I have been trying not to add too many profile photos, as I didn’t really want someone choosing to talk to me just off of what I look like. I’ve sent numerous emails though and am not getting any responses. Are photos really that important?
Dear Camera Shy,
In short, yes, photos are important. You don’t need to post a ton of them, but about 4 will do. This is the thing: people are not choosing you based on your photos alone, they’re reading your profile as well. The two combined is what ups or lowers the ante. So you need a strong profile and a number of photos that show you are consistent in your looks. Everyone has a type, so don’t automatically assume why people are not responding to your emails. Do you realize you are judging people for wanting to see your photos in order to judge you? How are you any different than them? The problem with photos is that if you don’t add enough then people think you are trying to hide something. Add too many (same outfit, same angle, same pose) then it’s just obnoxious.
Back when I was single and on JDate, the guys without photos would drive me nuts! Why take the time and make the effort to be on JDate if you’re not going to go all in and post photos? What’s the point? There’s someone out there for everyone but you’re only hurting your chances if you don’t complete all the criteria.
under Date Night
Nothing about online dating matters once you meet a person in real life. You could have the best-looking pictures, and the funniest profile. You could be the best online-conversationalist, but if you don’t know how to interact with people in real life, it doesn’t matter. You know who else is good at chatting online? Child predators.
My new theory based on absolutely no research, facts or observation, states that the worse the person’s online persona, the better they are in real life. Good people don’t spend too much time cultivating their profile. They spend time out in the world while their mother who is desperate for her son to marry because he’s 35 and still single, sets up his profile for him. He doesn’t care. He’s too cool to worry about his most flattering photos, and his profile that is just self-deprecating enough to seem cute, but just confident enough to seem secure.
Back in the 50′s, when JDate® consisted of a man at a typewriter staring out of his window with a telescope, life was so much easier. You would just walk up to a stranger’s home in the middle of the night to look for a quality guy. Now, you have to sift through hundreds of profiles to find that right balance between creepy and desperate. Chivalry is dead.
Go out there. Purposefully find the ugliest, stupidest profiles. Go for that shirtless guy taking a picture in his bathroom with an iPhone. Go for the dude who, under, ‘I’m looking for…’, wrote simply, ‘no fatties’. Once you do meet this man in the real world, you will marry him, or file a restraining order within the first 5 minutes. Either way, crazy story.
You click with a JDater, go out on a couple dates and a photo op presents itself. So you snap away and capture the moment on film, er, your iPhone. But what now? What do you do with said photo? It’s super cute, you look great, your date is hot, but who is going to see it? You’re not an official couple yet so you can’t post it on Facebook. So what do you with this symbol of, well, potential?
Many years ago pre-Mrs., I had my first Facebook break-up where I had to un-tag and remove photos of me and an ex. That wasn’t fun. And as quick as I was, and as Facebook-savvy as I was in deleting any News Feed items, I still wished I had kept that non-relationship under wraps a little while longer. I had learned my lesson. Until it was more serious I would not be publicizing any romantic endeavors.
When I met my husband we took photo after photo. And I stored each photo until we became official. First, I printed out the pictures and carried them around with me. I would sneak glances at them and smile, and when people would ask me why I was quitting my job and moving halfway around the world, I would proudly flash the 5x7s. Finally, we discussed becoming Facebook official (it was a quick conversation — the answer was yes from the both of us) and then I finally posted them on Facebook… and printed and framed them to display in our new shared apartment.
Take it slow. A simple act such as posting an innocent photo can start a conversation you may not be ready to have.
under Online Dating
Halloween is fun: we get to dress up and pretend to be someone (or something) else — usually a sexier, sluttier version of whatever costume we choose. And playing pretend as if we’re back in grade school allows us to let loose and have a heckuva lot more fun than we usually have in our normal doldrum lives. It’s a win-win situation. Too bad there aren’t more opportunities to get out of our own heads. Whatever you dress up as tonight, take some great photos that show you having a ton of fun and add one to your JDate profile. It’s the perfect chance to capture your silly side for all to see!
under Online Dating
The adjectives you use to describe yourself in your profile can be more harmful than you may know. The worst word a female can use to describe herself is “cute.” It simply doesn’t illicit a positive response. “Cute” is translated into meaning unattractive, just as “curvy” is translated into overweight. Babies, puppies and stuffed animals are cute. A personality can be cute, but you should find other words to describe your looks. Use a thesaurus if you must.
My friend Mike started chatting with a girl on JDate® who didn’t have a photo but described herself as “cute.” Mike made the rookie mistake accepting “cute” as a description from the girl herself! Now, as I mentioned earlier, attractiveness is subjective, but when Mike asked her to send him a photo, she made up excuse after excuse which should have alerted him. Instead, he made plans with her on the basis that she send him a photo before the date. Again, she had an excuse, but again, he ignored his suspicions and drove thirty minutes to meet her anyway. Lo and behold, she wasn’t exactly Mike’s version of attractive, and he learned a lesson the hard way.
Luckily your JDate profile includes photos, so your own descriptions of your looks doesn’t totally matter.
