Plenty of Fish - as chances are you already know - is an out-and-out treasure trove of young, cool, attractive girls who want to meet cool, sexy guys and... well, it's a dating site.
Thing is, it's a free dating site, which means it's open to the masses... which in turn means the most beautiful women on POF get inundated by messages from hopeful (sometimes desperate) men - so much so that the average pretty girl with options doesn't last longer than a few weeks on the site before throwing her hands up in frustration and resignation and abandoning her account.
And the ones who stick around? Grizzled POF dating veterans who cut through newbie online dating hopefuls like female paramilitary troopers trained at mercilessly crushing and cannibalizing the unready and unprepared.
In this article, I'm going to take you through what I learned in four (4) years of using Plenty of Fish to meet, date, and sleep with tons of new girls, including some of the hottest girls on POF in Southern California.
So sit back, relax, and let's get you doing what most of the rest of the online dating crowd can't do: lining up dates and taking pretty new girls to bed by the bushel.
The most important thing in your POF profile by far?
Your profile picture (and, to a lesser degree, your other pictures).
Most people when you tell them this think or say, "Yeah, sure, I know my picture's important," and then they put up some mediocre-quality profile picture and get all upset that they aren't getting any dates off the site.
No - your picture is everything. If you don't have a good one, you will not get girls on Plenty of Fish.
What Makes for a Good Profile Picture
Instead, it's eyeballs-only - what you see is what you get.
That means that looks do matter a lot more on Plenty of Fish than they do in real life, where there are plenty of other things involved in assessing attractiveness.
In space, no one can hear you scream, and on POF, no one can feel your sexiness. It's photos and the words in your profile, and that's it.
So what makes for a good POF profile photo?
OkCupid's famous profile photo blog post, in which the dating site examined a large cache of user picture and messaging information, revealed the following about men's profile pictures:
“Men’s photos are most effective when they look away from the camera and don’t smile:
Look at the difference in men's odds of getting a response from women based on their profile photos: men with no eye contact, not smiling, and looking away from the camera in their profile pictures had a nearly 90% success rate per attempt at meeting new women.
Almost 90%. Compare that to:
~70% for men smiling and looking away (no eye contact)
~65% for men smiling or making a flirty face and making eye contact
~55% for men not smiling and making eye contact
~35% for men making a flirty face and looking away (no eye contact)
Clearly, non-smiling, eye-contact-away pictures are the best pictures you can use. That's pictures that look more like these:
... and not so much like these:
My all-time best performing profile picture catches me just as I'm pulling on a suit jacket, looking down and away a bit, not too dissimilar to the guy in the image on the top right.
Why do women prefer their men looking off and to the side?
Well, I can tell you this: in real life, women will only check you
out (usually) when they think you're not looking and won't notice. When
you're staring at them, they tend to quickly avert their gazes, not
wanting to be seen looking.
Gut instinct? She feels like she's getting to check you out and explore you without you knowing when you're looking away. While the photo with you staring dead at her feels higher pressure... like you're expecting something from her.
So she looks away (and doesn't write back).
And just in case you're curious, for men, the trend is reversed - women making eye contact and flirty faces get significantly higher response from us fellas than women averting their gazes do.
I guess we men just like to know our girl is interested in us before we spend much time on her.
POF Photo Tricks
In addition to not smiling and looking away (no eye contact), there are five (5) other things you can do to spice up the pictures you'll use on Plenty of Fish:
Contrast. This is a general picture-taking rule that you want to use in all of your pictures. When selecting pictures, make sure you pick pictures with contrast. Plenty of Fish is blue, white, black, and gray. Most of the profile pictures on the site are in dull colors / human skin tones, from pasty white to dark chocolate brown. Pick pictures - and especially profile pictures - that visually stand out against this backdrop. You want clear, crisp, and vibrant, not dull, hazy, and blent in.
I couldn't find any examples of male pictures that stood out much to me (maybe partly because I'm a man and men’s' pictures just aren't all that exciting, but probably mostly because most men on POF have no idea what they're doing), so here right at the top of the women's results is an example of a profile picture that pops:
Picture with an almost-cropped out girl in it. Photos of you with girls in them have been shown to perform worse on dating sites. Why? Because a girl's going to look at the girl in your picture and immediately either decide a.) the girls you date are uglier or lower status than SHE is, thus YOU are lower status than her and unworthy of dating, or b.) the girls who date are too much prettier than she is, thus you're probably some fake phony so who needs you anyway?
So how, then, do you come up with a way of taking advantage of the benefits of preselection - that powerful attraction force to beat all attraction forces that states that women want most the men that other women also want? Back in 2007, I came up with the perfect solution for it: take a picture of you with a girl, then mostly crop her out of it, leaving just enough of her face to make girls not be able to tell what she looks like but enough to be intrigued. That looks like this:
Notice #2? Don't your eyes go right there immediately? Regardless of whether
she's your "type" or not, you notice her because her
boring or low quality-looking (like the other three pictures are). She
avoids "profile blindness" by having a picture that stands out from the
pack. She's also making that flirty face that men respond best to. You
want pictures that pop as much as 'someone hacked my other account's
does (minus the flirty face) to be your profile pictures - and,
ideally, to be all the rest of your pictures, too.
