Saturday, January 18, 2014

First impressions -- the online dating profile picture

I get it: online dating is neither easy for the male nor female ego with the whole sifting through mountains of pictures, getting the courage to reach out with a wink/message/ice breaker/swipe right, not getting a response; or getting a response but then the person flakes out or drops off mid-communication with no signs; or *gasps* getting to actually dating but then the person may not respond or break off things without warning.

So to make the process a bit easier, you think that people would start off on the good foot. Coming from a female perspective who has been on multiple online dating platforms: men are pretty bad about their first impressions -- the profile picture. (And please do not tell me I am shallow because ALL people judge others on physical looks upon first meeting. Plus this is a two way street: both men and women do it!). In looking at 100s of profile pictures the ones that are NOT good first impressions are:

- Naked without a shirt guy -- This guy has a great body and he knows it with his six pack abs, bulging flexed arms, shaven/waxed chest, and bronzed body. He probably expects that is enough to do the trick with the ladies along because that's what he's been using his good looks since birth to do his bidding as a cute baby. He not only survived puberty in one unscarred piece but came out of it even hotter with broad shoulder, chiseled cheekbones, and other manly assets. He is most probably looking to physical stuff ASAP and probably doesn't want a relationship, however a great hookup if you are into these things. Although I would be wary of STDs...

 - Guy with a gun -- This guy has membership to NRA or wants to appear manly in order to compensate for something. I don't understand how holding firearm is supposed to appeal to the general female population unless the females are looking for Dick Cheney-esque partners, are avid hunters themselves, or think that fire power equates to man power. If someone is actually a skilled hunter who is conscientious about consuming the animal that is eaten then that's fine but if you have no idea what do with the gun except look cool, that is not cool and you can accidentally blow off someone's face or hurt Bambi's mom.

- Guy standing in the crowd of guy friends -- First of all who is the actual guy? He's embedded with all his friends perhaps he thinks that there is safety in number. I agree: if you want to look younger then hang with older people, if you want to look prettier then hang out with less good looking people, and if you want to look smarter then don some glasses and read a book. However this does not help the female distinguish who the heck he is without panning 5 photos later. Also what's up with the insecurity of not just presenting yourself as is?

- Guy with an attractive female -- If the guy already has attractive friendly females in his life then why is he on an online dating site? What type of message is he trying to send: my friend/sister/cousin/ex-girlfriend is super hot so I have really high standards? If you are a single guy then portray yourself as a single guy or at least click a few buttons via Microsoft Paint (comes free with every Microsoft Windows) and crop her out!

- Guy with baby/small child -- If the guy actually has a child then it is incredibly sweet that he includes his child in the photo because the kid is important enough in his life to show right away. However the issue is that there are a lot of younger 20 something year old holding a kid and then putting caption such as: "Not my kid but my niece/nephew/neighbor's kid" so why bother? Clearly they were asked enough times by some messaging female. Good bait if she is into kids but total false advertisement

- Guy with really unflattering angle -- Dude, taking a picture is not that hard! If you have a friend then ask them to help you out. If you do not have a friend nearby then snap a selfie which is not only free but redoable in different conditions. Because that picture of you with double chin and/or cocked eyebrow and/or bulging stomache and/or cocky smirk and/or receding hairline is not that flattering. I am not say to hide these things but a picture is worth a thousand words so make them count!

- Guy doing a really cool activity (like surfing, riding a motorcycle, or bungee jumping) but is so small you can't see anything -- I get it: you are super cool and adventurous but I can't see what you look like! So before you post the super duper cool picture can you just post a more normal picture. Because between you and the "guy standing in a crowd of guy friend" guy I am sick of flipping through 6 pictures to see what you look like.

- Guy with sunglasses/hat/novelty glasses/hand obstructing his face -- By now it's the end of the day after work, I'm slightly hangry during my train ride back because I haven't eater dinner yet, ran home just in time to stuff my face so that I don't pass out from low blood sugar, and am watching the Bachelor on tv while simultaneously paging through at least 10 profiles, please don't make me work this hard to flip to your n-th picture to see what you really look like.

So in the end what am I, or most females presumably, looking for in a profile picture:
+ Your face? What do you look like?!?!

We don't expect a super model and beauty is in the eye of the beholder but at least put a somewhat normal picture that represents you as a person. Extra points if you look attractive, kind, and not mean. Of course a great picture is not going to make up for a bad personality but put your best foot forward so that it makes it easier for us ladies to go through this process and I hope that the ladies are doing the same.

Or maybe I am just too boring and don't want a good looking male model holding a gun with tons of male friends while sky diving alongside his sexy ex-girlfriend and his kid and simultaneously taking a selfie at an unflattering angle with a helmet hiding his face.