When I lived in Virginia Beach, my friends and I would spend many weekend nights watching New Girl, eating junk food and drinking wine, and making lists ad nauseam of the things men do wrong on their online dating profiles. You could think we were lame, but if you thought about it just a little longer, I bet you’d actually be really jealous, because honestly, does anything sound more fun than the combination of things I just described? I think not.
1) The first three pictures are car/gym/bathroom mirror selfies.
2) The first three pictures are him wearing a ball cap and/or sunglasses. (Everyone looks hotter in sunglasses.)
3) There is only one picture. It was clearly taken about 10 years ago. It is pixelated.
4) The next picture is his dog. And the one after that. The one after that is his truck or gun.
5) There will almost always be an action shot on the top of a mountain or water skiing. These will always be from a very far distance.
6) Next, the picture with the girl cropped out (even worse when she isn’t. Or even worse than that, as one of my friends encountered, when she isn’t and has a mustache and horns drawn on her head).
And last but CERTAINLY not least is my personal favorite: the group shots. There have been countless times that I really have no idea what a guy looks like because all of his pictures are group shots (or, if he also included an individual photo, it falls into categories 2, 3, 4, or 5 above). Inevitably in a group, the guy whose profile it is will be the least attractive person in the picture. I cannot for the life of me figure this out. Maybe guys don’t analyze their friends’ looks the same way girls do, but in my mind, when you’re trying to put your best foot forward, why would you want to put better looking feet out there with you?
When this happens, I often just ignore the guy’s profile and keep looking. He may still be attractive. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, if he’s a 9 and his friends are 10s, I’ll probably find a way to survive. But, to me, it’s a deeper issue than that. In a small way, I feel deceived by the picture, like it was a grab bag situation, and the guy was hoping I’d be okay with whatever came out, even if it wasn’t what I was expecting when I started.
I don’t like dishonesty. If there is one thing I will not put up with it’s lying, and even things like dating profile pictures weigh into that. For this reason, I keep mine current. I think it’s only fair for a guy to know exactly what he’s getting when he meets me, and I expect the same. Plus, it boosts my confidence to know that he did see me as I am and still wanted a date, and it saves both of us a lot of awkwardness and embarrassment.
Fortunately, I’ve never gone out with a guy who really looked nothing like his pictures. I would say most had profile pictures that were a good 20 pounds ago (still think that’s lying, but whatever…), but none looked completely different. However, I know this is a regular occurrence, as several guys have told me they were glad I actually looked like my pictures, and then proceeded to share their horror stories of women who showed up looking nothing like advertised.
And that’s the whole point. Of course, we want to appear our most attractive whenever we’re embarking on a new dating venture – that’s why we wear makeup, buy well-fitting clothes, invest in cologne and perfume, etc. But, it’s just not fair to try to lure someone under false pretenses by posting an younger/thinner/heavier/taller/shorter picture. It’s setting you both up for disappointment, and since everyone wants to find someone to love them exactly for who they are, why start out from a deficit of mistrust and adjusted expectations? Why not give yourself the best chance by presenting your best you – not a pretend you.
So, that’s my little online dating pep talk for the day – be you! Pick the photos that make you feel the most confident and most like yourself – but pick the ones which will also represent you accurately, while still in the best light possible. And if you don’t know what those are, ask your friends! No one wants to be dating online, but everyone is, so don’t worry – your friends absolutely will not judge you for trying it, and most will probably be very eager to help!
Do any of you have “wow, that was not at all what I thought you looked like” stories? Or, do you have other photo stereotypes to add to our list? (We haven’t even talked about written content yet…I guess that will be another post). Let’s swap craziness!