You're going for the "cropped as well as I could" look in the image - e.g., she isn't there because you want her to be there... this is just a damn good picture of you, and there just happens to be a part of a girl spilling over it into it, and you've tried to remove her as much as possible (that's the impression, anyway). A few tips:
Don't have more than one picture like this, or it looks intentional
Make sure the pictures look affectionate but ambiguous - e.g., none where the girl has her arm draped around your neck or anything that's clearly couple-y... suggestive is okay though
Pick a photo you still look good in, too - not just any old thing. Otherwise, the question of, "Why pick THIS one?" comes up
Results? Some of the hottest, sexiest girls I've met off of online dating I've met with this type of photograph up. I've even had girls specifically ask about it... "So who is that girl in your photograph?"
The instant they ask, you know you've got 'em: hook, line, and
Picture of you doing something really cool. That could be on some wonder of the world (my profiles have always included a picture of me on Machu Picchu or at Angkor Wat), surfing, playing guitar, skateboarding, singing on a microphone on-stage... something really different and interesting.
What you're going for:
girls to look at this photograph and say, "This guy's cool; he's got
some character." Include just ONE (1) of these photos... otherwise you
look either like some guy who's a complete adrenaline junkie whom she
stands no chance of keeping up with or impressing, or you look tryhard.
Picture of you with an animal. That OkCupid data review found that the men's profile picture themes that received the highest number of responses from women of any photo theme were those of men with animals. No kidding. If you want the highest possible number of responses from women, get a picture with an animal.
Guesses as to why? Research has shown that women are pretty much born with a high dose of empathy, but for men this has to be learned (one way of learning it, interestingly enough, is by taking care of a pet). So maybe women are picking more empathetic men... or, perhaps seeing that cute cuddly animal makes them feel more empathetic toward you, and want to reach back out to you more.
The ab shot. Only if you actually have abs to show off, of course. But, according to that OkCupid study, being shirtless and showing off your muscles in your profile picture nets you almost as many responses from women as a picture of you with an animal (though quite possibly from categorically different kinds of women). Of course, if you have a good male physique to show off, you might want to combine a shot of that with you, say, playing Frisbee with your dog down by the ocean. There's abs, animals, and something interesting all in one shot.
How many photographs should you use on Plenty of Fish?
I recommend you stick to THREE (3) total. That's one profile picture, and two additional pictures.
I suggest two "profile-like" pictures, and only one interesting picture.
I'll tell you this. I have experimented with ALL SORT of combinations - including some with tons and tons of pictures - and this one has worked best most consistently.
The only one that's beaten it has been when I've set up test profiles with a sole profile picture of one very physically attractive male model, and no other pictures. This one's worked very well on POF... the lesson being, if you are very handsome, and have a very good picture of yourself, perhaps try out having just that picture - one that nearly every woman will look at and go, "Whoa."
Philosophy behind pictures: if it adds to your profile picture in a good way, include it.
If girls look at your extra pictures and think, "Oh. He was cute in his main picture," then don't include them.
For the rest of us with more pedestrian looks: stick to just that one main picture - no more than two (2) supporting pictures.
Where Can You Get Amazing Photos Taken?
When I had professional pictures done, my results on Plenty of Fish and every other dating website and social networking website I was on and used for dating went through the roof.
I've heard similar stories from a lot of guys doing online.
Why do these make such a difference? Part of it's the quality of the image itself; good cameras take good pictures.
But a bigger part is the photographer: a good photographer makes a living making people look good.
A good photographer can take a flattering picture of you even if you aren't all that flattering to behold normally. Put together:
... and grab a good photographer and you're all set.
You can let your photographer know you want some pictures of you
outside, in natural lighting (these tend to fare better - they make you
look more attractive), and looking down and away / to the side, and
that you want to look as sexy, mysterious, and attractive as possible.
Then let him do his thing.
Where do you find such a photographer? What if you don't have the money for a professional shoot?
Photographers in most cities will do a shoot with you for $150 to $400. That typically includes several wardrobe changes and about an hour of shoot time or so.
But there's a hidden secret for getting your pictures taken absolutely FREE of charge. Know what it is?
In most major cities, there are far more people who want to become professional photographers than there are professional photographers. And the people who are still working on their careers in photography work on these mainly by building up their portfolios; that is to say, putting together collections of images they've taken of various models (people).
In exchange for your modeling services, and your permission to use your photographs in their portfolios, they will normally offer you finished versions of a bunch of the best pictures they take of you free of charge.
