(Ed note: Super excited to welcome back guest blogger Angie! She’s an engineer by day, food blogger on nights and weekends, and an all around thinker no matter the time in San Francisco. Though she’s happily coupled up now, today she reaches back into her personal archives and shares her giggle-inducing view of photos on dating website. Enjoy!)
Though online dating is now generally embraced as a valid option for meeting people, there still appears to be a lack of standard protocol for selecting profile photos. Having noticed some of these patterns in my (mildly cynical) search for a mate online, I would like to present Ten Photos You Should Not Use as Your Main Dating Profile Picture:
1. Photo that doesn’t have you in it.
Hey, it’s a picture of a nice seascape. Or a Buddha sculpture. Or a labradoodle. These are not what I’m evaluating when looking at your profile. I’m reading about you. And I need a picture to complete the experience. Because what’s on the inside totally matters, but so do your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you don’t have a picture of you, that’s a huge red flag right off the bat.
2. Photo with your body and not your face.
Sweet, you have a great body. And that’s all that matters to you, obviously. You’re selling the only thing you’ve got: a tasty torso made for body shots. Which, I’m sure can get you far in life and love, really, but it’s just not doing it for someone looking for an actual partner on an online dating site. Because, surprisingly, I’m actually looking for someone with a brain, and a heart, and, I don’t know, a face. Awesome abs! Is what I think for 0.24 seconds as I scroll to the next profile.
3. Photo of you and your pet.
You love dogs/rabbits/chinchillas/whatever, yeay! That’s on your profile description. I can read about that. The dog you love sooo much doesn’t need to take up 2/3 of the tiny window I have into your life. I’m not trying to date your dog. And if I were, I could totally get a cuter dog that that. Sorry, I’m sure he’s a nice dog, but it’s true. You have exactly one 75×75 pixel chance to rope me into your profile, and your dog isn’t man’s best friend in this particular endeavor. Even when you put an ugly Christmas sweater on him.
4. Photo of you and another person.
Two scenarios here: you and another dude (or more than one dude), or you and a chick (or more than one chick). You and a dude: which one are you? I should not have to click your profile to find out. You and a chick: is it your ex? Is it your sister? I’m glad to know that at some point in your adult life you’ve stood close enough to a female to be photographed with one, but it’s not necessary to show me that at this moment.
5. Photo of you looking the opposite direction.
I’m glad we can look out on this sunset together. It’s something I might like to do on a date with you in real life. But for now, I want to see your face, not the back of your head. You’re on display here. I know that kinda sucks, but this is in fact a dating website, and that’s just kinda how it is. And I bet you don’t introduce yourself to people by approaching them back-first (it’s so much harder to shake hands that way, not to mention hug), so let’s just stick with the standard face-first greeting methodology and try a different pic.
6. Photo of you giving your sexy face.
Maybe this works in person. Maybe the ladies flock to this sexy face you make like pigeons to the gutters of New York. But in a series of a billion other photos of strangers, it looks like you’re a pedophile. It looks like you’re expecting me to be a plate of spare ribs rather than a person who wants to date you. Chill out on the “cool” factor, and just be genuine enough for five seconds to get a decent picture for your profile.
7. Photo of you being totally goofy.
You love to jump off cliffs wearing big bird suits! You like to wear Abe Lincoln hats and fake beards! You like to make kissy-crossed-eyed face! I get it, you’re totally nuts. I suppose if this is something that potential dates need to know from the start, I appreciate you taking the time to make sure I don’t waste mine by clicking your profile. If you’re ever calm for just a few hours, maybe you should consider a different photo.
8. Photo with artsy filter.
That’s your face, but it’s so blurry. Or bright. Or silhouetted. I’m glad you can use Instagram, but your filters are coming between us and I don’t even know you yet. Every artsy photo isn’t necessarily a bad thing; tasteful black and white or sepia can be quite attractive. But as soon as your face looks like a Picasso print, or I can’t quite tell if your photo is right-side-up or not, I’d say you should quell your persistent artistic side for just a moment and choose a photo where I can interpret your features. But you can still wear a beret or something if that makes you feel better.
9. Photo where you’re so far away that you’re just a speck.
Hey, you’re on a mountain, neat! But at this distance I can’t tell if you’re a nice guy I might want to date, or a scarecrow. I appreciate that you’re showcasing how much you love the outdoors and how great a picture of said landscape you have. But save the mountaineering pics for your other profile shots, for your profile description, or for telling me about in person. For now, I want to see your baby blues and your pearly whites, dude.
10. Photo where you look sad or mad.
Are you sad or mad? If so, why exactly do you think I would want to date you? Can you not even feign happiness for the ten seconds it takes to snap a photo? Are you so sullen that this is the only photographic evidence that adequately conveys your persona? If so, I suppose I will thank you for your candidness. Meanwhile, I will keep scrolling.