t say it to her face, don’t say it in your profile. Dating online might be a bit of a time saver, but it’s already sucking so much of the romance out of the equation, don’t pull the plug on the drain and let the rest of it wash away with your requirements. Again, pretend you’re at a cocktail party, not in some futuristic version of “Minority Report.”

C. Write how you normally speak.

Do you always shout everything you say with enthusiasm! Is everything literally so exciting all the time! I can tell your life is amazing! Things are incredible! You’ll never believe this! A bear is chasing me! Help me! Seriously! Things are taking a turn for the worse! Oh God my legs! Nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

D. Use spellcheck, for the love of God.

Again, don’t remind me that I’m looking for something that can’t be defined, quantified, mathematically solved by a stupid computer on a freaking website. Use your spellcheck and use it well. U rlly dnt wnt me 2 think ur an idiot bc u r totes lazzzzzyyyy.

E. Make sense.

If you put pictures of yourself traveling all over the world, please don’t write how you’re mostly a homebody. If all of your pictures are of you in front of the bathroom mirror, please go back and reread this post and then don’t confuse me with answers to generic profile questions that confuse–like how you love to get out of the house and go places.

Show a woman you can have a coherent conversation. Put a sentence together. Two. Hell, string three together for a paragraph.

Go forth and love a good woman

There! You’ve just completed the beginning of your totally normal, not creepy online profile. I promise you the quality of women responding will go up.

If you’re looking to hook up, use the free Craigslist personals for that.

Next up: How to interact with a woman online so that she won’t think you’re crazy, a stalker, or going to tie her up and kill her on your first date.