The easiest way to find aspiring photographers looking for models to take pictures of in exchange for copies of those pictures is to head over to Craig's List and browse through the "Gigs" section, "Talent" subsection - what you're looking for are gigs labeled "TFP" ("Time for Pictures") or "TFCD" ("Time for CD" - a CD with your photographs burned onto it).
Craig's List search for "TFP" in San Diego. Remember that YOU are the "model" here.
Then just write to some photographers, send them copies of the best photographs you currently have of you, and wait to hear back. These posts tend to get more requests from people wanting free pictures than the photographers offering them can serve, but if you keep replying to different gigs for a week or two, you'll find someone who will take your pictures and provide you with copies.
The website Model Mayhem is another way of finding photographers willing to take pictures to build their portfolios, but it helps if you already have some professional pictures done... and, a lot of the photographers on there (especially the ones who will proactively contact you) are gay men looking for a little fun - so check their portfolios out before saying "yes" (or, just be prepared to fend off a few advances in order to get your pictures... the things you must go through to get free stuff sometimes!).
How important is it that you have a great profile?
Well... not as important as it is that you have great pictures.
But still - it's pretty important.
Many women will NEVER read your profile when deciding whether or not to respond to your first message. They will only ever see your:
A lot of the women who write back to you will not check out your profile until AFTER they get their second or third messages from you.
Basically, once they've already decided that they think they're interested in you.
The ones who check your profile out before responding the first time are very often ones who've already decided that they think they're interested in you, too.
In other words, what you're doing with your profile is reassuring her she made the right call to be interested in you, rather than trying to win over someone who's on the fence about you. That should color how you set your profile up quite a bit.
Shorter is Better
I know what you're thinking, the first time you open up that profile editor on POF: "I'm going to write AS MUCH about myself here as POSSIBLE so that she'll find at least SOMETHING to connect with me on!"
Good theory, but it doesn't actually work out that way.
No worries though... everybody does that.
Remember, women don't go nuts for guys who just lay out everything about themselves for the whole world to read like a boring factsheet. They prefer men who are:
If you go for the "Hey, I'm Mr. Perfect, and here's everything to know about me!" good neighbor profile that everybody and his brother goes for, you'll be every bit as boring, platonic, and forgettable as all those other worker bees are, too.
Your challenge: write an amazing profile in two (2) paragraphs max. Sound hard? Let's add some rules that will make it sound harder but actually be easier:
- Must be two paragraphs maximum
- Must include multiple interesting things about you that AREN'T bragging
- Must leave your reader with more questions in her head than answers
This is because your profile does three things for you:
- It reassures her you're a cool, interesting, and most of all, NORMAL person
- It gets her emotionally involved with you and intrigued by you
- It gives her a bunch of things she can ask you about or talk to you about
Can you violate some of these rules? Sure. I've had profiles do very well that came out to about three or four paragraphs (often broken down further into smaller one- or two-sentence paragraphs for a total of 5 or 6 line breaks). But the majority of my best profiles - and the majority of the best men's profiles I've seen - have been two paragraphs.
If you need it, you can add ONE sentence after the second paragraph. That's it. That's your challenge.
But before I go giving you some examples, let's talk about being interesting.
Bad Profiles and the Profile Commandments
How often have you read a girl's profile and thought to yourself, "If only she would tell me what her favorite food was, and what movies she liked best"?
Probably never, right?
How about, "GEEZ, I sure wish she would tell me how much men suck"?
Negative on that one too, isn't it?
So why do so many guys write stuff like:
“I'm an accountant from Chattanooga. Really into country music and line-dancing. Do it every chance I get. My favorite TV shows are 'Heroes' and 'Game of Thrones'; I'm most like the character Jon Snow, in that I believe in loyalty and honor, even in challenging situations. On weekends I like to do some cooking; if you've never had fried ravioli, a dish I picked up in my travels to St. Louis, be prepared for me to expand your culinary world.”
HE sure sounds exciting. Yawn...
Then there's the ones like:
“I know a lot of guys lie about their heights and incomes and a lot of women lie about their body shapes. I'm not looking for someone perfect, but I'm just tired of meeting women who are fake. Be real for a change, stop trying to be something you're not, and stop insisting that men be perfect... we're just people like you. If you're a real woman and you want to meet a real man, send me a message.”
This guy's total message count ever? 0. He's obviously trying to
change the world by telling other people they need to start doing what
he wants them to do, and is otherwise just depressing...
women close that tab before they're through the first paragraph.
And of course there's the ones like:
“Fortunately for you, you just came across the profile of the most sexy, incredible member of this whole entire website. ME. And I am going to rock your socks off in the bedroom and keep you MORE than satisfied... again and again. So if you're tired of all these other bedroom disappointments and ready to have the night of your life, message me, hot stuff!”
Whenever a woman hears a man talk like this, the very first thought that enters her mind is, "This guy ACTUALLY lasts about 30 seconds in bed, doesn't he?"
