In the business world, there’s a saying that you should always be ready with your “elevator speech.” It’s a concept of having at hand a description of yourself—your skills, goals, positive aspects, etc. —that could be delivered in a brief time (imagine you suddenly find yourself in an elevator with someone you want to work for or impress).
As I’m working on another part of this book (related to online dating sites) it struck me that in the past hour, five new people have posted profiles in the Reddit dating group polyamoryr4r. In that same hour on the Facebook group Polyamory Dating, eight new profiles.
On one hand, that might seem exciting—all the people you can go find out about. But on the other hand—and the “hand” that this chapter addresses, what about your profile post? If you head over and post “Hi, it’s me, I’m new here, wassup!” are you going to stand out from the other posts? Are you leaving people who could be interested in an opportunity to know something about you a way to easily engage?
This section is about posting your initial introduction of you in such a way that it can generate feedback and connections. A polyamory “elevator speech,” so to speak. We call it your opening.
Your opening is intended to be the first thing people are going to “see” about you. It isn’t as complete as a profile on a dating site (although it would be included there) or an entire story about your life. Instead, it’s a tight block of text that includes specific aspects—your interests, why people might contact you, and an opportunity for them to engage. There are also other optional aspects we’ll touch on. The goal is to have it stand out in a sea of similar “let me introduce you to me” posts.
As we start to work on your opening, one goal is to stand out, but another is for like-minded people to find each other.
We’ll talk about each aspect of your opening then talk about bringing them together. You may find it valuable to grab a pen and paper or e-doc and capture these as we introduce them. You’re just capturing words here, not sentences. Don’t overthink. Let’s go!
Your Interests – What do you think about when you wake up? What keeps you up past your bedtime? If you use Reddit, what subreddits are you a member of? What blogs or books do you read? Where do you spend too much money? Music? Food? Art? Travel? Sports? Video games? Sex?
Now, since we want to keep our opening tight and easy to digest, you only want to list two or three. Two of my personal interests are obscure music and dining out, so I’m going to use those.
Why People Might Contact You – Why did you buy this book? Why are you out there looking for people? Not everyone is looking for deep, romantic long-term connections, nor are they looking for hot hookups. There’s a lot of space between the two!
Why people might contact you is both a great way to connect as well as being a limiter. In the below examples, you can see it does just that—lets me know if they’re looking for me…but also tells me we’re not on the same page in what we’re looking for and ends the conversation. This is not bad at all. But if you say you’re “looking for a third to join our DD/lg dynamic,” anyone who isn’t interested in being a third—or doesn’t understand a specific acronym—is going to stop reading there and move on.
- good (local) friend who I’m attracted to, enjoy hanging out with, and can express myself physically with
- long-term IRL connections
- someone to nerd out with
- looking for other poly people to chat with and hopefully make a special connection with someone
Often we can tie what we wrote down from our interest area to this part but don’t need to. For me, I’m looking only to meet and interact and flirt and maybe make out. So that’s my why people might contact you is going to include that they should be local, female (my current preference), and want to talk while we have a nice meal. If I was looking for a relationship, love, sex, I’d align my opening that way instead.
Opportunity For Them to Engage – Here, we’re going to make it easy for that potentially interested person to make the first move, so to speak. Something about the rest of your opening has piqued their interest. So let’s invite them to contact you with some sort of icebreaker beyond “Hi, saw your profile, wanna chat?” to kick off the conversation. An easy way to do this is “what was the last…” What was the last song you heard? What was the last meal you ate? Show you watched? You can align these to your interests; for example, I’m going to include obscure music and dining out in my opening, so I might ask about the last concert they saw.
Alternatively, use this as a way to get to know the person better. I’m going to ask what the last book they read was. This will tell me something about the person as well; if they respond with sci-fi or fantasy, great. Or if they said a bio of a comedian or a person from history, that’s something we can talk about over a meal. And if they say they don’t ever read books, that would be information about this person.
