If my profile is too long for you to bother at least skimming then we are unlikely to be a good match.
When I get a message I'm looking for two things: What makes you interesting to talk to? What did you read in my profile that made you interested in me? (The ability to write in actual English sentences is a huge plus.) I also usually look through the compatibility questions for obvious red flags.
If I think you and I can have an interesting conversation I'll go out on a date with you. If I don't think we would have anything to talk about I'll send a polite "no thanks" and move on. It's that simple.
(I could say more but it doesn't seem to help. I get a lot of spam, it's tough not to get cynical.)
I'll probably never have another job as rewarding as helping NASA scientists win a Nobel Prize, but I like having a job I can pour myself into, helping to make software fit people instead of the other way around.
Ten years ago I lost 47 pounds by diet and working out every day (aerobics, weightlifting, a bit of biking) but after a few years I slid and the weight came back; now I'm starting the process of losing it again. If you need someone who is fit and athletic right now, we are not a match.
Update, January 2016: I've lost 45 pounds in the last year, due to walking 3100 km playing a RL-based game on my phone. I'm still fat, but not as much as much as before... now I need to find some cool new photos to upload. :-)
I like cooking myself spicy food and a spicy life. ;-)
I haven't done much travelling in a few years, there are still a lot of beautiful and interesting parts of this world I want to see. My favorite travel souvenir is probably a one-way ticket on a slow boat to China; the picture of me holding a baby kangaroo in the Australian Outback is another great one, as is the left-handed Swiss Army knife I got in Zurich, the first year they were made. (A true lady carries a knife to defend her own honor with, right?)
Unravelling complex computer problems.
Playing strategy boardgames.
Instantly spotting the typo or spelling error on the page.
And then how short I am.
When I go out to dinner with a large group of friends I'm usually at the spicy end of the table sharing a variety of dishes family-style. Always happy to try new cuisines and dishes. I have some knowledge of fine wine/dining and fancy cooking but it didn't really stick.
I'd rather watch TV shows that don't even try to be meaningful than ones that try and fail. For some reason I haven't been watching much TV lately, my DVR episodes of The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Office, Community, The Daily Show, and the Colbert Report are expiring unwatched. I liked the BBC Sherlock more than Elementary, though I watch both. I only watch sports in football season. I'm a fan of the 'Skins and think they should rename themselves the "Roughskins" to clear the controversy while preserving as much history as they can.
I liked Firefly a lot more than Serenity. It met the female-friendly rule, for one thing.
2014 update: I watched the first episode of Breaking Bad, said "meh", and didn't go back. A few years later I binge-watched the whole thing, mesmerized. Not sure what caused the difference. John Oliver gets it so very right so often. Modern Family is funny when they don't go over the edge into sitcom-painfully-stupid.
My tiny collection of DVDs includes both The Princess Bride and Hair. Oh, and the complete set of Schoolhouse Rock videos. I never found any of the Coen Brothers movies so compelling I had to own them, though many are worth watching more than once.
Also... when I set this profile up years ago I was clueless enough that I used my real first name as part of my nickname.
You have something to say and something to share. (And that means something more than "you are so pretty". Flattery is nice, certainly, but I'd rather get a message that is addressed to me as a person and not just to my profile picture. And note: if you send the same message word for word to every woman who catches your eye it shows. What did you like about me?)
Your profile lets me get a sense of who you are as a person. (And that means something more than "I am so lonely for a lady to share my life with". What is in your life that you are offering to share?) I'm looking for a man who is eloquent and vibrant, who is passionate about some of the great things in his life.
You are looking for a long-term monogamous relationship (probably not with the first person you date, but that should be your goal.)
You are highly intelligent and
You miss having someone to cuddle with and kiss goodbye on your way to work.
You think lying in bed together with books or laptops on a lazy Saturday morning sounds sweet and romantic.
You think playing competitive strategy games with your partner also sounds sweet and romantic.
You know that there's a lot of beauty in the world and you want to get out into the big room with the blue ceiling to see more of it.
You're not sure how you would squeeze dating into your active social life but are eager to find out.
Your long-term goals for a relationship include a passionate and vibrant (and maybe even kinky) sex life but you know you shouldn't talk about it before getting to know me as a person.
I shouldn't have to add this, but: you are local to me (close enough to get together for a cup of coffee after work) and relatively close to my age. I want someone I can see regularly and am likely to have social context in common with. (In fact I filter out messages that are from people outside my area and age range. If your message is just going to land in my spam mailbox please don't send it.) (And note: in case you've never heard of Sunnyvale, it's near San Jose, a bit south of San Francisco. I get a lot of messages from guys in the Los Angeles area but 5 hours is too far to drive for a blind date.)
Please don't ask for my phone number or email address with your very first message. Part of the reason most women feel comfortable using dating services is the small amount of anonymity.
And I hate to end on a negative note, but if you voted for Trump, believe that homosexuality or premarital sex are sins, think that flag-burning should be illegal, want to see Creationism taught in public schools, or indicate on your profile that you are interested in casual sex, we're unlikely to be compatible. I'm not a sweet demure Christian lady no matter how much you might dream otherwise; on the other hand if I were looking for casual hookups there are better apps for that. :-)
Please note that I don't generally use the chat feature here. I treat OkCupid more like email -- I take the time to think about what I want to say, send a message, and check back later for a response. If there is mutual interest after a few messages it's time for an in-person date. (I try to answer all messages within a day or so, but I don't check OkCupid every day, and sometimes a browser refresh on a background tab makes me look online when I'm really not.)