Thus, the commandments of writing your profile:
One doth not showcase boring things like 'favorite TV shows' or 'favorite songs' or 'jobs' that everybody has and no one has ever gotten excited about finding out someone else shares in the history of Plenty of Fish
One doth not be depressing, rude, insulting, or sound as if he is about to quit on life and retreat into his parents' basement, where he shall abide for the remainder of his time on Earth
One doth not write about his sexual prowess, conquests, or bedroom or woman-getting abilities of any kind, lest he be thought compensating for being in possession of a remarkably small penis by all women encountering his profile
The Most Important Thing in Your Profile
Best thing you can do to get as many women writing back as possible on your profile?
Mention you're foreign, and have just arrived. My foreign friends in the United States get crazy replies on POF and other dating sites. I've gotten similar replies in other countries there. And in the U.S., I've tested out two profiles that were almost identical, with only slightly different profile pictures... and one of those profiles mentioning that I'd just moved to town from Washington, D.C., and the other mentioning I'd just moved to town from London. The London account received 4 times as many messages.
Most of these messages to my English gentleman profile were akin to,
"Welcome to the U.S.! I'd love to show you around town =)" And most of
the writers were pretty damn cute. Some didn't even want to message
they just handed out their phone numbers straight away and instructed
me to call them. That's never happened to me in the U.S. with my fellow
American girls when I'm not wielding a phony Englishman account.
Still living in your home country and will mostly be meeting your countrywomen? No problem... because the next best thing you can mention in your profile is that you've just made it to town and are meeting new people in town to get situated.
The next contender after this is having just gotten out of a
long-term relationship. Again, you're a catch with some potential, and
there's a very valid reason why you're there.
Why are these items so good to include in your profile? Throughout my years of online dating, I have become deeply convinced that THE #1 QUESTION ALL WOMEN HAVE, if they see you are dating online, is this:
“Why do you need to meet somebody online?”
They usually won't ask you this outright (though some will ask "So why are you on POF?" - a seemingly innocent question, but one dripping with all kinds of implications depending on your answer).
You can see it in women's profiles; the most attractive of them are constantly writing things like, "lol, I don't even do online dating, but my friend made me set up this account on a bet, so whatever, let's see what happens." Pretty girls are, quite often, embarrassed to have to be meeting men on the Internet.
Forget all that nonsense about online dating being "accepted"; the most beautiful women rarely use it for long, because it's too easy for them to meet high caliber men offline.
Online is still usually a den of second-rate mating options... usually.
There are the exceptions.
And the person who is "new in town and just looking to get settled" is the largest of these.
The guy who's "just broken up and getting my social circles built back up again" is next in line.
Women want to know you have a good reason for being single and trying online dating. They want to "catch" you during that rare window of singledom.
Because, just like employers hate hiring anyone who's been unemployed longer than 6 months, women hate dating men who've been single for a long time and having to actively go looking for women (instead of having them come to him)... the question in the back of their minds is always, "Why is he single?"
If you answer that question with:
- It's because I've just moved to the country
- It's because I've just moved to the city
- It's because I've just gotten out of a relationship
... the feeling is always that she's getting an opening to snag a guy who normally wouldn't be on the market... and may well not be on the market, for long.
Killer Profile Examples
So we know that:
- Your profile needs to be brief
- You want to intrigue her and leave her wanting to know more
- You want to raise lots of questions - not answer them
- You want to stay positive and avoid dreary negative stuff
- You want to steer far clear of trying to talk about being a sexual dynamo
- You want to let her know WHY you're on POF
Here's what a good standard profile looks like:
“I'm from the other side of the country. Resettled here for a new line of work and a new life... left all the old behind. It's been a while since I was on Plenty of Fish (another lifetime ago), but I met some fantastic people here before (and a few not so fantastic ones, of course), and I can't think of a better way to get started anew in a new hometown.
I make music, write, and am a seeker of truth and searcher out of adventure. Recently back from my first trip to South America - there is a very special place. What I'm using POF to find: a curious mind, a daring adventurer, and someone with both passion in her heart and conversation in her mind.”
This is the standard template that my profiles generally follow these days. Here's what it's doing:
The first two sentences of the profile build the intrigue and mystery... what is he running from? Why does he need a fresh start? Where on the other side of the country is he from, exactly?
The next sentence, about people met on POF before, establish preselection and social proof; he's not one of these bitter people who meets only crazies off of the Internet - in fact, he's had success here before, which means he must be attractive enough to get some girls
The first two sentences of the second paragraph flesh out his personality a bit, as an artist and an adventurer. This narrows the field down a bit; women who aren't in search of passion and adventure will be turned off... but most women are in search of this, and end up turned on
The final sentence of the profile is screening; it lets the reader know that he has standards and is looking for something specific; but the standards are sufficiently vague here that they function like a cold read, and just about every woman who read this will say, "Wow - that's me, exactly!"
