Since initiating myself into the world of online dating a year and a half ago, I’ve realized that you can’t discuss online dating without mentioning the photos. Oh, the photos. Despite countless articles about how to create a decent online profile (written by well intentioned writers like myself), I’ve noticed that guys continue to post the same hilariously terrible photos again and again. From the endless stream of shirtless selfies to photos that scream out “serial killer!”, it seems like a lot of men out there are still confused as to what kind of photos to include in their profile.
FYI. I am aware that women post ridiculous stuff online too. However, since I’m a woman who dates men I can’t really speak to what the ladies are up to without doing extensive research. If anyone would like to help me with this, let me know.
Because I’m here to help, Joe the Intern and I have put together a list of 18 photos that should be deleted from your online dating profile immediately.
I’m all for “action shots” in online dating profiles. Whether you love hiking, camping, fishing, playing music, salsa dancing, scotch tasting, travelling to exotic locations or all of the above – photos of you enjoying your interests are a great way to show people who you are and what you’re passionate about. With that said, these photos must make sense. I once saw an online dating profile where the dude’s only photo was a blurry shot of him frying sausages in a dingy kitchen. All I could think was, “WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?” That photo of you awkwardly nuzzling a snowman, riding a giant silver chicken or petting a hedgehog while you stare into the camera at a super awkward angle does not belong on your online dating profile.
The truth is, awkwardness is contagious. I don’t care how awesome that chicken ride was. If we can tell you feel awkward in the photo, we feel awkward too.
It’s not 2004 and you are not a 16-year old girl. There is absolutely no reason to have a photo of your face making sweet, mysterious love to a bathroom mirror. I don’t care how “soulful” you think your eyes look. DELETE. DELETE. DELETE!
This is a photo I see all. the. time. Am I supposed to be turned on by the fact that you’re surrounded by a bunch of random lady friends that it looks like you picked up at Margarita Monday? Because, I could just walk over to the local Chilis and meet those ladies myself.
Seriously though, I know you think showing photos of you with scantily clad women will make you look more desirable, but you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. Yes, we’re all adults with romantic pasts. However, until we’ve gotten to know each other I prefer to imagine you as untainted and like the kind of guy who would never even consider doing body shots off a hot blonde at Señor Frog’s (and if you did, would have the common sense to keep it to yourself. After all, what happens at Señor Frog’s, stays at Señor Frog’s.) It’s called romance. Please don’t kill it.
As someone who has been flashed in public more times than I’d like to admit, there’s something very unsettling about seeing a strange man with his pants undone, or in his underwear…and yet, people seem to think that it’s totally OK to post these kinds of photos on their online profiles. Yes, Creepy Single Dad I’m looking at you. I have a rule: “Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t do or say in person.” If you wouldn’t walk into a Starbucks without pants on, you certainly shouldn’t be pantless in your online profile. Just like the morning coffee crowd isn’t interested in seeing your ample treasure trail, neither is the general online dating population. Put some pants on, bro.
These photos usually come with a caption like, “Just hanging with my friends” when really they should say, “I’m the one in the background looking dejected and giving you the crazy eyes.” There’s nothing wrong with including a few photos taken with friends. After all, it shows that you are a fun person with a social life. Just make sure that in the photos you actually look like you’re being sociable and having fun. No one likes a lurker. Choose photos where you’re upfront and centre, and for the love of jeebus, smile.
One of the perils of living and dating on the West Coast is that you encounter a lot of photos of guys in wetsuits or scuba gear. That’s cool that you’re into aquatic activities, however just make sure you include some photos that show what you look like when you’re not in all your gear. However, more often than not I see profiles chock full of photos like the ones above with a tagline like, “This is me.” Well, that totally clears things up! (Not)
I’m always suspicious of anyone who has photos where their ex is noticeably cropped out, or worse, blurred out. Looking at your dating profile shouldn’t make me feel like I’m watching an episode of COPS. Also, If your most recent photo is from that time you took your ex to your cousin Artie’s wedding in ’98, it’s time for some new photos.
Once upon a time you looked like John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever and now you look like John Locke from Lost. Ain’t no shame in that game! However, what is shameful is posting super old photos in an attempt to get more dates. It’s a disservice to yourself because when we meet you in person, trust me…WE’LL BE ABLE TO TELL. However you look – own it. It’s way sexier.
No good can come of the shirtless bathroom mirror selfie, yet like a bad case of bedbugs, it just won’t go away. This leads me to a very scary conclusion: some women must actually respond to them. It also makes me wonder what it would be like to go on a date with a guy who thinks taking a photo of himself in a cloudy mirror is a good idea. What exactly would this date entail? A trip to the local dog-fighting ring? Drinks at the Cactus Club followed by having sex while a UFC game played in the background? Am I just unfairly stereotyping these guys and most of them really just want to cuddle and discuss Proust by candlelight? My perverse journalistic curiosity almost makes me want to find out. Almost.
