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After being named one of the most desirable New York women on OK Cupid, makeup artist Lauren Urasek launched a blog to chronicle all her dating experiences. A year later, and the best (and worst) of her dating life has been compiled into the hilarious book “Popular“. Below, Urasek shares her guide to creating the most attractive online dating profile, as well as warning signs for when it’s time to back off from messaging someone.

I get tons of messages from girls and guys asking how to construct the “perfect message” online, asking how to create the most irresistible profile, or simply seeking out general tips. Of course I have opinions on those things, because I have opinions on everything—but I think it all depends on what your intentions are. Also, what works on your profile differs between men and women, so consider that, too. There is no black-and-white answer, but if you’re mainly looking to attract more interest, start with the tips below.

#1. Have good photos. Make sure you have a variety of high quality photos (preferably ones of you with actual teeth in your mouth. A complete set). This means more than three pictures that are not from more than a year ago, pixelated, or extremely filtered. Save the sunglasses and group shots for another day, and make sure you are giving an accurate representation of yourself. There is nothing more awkward than meeting someone in person who looks nothing like what they claimed.  I don’t know anyone who would go on a first date with a someone (let alone message them back) who doesn’t have clear photos on their profile.

#2.BE GENUINE—and be interesting. I’ve actually been asked by several media outlets what tricks there are for scheming the system to rack up more messages. I was confused by the question, because I was honestly just being myself when I wrote my profile. But in any case, make sure to be concise; nobody wants to read your memoir. Stick to the point, and remember that other members have no idea who you are. Writing that you “like to travel” doesn’t give a full picture of your fantastically unique personality.  Tell everyone about something the next guy or girl doesn’t have, something you’re proud of that doesn’t include your three degrees, your nice car, or the oh-so-enviable factoid that you work out seven days a week. Be humble. And be sure to avoid generic phrases like “I’m lovin’ life” and “I like to laugh” because, duh, the last forty people wrote the same thing, and if you don’t like to laugh, then who are you even? In my profile I wrote about the little things I enjoy, like Sour Patch Kids, down comforters, astronomy, and hockey, because it gives a real vibe of who I am.

#3. Use proper grammar and spelling on your profile.  Enough said. Spell-check if you have to. Know the difference between “its” and “it’s” (or at least Google it for your profile).

#4. Send respectful messages. Whether male or female, it is not recommended that you send something along the lines of “I’d totally bang you.” This shouldn’t even have to be said, but apparently it does: Stay away from objectifying someone and don’t rely solely on complimenting their physical appearance. Introduce yourself and say why you’re interested in meeting that person, but don’t write an essay. Realize that if you want to talk to someone just because you like the way they look, you might not have enough in common.

#5. If your chosen dating service has them, answer the “match-quotient” or compatibility questions. Those seemingly silly questions are there so they can match you with people who you’ll potentially get along with. I also will most likely never message or respond to someone who’s less than an 80 percent match with me. While I don’t necessarily believe in the scientific accuracy of OKCupid’s compatibility system, I do believe it is a good way to weed out people that have nothing in common with you.

#6. Understand that you can’t control others, only yourself. Even if you have a great profile or seem to have a stellar mental connection with someone, attraction is important, and if it’s not there, it’s not going to work. I’ve tried dating guys who I wasn’t that physically into and it never seems to pan out, no matter how cool I think he is. If someone just isn’t that into you, let them feel that way; don’t try to force it. There have also been occasions when I was planning to respond (and just hadn’t yet because I was busy) but then the guy messed things up by deciding to jump the gun and write me again sometimes several more times—without my response. If you send two messages and someone doesn’t respond, move along and assume they’re not interested.

It’s important to remember that even if you’re a smart, wonderful, gorgeous person and you follow all my advice, not everyone is going to fall in love with you. You can’t let that affect your confidence. Everyone gets rejected, and putting your ego aside will help you in the end. You deserve someone who shows interest in truly knowing YOU.

5 Ways to Know When It’s Time to Stop Messaging

I know how hard it is out there. You’re drowning in competition, people get tons of messages, and you feel like you have to be quick and funny and hot and active and skinny and like, INSTANTLY catch someone’s eye if you want to have a flying chance at keeping a conversation going. But sadly, things won’t always go your way, and the assholes you write to aren’t always going to respond the way you want them too. Here are a few resounding signs that it’s time to put the dating app away and go do something else. (Oh, and stop messaging me, SexyBiker4u.)

#1. You’ve written them more than once with no response. Sorry, man. It’s a no-go. Walk away.

#2. If s/he disappears in mid-conversation. Sure, you can send one follow-up message if you really, really want to, but don’t expect anything. People are flaky on these sites; they pull the ghosting act constantly for a myriad of dumb reasons. Don’t take it personally.

#3. The responses begin devolving from longer messages filled with normal, complete sentences to mini-messages made up of two-and three-word responses. S/he may be slightly unsure about you—curious enough to keep one toe in the water, at least– but do you even want to date someone so half-assed?

#4. S/he won’t agree to meet you. If you’re writing back and forth for awhile but s/he keeps balking at meeting up in person, something’s up; maybe s/he’s already dating someone, or s/he’s scared of meeting people from the Internet (ugh— how 1999); or s/he’s just not that into you (sigh). Who knows? But you’re probably wasting your time.

#5. S/he says they’re still embroiled in drama with an ex, or just out of a relationship, or newly divorced, or just getting back into the dating scene after being off the market, or only looking for new friends… AGH EXCUSES, ENDLESS CRAPPY EXCUSES, ENDLESS.

​Popular by Lauren Urasek is now available ​on Amazon

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