This profile is not going to win you any awards, nor is it going to get you a lot of girls messaging you on their own. What it does do is provide a solid support for your pictures and first message, so that a girl who's intrigued, on checking out your profile, leaves even more intrigued.
It's an amplifier, rather than something that will draw attention to you in its own right.
Here's another variant on a profile I've used with some good effect - this one requires you have a bit more interesting things to throw out there about yourself:
“Hello there. My name's David, I've just moved to town from Philadelphia, and am soaking in all the palm trees and beaches and am absolutely in love. A bit about me: my education is in finance, my career is in numbers, and I've dabbled a bit in acting while here in Southern California - nothing serious, but a little time on a movie set never hurt a soul!
I'm hoping to find someone on here who enjoys a good conversation about people, relationships, what makes you tick, what makes me tick, anything interesting along those lines - human beings are my special fascination. I like a good spot of tea and am a bit of a sucker for dessert - so if we go out, or if you're showing me about town, we'll need to be careful about those dessert places if I'm to keep my waistline nice and trim.”
This one's obvious a different feel from the first - this is the typical "high value guy" profile, in contrast to our "mysterious man with a troubled past" profile from before. If you're younger, "mysterious man" likely suits you better; if you're older, "high value guy" likely does, instead.
This one establishes our hero as:
Direct and straightforward - strong traits (he gives you his name, tells you where he's from, but it's sort of an aside to the main message of the sentence)
An out-of-towner, but he's thrilled to be here (local folks who love their town want to make sure they're spending time with others who similarly like it)
An upbeat individual who drinks life in ("absolutely in love")
Has a good career, probably, but doesn't boast about it or try to use it to gain points; "my career is in numbers" is the kind of very vague thing that usually only a very wealthy individual who doesn't want to admit to being VP of a Fortune 500 company will say, so it builds some intrigue as to whether this guy is a rich guy or not and exactly what it is that he does
Talking about the kind of conversation he wants to have makes it clear he won't be talking about boring stuff like work, sports, the weather, etc., and instead things that she'll find interesting too, and also makes it feel very personal already ("what makes you tick, what makes me tick")
Saying he likes a "good spot of tea" makes him sound different ("Is he British?"), and him being a "sucker for dessert" introduces some weakness into the profile ("Oh, thank God, he isn't COMPLETELY perfect... THIS guy I can relate to!") while also painting himself as a more passionate individual (passionate people all have their indulgences)
This profile is a bit more likely to get you women writing proactively - when I used a version of this on POF, it received several messages a week from women simply writing in because they'd read the profile and found it engaging / exciting. However, it's still one you're largely going to need to use as support for good pictures / messages.
There's another style of profile that I won't cover further here; that's the "humorous / hard-hitting profile," which is designed to get girls laughing very hard and having a great time. This will get you MORE girls out on dates, but they will be a lot LESS likely to be in a sexual mood. Quantity goes up; quality goes down.
Some of these girls you will be able to change the vibe with and steer it toward something more intimate; some of them you never will, because they came out to be entertained by you, not to be seduced. That said, it's still an effective profile for meeting LOTS of girls in a hurry and taking a healthy chunk of them as lovers and as girlfriends; for that one, see this post I've made about it on the discussion boards: Chase's Guide to Online Dating (2010).
Other Considerations: Headlines and Details
Aside from your profile itself, there are a few other considerations that are very important to you building a profile with big impact: your headline, and all those other details.
If you've thought about putting something in your headline like "Looking 4 My Tru Luv" or "S3X G0D!!1! lolz", you may well be beyond my help. Sorry about that.
Your headline is arguably more important than your profile content itself. A LOT more women are going to read your headline all the way through than are going to read your PROFILE all the way through. It's your advertisement.
In the world of writing articles on the Internet, common advice is to spend half as much time writing your title as you do writing the actual article itself. That's because if your title / headline sucks, no one is going to click.
What you're going for in a headline:
- Colorful words or phrasing
- Makes her want to click on it
Some examples of godawful crappy headlines:
- Scuba boy looking for scuba girl
- Looking for my [anything]
- Amazing guy right here!
- Cool, honest, warm-hearted person
- Ready to rock your world...
Basically, anything that is not
sultry, arrogant, or mysterious is out. If you sound platonic (just friends), raunchy (turns
men on, scares off women), or lovelorn (needy, desperate guy who fails
with women), she'll be turned off.
Now, here are examples of headlines that stand out:
Funny / Cocky
- Sit down, the Man of Your Dreams™ has just arrived
- Where have I been all your life???
- Write me a message, live life dangerously
- Stop checking me out & start writing to me
- Hey girlie... quit checking out my headline!
- Click my profile and blow your mind
Mysterious / Intriguing
- A man hops a plane from [your old town]...
- Life, passion, adventure, and dreams of Mexico
- A short walk from a land of intrigue
- Can you guess who I am...?
