Suc­cess is in the pro­file de­tails

Find the bait that catches in on­line dat­ing pools

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - JODIE SINNEMA

The profiles are witty, quirky, lov­able.

“I live by my­self, I pay my own rent, I wear socks that match and I love my mom.”

“I am ad­dicted to rock, ’cause I am a climber.”

“I some­times ‘fast’ ac­ci­den­tally, be­cause I for­get to eat. Then I get real hun­gry. And I eat. A lot.”

These are real men, talk­ing about them­selves through in­ter­est­ing on­line dat­ing profiles. Ra­dio Wright, a self-de­scribed “e-dat­ing doc­tor” in Mi­ami, found and posted them to in­spire wannabe lovers and teach them how to dish about them­selves on dat­ing sites.

But then the good went side­ways. Thou­sands — yes, thou­sands — of other men copied and pasted those good profiles ver­ba­tim and passed them­selves off as the self-dep­re­cat­ing, ad­ven­tur­ous, mas­cu­line men so at­trac­tive on the in­ter­web.

Women caught on and Wright got emails from the fraud­sters, an­gry they weren’t get­ting dates.

That’s ob­vi­ously not the way to sell yourself on­line, says Wright, who runs a dat­ing academy and does one-on-one coach­ing to helps guys jazz up their dat­ing profiles and find some­one spe­cial.

“Copy­ing profiles, even a pro­file you think is good, doesn’t pay off,” says Wright, 36, and a 10-year vet­eran of on­line dat­ing. “It’s bet­ter just to be orig­i­nal … There is no rea­son not to be yourself.”

Un­less, of course, that true self is a shirt­less dude tak­ing an over­ex­posed selfie in the bath­room mir­ror.

But what makes a per­fect on­line pro­file? While there is no magic recipe — a pro­file that’s bor­ing to one per­son might in­trigue the next — ex­perts in the bur­geon­ing in­dus­try of e-dat­ing ad­vice say there are some ba­sics to con­sider.

Pho­tos are huge — and post lots of them. Men, stay away from bath­room self­ies, and ones cap­tur­ing your bro­mance with your truck. Women, you’re among hun­dreds of pret­ties who post pho­tos of your­selves pet­ting tigers, so keep those pri­vate, Wright said. Same with the photo of you jump­ing in the air.

And the ones of you pos­ing with five of your besties, whether male or fe­male?

“If your friends look like a bunch of scrubs, you will be judged by who you as­so­ciate with,” Wright said. Don’t get lost in a sea of other faces. And if you have to clar­ify that the lovely woman on your el­bow is your cousin or sis­ter? Maybe nix it.

Men should also take care about what’s in the back­ground of their smil­ing faces: women will no­tice that La­batt light in the bar’s back­ground or your 50-inch TV and decor choices, Wright says. Make sure those de­tails align with your val­ues.

Women cer­tainly no­ticed the huge sand­wich Mike Drouil­lard was eat­ing in one of his pho­tos in Hawaii, and were in­trigued. Drouil­lard is now mar­ried to one of the sand­wich gawk­ers and to­gether, they’ve launched the Van­cou­ver-based busi­ness Per­fect My Pro­file.

The mes­sage to that story? A photo of you shear­ing a sheep or eat­ing hag­gis just might spark dis­cus­sion. The generic “I like go­ing for din­ner with friends” be­comes more in­ter­est­ing when you say, “I’m par­tial to spicy Thai food” or “I love host­ing potlucks in my condo.” The more spe­cific the de­tail, the eas­ier it is for would-be suit­ors to break the ice.

“Bait some­one with de­tails,” says Sam Dug­gal, who of­fers on­line dat­ing ad­vice through his Ed­mon­ton com­pany Pro­mo­tion Dat­ing. “On­line dat­ing is com­pet­i­tive.”

Some women get 50 mes­sages from men in one hour, Dug­gal said. Generic in­for­ma­tion, akin to the cheesy in-per­son pickup line, just might make the woman roll her eyes and gloss over you, he said.

But while the pro­file mat­ters, Wright says, “it is a small, ridicu­lous snapshot, re­ally.”

Erinne Se­vi­gny, 28, can vouch for that. The pro­file of Paul Adachi didn’t im­press her.

