Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Picture Says a Little Too Much

I've been an active member of eharmony for about a couple weeks now, and despite my judgmental nature, I'm trying to be open-minded about it.

I do read through each person's profile, because as I mentioned in my last post on online dating, you can tell a lot about a person by what he writes and doesn't write. I like the profiles where the guys write funny and original stuff, especially because so many of the other profiles sound exactly the same. I swear, at least fifty of the matches so far have listed their grandparents as the people who influenced them most. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, and it's nice if they really do have good relationships with their grandparents. BUT I often hear some people say how they never hear from their grandkids. So I have to wonder if the guys who claim their grandparents influenced them most used to be the same types of undergrads who used the "sick grandparent" excuse every time their professors chided them for missing class or every time a paper was due in order to get out of turning it in on time. But I digress.

Anyway, I have to admit that the guys' pictures are important, too. If a guy doesn't have his picture up yet, or even worse, has a "request picture" caption on it, then I'm not going to respond if he tries to communicate with me. (Yes, I know that some people can set up a profile without putting up a picture, especially if they haven't paid yet. But I'm talking about guys who are already paying members.) Looks aren't everything, but they do matter to some extent. On the other hand, I've met guys who I thought were attractive at first but then turned into Mr. Hyde after their real (awful) personalities began to emerge. And there are other guys who became even more attractive the more time I spent with them, because they were so nice and so much fun to be around.

(Side note: You might call me a hypocrite because I don't have a picture of my face up on this blog. But there's a DIFFERENCE between not putting my picture on a blog and not putting one up on a dating site, so PBBBBBPTHHH!!!)

Either way, no matter what a guy looks like in his picture, I've been noticing a pattern in the types of pictures that guys put up. On eharmony you can include captions under each of your photos to indicate when and where the picture was taken. But I think that there's a difference between what the picture looks like, what the caption says, what he wants me to think, and what I think he's actually saying.

Here are a few examples:

Guy cradling a baby in his arms:
Guy's caption: Me with my nephew.
What he wants me to think: Look at how good I am with children! I will be a great father someday.
What he could actually be saying: I have no idea who this kid is. I just picked him up because I didn't have a puppy available.

Guy with his arms around two girls who are either hugging him/kissing him on the cheek:
Guy's caption:  Me with my friends, don't worry!
What he could actually be saying: Look how desirable and popular I am. The ladies can't get enough of me.
What I want to say to him: At least crop your ex-girlfriend/female harem out of the picture before you post it.

Guy holding up a glass of champagne in a toast with several of his other guy friends:
Guy's caption: Me and the guys at a friend's wedding.
What he could actually be saying: Look how good I look in a tux! And look how many friends I have!
What I want to say to him: Hmmm, your friends are really cute. Are they on this site too? If we ever meet in person, could you, like, introduce me to one of them?

Guy with his shirt off, flexing his muscles:
Guy's caption: Guess the workouts have been paying off!
What he could actually be saying: Look at my big muscles!
What I want to say to him: Nice. (Or, put your shirt back on! I've suddenly lost the will to see anything!)

Guy posing at the top of a mountain/jumping out of a plane/riding a motorcycle:
Guy's caption: I've always been adventurous.
What he could actually be saying: I'm posing in front of a cardboard cutout.
What I want to say to him: Maybe next time you should take your sunglasses off/not have the picture taken from fifty feet away (it's called a zoom lens, people)/not have the helmet completely cover your face, because I can't see what you look like. (Interestingly enough, a lot of the outdoorsy/adventurous pictures are taken from far away, so in many of the pictures the guy provides, it's hard to see what he actually looks like.)

Guy's driver's license photo (it actually had the words "Driver's license" printed on it)
Guy's caption: (None)
What he could actually be saying: I think that a picture where I'm frowning and look like I'm posing for a mug shot will be very attractive to women.
What I want to say to him: You have GOT to be kidding me.

But on the other hand, the pictures of myself that I have up so far aren't as great as I'd like them to be. But that's for another post. And right now I'm doing the "Guided Communication" thing with one guy, so who knows what could happen...although if I end up with no dates at all, I'll have embarrassed myself in front of a whole blogosphere of people. But then again I publicly embarrass myself on a regular basis, so it's not like it's anything out of the ordinary.


  1. Guy with his arms around two girls - i think the exact same thing when i see those pictures. To me its like if girls love you so much and your so irresistible- why are you on online dating?

