This is an acquired skill. It isn’t learned overnight. But if you are doing the online dating thing want to avoid some serious drama, you’ll…um…need mad skeelz.
And you know what I’m talking about. You sort through people online, say at Match.com or Yahoo Personals. Some look interesting, but…the deal with the pictures is, you know, sketchy. Here’s the crash course on screening online profile pics. It’s not an exact science, but there are some short-cuts and tell-tale signs that are virtually infallible. You may not agree, and your mileage may vary, so send me your feedback. Also send me your ideas that you would have included.
Okay, first of all…you are NOT “shallow” if you want to see what the person looks like. Get that weight off your shoulders. If anyone ever says this to you again, feel free to tell him or her McKay is to blame for your attitude. I can live with that. This is a key component of attraction, whether people potentially unattractive to you like it or not! Don’t be played into thinking you are unreasonable by someone with no picture for asking. And don’t be duped into meeting the person either.
Of note also here are those with no picture (or even one substandard one) who claim, “I am incredibly hott, but have no/bad pictures because I: 1) Don’t have a digital camera, and have no friends with one either,… 2) am computer illiterate, despite my ability to complete this profile, and… 3) fear being seen by coworkers/friends and embarrassed.” Don’t buy it. Any of it. If there’s something bothering this person about being seen by others, and you are REALLY intrigued, then maybe ask for the pics to be emailed to you. This has actually panned out for me exactly one time in three years. If you get more excuses at that point, you’ve gotta jett…period. Bear in mind that people with no pics may not just be insecure about their appearance. Some may be MARRIED. Or WANTED in six states! Think about that one for a while. People with one picture that’s either fuzzy or very limited in view aren’t off the hook here, either. Ask for more pictures-it’s okay. “I have a picture up there already, and that’s what I look like” doesn’t cut it as an excuse.
Here are a few more silver bullets on this subject. Glamour Shot=Run Away. Seriously. If he or she has webcam capture pics only, same story (although requesting that he or she get on the cam for you isn’t a bad idea). Also, look out for the pic that’s a very close-cropped face shot…that’s not enough to go on. And keep your eyes open for clear signs that the pics are not exactly new or accurate. One of my personal favorites was the woman who talked about having a 12-year-old son in her profile, and the pic was of her holding an infant! When I called her on it, she said, “Yeah, it’s okay. I still look exactly like that.” Hmmm. I have also seen people in their mid to late twenties who have posted pictures from high school, it turns out. That’s just wrong on many levels, if you think about it. I mean, how creeped out is a brother supposed to feel for finding pics of a 27 y.o. woman attractive-who’s actually 16? You get my drift.
The other thing–and you’ve seen this for sure–is the person with 20 pictures up…ALL of which look completely different! I’ve seen women with pictures so diverse that you’d swear an entire sorority was sharing one profile. Hair color, various stages of weight gain/loss, age differences, etc. Interestingly, I have found that there is virtually no indication as to which of the pics someone is going to really look like, with two exceptions: 1) The bigger the body, the greater the likelihood of current accuracy, and… 2) The ones with the tattoos are probably newer. That said, I’ve met women who look like NONE of their umpteen pictures, which perhaps serves as a reasonable indictment of the entire purpose of the pics to begin with, right? Also a potential question mark is the person who teases you with the promise of “12 pics”, all but one of which are dogs, sunsets, BMWs, Paris, etc. What is that about? Is the subject of the profile not “enough” to impress me? If not…well…you get it.
Look also for subtle (or not so much) clues about someone’s true personality in the pics. You know this guy. He’s the one who’s such a “loyal, family-man” type in the profile, and posts the picture where you can see what’s going on at the “gentlemen’s club” in the background. Listing examples here could go on all day.
So what are some indicators that the pics are good and accurate? Well, first…consistency. Several pics that are clearly of the same person is a plus, assuming they all aren’t from the same photo session or something. In this case, you can usually be sure that s/he might look like that when and if you meet. Be careful here, because some people are either very photogenic or not. Feel free to ask that question, and listen closely to the answer-which might be surprisingly candid. Actually if someone says, “I take TERRIBLE pics!” that tends to be a good sign. If you think about it, that makes sense if you are already liking what you see. Next, variety. A face shot, a full-body shot, indoor, outdoors, casual, formal, silly, serious, smiling, serious, etc. If people have nothing to hide here, they shouldn’t and typically won’t. I’m not talking about bikini shots being necessary here though, and the general consensus among women I’ve noticed is that they’d rather guys keep their clothes on in profile pics. So you know what I mean.
Interestingly, disclaimers in the text of a profile about the pics are usually accurate…be they good or bad. I’m not quite on board with the woman who had five or six pictures, only to say on the last line of her tome-like profile that she had “gained fifty pounds since the pics were taken” (refer to “games”). Nonetheless, if someone says something to the effect of , “Yes…I’m 42 and the pictures are recent”, you are likely dealing with someone who truly is looking good for his or her age.