“It didn’t stand out in any way,” Se­vi­gny said. Even his pho­tos were rather un­flat­ter­ing and the fact he was in car sales at the time — he be­came a mas­sage ther­a­pist and Reiki prac­ti­tioner — didn’t thrill her.

But Adachi liked what he saw in user­name Soleil31 (soleil means sun in French).

“She knew what she wanted,” Adachi, 27, said. Se­vi­gny’s Plenty of Fish pro­file was sim­ple but gen­uine, and in­cluded pho­tos of her climb­ing a glacier and with her Bel­gian Shepherd dog named Nyx. Her ad­ven­tur­ous and strong­willed na­ture was ob­vi­ous in the de­tails: she lived and taught in France for one year. She had fu­ture busi­ness plans that didn’t in­volve a 9-to-5 desk job.

“The ones that stood out for me were the profiles that were writ­ten well,” Adachi said. “From my per­spec­tive, (the pro­file) could be the most im­por­tant (thing) be­cause it’s the first domino that ini­ti­ated the rest of the process.”

Af­ter the first date in June 2012 — drinks dur­ing which Adachi knew his date only as “E,” then a kiss to end the evening — ev­ery other on­line feeler stopped, Se­vi­gny says. “I knew by mid-Au­gust this is the guy.”

Her ad­vice for any­one div­ing into the on­line dat­ing world? No truck or bar pho­tos, please. Keep it short, be­cause no one has time for an epic. If you aren’t quirky, don’t be quirky, just straight you. And clean up the sen­tences.

“I wasn’t go­ing to hate on a comma splice, but spell­ing er­rors were an is­sue,” Se­vi­gny says.

Most im­por­tantly? Don’t try too hard.

“Put the pro­file up for yourself that you think is best — and maybe that’s with a ton of pic­tures at the bar or of your truck — and you’ll at­tract the kind of per­son who suits you,” Se­vi­gny says. “What­ever you put out there will have your en­ergy in it and will at­tract those type of people.”

Try­ing hard, how­ever, isn’t a crime if you want suc­cess, say those in the ad­vice busi­ness.

“It’s like help­ing some­body dress up, look their best, give their best on­line pre­sen­ta­tion of them­selves,” Drouil­lard says to people who are con­cerned their profiles won’t re­flect their true selves if some­one else writes them.

“Not ev­ery­one is a writer. When you don’t com­mu­ni­cate in a well writ­ten way, it doesn’t mean you’re not a great per­son. It may just be that you need some as­sis­tance in putting on your best clothes, so to speak. … This is you. These are your in­ter­ests. It’s fun­da­men­tally, in sub­stance, you.”

I didn’t bee­line it out of the sa­lon though. I, like many oth­ers, know that many of the lac­quers used in most sa­lons con­tain nasty chem­i­cals, but I kept read­ing Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie’s new book and got my toe­nails painted.

Toxin Tox­out, dives into the toxic soup of the world we live in and how we can take steps to min­i­mize the ef­fects on our bod­ies and our world. That in­cludes be­ing choosy about what we eat and how we groom our­selves.

With­out be­ing preachy or sel­f­righ­teous, the au­thors of­fer a par­tial pre­scrip­tion for a “detox diet.”

“Most people we talk to feel a cer­tain em­pow­er­ment once they’ve read it,” Smith says in an in­ter­view from Toronto. “There are these crummy toxic in­gre­di­ents we use ev­ery­day and we try to tell the story with so­lu­tions in mind … and let people know it’s a solv­able prob­lem.”

As the pres­i­dent of a small or­ganic busi­ness op­er­at­ing in Cal­gary, Ali­cia Sokolowski liked what she read in Toxin Tox­out. She and her hus­band Chris have been ahead of the green curve for a decade, pro­duc­ing an all-or­ganic line of house­hold clean­ing prod­ucts, as well as a res­i­den­tial clean­ing ser­vice for their com­pany, AspenClean.

“It’s a book that is “a great ed­u­ca­tional tool for con­sumers,” she says.

Toxin Tox­out is a fol­lowup to the au­thors’ first book, Slow Death By Rub­ber Duck: How the Toxic Chem­istry of Ev­ery Day Life Af­fects Our Health. As in Slow Death, Lourie and Smith treat them­selves as guinea pigs in risky ex­per­i­ments. Rick sits in a new car for eight hours in a heated en­vi­ron­ment to gauge the ef­fects of off-gass­ing on the hu­man body. In an­other case, he’s in a sauna to see how many tox­ins can be sweated out from his body.

