The dating arena is second only to its Roman gladiatorial cousin when it comes to viciousness. But rather than fleeing knife-wielding savages, daters find themselves fighting off the advances of unwelcome, pot-bellied irritants or, more commonly, trying their best to seem attractive to those who probably wouldn't urinate on them if they were ablaze.
Your dating profile, be it on a reputable dating site or a seedy phone app, is your storefront. It's your singleton SOS to the slew of eligible bachelor rescue ships bobbing up and down in an ocean of GSOH, WLTM and, occasionally, NSA. So it's important to get it right, because when you get it wrong, another dot on the radar goes out.
Here are just 10 examples of when dating bios go bad.
1. Sing me something new
Don't quote song lyrics in your bio. Especially Madonna ones. "I'm breaking all the rules I didn't make" indeed. You may think that jotting down a couple of lines from your favourite song or what you perceive to be an empowering anthem makes you look fun, or will help to strike a chord with a fellow fan, but in fact it does little more than expose your lack of imagination. Not to mention that the song you choose can date you massively. Potential dates don't care that you can quote Lady Gaga or Lana del Rey at them; they just want to know what kind of person you are. Quoting lyrics certainly tells them that, I guess, but probably not in the way you'd have hoped.
If there's one way to alienate a potential suitor it's saying you're a "typical Libra" in your bio. Your average punter won't know what it means, and certainly won't bother Googling to find out. You've lost them. If you must rely on listing your personality traits like a bunch of coordinates, at least make yourself sound interesting. You can't explain away your dullness by blaming it on your star sign. But maybe I'm just being a typical Capricorn there.
3. Jive talkin'
Using 'diva' language like "Bitch, PLEASE" and "I can't EVEN..." is an absolute no-no. It's massively unappealing. Unless you are RuPaul, or hoping to attract him. Most potential dates don't want to spend the entire evening trading reality TV show trash-talk with you.
4. Writer's block
"Don't know what to write - not very good at talking about myself" as a lead-in to a profile bio is catastrophically negative. You are signposting - in 50 foot high neon - that the date is going to be a disaster. If you can't hurriedly compile three short sentences about yourself without agonising over it and saying how bad you are at it, what the hell are you going to be like in the live environment? Here's a clue: awful.
5. Bonnie seeks Clyde
Don't use the drab cliché "Looking for a partner in crime". This is only OK if you are recruiting for a villainous double act. And if you are, you're looking in the wrong place.
6. Auditioning for straight-actors
"If I can tell you're gay when we meet, you're probably not for me" Seriously? I actually did read this on a profile once. It makes one wonder how, if you were too successful at suppressing your jazz hands, you'd know you were on a date. When is the right time to bring it up - as it's going in? If this is an issue for you, may I suggest dating women, or getting your straight friends drunk and sticking your hand down their trousers while they're asleep?
7. Humble, adorable you
Dating profiles are chock-full of self-deprecating drivel peddled by those wanting to look 'cute' or 'adorable'. "I'm quite boring really", "Love curling up on the sofa with a DVD, don't all rush at once" and other dreary, milquetoast statements aren't going to get anybody's juices flowing. Be playfully confident; experiment with exciting. Lie.
8. Tooled up
"I've been told I'm a big boy, if you know what I mean." Of course we know what you mean. If you really have to refer to the magnitude of your junk in an attempt to ensnare a date then I fear meeting you is an intellectual starvation I am not willing to risk.
9. No win, no fee
Attempting to circumvent the paywall of dating sites doesn't make you look impressive - it presents you as miserly. "Haven't paid for subscription so mail me on cheapbastard [at] mail-that-is-hot" says to me that you'll never buy a drink. Or, crucially, that you'll be equally stingy when it comes to doling out the goodies underneath the duvet.
10. Look me in the eye and tell me you're six feet tall
I can't think of any way to say this more clearly, gentlemen. If you claim to be a certain height on a dating website, it is probably a good idea to either
a) be that height, or
b) hope and pray that the person you're meeting has no spatial awareness or is ignorant of imperial measurements or is just as big a fantasist as you.