- Not Mr. Right... Maybe Mr. Wrong
- The guy your girlfriends try to steal
- Ask yourself if it's time for an upgrade
- I'm all kinds of wrong for you
- It would never work out between us
- Stop drooling, it's just a profile
Generally, I've found that "bad ass" nets you the most clicks and messages.
However, if it doesn't work with your profile, you shouldn't use it.
I recommend testing out different headlines. If you're really
an experimenter, I'd recommend testing out different profiles with
different headlines and pictures in multiple different cities you don't
ever visit first and finding what works best, and then taking the best
results of these and using them in your hometown.
Other Profile Details
Other profile details I'd recommend you largely leave blank. The Law of Least Effort / sprezzatura dictate that the less effort you seem to be expending (while still getting results), the more attractive you become. Long profiles with lots of details look like something you put a great deal of time into constructing; thus, readers of your profile assume that you're not a very in-demand man with little free time on his hands to spend, say, chasing down new women.
Even though it really takes you only a few extra minutes, it doesn't matter; this is the psychological effect seeing a bunch more details has. She assumes you got excited at the opportunity to share all these things about yourself with Internet strangers, which strong guys with lots of girls and abundant friends do not.
Put either something generic in your profile (e.g., "Numbers" or "Letters" or "Spreadsheets" or "Trading", etc.), or something outlandish (e.g., "Ninja" or "Knight" or "Hercules" or "Surf Board Cleaner" or "Cosmonaut", etc.), depending on what fits with the rest of your profile.
For the "First Date" section, you can write something sleek, like:
“Let's sit somewhere by the beach... ocean waves crashing against the shore make a nice backdrop for a chat over drinks with a new friend.”
... or something funny:
“I'd suggest Dave and Buster's, so I can mess you up at air hockey while we tell each other stories from our childhoods.”
But whatever you write here, make sure you suggest something specific.
Far too many women ask guys what they want to do on dates, only to have those guys reply with, "I don't know; what do you want to do?!"
If she asked you, it isn't because it's a test, or because she's being nice; it's because she doesn't want the burden of having to figure this out. You're the man; you must lead. Show her dating you will be a relaxing, enjoyable, decision-free experience for her, and you'll get positive responses from women.
Now onto the fun part: let's start lining you up some dates.
If you're breathtakingly gorgeous-looking, you may get a handful of messages to your profile based on looks alone. But on Plenty of Fish, the messaging done by women to men - even the most stunningly attractive of men - is far less than what it is on a number of other dating sites.
No matter how great your pictures are and how tight your profile is, you're more or less going to have to be doing the initiating yourself.
Standing Out from the Crowd
The blessing and the curse of POF is that it's BIG. There are loads and loads of people on it, because there are so many people on it (broader pool of mates to draw from) and because it's free.
That means lots of women for you to reach out to for dates... and lots and lots and LOTS of messages for those women to sift through to find yours.
When I first started playing around with online dating in 2004, I went in with something of an entitlement mentality: "Well, if she doesn't read my message and realize how awesome I am, too bad for HER!"
That's great and all, except... she has no idea who you are.
Quite often, the most attractive men in real life are TERRIBLE at meeting women online. Why? Because online is a whole 'nother ballpark.
If you're good at strutting your stuff in person, the women on POF don't know that. And if girls are practically clawing your clothes off every time you step outside the door in real life, the women on POF don't know that.
The only thing they know are pictures, headlines, maybe your profile (if they even read it)... and messages.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need good messages, and you need good subject lines for those messages.
Women on POF Get a Lot of Dreck
I set up a female profile on Plenty of Fish a few years back, just to see what the response was like. I chose a pretty blonde girl for this account's profile picture, and then I wrote her profile as basically the meanest, pickiest bitch on POF... just to see how much punishment some of these guys would be willing to suck up just to take a shot.
In a manner of 10 hours or so, my snobby, entitled young female alter ego received 40 messages from potential suitors. And the messages kept coming. I went to bed, and woke up the next day to find another 20 messages had filtered in overnight.
I pulled the plug on the account, and sifted through the messages.
The kinds of messages I received were:
Form messages (from men who obviously hadn't read the profile, and were obviously mass-spamming any girl who looked reasonably attractive to them)
A bunch of résumés ("I read your profile, and you said you like punk music concerts - I am SO into punk music TOO! I would LOVE to go to a punk music concert!!!")
A few witty retorts ("Look here honey, you think you're some hot stuff, but in case you weren't paying attention, punk is so 1990s. What's cool THESE days is electronic - and I can open your eyes to...")
Several guys just throwing their phone numbers out there, or asking to get a number back ("Oh, you like punk? Give me your phone number and let's talk about it")
A handful of guys offering the best sex ever enjoyed by anybody in the history of life on Earth, or telling me what a naughty girl I was and how they were going to discipline me with their cocks
Out of all those messages I read, I don't think there's a single one I would've responded back to had I actually been a girl.
