Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Looks Matter

I don't get excited anymore when I start communicating with a new guy on eharmony, because so many guys have disappeared by the time we got to the third phase of communication, which consists of open-ended questions and comes right before regular e-mails. I was communicating with one guy this week, and surprise, surprise! He disappeared by the third phase. This is the TENTH time this has happened!

This picture accurately describes how I feel right now:

Another thing that is bugging me about online dating is the large number of guys who don't post any pictures on their profiles; instead, they'll put "request photo" where their pictures should be. Interestingly enough, many of these guys describe themselves as "physically fit".

I started a discussion forum a few days ago on 20 Something Bloggers about whether looks matter in dating, and I asked if anyone would respond to a personal ad without a picture. Pretty much everyone said no, and I have to agree with them. As I've stated in an earlier post, no physical attraction is pretty much a dealbreaker for me.

A couple people on the forum, though, were critical of me. One guy said, "How is this even a question?", which made me feel bad about asking. But I think that it is important, because everyone has their own ideas about physical attraction, and not all of those ideas match up with each other. Another guy criticized me for not putting my own picture up on my blog, but I think that there's a big difference between putting a picture of myself on my blog and putting one up on my dating profile. And I have several pictures of myself on my profile, and I told him so. Although what I really wanted to do was get a wooden mallet and...No. I can't do that.

Anyway, looks aren't everything, but they do matter to some extent. Yes, personality is more important, because even the best-looking guy can turn ugly if he does something like treat a waiter rudely or flirt with another girl on our date.

But let's be honest. When you see someone walking down the street, you don't think, "I bet that person is very honest and funny!" No. You think, "Nice hair," or "Nice eyes", or "Okay, I think I'm going to pass out now, because DAMN!"

What do I find attractive? It's hard to say. I like to think that you don't get to choose who you fall for; it just happens. On the one hand, I do think George Clooney is cute.

But then again, who doesn't? (And if you think he isn't cute, I'm afraid I'll have to get out my wooden mallet again.)

But on the other hand, I also think Justin Long is cute, and he's pretty much the opposite of George Clooney.

And there are a lot more guys who look like Justin Long in real life than George Clooney. And frankly, it's not like I look like Heidi Klum either.

But if I look at a picture on an online profile and feel the urge to run in the opposite direction, then I figure I should keep looking. I do read through each profile, but I've found that the guys who don't put up any pictures of themselves don't have a lot of information written on their profiles either. The guys who do have pictures up often will write several paragraphs worth of details about themselves, and those are interesting to read. But the guys who don't have pictures will use just a few words to describe themselves, and I have to say that in this case, less is not more.


  1. I wrote a blog post once about the top 5 reasons i don't return online dating emails (i use a different site) and on the list was no picture. The simple thing is without a picture there is no basis for anything. Looks matter and anyone who says otherwise is lying. Plus what if its actually a girl posting as a guy, or what if they guy has more facial hair than a gorilla. Even if you love someone's personality if you aren't attracted to them its not going to work out. So you are totally in the right.

    I happen to think Justin Long is cute and i worship Henry Cavill and they are polar opposites too. I think taste just works that way.

  2. And I also like pictures on bloggers blogs, even if it's a younger picture! But we really can't tell about a person from a picture. Somehow we need to get to know who they really are. Before email, people used to write letters. Letters are good. But meeting in person is still the crucial thing. Even then, however, we're putting our best foot forward. Sigh. Sometimes I'm glad I'm as old as I am and not even thinking about meeting a man! The dating "game" is a pain. Like you say in your profile, I too just want to write.

  3. I have this debate with myself too. Some amount of physical attraction is needed, but saying that makes me feel a little bit shallow. Oh well.. it's true. Pics are important in finding the right person, just like reading about their hobbies and actually talking.


  4. I don't get the George Clooney thing. He looks old and has looked old for a long time. I mean, it's fine, I'm no spring chicken myself, and he's not turn my head and flee from him in the street strange looking, but the George Clooney love is lost on me.

    I did date a guy once, long ago, who didn't put his picture on his profile. He was fit and handsome, but he had some facial scars he was uncomfortable showing other people. I don't know. I do agree that physical attraction is important, but I also think if you like someone's personality, the physical attraction can grow. But if you think they are being dishonest by not showing a picture, then clearly you don't truth them and that's a problem!

  5. From my own experience, I've noticed that a lot of guys don't put much effort into their profiles at all. Not to say that the reverse isn't true, I'm just not looking at female profiles. And, physical attraction will play a factor whether we want it to or not. At the root of dating is mating! We're designed to be attracted to certain features instinctually to continue the human race and make the healthiest people possible. So, nah, to the guy who made you feel bad. Prove him wrong with science! But, I'd also say that I don't think most people would look at that ugly "request a photo" box at the top of someone's profile and think "Wow, I bet that guy is smoking hot." No, you're going to immediately think he either a).is so ugly even his mother cringes to look at him or b). he has no confidence or self-esteem. Neither of these factors are appealing or inspire communication. No picture = no attention. It's just a fact.

  6. I've never done an online dating site, but I think you are spot on about physical attraction.

    It has to happen. It's not shallow. It's most likely in our DNA--back in caveman times you had to choose who you wanted to reproduce with (well, men probably got more of that choice than women, but you know what I mean).

