Sunday, November 20, 2011

Internet dating photos

Wow, you would think these things would go without saying, but apparently someone has to tell you, so here it is. When I look at your profile photos, I am imagining what you are like, what you would be like to be with on a daily basis. You know how, when you go to an open house, the house is beautifully clean, nothing is out of place, you can't seem to find the garbage cans, and the whole house smells like chocolate chip cookies? You start to believe that if you buy that house, your life will always be orderly, there will no unpleasant garbage in it, and you will never lack for fresh-baked cookies.

Your profile pictures need to give that same kind of impression!

I want to imagine that you are a wonderful, cheerful person, who cares about your appearance, who can succeed in some things, who can experience joy. Also, don't play games by showing me 23 pictures of your head. That only makes me assume the worst (and what I assume might actually be far worse than the reality) and I doubt that you can get beyond the first 30 minutes of your first date without the other person seeing the rest of you anyway, so just be honest. If you are unhappy with your reality, don't lie about it, just be mature about accepting responsibility for what you can do about it, then go about the hard work of getting better day by day. Making big changes may seem impossible, but it all boils down to keeping your goals in mind and making the right decisions in each moment. That is, as long as you make the best decision you know how to make right now, and five minutes from now you make the best decision for right then, and tomorrow at 7 a.m. you make the right decision for that moment, the big stuff will take care of itself, and you will be achieving your goals, not just in the moment, but also each day, each week, each year, and you will always be able to look back at the end of each day and know that you accomplished something and that you are, on most days anyway, closer to your goals. It's when you know the right thing for you to do, but decide to do something else instead, that things fall apart. If you notice it happening, switch to doing the right thing, forgive yourself for being human like the rest of us, and start back on the right path and continue on.

But I digress. The point I meant to make is that when I am looking at your profile pictures, and imagining what life might be like with you, there are some things I don't want to imagine—so please don't show them to me!

Dating profile pictures I don't like to see:

1. The mug shot. No one I have seen has posted a real mug shot, that I can tell, but I always wonder why, especially for your main photo, you would post a picture of your face looking like a low-life who is unhappy she has just been caught by the police.

2. You looking pissed. Look, I know in any relationship there may be times when you are unhappy, maybe even unhappy with me, but the expression you make at that time is not one I will enjoy seeing then. What makes you think I will enjoy seeing it before I even know you?

3. You looking crazed. I don't know. Maybe you are an artist, or consider yourself a non-conformist, and this is your way of showing it; putting up a photo that is unique, unusual, and not bound by "societal conventions" of what a good photograph "should" be. Um, congratulations, I guess, but I can't help wondering if you are just so crazy that you don't have any idea how crazy you look. I don't do crazy. I'd rather not even do drama. Bye-bye.

4. You looking like you are about lunge for my neck, not because you think it will make me feel good somehow, but because you are just sooo thirsty, and you can't get your mind off that slight ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump noise coming from my veins.

5. You in those mega-giant sunglasses with all your hair under a baseball cap. This makes you look just like everybody else and like nobody at the same time. Why bother? I would rather see you! It also makes me think you might drive a mega-SUV and spend lots of time at the mall, which isn't a particularly pleasant thought, either.

6. Your mom looking pissed. This has to be my all-time (least) favorite. I got lucky in my choice of mother-in-law last time out, but it is easy to see where for most men who were less fortunate, MIL could be a source of headaches and tension. I am hoping I get lucky in that department again next time, too, and if "mom" can't even smile for a photo, I take that as a big red flag. Don't get me wrong. I actually think it is awesome if you have a picture with your parents, separately or together, with everyone smiling. That leaves an entirely different impression!

7. You, in a webcam shot, in your utility room, in front of piles of dirty laundry and stacks of diaper boxes. Maybe you are so used to it all you don't see it any more. That's frightening in and of itself. Maybe you are just being refreshingly honest about the chaos that is your life right now, but please, try this instead: Set up the computer at the dining room table with the webcam facing the window side of the table. Move everything out of the camera's view that is not the table, the chair, or the window. Heat up a frozen pizza (a pretty one) and put it in the center of the table on a serving platter (go ahead and put a slice or two on your plate, too). Next to the pizza, put a lit tapered candle in a candlestick and/or a vase with a few nice flowers. A glass of wine next to your plate can also look good. If you don't have wine, use juice or water with enough food coloring to make it look like wine (certain flavors of Kool-Aid might even fool the casual viewer). Put on something that you feel pretty (and also comfortable) in. Sit down at the window end of the table. Smile like you are happy to see me (or your webcam, your choice), and NOW take some pictures. Delete the utility room picture and put the best one of these pictures there instead.

Best wishes on your search.

No comments: