The essential guide to decoding a man’s online dating profile

Understanding online dating

Online dating. What was once a secret society reserved for the excruciatingly shy or those with an appetite for adventure has now become commonplace. And with it comes the need for a new skill: How to decode an online dating profile.

Traditional dating articles might tell you that your dreamboat is waiting patiently in aisle 5. Standing there between the toilet paper and the cleaning supplies at your local supermarket. They may also tell you to join a cooking club because he is there, baking your future wedding cake. Or, you could even take up cycling because your middle aged man in Lycra is training for the Tour de France. But, let’s face it, if he is looking for love he is probably browsing through pages of singles profiles online.  Yes, “Supermarketman”, “Masterchef15” and “HotInLycra” are all there under various aliases and you can find them with just a screen, glass of wine and your slippers. No sweat or supermarkets required.

Trust me, I’ve been there and perseverance online has eventually shown me romantic success. I’m here today to use my experiences to help you get started, with this essential guide to decoding a man’s online dating profile.

His Username

Before you start you need to work out what it is you are looking for. Some names are obvious, it’s unlikely “HotTimes69” is going to meet you in a book shop followed by a cup of coffee. Maybe you don’t want that cup of coffee, but if you do I also suggest you avoid aliases such as “ManWhore” and “BringAFriend4Fun”.

Other people, like myself, are just plain old uncreative. So, don’t read too much into “Robbie83678”, his first six name preferences were probably already taken. Names may also flag specific interests, “HungryHannibal” may only be interested in eating you rather than getting to know you. “HorseRider” may own a horse and “LoveMyCat” is clearly a cat person. Maybe not the right choice if your oversized dog likes to chase furry felines for sport.

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His Profile Picture

People always look different in person, compared to their online dating profile. Photo angles, lighting and cropping can enhance parts of ourselves we don’t like. We all do it, so don’t be too hard on him. A good way to assess a photo is by requesting additional ones. Completely clothed of course (unless you did decide “HotTimes69” was worth a shot). His online dating profile picture might be 10 years old, like my driver’s license, so additional photos will help reveal a more accurate picture. Keep in mind, many people keep their photos private for good reason. They may want to keep their dating life private from work colleagues, family and friends. If someone doesn’t have a photo it is OK, just make sure you see it before you meet.

Group photos are frustrating, you can sit there staring, trying to work out which one he is and still get it wrong. If all of his photos have other women in them, this should also serve as a warning. Most of us have camera phones, and if we don’t then we know someone who does. There is no reason to show off a string of ex-girlfriends and you may just end up in his next profile picture.

Is he ‘looking for a relationship’?

This is a common statement on an online dating profile. The meaning of “looking for a relationship” means something different to different people. Some guys are looking for that ONE, some guys are looking to meet as many girls as possible until they find that ONE. And don’t be offended if they are talking to multiple girls at once, for men it’s usually a numbers game. People are fickle, dating is hard and it is better not to put all your eggs in one basket because the basket could be snapped up by someone else anytime. One thing is for sure, looking for a relationship doesn’t necessarily reek of desperation. And remember you don’t have to keep the first fish you catch; you can throw him back and re-cast the line if you’re enjoying the chase.

Online dating profiles

His Age and Height

I’m not a height-ist by any means, but at least half of the guys I met lied about their height. You create a picture in your head of a person from the information and pictures you have available. I’m not tall, but meeting a man who declared he was six foot only to find I towered over him put me in an interesting position. I value honesty in an online dating profile, do they think you wouldn’t notice? Would I have dated him knowing he was shorter than me? More than likely. Did his white lie catch me off guard resulting in me offering him my jacket at the end of the date? I blame the cold weather and my motherly instincts. But, yes. Awkward.

I have reflected on this situation with my current partner, who coincidentally lied about his age on Oasis. He revealed this a few nights after our first date with a guitar solo and a terrible singing voice. Why did he say he was 5 years younger than he was? Because we can restrict who contacts us based on age, height, location etc. If he hadn’t have lied, I wouldn’t have met him. It may not be the best policy, but for men who are overlooked due to certain characteristics might just feel like they have nothing to lose. So be kind.

His Interests

Writing about yourself is not easy, but you can tell a lot about a person by that one ‘interests’ paragraph. If he has put the effort into his spiel he is more likely to be serious about finding a relationship. A rant about his ex is an instant red flag, as he is probably still stuck in the past. His wording will help you decipher his personality – is he funny, serious or romantic? He might have children, open to the possibility or completely against it. Dating with children is difficult but there are plenty of single dads, or men who are understanding of your family life. Did you you know that we, as single mothers, make fabulous dates. But if first impressions raise your eyebrow, trust your instincts and click next!


When it comes to decoding online dating profiles you just have to persevere and be open to a few hilarious and possibly awkward situations. Online dating is certainly one of the best ways to meet someone as an adult with limited time. Be safe and be smart!


Anna Wood

Anna Wood

Anna lived the single mum life for a number of years and has an ex who is truly one of a kind. She knows single mamas are some of the strongest women, who come with a wicked sense of humour. Anna hopes her experiences will help other mums facing tough times.

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