In partnership with Inner Circle.
A portion of proceeds from Man Repeller’s partnership with Inner Circle is dedicated to charitable organizations that support social justice causes and to individual projects by BIPOC creatives.
People say that friends make the best dating app editors for a reason. Sparking intrigue in the hearts of your suitors by way of a dating profile is no easy feat, and there’s nothing quite like a close friend to bounce ideas off of and to function as your system of checks and balances (you’ll repay them with a pint of ice cream, I’m sure).
Two pairs of friends recently proved this theory correct when they documented the experience of setting up two Inner Circle dating profiles: one for Naydeline and one for Steffi, both creative types based in New York City. Their friends Leslie and Tess, who are both spoken for, came in with the assist and lent some authority to the project. Inner Circle is a global app, most popular in England, Brazil, and the Netherlands, for lighthearted people who are serious about dating. Designed to celebrate the nuances of each user, Inner Circle stands apart with its emphasis on facilitating real connection offline, getting you closer to meeting your match in person rather than sinking a lot of time into chatting on-app.
Here, each friend-pair annotated the profiles they made with the behind-the-scenes, sausage-making conversations and thought processes that go into setting up a dating profile that rings true both on- and offline.
Steffi, a site curator in New York, looking for a romantic prospect who can appreciate a pajama shirt worn outdoors
Steffi and Tess teamed up to take on Steffi’s Inner Circle profile. While it doesn’t quite translate on paper, much of this conversation was conducted in British accents. Here are the rules of the road, according to Tess and Steffi.
1. Always pick an even number of photos, for reasons based on gut feeling alone.
Steffi: Let’s do photos. I’m feeling very visual.
Steffi: So the first one I have is on my Instagram. Me at the beach. You know the vibes. I think it’s nice, right? It’s like, not too scandy and then it’s still got my face—
Tess: You’re a highlight in this. You’ve got your angle on lock, my friend.
Steffi: Oh, thank you. I appreciate it. It takes practice. It takes dedication.
Tess: Oftentimes too, this photo of you from your week in L.A., the cheetah-print shirt, it gives me intrigue. I like it. I mean not as much as your first one, because your first one should be clear.
Steffi: Yeah, that was a little blurry. I feel like that one is kind of edgy, cool girl. And then it’s like, “Oh, pajamas as outside clothes. Very innovative.”
Tess: Right, it also weeds out the normies right away.
Steffi: It weeds out the British version of men with fish.
Tess: How many photos do you think is not too many, not too few, but just enough?
Steffi: I usually think four or five, right?
Tess: I personally don’t like five. I like even numbers. Also, what are your thoughts on… do you want to be one of the people who puts a meme as your last one?
Steffi: I feel like that’s not a thing anymore.
Steffi:: For the fourth photo, I think I’m going to put one of me and you, because it’s just one with yourself.
Tess: I like putting a photo of you with somebody else to prove that you are not a bot as the third or fourth photo. I was thinking about that for the first photo, but I can’t stand the “me or her?” dating profile. Anyway, you look so cute. And I look like an eel. It doesn’t matter what I look like. It’s fine. That’s a great picture of you.
Steffi: So iconic. That was a good photo. You also look really cute in that—you’re just like a happy, happy jelly baby.
Tess: I do look happy jelly in that photo. I’m fine with it.
2. Create intrigue with a mysterious job title.
Tess: Do you want to put your occupation?
Steffi: I just wrote “writer.” I didn’t put anything else. Because I feel like people won’t understand what a “site curator” is.
Tess: Hear me out, like that could be potentially—
Tess: “What’s a site curator? I would love to learn more about what you curate on your site.” I mean, I don’t know, probably not but…
Steffi: Is that more intriguing than being a writer?
Tess: I actually don’t know.
3. Pick a favorite place outdoors.
Tess: For your favorite place…
Steffi: Let’s do Prospect Park.
Tess: I think that’s cute. It’s also kind of an invite. Because in a pandemic, that’s still viable.
Steffi: Actually, that’s real. Very good point.
4. Be honest about how you spend your free time.
Steffi: How do I spend my free time?
Tess: Basically it says, “Share what makes you interesting.” You’re like, “I have a middle part, love. And it looks good actually.”
Steffi: “I have a natural middle part, and what about it?”
Tess: Oh my God. Imagine having a natural part. That’s a dream. How do you spend your time? Oh my God. Tell them about your 40 jokes a day.
Steffi: Oh my God.
Tess: “I am writing 40 jokes a day for a year, FYI.”
Steffi: Yep. Actually, maybe I should write that. I feel like all my things I do in my free time are just writing different things.
5. Prompt a conversation with a conversation prompt.
Tess: Do you want to do an open question? Maybe like, “Do you do the cooking? Do you do the cleaning?”
Steffi: “What’s your dish-washing process? Describe your dish-washing process.”
Tess: Hang on. That’s not bad, because it’s kind of necessary. You don’t want a guy who just… I’m having this vision of a grown man filling up the sink with water and just dumping plates aggressively and throwing them on the rack—
Steffi: I think the process of washing dishes is a fragile one because what I do is, I put the plug into the sink and then I put the soap in and then I turn the water on, so that the water gets evenly nice and bubbly across. And I feel like that’s not—
Tess: You fill up the sink? That is not common, no.