Writing a Gripping Subject Line
Your first order of business with any online dating message writing is writing a gripping subject line.
She gets 30 to 50 messages a day on Plenty of Fish. Maybe her first day or so on there she opens every message, but once she's been on the site more than a few days, she's mostly just skimming through for interesting-looking subject lines at that point.
Fail to make your subject line interesting, and you fail to even get a message read - let alone a reply back.
Well, here's what it isn't:
- Hey there
- Hello [username]!
- You have the most beautiful eyes
- I loved your profile!
- It's crazy how much we have in common
... or anything else with a generic greeting or compliment, or that sounds like you're trying hard to force a connection where there isn't one yet (because she doesn't know you).
Here's what gripping is: interesting or intriguing enough to make her click on your message.
The best of these I've found are subject lines that start a statement but don't finish it. This includes:
- I'm confused...
- I'm unsure about one thing...
- One thing jolts me...
- You know what...?
- You know what surprises about you...?
- You totally strike me as... (it's a good thing!)
What you're going for here is 1.) intriguing, and 2.) NOT making her
wonder if the message is going to be from a hater who's bitter that
she's out of her league and is trying to bring her down (e.g., that
last subject line might seem like that without the caveat at the end of
it, if she's sensitive and has had some bad experiences on POF or
another dating website).
These are just some I've used. I'd strongly encourage you come up with your own intriguing lead-ins, rather than using these verbatim... since thousands of people tend to read each article on this site and if you're using the same subject lines that thousands of other people are reading, there's a good chance she puts blinders on to seeing these after this article's been up a little while.
But these far and away do the job of getting girls to at least open up and read the contents of your messages better than anything else I've seen or used, because they're different and because a girl's natural reaction is to see them and say, "What? I have to know!"
Getting Her to Write Back
She's seen your subject line and been intrigued?
She's noticed your picture and it looks good?
She's clicked on your message and started reading?
The hard part's almost over. The only thing left for you to do is get her to write you back.
To do that, you'll need a good first message that ISN'T as terrible as 99.95% of men write, and is not:
- Kissing her butt
- Trying to battle it out with her
- Telling her off for being egoistic
- Offering to expand her mind with your penis
- Gifting her a picture of your nether regions
^ on that last, personal aside: where
did this practice originate? I've never been able to figure it out. Do
men on secret Internet dating forums somewhere I've never come across
urge one another to send random women penis pictures as some kind of
secretive rite of passage? I always just assumed it was guys addicted to porn who just
assumed women must find nudie pictures of strangers' packages equally
as titillating as they do... I guess? Anyway, it's no more effective on
POF than it is walking up to a pretty girl in a nightclub or on the
street or at work or in class and whipping out your erection there is,
either. In other words, not only does
this work out, but it creeps women the heck out and sends them running
for the hills.
James Bond does not send penis pictures, even if women ask him for
them. If women want to see James Bond's penis, they must come meet him
in person, and in private.
And they've got to show him theirs if they want to see his.
Back to writing messages.
So if you can't kiss her butt, yell at her, or send her naked pictures, what CAN you do?
Four words: get a conversation going.
Assuming you're casting the net wide, to get as many women as possible writing back to you, you want to focus on sending a message that comes across cool, socially savvy, and easy to write back to.
I like writing messages like this:
You know what...?
I hear the people who like cats and sushi do the worst Justin Bieber impressions.
How's the online dating world treating you, Ms. Sociable?
... or like this:
One thing jolts me...
I've noticed people who like cats and sushi have strange affinities for all things hipster.
How go your adventures with Internet dating, Ms. Sociable?
What you're going for with these types of messages is for her to smile, roll her eyes, and go, "Oh my GOD that is so ridiculous!" and then laugh, and then move onto the next statement and not even have to THINK about it, she can just kick back a response. She's already doing online dating right now (she's logged into POF and reading through her messages, after all), so this plays right into what you're doing.
The only thing you need to change with these message templates are the items in bold.
In the first sentence, choose two (2) items FROM HER PROFILE that are different and not linked in any way, so as to be absurdly funny. e.g., if you say, "I hear people who like running and parasailing," it isn't funny, because it sounds like you're a fitness hater. FAIL. However, if you say, "I hear people who like running and whack-a-mole," it IS funny, because those things are totally unrelated... and you concluding that she's a hipster from them is just ridiculous (and funny).
In the second sentence, pick out an attribute of hers from her profile; something that isn't "beautiful" or "fun." e.g., if she says she likes reading books, call her "Ms. Literature." If she says she's a fitness nut, call her "Ms. Fitness." Make sure she'll get the reference, otherwise she's going to read it and go, "Huh?" Remember that people frequently write their profiles and then forget all about them, so if the reference is to obscure or oblique, she's not going to go read through her profile to figure out what you mean; she's just going to write you off as some random guy who spits out nonsense.