Urine sam­ples are taken be­fore and af­ter each ex­per­i­ment and sent off to a lab to see if toxin lev­els change. In a word, yes, they do, and for the bet­ter. Sweat­ing, it seems, ex­cretes tox­ins from our body. The ex­per­i­ments aren’t sci­en­tific, but they are il­lus­tra­tive, Smith says.

“We are very up­front about what are ex­per­i­ments are and what they are not. The sam­ple size is small … but they are il­lus­tra­tive of a prob­lem, and a con­tri­bu­tion to what the so­lu­tion is,” says Smith, who like Lourie has a sci­ence back­ground. Both of their cur­rent day jobs are with en­vi­ron­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions. They also ex­plore the mer­its of eat­ing or­ganic foods by do­ing a multi-day ex­per­i­ment on a group of chil­dren from 3 to 13. They talk ex­ten­sively to global ex­perts who are com­mit­ted to or have made mil­lions in the new green in­dus­try, in­clud­ing some sur­pris­ing ad­di­tions.

Big cor­po­ra­tions such as Aveda have been walk­ing the green talk for decades, of­fer­ing all-nat­u­ral prod­ucts with trans­par­ent la­belling. Oth­ers more re­cently, such as John­son & John­son and Kirk- land (the Costco brand), have hopped on the “paraben-free” band­wagon, while big box stores like Wal­mart are now sell­ing or­ganic prod­ucts free of ph­tha­lates, tri­closan and parabens. (Parabens are preser­va­tives used in cos­met­ics, but now sus­pected of el­e­vat­ing cancer risks.)

Sokolowski has first-hand anec­dotes about how caus­tic tra­di­tional clean­ing prod­ucts can be, as the book also points out, in­clud­ing the fact many don’t list in­gre­di­ents at all. Stud­ies about women who worked as clean­ers us­ing tra­di­tional prod­ucts have been shown to suf­fer from asthma and al­ler­gies, and are at higher risk of cancer and hav­ing chil­dren with birth de­fects.

Sokolowski cites the ex­pe­ri­ence of one of her first em­ploy­ees, who had worked for a large clean­ing fran­chise prior to work­ing for AspenClean.

“She had asthma and had to use an in­haler daily,” she says.

But af­ter work­ing with the or­ganic prod­ucts for a few months, she had to rely on her in­haler less and less, she says.

Sokolowski and her hus­band were pleas­antly sur­prised how ea­ger Cal­gar­i­ans were and are to use their prod­ucts and ser­vice, when they opened their busi­ness in the city in 2013. They’d been op­er­at­ing in Van­cou­ver and are about to ex­pand into Toronto.

Smith too, says con­sumers’ knowl­edge about chem­i­cals in ev­ery­day prod­ucts has grown ex­po­nen­tially.

“Five years ago, if we would have said the word paraben, people would have stared at us blankly,” Smith says. Now con­sumers are de­mand­ing the toxic chemical be re­moved from per­sonal care prod­ucts.

“Even tra­di­tional brand-mak­ers are mov­ing for­ward. I think it’s un­stop­pable … be­cause of con­sumer aware­ness and im­proved la­belling, man­u­fac­tur­ers are choos­ing to get the chem­i­cals out al­to­gether.”

Mean­while, I’ve taken to read­ing the tiny print on ev­ery­thing I use from my tooth­paste, to sham­poo, nail polishes and clean­ing prod­ucts. Wher­ever pos­si­ble, I re­place them with the health­ier ver­sions, one step at a time. I’m also try­ing to sweat a lot more. Hot yoga, any­one?

Shaughn Butts/Postmedia News

Erinne Se­vi­gny and Paul Adachi met on­line and their ro­mance blos­somed. The cou­ple agrees that a well writ­ten pro­file goes a long way to mak­ing that first pos­i­tive im­pres­sion.

Fred­eric J. Brown/Getty Im­ages/Files

Seek­ing love on the In­ter­net? When sell­ing yourself on­line, e-dat­ing ex­perts say be­ing spe­cific about in­ter­ests can help break the ice.

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