Steffi: Yeah, because I don’t turn on the sink again. I just use that water. And then I wash all my dishes in that water, which I feel like is not common practice.
Tess: This could be a great way to find a man near Prospect Park with a dishwasher.
Steffi: “Who wants to play mermaids with me?” Wait, that should be the quote.
Tess: That’s a good one.
Steffi: Okay. I’m changing it. I’m changing the profile prompts to: “Do you want to play mermaids?”
Tess: And I think that will naturally attract men who do dishes well.
Steffi: Yes, I do agree.
Tess: Kind of a two-for-one?
6. Hear them out: a philosophy behind withholding your favorite spots.
Tess: I think not adding where you would want to go for a drink could be good, too, because I feel like it’s kind of a miss to meet people who like the same place as you do. Or to depend on them liking the same places as you for your only common-ground trait. It’s so fun to show people places they’d never been.
Steffi: Yeah. That is so much fun. And really, in a place like New York City, there’s always a place you haven’t been.
Steffi: *wrapping up voice* Yay. That was fun.
Tess: Mission possible.
Steffi: Mission possible. Oh my God.
Naydeline, a journalist in New York, looking for a fellow Francophile
Naydeline and Leslie worked together on Naydeline’s profile, while Leslie’s apartment was being haunted by an unidentified presence. They discovered that on Inner Circle, you can find other people who were born on your birthday. Here’s a peek through the keyhole at how Leslie and Naydeline arranged Naydeline’s profile just so.
1. When it comes to photos, make a charismatic first impression.
Leslie: So do you want somebody that you can travel with, or do you want someone to go to museums with you?
Leslie: Use the one on the boat that I sent you. You look fun, charismatic, and like you’re comfortable in your own skin. I’m a fan of nature.
Naydeline: I’m going to use it, even though I’m wearing sunglasses.
2. You contain multitudes: Allow certain categorizations to be open for interpretation.
Leslie: I’m saying you’re a runner, because you run from the train to class to your internship to back home.
3. Leverage your arts and culture preferences toward your preferred brand of dates.
Leslie: Concertgoer, theater lover, musical fan, art lover. You’re all of it, bro.
Naydeline: If they weren’t so expensive, I’d go to Broadway shows every weekend, I feel like. They’re so cool.
Leslie: I’m going to put “theater lover.” Let’s see if we can get you a man who takes you to the theater.
4. To start a conversation, kindly request some memes.
Leslie: Would you say hi, or hello, or hola? “Hi everybody, I’m Naydeline.”
Naydeline: This isn’t LinkedIn—this is a dating app. You can talk about what I like to do.
Leslie: “I love adventure”? I don’t know.
Naydeline: That’s so corny. Everyone who says “I’m adventurous” on their dating profile is not adventurous. I’m going to tell you that right now. I like to include a little game in my bio, something like, “Send me your favorite meme, or send me your best pickup line.” That’ll help people start a conversation, I guess.
Leslie: “I love memes.”
Naydeline: “I love memes”? Oh my god.
Leslie: “Send me a good meme.”
Leslie: I have: “If I had the time and money, I would travel more.” There are 81 available characters left. Or is this bio enough?
Naydeline: I feel like it ends weirdly. Maybe put some places I want to travel to: “Looking for someone to go to blank with.”
Leslie: You want to go to Paris, I know you’re bothering me about that again.
Naydeline: I do want to go to Paris. I spend way too much time watching Parisian YouTubers.
5. Strategize for a good first date.
Leslie: Where would you like to go for a date? Food?
Naydeline: Yeah. I love that. Honestly, I feel like dates at restaurants can be awkward, but I feel like you also get to know people better.
Leslie: Yeah, and you can get a sense of someone’s manners.
Leslie: Okay, where would you like to go for a drink? A rooftop bar?
Naydeline: To be honest, a rooftop bar. Anything that’s just not that basic, like I don’t want to sit in a dark-ass bar. There should be nice views.
Leslie: Okay, so how about a rooftop bar to get some air and to get to know you?
Naydeline:: Yeah. I like that.
6. Vocalize that you’re open to new places.
Naydeline: I haven’t been to a lot of bars. Unless restaurants with bars count. Can you skip that? I’ve been to like one bar. Is it called Barcade? I think it is.
Leslie: Okay, I said, “My favorite place is a Barcade, but that’s actually the only bar I’ve been to. Looking for fun new bars, any recommendations?” Because that could be a conversation starter.
Naydeline: True, okay. Dating profile pro.
Leslie: Well I’ve never really done this, I’ve only done one dating profile. But it was when I was in Greece and I was dared to, because I’ve been in a long-term, committed relationship
Naydeline: I know, so I was surprised you’re doing so well.
Ready to get in the mix with Inner Circle? Phone a friend, download the app, and get cracking.
These conversations have been condensed and edited for clarity.
Graphics by Lorenza Centi.