These kinds of messages do four (4) things for you:
Because they're brief, they're easy to read / respond to
They're FUN, which make them easy to reply to
You're including a smiley mid-message to let her know it's all fun and games, not one of those weird over-serious messages she gets from a lot of guys
They talk about something she's already doing (online dating), which make them easy to reply to
They refer to things in her profile, which makes them clearly NOT form letters to just be ignored
You CAN go more serious with your initial message, but only if you have something interesting to say and you have REALLY good profile pictures.
In this case, you can pull off something like this:
You totally strike me as... (it's a good thing!)
... the kind of person who's got her stuff together and isn't all over the place. The fact that you like cats and sushi drove that one home for me.
How long have you been in Fredericksburg and how do you find it, Ms. Sociable? I've been under a rock for a while, but it's time to start exploring.
The response rate you'll get to a message like this is far lower, but the initial responses you'll get are far warmer than what you'll get with the other template.
Essentially, a girl read this, and says, "Well, the message is only slightly interesting," then if she's somewhat interested checks out your profile and other pictures. If she likes what she sees, she writes back.
In effect, you trade quantity for quality - but make sure your pictures and profile are out of this world first. These are crucial for getting responses to this one (they're much less so with the fun message).
Lining Up Dates
Once she's replied to your initial message, the hardest part is over.
Now, you've just got to get her talking a bit more about her, and then ask her to move that conversation to a date or a phone call. Keep the conversation light; always write back in 2 to 3 SHORT paragraphs at the MOST.
Even if she's a heavy writer and starts writing you novels, don't
follow suit. Eventually she'll feel like it's too much work to respond
to YOUR novels, and stop writing. Keep it short and interesting, and
mostly about HER, and you'll keep her writing back.
Your first couple of messages can be fun / banter-y, but you should be setting up a date or asking for a phone number by the fourth or fifth message MAX. Some people like moving things to instant messaging; I never use this (for various reasons), but if it suits your style perhaps try it out.
How do you ask for a phone number? I like to do it like this:
“Well, cool. Tell you what, so long as we're talking, let's do it on the phone so we can hear each other’s voices and make sure neither of us is a total weirdo before we invest in this conversation any further ;) I'm at 555-555-5555 - call me or text me your # and let's chat.”
... or, if things are going REALLY well:
“Let's meet up; talking's easier than typing, plus there are no beers on the Internet. I'm at 555-555-5555 - call me or text me your # and what your schedule's like this week. We can always talk on the phone first if you're afraid I'm going to start following you around with a UAV monitoring drone or something ;)”
Note the common themes in both of these:
You give her YOUR number, then tell her to call OR text her number. She may also elect to send you her message on POF - this is fine too. You're basically giving her options on how to get in contact with you via phone - she can make first contact, or she can give you her number and ask YOU to make first contact
You handle the weirdo / stalker thing in a cool, socially savvy way, that puts her at ease because socially retarded weirdoes simply don't talk that way
You throw in a smiley just for good measure, to keep the mood light
And that's all there is to it. See these articles on your options for setting up the first date and handling phone calls and text messaging:
- Simplify Your Dates
- Date Templates: Minimize Confusion Maximize Returns
- How to Get First-Date Sex with Girls on Every Date
- Tactics Tuesdays: Making the First Phone Call to a Girl
- How to Text a Girl / How to Text Girls: 20 More Tips and Techniques
- Text Message Flirting
in some online contexts)
So there you have it. Just shy of 10,000 words on kicking some major butt at getting tons of dates with loads of beautiful women off of Plenty of Fish.
Key things to remember about profile-building:
Your profile picture is ALL IMPORTANT
You other pictures are important too - aim for no more than three (3) pics total
Your headline is vitally important as well
Your profile must be short, intriguing, and leave her curious - not sated
Your profile serves more of a support role - it's reassurance, not what sells you
Key things to remember about message-writing:
- She gets TONS of messages every day - you MUST stand out
- Your subject line is the first place you stand out - again, intrigue her
- Your message can be funny (quantity) or matter-of-fact (quality)...
- ... but it must be brief. Women don't respond to 6-paragraph autobiographies
- Trade a few messages, but get her phone number by Message #4 or 5
POF is a wonderful place to meet new girls. Because it's so big, the turnover is quite high; older members leave the site, and new women sign up. The new girls are often the ones you want to go for first. The majority of women don't stay on POF more than a few weeks at most, and many of the ones who stay longer become extremely picky (not good for you, even if you're damn near perfect), and often use the site more for emotional validation than they do for lining up dates (there are the exceptions, though - the high sex drive girls who love novelty and use the site for a constant parade of fresh meat - but they're in the minority).
Think of building a great profile and getting the right messages down as a long-term investment; once it's built, you'll be using it for months (or more) to come.
You can meet some beautiful, wonderful, sensational women on Plenty of Fish - and now you've got all the tools to do so, too.
Go get 'em, tiger.
Or, perhaps, lion fish.