Honest Online Dating

I recently spoke with a friend about the perils of dating… how it’s so easy to go through ten, twenty, thirty dates with random people, none of whom strike your fancy.

Am I the only one that feels this way? Am I the only one who is frustrated with dating, being single, and generally not being part of the ENGAGED, MARRIED, or even FIRST BABY OMG crowds all over my facebook feed?

I don’t want a baby. Not right now. And I don’t want to be married. Who would I even marry right now? But come on, it’s so easy to feel behind when you live in Texas as a 23 year old without a serious boyfriend!

My friend (who is older) told me that his dating life changed drastically when he made a brutally honest dating profile. When he revised and revised and revised until he became almost uncomfortable with the truth he was sharing– then he posted it.

He noticed that in a couple months’ time, he began attracting the kind of partners he had always been searching for.

I decided to give it a shot. I took out my old OKCupid profile, covered up my responses, and wrote all-new ones. Honestly. Or, as honest as I could bring myself to be.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

My self-summary

Old Mandi:

Hello! :) My name is Mandi. I am a 23 year old seeker (no, not like Harry.. I wish!) looking for joy and passion in the world I live in.
I am a self-proclaimed creative whirlwind with too many hobbies to count. I just moved to Austin after graduating from University. I’m slowly working through my summer bucket list and learning to love that full time job life.
Right now, I am part of the 20-somethings cultural group who knows nothing about where they will be in ten years. What I do know is, I am actively pursuing whatever my passion might end up being. I look forward to doing great things in the world and being fulfilled by a life of meaning.

New Mandi:

I am a new real-worlder, recently graduated and flown the coop. I am living in Austin with my dog in a lovely garden apartment that I am desperately trying to make homey. I’m a musician who doesn’t play, and a teacher who doesn’t teach—and I’m happy about that. I’m currently on a year or two hiatus from that life, because I want to feel like myself again. I’m trying to increase the positivity in my life and to survive the down times.

What I’m doing with my life

Old Mandi:

Working as a personal assistant to a radio host (fun!) and taking a break from trying to figure out my entire fifty year career.
In the other spare hours, you can find me creating art, reading a large book, journaling, hiking with my dog, or eating Mexican food.

New Mandi:

I work full time as a personal assistant to a political executive. We spend most of our time talking about the world and dreaming big dreams, which I love. In my free time I am wrangling my HUGE lab puppy and trying to keep my home clean and stocked with good vegetarian food. When I’m not doing that, I’ll be reading or writing. Or, trying to convince myself to start sewing a dress, painting a watercolor wash, baking scones, painting furniture, writing a blog post, reading a new book, etc. etc. etc.

I’m really good at

Old Mandi:

[…] I left this question blank.

New Mandi:

ORIGINAL: Everything I try. Accomplishing anything I set my mind to. Thinking I can do everything in the world.

TRANSLATED: Pretending to have it all together. Pushing myself.

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food

Old Mandi:

Books: currently devouring HP8 and enjoying the chronicles of Narnia audiobooks. My to-read book case calls to me every single day. Aka… I read a TON. If you’d like a full bibliography, you can check my good reads account. :)
Movies: Rent (I adore both the movie and the stage production equally in their own right), Moulin Rouge. I am a serious Disney fan for life.
Music: currently listening to a mix of alternative, folk, and indie pop. All time favorite bands include Panic! and Fall Out Boy. Seeing them in concert together was amazing!!
Food: My favorite food is whatever I haven’t yet tried. Picky eaters get dropped out of jet planes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

New Mandi:

I am a huge YA lit fan, and re read the Harry Potter series almost yearly. I love fantasy and mythology and fairy tales. I could spend my entire life in a library or a good book store—new or used. I don’t discriminate. A fun afternoon for me is finding all the picture books with the most beautiful and entrancing illustrations. Or with cultural folk tales I’ve never heard of.

I LOVE going to the movies—probably because I don’t go very often. I love being drawn into an action, fantasy, or drama film. At home I just rewatch Disney animated movies. A movie date is never out of place with this girl. I can guarantee I haven’t seen the movie you want to take me to, and I’ve been wishing to see it for months. If you don’t take me, I probably never will.

I love Smallville. I’ve also really enjoyed watching HIMYM, Sherlock, Heroes, and Gossip Girl. I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones, but I’ve only watched through season 3. L I stopped having access to HBO and now I can’t bring myself to catch up. I’m reading the books (instead).

I really love live music. I’m always looking for local folk music festivals, symphony concerts, or choir events to attend. I love musical theatre. My favorite bands are Fall Out Boy and Panic!, and have been my entire life. I am a singer who doesn’t sing in the car… or the shower. Weird, huh?