I was perusing JDate for a single friend in a very general way (30 year old females in Manhattan) and I was only clicking on photos which caught my eye and were his type (petite, dark and exotic). Out of the hundreds I looked at only 12 stood out for the right reason. But for the most part I was appalled by page after page after page of piss poor profile pictures. I’m not even talking about the supporting photos, just the ones that show up in the search as a thumbnail. This is THE MOST important picture, so why are men and women alike using totally inappropriate photos?
Your profile picture SHOULD NOT:
1. include sunglasses or a hat
2. include other people or pets
3. be taken from a long distance away
4. be blurry (obvious, but you’d be surprised)
5. show you looking anywhere but at the camera
Your profile picture should basically be a headshot — your face, with a smile, filling up the screen. And your eyes should be, in the words of Tyra Banks, smizing. Your eyes should express happiness and invite me to click on your profile to learn more about you and see your other pictures.
I am an older, single male with no children. I realize most of the women my age have children in high school, college or beyond and I recognize the importance of those relationships. However, I do not understand why these women are posting [multiple] pictures with their children, other family members and their pets. This is a dating service for adults. It is not a service for child adoption. Or pet adoption. I think the logical progression is for the adults to meet, and if there is chemistry, to form a relationship with each other. If we get past this step, then we can see if / how the partner and the children, family and pets are compatible. I am here to, initially, meet a woman – not her children, parents, girlfriends or pets. I can understand one picture with, say, a single person’s pet, but what I am seeing in terms of children, parents and friends in multiple photos does not make sense to me. Again, the written information states whether an individual has children and whether they live with the person. One would expect to meet them, later, if a relationship developed.
Dear Photo Flop,
I agree with you 100% and in Picture Perfect and More Picture Perfect I discussed how to post appropriate photos. After posting a few of yourself — face, full body, in action — only then is it okay to post ONE of you with your pet or another person both of which you must quickly refer to in your About Me paragraph.
I don’t think parents or kids should be a part of your photos because this is about you right now and not your family. Let your prospective dates get to see you without any distractions. That said, posting photos of loved ones is not a make or break. If the woman has everything you’re looking for and you’re attracted to her, then don’t let her photos stand in the way. People are proud of their kids, their parent’s lasting marriage, their adorable dog, etc and they think it’s compelling (even when it’s not). At the end of the day, are you going to reject your Beshert because she put a photo of her and her chihuahuas in her profile?
under Date Night
Profile pictures, I think, are virtually useless. Photos often provide security from the inherent anonymity that online conversations often entail. It is typically, for me, more comfortable to chat with somebody if I have an idea of what they look like. I don’t want to sound vain, but I have to because I am so very vain. I don’t like the insecurity of knowing that the person I’m talking to is hideous.
Despite the security that photos often provide, it is often a false sense of security. I have yet to go out on a date with somebody that looks at all like their profile photos. To remedy this, I believe that everybody on this site should submit their most unflattering photo of themselves for their profile picture. That way, there will never be disappointment. Your date will stun you every time with his/her beauty.
For example, if you are skinny, start eating foods that are terrible for you for about a month. Next, have someone take a photo of you. Post that photo as your profile picture. Then, begin a strict routine of diet and exercise for the next month. Finally, go out on a date. You have no idea how well it will go.
Not sure if my profile is good enough? Really don’t know what to write. I am not getting any mails and if I do it’s from old men or very young guys like in their 20′s. I just changed my picture and will be adding more later today. What should I wear in these pictures? Please help me to write a new profile as well so that I will hopefully attract quality men ages 40-52.
Dear Prolific Profile,
I would start with writing that you’re interested in men between the ages of 40-52 both in your profile and in your “what are you looking for?” section. I know you’ve selected those years as your age range in the preferences section, but it won’t hurt to drive home the point as long as you don’t write in an obnoxious way. In your “About Me” paragraph write that you’re looking for a guy between 40 and 52. Then in the “I’m Looking For A” write “Did I mention that I’m looking for a guy between 40 and 52?” Make it cute but make your point.
As for your photos, you want to look young and fresh even though you say you don’t want to attract the 20-year-olds. Your first photo should be a close-up so get a facial if necessary and apply your make-up so that it looks natural and accentuates your best features. The next picture should be from the waist up in a shirt that shows some skin but not too much…in this case less is more. Your third picture should be a full body shot with form-fitting clothing to show your shape. Don’t hide your body… there’s plenty of men who like every type of shape. The key is to make sure your pictures look like you, but your best you!
I’m new to this whole online dating thing. What’s the best way to go about it?
Dear Let’s Get it Started,
My suggestion would be to first take a look at my past columns about creating a screen name, picking photos, writing “About Me” and choosing your preferences. Then use the search engine to check out your competition and see what their photos look like, how their paragraphs read and so on. Then take your time to craft your profile. Finally, ask some bluntly honest friends and/or family critique your profile. Once that’s done, go through your first round of matches and select who you want to Click!® with so they know you’re interested. Now go get JDating ®!