So, you’ve managed to graduate from the mirror selfie and take some solo photos – that’s great! However, what’s not so great is that you forgot to conceal the fact that you live in the human equivalent of a hamster cage. Pay attention to what’s in the background of your photos. If it looks like Axl Rose has been partying in your living room for the past 3 days, take a few minutes to straighten up. Pick up those old pizza boxes and empty beer bottles before you take a photo.
Once I stumbled across an online dating photo where the a guy and his “buddy” were both dressed in skirts pretending to hump each each other. Yes people, this is what I’m working with. If you want to have sex with your bros – that’s great – all the more power to you. However, if you’re interested in dating women like your profile says, you might want to lay off the potentially confusing photos. As I mentioned above, there’s nothing wrong with including photos of you and your buddies, however the photos shouldn’t beg more questions than they answer. I also shouldn’t get the impression that you’d rather be dating each other.
I think it’s great that you’re a proud Dad of three, however photos of your kids shouldn’t be included in your online dating profile. The internet is a creepy place and kids have no place in the grown-up world of online dating, so leave them out of it. And no, that doesn’t mean you just need to blur out the faces of your kids/baby mama in the photos you do have.
If your kids are old enough to be left with a sitter while you take me out for a beer, those little brats are old enough to hold a camera and take some decent photos of their Dad where they aren’t prominently featured. Totally kidding. But seriously, internet safety concerns aside, if you’re serious about dating and possibly meeting someone, a few decent solo photos of yourself sans offspring will definitely help you put your best foot forward.
There are so many times when I stumble across a photo and think “I don’t know what’s going on here, but it’s definitely creepy.” The line between “quirky and original” and “creepy and totally awkward” is a fine one, my friends. If you get the urge to post a photo of yourself staring longingly at a washing machine, or of that time you filmed your friend in the shower for a “school project” – just don’t. Whether it’s a photo of a bunch of hot dogs or evidence that you once hacked a fridge to bits with a pick axe, when it comes to online dating, no good can come of this kind of photography.
Ah, the vague, anonymous group shot. These are usually presented alone and accompanied with a caption like, “I’m the one with the brown hair and the smile.” Thanks, that’s really helpful! Usually I’ll spend about 10 seconds trying to decipher who I am supposed to be looking at before giving up and moving on to the next profile. Note, if the only photo you have of yourself also includes 38 other people, it’s time to get some new photos.
To prove that these kinds of photos really exist, here’s one that I found the other day. This was the person’s ONLY PHOTO and there was no caption. I’m not sure which of these people are interested in dating me, but I’m going to guess the disco ball or the man in dressed all in black hanging out by the curtains.
I don’t care how long it took you to grow that moustache or how awesome your bearskin rug is (although, it’s more likely that you’re laying on a fuzzy blanket adorned with the image of a roaring tiger or the Canucks logo) the only person who is able to pull off the Burt Reynolds is Burt Reynolds himself….and guess what? He doesn’t need an online dating profile because he’s BURT FREAKING REYNOLDS. Do not attempt this one at home kiddies.
The other night I was out for drinks with a fellow single friend. When the conversation turned to the topic of online dating photos, my friend said to me, “What’s the deal with guys who just take photos of their body parts?!” No, seriously – what is up with that? I don’t care if you can GTL with the best of them, if the majority of your photos are of your muscles or worse, a close up of your junk – that’s a problem.The worst ones are the photos where even the guy looks uncomfortable, kind of like he’s tragically resigned to his fate, “Yep, this is me….a piece of meat.” Guys, we don’t want you to just see us as a sum of our various body parts. Don’t force us to do the same to you. You’re better than this. We all are. Now put some clothes on.
Oh hi, I almost didn’t see you there, giving me the crazy eyes like you to take me home and turn my skin into a really nice handbag. When it comes to online dating, the difference between looking like a normal human being and a serial killer often just comes down to a smile. If you’re not smiling in any of your photos, I’m going to assume that you’re a) not very happy b) a potential serial killer or c) both. Same goes if all of your photos feature you holding some kind of weapon. Women want to feel safe and comfortable with the person they’re dating. So, put away your guns, tone down the crazy eyes and smile like a normal person. Thanks, that’s better!
If you have anything that looks like this photo in your online dating profile, it needs to go. In case you didn’t get the memo, it’s no longer 1998 and you are not starring in your very own Jodeci video. Turn off the R.Kelly album that’s playing in the background, take off those wraparound Oakleys and for pete’s sake, do up your shirt. Trust me, it’s for your own good.
Do any of these photos look familiar?
Thanks to the help of Joe the Intern, this post wasn’t tested on humans. However, I can’t take credit for these amazing photos of Joe’s “friends”. Most photos were found via Google + Flickr (links: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here & here)