I am a huge foodie. I absolutely love tasting new dishes and cuisines. I’ve recently this year become a vegetarian (mainly due to environmental/political reasons), so I’ve been experimenting with finding just as delicious and filling meals without the animal products when I can. I still can’t resist a bite of your filet minon though…. My favorite food used to be beef.

The six things I could never do without

Old Mandi:

Food (it makes EVERYTHING better)
Sleep (I need a lot of it)
Creative expression
Good stories
My own space
A dog to love on

New Mandi:



Some kind of creative outlet.

Time outside in nature.

Emotional connection.

Purpose and achievement of my goals.

I spend a lot of time thinking about

Old Mandi:

How to improve myself, my life right now, and my future.
New international adventures to go on.
How to one day afford to purchase one of everything in Hobby Lobby, Pier 1, and the local fair trade shop.

New Mandi:

How to survive in such a messed-up world. How to best schedule the upcoming day. What food I’m going to have at my next meal, and the meal after that.

On a typical Friday night I am

Old Mandi:

Eating Mexican food with the fam.

New Mandi:

At home, gratefully going to bed early. Fridays are the end of long weeks. I’m finally ready to relax and sleep in.

You should message me if

Old Mandi:

You have fantastic ideas for fun dates around Austin, love learning, appreciate good food, or enjoy conversations with a genuine girl who tells it like it is.

New Mandi:

You always have something interesting on your mind to talk about. You have a dog and want to go on a human/doggie hiking date. You have unique travel stories to share. You love answering questions.

When I was finished writing, I went back to compare my responses. Some of them are rather striking… and some aren’t.

All of the Old Mandi responses were true. They were simply framed to be charming, up-beat, witty, positive, or any number of other adjectives I was trying to portray. I never told a lie. I was always trying very hard to come across exactly the way I wanted myself to be viewed.

Looking back, I really prefer Old Mandi. In all honesty. Still. Even now.

All of the New Mandi responses seem so negative to me. They seem down, pessimistic, too wordy, too long, just not GOOD enough.

We can talk all we like about the role of our inner critic and the societal pressures on women etc. but the real issue at hand is inside my own head.

I prefer my facade.

I prefer my constructed self.

I would much rather project that self to the world, and in all honesty, that is the self I would much rather spend time with. That is the self I really wish was me. I can MAKE it be me… easily. But that’s not the point.

For those of you who have learned about the Enneagram… welcome to the brain of a 3.

I’m still not sure what I’ll do with this yet. I’m not sure if New Mandi will be making an appearance anywhere but this blog. I’m almost afraid of the questions I’d receive.

I’m more afraid that, even though I’ve been bombarded with messages constantly since I started online dating, the messages would stop altogether.

I would no longer be wanted.

This is really heavy stuff, and really deep thinking, for this blog. But in the spirit of true honesty, all thoughts are unfiltered here.

What are your thoughts? What do you think of Old Mandi and New Mandi– how would you characterize them? Which would you use?

Do you think your profiles would turn out differently if you tried the “blunt honesty” approach?

I’d really love to hear your comments.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. I really do appreciate all of your support.

“The modern man (WOMAN) is usually in a hurry to get to a destination from which he will sooner or later suffer from and at times complain about boredom.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana



  1. Great article. You write with such clarity even if it feels deep and vulnerable. “Old Mandi” is fun and perky but It’s a challenge to keep that up and there will be days and dates where you’ll feel the need to shift. I don’t think the new posts sound down. They sound grounded and realistic. You are obviously someone who loves life and respects yourself and the “new” profile convoys that. You are awesome. I wanna be you when I grow up.

  2. Camille,
    Thank you SO MUCH for your response. Your opinion really matters to me, and I’m so thankful for your input. Your comment made me tear up a little. <3

  3. In all honesty, I totally prefer the “New Mandi”‘s responses. They are challenging and raw, and I truly believe you will attract more of the people you are looking for with a profile like that. I kind of like that it’s no-nonsense and straight from the hip. It makes you more relatable.

    Positivity is great and important, but I think only to a certain extent. Realism establishes real relationships. Of course it’s easier to pretend, and often it’s more fun to pretend, but I find that when I truly speak my mind, people are surprised, yes, but often end up agreeing with me or revealing a hidden truth of their own.

    I love that you’re trying this out and can’t wait to hear about your experiences.

  4. <3 <3 <3 Emily, your comments always make my day. It's a little piece of you I'm so happy to have in my 300-mile-away life.

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