Dating Websites – always a good idea in the beginning, but then the thought of filling out endless open-ended questions to find your ‘perfect match’ suddenly seems a bit pointless. The most well-written, witty and charming profile may have the potential to land you an inbox more stuffed than Kerry Katona at a Toby Carvery, but let’s face it, what’s the first thing you look at when you open a profile? No, not your intentionally obscure, favourite music choices to make you appear cool, nor the fact you’ve seen Titanic seventeen times – we click straight on the photos tab. Pick a wrong selection of ‘look I’m a right laugh me’ and ‘ooh, I can’t breath in anymore’ snaps and any potential suitors will hit the ‘next’ button before they’ve had a chance to read your considered, yet still leaving an element of mystery, profile.
So, how do you pick that photo that will bring all the boys to the yard with a few spare milkshakes to impress your Mum too? Well, according to dating website, OKCupid, those cheesy MySpace self-portraits actually have a slight edge, and apparently a picture where you ‘don’t smile’ and ‘don’t make eye contact’ should have the guys slut dropping at just the thought of a potential date. Also, a shirtless image can work wonders, according to OKCupid: ‘If you’re a guy with a nice body, it’s actually better to take off your shirt than to leave it on’. Unless you’re Rik Waller – can we still make Rik Waller jokes in 2012? Is that even still relevant? Regardless, if you’re slightly camera shy and prefer to be covered up, then dress like you normally would. Guys who are dressed to the nines fare less well than those who wear their normal day to day outfits. So keep the bow ties for weddings, bar mitzvahs and Bruno Mars fancy dress costumes.
My top tip in this whole matter, is to choose a photo that actually LOOKS like you. Yes ok, so we only ever put up photos where we look decent, and we de-tag anything that makes us look remotely unattractive or pathetic to the outside eye, (James Moore was tagged at Bingo. Hide from timeline), but picking a photo from ‘back in the day’ when you were 3 stone lighter and actually had cheek bones isn’t fair if you now appear totally different. Although, I’ve never had cheek bones, so this doesn’t actually apply to me.
By using a picture on Grindr that you think looks more attractive and inviting to prospective partners, (did I say partners? I mean 69′ers), you could actually be making things worse for yourself, instead of being truthful and uploading a recent image.
I speak from experience. Horrific experience.
A few years ago, after talking to somebody on Twitter for a good few months I decided to take the plunge and meet up. His avatar looked cute, and he showed signs of a good fringe and a firm chin so I was sold. We’d spoken on the phone, but his photos on Facebook were mysteriously lacking. I brushed this aside, headed to meet him and got the complete shock of my life. He was less hunk more Hunchback of Notre-Dame. No offence to Quasimodo, but the guy couldn’t have looked less like his picture than if he’d drawn a self-portrait on Microsoft Paint using his tongue. He was a total Picasso; the closer I got to them, the more mental, unhinged and slightly wonky he looked.
I felt cheated. I even remembered asking him, before we met, if people said he looked the same in real life as he does in his pictures and he told me they did. Surely it would of been better to be more upfront from the start by using a picture that was an accurate representation? Rather than get me to travel over 200 miles on a train, only to be greeted by Esmerelda’s BFF, resulting in me feeling completely put off.
I can hear people saying, ‘don’t be so judgmental’ and ‘it’s not all about looks, it’s about personality’. Yeah well, to those people I say: look at the success rate of Blind Date. There’s a reason why Cilla Black always wore something sparkly, it was to distract us all from the fact that 75% of people ended up on dates with people they were never going to find physically attractive. You can pretend you’re all high and mighty, but looks count. As do first impressions. The fact that his picture made him look like Jake Gyllenhaal, (he must have used good lighting), but he ended up being closer to Jake Wood made me very terribly sad. After the most awkward Nando’s of my entire life, I made my excuses and left.
Using a photo that’s not a real likeness, is as bad as having a picture of a completely different person, in my opinion. Imagine opening a Tiffany’s box and finding a Coleen Rooney For Argos ring inside. You would flip out. It’s false advertising.
Love and relationship advice website Your Tango agrees with me too: ‘Don’t lie about your looks. People will always find out the truth in the end. Even if they like your personality, they will be offended that you lied and that is definitely a deal breaker.’
At the same time, it’s clear why some people do choose a more flattering picture. We are a shallow species, and sometimes we won’t even respond to a message if their picture shows them with a bit too much muffin on their metaphorical baking tray. But there’s somebody out there for everybody, and you might miss them if you’re too busy trying to be somebody you’re not, or attempting to attract the wrong type of mate.
Also, while we’re at it, don’t post a topless picture on Grindr and then just say you’re there for ‘chats’ only. Who are you kidding? We know what kind of chats you want. And it usually ends up with people sleeping over. In your mouth. (10 So So Gay points if you quote the movie we stole that from).
So the moral of the story is, when you get snap happy with the camera, make sure you’re taking pictures that show the real you. Upload them on your dating profile/Twitter/Facebook/Grindr and embrace the suitable knights on their white horses galloping straight towards you. Unless you look like Boris Johnson, in which case you might want to keep your helmet on.
What’s your take on photos and online dating? Tweet us at @SoSoGay and tell us your experiences. Most embarrassing story gets virtual sympathy and a packet of Love Hearts.
Featured image by Maxim Ibragimov/Shutterstock.