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My OKCupid gets a makeover...and a giveaway from Sixth & I!

Apr 21, 2014

You might remember Erika Ettin from the Dating in the District panel I did at Georgetown Public Library a couple of months ago. She's the founder of A Little Nudge, and online dating service that offers everything from building your profile to crafting emails to potential suitors. While we didn't see eye to eye on everything during the panel, I thought she had a modern, down-to-earth perspective on dating that made me -- and my friends who attended -- feel more at ease with online dating.

Next Monday Erika will be headlining an interactive event at Sixth & I called "Love at First Site," where she'll offer pointers on how to do online dating well (things like which pictures to use, what to write in your profile and how long emails back and forth should be).

I'm giving one C&S reader two tickets for the event (see giveaway below), but before we get to that, I have a very personalized sneak peek of Erika's expertise to share with you. Erika was nice enough to go through my OKCupid profile and give me a few pointers, and I'm pretty excited about the result!

User Name

E: What does your user name mean?
M: It was a nickname in college. I'd like to change it but you have to pay now.
E: It might be worth it. It's $51 for six months. That way you can search invisibly too and see if people read your emails. [laughs] I like the user name to be one extra thing people can know about you. Make it playful and cute, like "ThisGirlCanGrill" or "TallMargarita".


(I had almost 10 photos up, including a professional photo and a couple with friends. I thought I'd done a pretty good job selecting them, but Erika cut down the selection to five and cropped most of them. Here's what Erika had to say about them.)

Professional Photo: Use it, but not as the first one, because it's a little intimidating.
Noli Photo: I like that you have a dog picture, but your eyes are too wide in this one. (I was making a funny face.)
Friend Photo: You don't want friends, especially cute ones, in a picture with you.
Friend Photo with the Free Government Money Guy: We gotta cut your friend out. I cut the guy out too, but his pant leg is still in the picture, and that's actually going to generate more questions because you're not saying who it is.

(The other photos she cut were unflattering or you couldn't see my face very well.)


E: Not everything is filled out, like "Diet." If you eat mostly anything, you should say that. Religion too.
M: I don't have religion filled out because I've attracted some extreme Christian guys in the past, one who basically interviewed me to be his wife on our first date, and I'm wary of putting it out there because of those guys.
E: I don't think that's representative of Christian guys. If that's important to you, wouldn't you rather know before you go on a date that someone likes you knowing you're Christian? While I'm into casting a wide net, you should put what's important to you up front. I wouldn't put "very serious about it," but "somewhat serious about it" is okay.
"Relationship Type" is a new category. You probably want to put monogamous.
M: Can I leave my sign blank? I think it's cheesy. Also I don't want to put my income on there.
E: Yes. Blank.

About Section

My self-summary
Before: I'm a Southern belle transplanted into DC. I work in public affairs for the military and love the contrast between the intensity of the job and going home to my urban oasis. 
After: I'm a Southern belle transplanted into DC. While I've retained a good amount of my Southern charm, like making sure if you come over you won't leave hungry, I've adapted well to the big city, y'all.

Things I like:
-Grilling on the roof
-Painting furniture
-Playing my piano
-Going to the beach
-Meeting new people

Things I hate:
-Track maintenance

E: Your self-summary reads like a resume.
M: Ugh that's so DC!
E: Move the part about your job to "What I'm doing with my life."
Do you say "y'all"?
M: Yes!
E: What else is a dead giveaway that you're from the South?
M: If you come through my door I'll put food in your face.
E: That's adorable! What are some things you like to do in your spare time? Let's make a list of five of them.
Is there anything funny you hate? Do you ride Metro a lot?
M: Yes...
E: Track maintenance. Done!

I'm really good at ...
Before: Writing, cooking, watching TV
After: Getting a good deal on vintage furniture and refurbishing it

E: Writing what? Now I'm going to judge your writing because you say you're good at it. Are there any random things you're good at? Try to think of something that's different.
M: Grilling chicken?
E: Not exciting.
M: Well, I'm pretty good at making a deal on vintage furniture.
E: You talk about that in your self-summary. Why don't we put that here instead?

The first thing people usually notice about me
Before: I have big, red hair and I'm tall.
After: I can reach the Häagen-Dazs Caramel Cone ice cream on the top shelf at the grocery store without standing on my toes

E: What you wrote is true, but I wonder if we can say it in a more creative way. What's something that's different for you because you're tall?
M: I can reach stuff on high shelves.
E: Let's say something about how you can reach the tallest shelf at the supermarket. What's your favorite ice cream?
M: Häagen-Dazs Caramel Cone.
E: That's what you're going to say you can reach. I know it sounds crazy, but it will generate conversation.

The six things I could never do without
Before: Lip gloss, Pandora, samurai sudoku, Arnold Palmers, my phone, my dog
After: Cherry Coke lip gloss, Pandora, samurai sudoku, Arnold Palmers, my phone, my dog

E: Is there a particular kind of lip gloss you could never live without?
M: Yes! Cherry Coke!
E: You're gonna get comments on that now. The more specific the better.

I spend a lot of time thinking about...
Before: What I'm doing this weekend

E: This isn't very exciting. I'd get rid of it. It won't come up on your profile if you leave it blank. The whole purpose is to give people an in to email you. The more detail you have, the more they have to talk to you about.

On a typical Friday night I am...
Before: Having dinner with friends or binge watching documentaries on Netflix
After: Having dinner with friends or binge watching  documentaries on Netflix or Veronica Mars on Amazon Prime (I guess this could also qualify as the most private thing I'm willing to admit)

E: What have you been binge watching lately?
M: Veronica Mars.
E: Add that. It's you making fun of yourself, and it gives people something else to talk to you about.

You should message me if...
Before: You enjoy the city (pleeeeeease don't make me go to Arlington) and you wouldn't dream of taking off your shoe and handing to me in a restaurant in the middle of our date.
After: You wouldn't dream of taking off your shoe and handing to me in a restaurant in the middle of our date.

E: You say guys should message you if they don't make you go to Arlington. That's so mean!
M: A lot of guys do this tug-of-war thing with me where they won't budge on meeting up in Arlington, and it drives me crazy!
E: I'd get rid of that, because if I lived in Arlington I'd be offended. Maybe even if I didn't live in Arlington. I don't understand the shoe thing, but it's hysterical! It allows something for people to say when they email you.
Oh my gosh. This is the best profile ever!

(a glimpse)

Erika will be at Sixth & I on April 28th at 7 p.m. to share similar tips...but so much more! If you'd like her to answer specific questions or give tips on something in particular, leave them in the comments below and then get your ticket to hear her answers in person! Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online or over the phone at (877) 987.6487. Enter below to win two tickets to "Love at First Site," and be sure to check out Erika's website and full list of services at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Updated: The winner is Olga! Thanks everyone for entering!

See you there!


  1. Great post! I love it. Thanks for sharing all those tips and good luck with okc!