We don’t want our opening to be so long that it’s daunting. But some additional information may help your profile stand out—and to help limit who contacts you to people who really are interested.
Basic Physical Description
Before we get any further on this part, you may decide that this should be skipped. That anyone who’s going to judge you based on the condition of the “meat suit” you wear isn’t someone you’re interested in. That’s fine; there’s even one site you’ll read about in our online dating section that doesn’t allow pictures, as they believe people shouldn’t be judged on looks. I’ve been on both sides of that fence in my view and still to this day feel that the false sense of worth that beauty product companies sell does far more harm than good. If that (“you can’t judge a book by its cover”) resonates with you, then skip this option of including physical description.
Yet, for me, I’m going to include a physical description. It’s a way to help you start to get to know me. Although size and shape and other physical attributes doesn’t define who I am as a person, the reality is it’s part of my story. We invite you to make your own choice—there isn’t a right or wrong, and either way (if you include a basic physical description right off the bat) has a potential cost to who might be interested in dating you. If you decide to, read on.
If you’re posting to a site like Facebook’s Polyamory Dating group, a picture can be included in your post (see the section on selfies if you’d like some tips). When I include a picture, I’m not going to type in any physical descriptors—should be self-evident.
For posting with no picture, as noted throughout this book, we’re fans of being authentic. So for a basic description, let’s continue that here. Don’t over-inflate any physical attribute—and just as importantly, don’t downplay yourself either. Just present you and let the reader “see” you without self-critical judgment. What are those aspects someone is going to visibly see if they meet you? Keep it simple with limited adjectives. I like to think about how I’d describe myself in a book if I was being introduced to a character. “Dan walks into a room—he’s a male of average height and weight, bald but with dark eyebrows and a salt-and-pepper goatee. — Simple, right?
Regarding age. Should you include yours? We could debate the merit of this one as well, but I’m going to skip that and go right to “yes,” or at least indicate a range. Age is one of those items that will cause many people to gain or lose interest, and that is okay. Again, like including a physical description, totally up to you.
And now, pick one positive visible quality. Everyone has one. Yes, you too. A nice smile, a dimple, dark eyes (or bright eyes), a nice mustache, a cute nose, a goofy grin, long eyelashes, perpetual tan. Find something nice to say about yourself.
My physical description is going to include average height and weight, bald but with dark eyebrows and a salt-and-pepper goatee, and I’m going to add to that “quick to smile.”
Your basic chat room standard “age/sex/location.” In the basic description above, we talked about age. You might decide to clearly state how you identify gender-wise and where you are—pretty important if you’re looking for real-time meeting!
What is Polyamory?
If you’re posting to Polymatchmaking.com or a site specific to polyamorous people, no reason to post an explanation of what polyamory is (although you might post what polyamory is to you). But if you’re posting to OKCupid or a site that isn’t designed for polyamorous people, then you’ll want to make sure you include in your opening that you practice polyamory and something about what polyamory is. But, it isn’t your job to educate the masses in your opening! I simply use the Wikipedia definition and then suggest people go look it up for more info.
At the point I’m writing this, I have three relationships. If posting to non-polyamory sites, I absolutely point that out (and that they all know about each other). If posting to a polyamory site, though? You can mention (I have/don’t have other relationships right now) or you can break down what those are.
A Statement on You
Is there a sentence or quote that you resonate deeply with? Something that’ll help “like attract like” or that if someone disagreed with, then you’d best be better off not even starting a conversation? If so, you may want to include that. Some examples I’ve seen in profiles are:
- Sex is not gender and gender is not sex.
- I am but one fragment of a tragic still fading fairy tale.
- I am a humanist, human first, human+.
- We can be devils, monsters or stewards and protectors. The choice is as always ours.
- “Be crazy, be stupid, be silly, be weird. Be whatever, because life is too short to be anything but happy” – anon
All of these are interesting or at least reflections of what the writer believes in.