Tinder photos are kind of like the window displays of the dating world. They're expertly curated, usually well-lit, and — if I'm being honest — a bit deceiving. Generally, you tend to choose the photos that capture a few of your interests as well as your best assets, crossing your fingers that they catch the eyes of other like-minded and semi-attractive individuals. But, how do you decide which pictures to post on Tinder? And what if those pictures don't say what you're hoping they will? (Does my Eiffel Tower photo show that I love to travel, or make me seem like a touristy show-off?)
I decided to take matters into my own hands and conducted a little Tinder experiment to find out. I switched my profile around to include six photos, and asked my matches which they were most into. Those photos included:
1. The Soft Smile
This one's a picture of me hugging my friend, with a soft smile, eyes looking straight at the camera, and the wind blowing in my hair. I like to think it's a nice balance of ~glamorous~ and personable.
2. The Dog Pic
Full disclosure, in this photo, I'm four years younger and about 10 pounds lighter... but my dog looks so good. Profiles are deceitful, remember?
3. The Group Photo
I'm wearing a jumpsuit and pointing at the camera, so you know I have friends and mean business!
4. The Adventure Shot
Chugging champagne in front of the Eiffel Tower is adventurous, right? Cool, because I don't hike.
5. The "I Have A Plate Full Of Pasta And I'm Excited About It"
6. The Potential Game-Changer
A picture of me in ratty sorority sweats, with my hair in braids, and zero makeup on. For experiment's sake.
Here's what the guys had to say.
To clarify, when Matt initially swiped right, the fourth picture was my pasta-eating pic.
Matt, like me, is a mac-and-cheese enthusiast. And after checking out his profile, I noticed that he also had several pictures with food. Clearly, he was looking for a girl who wasn't afraid to chow down. I appreciate that.
I like that Shahin saw a picture of me chugging a bottle of champagne (in a pink faux fur coat, no less) and thought, "classic." Thanks, Shahin!
Tom was a hero, and an outlier. He was the only match who said he liked the group photo (not sure what he thinks pointing is a reference to, but I'll go with it). I also feel sad for his friends who don't feel comfortable eating in front of others?
For clarification, Tom was another early swiper (who caught me mid-upload). When he'd first seen my profile, I hadn't added the game-changing, sweats-wearing picture to the mix just yet. But Tom, hero that he is, thought I looked like a DJ. Points for Tom.
He's right, my hair IS on fleek.
And unsurprisingly, Dan was not a fan of the picture of me in sweats. Can't blame him.
I get the vibe that Danny walks around his office shouting, "time is money, people!" Not only did he respond to my first message with "ok ??," he also seemed to be less interested in what my photos had to say about my personality and more interested in whether or not I looked good (at least by his standards). Fair enough, Danny.
Like Danny, Jota's clearly a busy guy.
He's also a fan of animals and my general aesthetic four years ago. Same, Jota, same — I look so young! So hopeful! So blissfully unaware that Donald Trump will become president!
What did I get out of this convo? That Michael also enjoys food, is pretty good at giving compliments, and has yet to master the difference between "your" and "you're."
Wow, wow, wow, is that a cannibalism joke?
All right, Peter needs to calm down.
Maybe Peter is also writing an article about what photos work best on Tinder? Maybe he's just a highly curious individual? Maybe he's desperate for approval? I guess I'll never know. Bless his heart.
David did not answer my question. Instead, he accused me of being a man and said he was watching me? Thanks for nothing but nightmares, David.
Mark made me want to light myself on fire.
First, he made the major mistake of insulting my dog. Then he made it pretty clear that he was trying to determine my weight and body shape. And then he said that he deserved a cut of my wages.
Men, am I right?
First and foremost, I should note that Roy's profile mentioned he liked both curvy and petite women. I should really introduce him to Mark, don't you think? Either way, Roy seemed to like that I look fairly relaxed in certain pictures (spoiler alert, Roy: I am never relaxed ever). Then I got confused and asked him the same question twice. Whoops!
I'm not sure if Shane meant "humble" or "huggable," but he's right. I do have a nice smile, and am obviously both humble and huggable.
I don't know what to be more concerned about here: my own lack of social skills, or the fact that Chris said it "wouldn't be the first time" he's had a gun to his head? Concerns aside, he liked that I was rocking it (presumably the fur coat and champagne bottle) in my Adventure Shot.
Important note here: my bio currently reads, "There's a chance I'm a 75 year old man, but you're a risk taker and I like it." Now that that's cleared that up, I thought it was interesting that Yusaf was the only one who claimed he was most into my "Game-Changer" picture, in which I'm wearing some nice purple-and-green-striped socks (with my sweatpants tucked in!). Do you think he also thought I looked DJ-esque? I hope so.
Maybe I'm reading into things here, but I get the feeling Nathan has some definite trust issues? He immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was not who I said I was...
...OK, someone get Nev on the phone. Stat! For now, let's add Nathan to #TeamDogPic.
So, what did I learn in all of this? I learned that — generally speaking — most guys are looking to get more from your photos than a simple answer to, "Is she hot or not?"
My matches seemed to get the impression that I was somewhat huggable (by both dogs and humans!). That I wasn't afraid of carbs. That I could unabashedly chug a bottle of champagne on the Champ de Mars. And while my Tinder photos definitely don't capture every aspect of my personality, I'd say most of these assumptions are pretty accurate.
When deciding which photos to include on your profile, choose pictures that say something about you — that give a sense of who you are and what you like. Oh, and when in doubt: go with a dog pic.
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