  2. I used to love the photos of men in front of their cars - not! It's shocking what photos people think are 'attractive'.

  3. Dear Universe,

    Thank you very much for never fully exposing me to the world of online dating. Because I am afeared of it.


  4. Damn. I'm glad I'm married!
    I laughed through this's gold.
    My girlfriend is doing Match...and she says the same thing about the photos. (their shirts off screams desperate player/vainglorious man-whore to me)
    Which got me thinking...(never a good thing)...what kind of photo could a guy put up that wouldn't be cliche? 'Cause, really not a lot of single guys likely have many photos of themselves lying around. Whihc leaves photo-op moments, ergo wedding shots (w/ their buddies), family shots (w/ babies) and party shots.
    This leaves them with staging a shot for the purpose of online dating.
    (this would be good in that at least it would be current. I am betting a large portion of them are using photos from 10 years ago (when their middles weren't so soft and their hair wasn't so thin.) But how to 'pose'?

    Which brings me back to...thank Godiva I'm married!

  5. I've never tried online dating. But I was in an eight year relationship and now I'm in a three year one so...I'm not that adventurous.

    I've dated a few other guys but nothing ever serious, friends of friends. I'm more of the "friend" to a lot of people and I'm extremely forward so that puts off a lot of guys. OH well!!

    Good luck! I hope you find someone nice. The few people I know who've found these people have met their "soulmate" or at least, their spouse. LOL!

  6. What about a guy showing off his mug shot?

    Oh, & the adventurous type isn't actually posing, it's 1 of his friends. Or it's him 20 years ago...

    This eharmony thing sounds like a lot of fun for articles. Keep on mining, there's obviously a lotta gold [or fool's gold] on that site!

  7. is it bad that reading your post made my life seem so much rosier?
    sorry about that.

  8. Hi Coyote Rose,
    Exactly what I was thinking! But then again I'm 29 and still single, so...

    Hi Talli,
    In the photos of the matches I've seen, there aren't a lot of car poses. But that's probably because it's Chicago, where everyone uses public transportation. I guess it wouldn't really work to be posing with CTA passes in their hands.

    Hi Margaret,
    I'm a little afeared of online dating too, even though this is my second time trying it. But I figure it's worth a shot.

    Hi, Lola,
    Thanks! Out of all the posts I've written so far, this one's my favorite. It's not really about the photos being cliched; it's more about the impressions that both men and women try to give off in their photos. But you're right in that it is hard for both men and women to find good pictures to put up on these sites.

    Hi Palindrome,
    Thanks! It'd be nice if I found "the one," but right now I'm not even setting my goals that high; I think it would be putting too much pressure on myself. But it would be cool if I met someone I liked.

    Hi, notesfromnadir,
    There are actually photos of mug shots, but I think those are mainly on the dating sites for prison inmates and the women who love them. I haven't checked those sites because I think it would make me even more neurotic, if that's even possible.

    Hi mi,
    No worries! Somehow writing about my life makes it easier to deal with; it helps me think of the things that aren't so rosy in a more humorous light.

  9. I met my ex (we were together for four year) through an online dating service and I wouldn't change a thing. The experience was a blast. I met a lot of great (and a few strange) people, but the experience was fantastic. I only wish that I had documented it - lots of great material.

    I'm gonna be a little controversial here - but to those posters who said their lives seem better after reading this...that's just flipping rude.

    I think you have an excellent opportunity to meet some fantastic people, and at the very least will get some great story idea out of it.

    I applaud you for being courageous enough to proactively change your life! Keep it up! You're doing great! :)

  10. Hi Shannon,
    Thanks for the encouragement. I'm trying to stay positive about it; I figure that documenting it is a good idea. My first novel isn't about online dating, but I think that my second novel might be.

  11. My favorites are the ones who post pictures of themselves schwasted, red-faced, in some stupid costume.

    They're saying: "look how funny and care-free I am."

    I say: "look how stupid you are."

    P.S. There is an award for you on my blog!

  12. Hi Lilly,
    Ooh, costumes! I haven't seen those yet, but that would definitely be interesting! What kind of costumes do they wear that they think would get them dates? But if they dressed up like James Bond a la Daniel Craig style, it just might work...
    And thanks so much for the award!

  13. interesting observations! i do like it though when guys have pics up--it's much easier to see what kind of person they might be :)

  14. Hi Catherine,
    I like it better when guys have photos up too, because like you said, it helps me figure out what kind of people they are and what their interests are.