Unless you're in a seriously committed relationship, you probably have a dating profile somewhere in the internet universe. Maybe you're a Match.com kind of gal or an OkCupid kind of guy or perhaps you like to keep it mobile with Tinder, or the latest Hinge.
Whatever your vice, the commonality all of these match-making sites have is the user's profile. A picture on these applications is literally worth a thousand words, and it better be an excellent one because that's 80% of what we're first judging you on.
We're a superficial bunch, but it's the name of the game when it comes to online dating. At the very least, a decent photo will get your foot in the door (after that it's up to you not to be weird and divulge that you clip your toenails in bed...gross). A profile picture, however, one might argue enables "less attractive" individuals to amp up their best assets in a controlled setting -- leave it up to the guy or girl to figure out later that your photo was actually taken a year and a half ago when you were fifteen pounds lighter, still tan from summer and looking fly.
It's really not that hard to do a little retouching and cropping, so why do we keep seeing terrible images of you grinning with food all over your face, trying to make a funny? Remember, we don't know you and we're taking everything literally here. It's not fair to assume that "we'll get it" when there's a picture of you making out with your dog.
Look, we're on your side here. We're trying to help you actually score on this one. Your profile is your resume; it's your first impression before the interview. Here are the guidelines to creating a stellar, guaranteed to win dating profile picture. You can thank us later.
Supplement A Sunglasses Pic
If your main profile picture is one of you rocking shades, you better have a backup photo that clearly depicts what you look like without them. Wearing sunglasses is a cop-out; we all know that everyone looks cooler with them on. And if you're exceptionally unattractive, sunglasses have this weird way of masking your true identity -- they turn clowns into Clooneys.
Word of advice: upload a secondary snapshot of yourself to supplement that sunglasses picture. If you're good looking, it'll only help your cause. We just want to get a clear idea of what we're getting ourselves into, okay?
Stay Away From Baby Pictures
It's one thing to post a photo that's a few months old, it's entirely different to post one that's a few twenty years old. Wow, you were an adorable baby! So was everyone, and how the heck is this helping us determine if we're going to want you in our pants when you're still sucking on your mom's tits?
Save the baby pictures for when you're eight months into the relationship, going back home with your girlfriend, and thinking it'll be fun for her to "ooh" and "ahh" over what you looked like when you were small. Baby pictures mean that you were cuter when you were five than you are now at twenty-five. Don't hide behind squishy cheeks and missing teeth; man up and show us who you really are. We're going to find out eventually anyway.
On That Note, Refrain From Any Babies. Period.
If you don't have your own personal child, then you probably shouldn't be posing with one. It's incredibly misleading and confusing for us to figure out -- is that your baby, your friend's baby, or a baby you found on the street and are holding as a prop? Either way, that sh*t ain't right.
Seriously though, what is the logic behind having a baby in your picture? Remember, these people don't know you and first impressions are everything. Crop that kid out if you think it's a nice solo shot of yourself. Are you deliberately trying to deceive us? While it's heart-warming to see a man cuddling a small child, don't forget that Michael Jackson did that too and we're still questioning his intentions...
Crop Out Your Grandma
Posing with your grandma is dorky, plain and simple. Do you really not have any other friends that you have to use your grandma instead? We're not saying that your grandparents aren't cool people (they're admittedly some of the most awesome people around), but they really just don't belong on an online dating site. And, you're only hurting your cause by giving us a sneak peak of what you will look like in fifty years...which we're really trying to avoid thinking about as we're determining if we want to sleep with you (or not).
Grandma pictures are just really lame. If we were to use a sound instead of words to describe the feeling we get when we see you and your Nana arm-in-arm at graduation it'd be, "womp womp womp." Show us you've got a dick where that zipper is and get your Grammy outta there.
Bro-Fest In Every Photo
You might not be that attractive, but hey, your friends are! You think, 'why not exploit their good looks and pass them off as your own'? So you only post group shots of you and your boys as a way to obscure your true identity. Way to successfully cloud our ability to uncover which one you are. What is the point of creating a profile when you're not even owning up to who you are?
Here's how this is going to play out for you: women will either 1. Pass over you entirely because we don't know who you are and your half-decent friends aren't enough to entice us or 2. We'll start chatting you up in hopes that you'll introduce us to your hot friend. Either way you're going to lose out, so you might as well just reveal who you are before you're doubly insulted.
If your crew isn't even all that great, that group photo really jeopardizes everyone's reputation. It's like you're taking your friends down with you.
No More Drunken Action Shots
You went to a Mexican restaurant, wore a sombrero, and had worm-infested tequila poured down your throat -- LOL! Wow, you must be a really great time. Just kidding. That kind of debauchery might've impressed us when we were 19 and unable to drink legally, but now that we've already had dozens of those kinds of sloppy nights and know how they end...well, we're pretty much over it now. And it doesn't make you cooler that you're twenty-nine and still blacking out.
Save those funny photos for when we look you up on Facebook later. Remember, this is an interview. Would you want your future boss knowing that you got so drunk you face planted into slice of pizza on the side of the street? Not a good look. Are you trying to get passed over by every female? Clean it up, kiddo.
Abstain From Professional Photos
Not only does professional photography appear painfully rehearsed, but also chances are that you don't look like that in real life. The same way you tell your employer you know how to use Excel, but it turns out you're clueless, if you say you're 6'2" and muscular, we aren't going to be happy when we meet and you're 5'8" and scrawny. This isn't "Catfish," it's real-world dating and you're cheating.
The idea is to be consistent -- if you try to confuse us with a great professional photo mixed with a horrible one, we're going to completely skip you over because we know that you're falsely representing yourself. Don't try to impress us with a contemplative stance and an airbrushed, neutral background. Just do you, no need to bring in the pros.
Cut Out Your Ex
Are you trying to say that you're dating material by keeping that photo of you and your ex? All you're doing is allowing us to compare ourselves to her, decide that we are much, much better looking, and then contemplate (and seriously question) what kind of ass you pull.
If your ex happens to be exceptionally pretty, still opt to leave out those kissy, couples holding each other by the lake photos. They creep us out. Why are you bringing her up before date five, let alone before we even meet you!? Not to mention, you kind of look like a chump for still holding on to photos of the two of you. We all have skeletons in the closet, and until Halloween comes, they should remain there.
There's a special place for selfies on social media and they don't belong on dating websites. No photo taken 2 feet away from your face will turn out flattering or enticing. You look like a goon and this is isn't helping advance your singledom. Selfies do a really great job of making you look stupid even when you're not trying to be.
Like a in job interview, you have to take yourself seriously or else others won't. Selfie snapshots ruin credibility right off the bat. Do yourself a favor and have someone take the photo for you.
Cool It With The Costumes
You took your shirt off on Halloween because you knew you could get away with it. Guess what: your half-eaten four-pack dressed up in an Aladdin costume isn't sexy. What are you? Four? We're not trying to hook up with Batman, we're trying to hook up with a human being. Save the weird outfits for MySpace.
More often than not, you aren't dressed in some ridiculous costume, so why make that one of the only pictures we get to see of you? It's nice that you think you're Superman, but to us you just look silly. Take off the mask, it's not helping your cause.