    Do I think attraction can grow? Absolutely. However, you DO need the za za zsu, as Carrie Bradshaw put it. Or as my Catholic mother put it when she shocked the hell out of me by saying, "You need to ask yourself, 'would I want to wake up with him?'"

    My friend has a theory that we're attracted to energy, not just specific features. Which could explain why I find Jon Hamm, Joel McHale, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt all ridiculously sexy, despite the fact that they're very different physically. Or maybe I just have a thing for the letter J. :)

    Great post!

  7. Photos are necessary regardless of who or what they are. Ever seen a blog with no images? Boring. Humorous and cute animals work too.

    Stephen Tremp

  8. in my opinion, if people are being TOTALLY honest they will tell you that there has to be an attraction from the get go in order to be romantically interested in another person. this is not only normal, it's nature. like you stated in your post, people don't walk down the street wondering how nice or funny a person is - not unless they liked what they SAW first.

    and it's also very true what you said about behaviour turning attractive people ugly.

  9. I think the problem with on-line dating is that you don't get to see the person walking and talking. There should be "Skype Harmony" or people should have to post a video. I know, that would up the stress factor. But think about it, do you ever like a picture of yourself? Does it ever capture you? And can't our words be misconstrued without facial expressions? It's like the advice never to confront someone in an e-mail.

    That's why you like Justin Long. He's not ugly but the personality makes him even cuter. George Clooney's good looks are more obvious.

    It doesn't make you vein to want a picture. How about reading a book? Imagine there was absolutely no description of the characters. It would be much harder to connect with the people in the book, wouldn't it?

    Sorry you feel like the woman in the picture. Hope you find a decent guy soon.

  10. I totally agree - physical attractivness is important! I fact (am I shallow if I admit this?) if a bloke didn't have a photo up when I was doing the online dating thing, I wouldn't really respond to his email. Bad, maybe. But I just didn't want to waste my time. Or his.

  11. Hi Coyote Rose,
    Ooh, Henry Cavill is definitely cute. Have you seen the movie I Capture the Castle? He's pretty good in that movie.
    And it's good to know I'm not the only one who feels this way about looks.

    Hi Ann,
    The dating game is definitely a pain. Writing is a good way to escape it, because at least with writing I don't have to deal with the disappearing acts.
    I actually miss writing letters. I always liked getting letters more than e-mails; they seemed to be more personal.

    Hi Delilah,
    You're not shallow, because I think that everyone needs to have some level of physical chemistry. And I wish that more guys would be up for talking, rather than pulling disappearing acts.

    Hi NGS,
    Facial scars don't bother me; it just makes me wonder about the other reasons that some guys don't post any pictures. The physical attraction can definitely grow if the personality is good, but it's hard to tell what a guy is like if he doesn't post any pictures and doesn't put a lot of info about himself in his profile.

    Hi Melanie,
    That's my feelings exactly! I think that putting up even just one picture is important. A guy doesn't have to write too much in his profile, but he shouldn't be vague or generic either. I like the ones that are funny and tell me something about the guy's personality.

    Hi maybeimamazed02,
    Those guys are definitely cute. You're right about the zsa zsa zsu; that's the thing. I haven't felt that energy from any guy in a long time. Hopefully it'll happen soon, though...

    Hi Stephen,
    I do have several pictures on my dating profile, but I'm holding off on putting pictures of myself on my blog for now. I do like finding funny pictures through Google images though.

    Hi mi,
    Physical attraction is definitely important; otherwise it's just going into the friend zone. And that definitely wouldn't work out if you were looking for more than friendship.

    Hi Theresa,
    Skype eharmony would be interesting. There is this online dating site where people do speed dating; they communicate by doing video chats for a few minutes at a time. Not sure if I want to try it, though...
    I did do video chat with a guy I met on okcupid, and it was good to talk to him before we went out. I think a lot more can be said by actually talking to each other.

    Hi Talli,
    I don't respond to the guys who don't have pictures up; the picture isn't the only thing that matters, but I must admit that it is important.

  12. I've never tried an online dating site, but I'm assuming that for the most part you're shopping around and trying to scope out hotties before you attempt a "connection". At least that's what I'd do. Then I'd weed out the ones with bad grammar, weird religious beliefs, and sleazy one-liners.

    Like you said, you don't check out guys on the street because their personalities turn you on. That makes no sense. Why would online be any different?

    Looks definitely matter. I think the only time when that may change in a dating context, is when you know someone for a long time and they grow in you until suddenly you wake up and you want to jump your best friend. Otherwise... why would you want to date someone you find ugly?


  13. Hi Annabelle,
    Sleazy one-liners are a definite turn-off. I like it better when guys just act natural. It has happened to me before where a guy becomes more attractive the more I got to know him; usually it was because he did something really cool that impressed me. But I do like the cute guys. :)

  14. In your case, since you're actively seeking a date, you should want to see what you're getting into before you invest your time w/ that person. If this is a real person w/ a real [& recent] picture, you will feel something towards him. & I keep hoping you meet someone who is worth going on at least a 2nd date with!