Online Dating Photos: A Picture is Worth a Thousand WTFs!!

Online Dating Photos - WTF Are People Thinking?
Online Dating Photos - WTF Are People Thinking?

Online dating sites, once holding the stigma of being a bastion for pervs and desperate fugly folk, have now entered the mainstream. If you’re not actually using a service like, LavaLife, or eHarmony, you probably know someone who is. Or perhaps even more likely, you’ve cruised the sites in voyeuristic glee, mocking people’s profiles in passive aggressive tirades

I participate in this exact activity that I have described. I cruise the singles sites, looking for easy targets to make fun of or ogling women well out of my league. One thing you come to notice if you spend much time on these sites is the variety of online dating photos potential daters have selected for display and I have to say, if I were taking this whole Internet dating thing seriously, I would have some serious qualms with some of the profile pictures that daters have chosen. In fact, there are quite a few categories of photos that have made me wonder WTF are these people thinking? I plan on outlining those particular photos in this piece. Come along for the ride…

The Scanned Photo: The scanned photo – obvious for it’s crease marks or grainy finish due to a dirty scanner bed -  is one of those online dating photos that draws some serious red flags in my book. First off, if you’re such a troglodytic techno-phobe that you either don’t have a digital camera or don’t have access to one, what the fuck are you doing looking for love on the Internet? Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I took an actual film photo, and unless you’re some sort of art student there’s no excuse to have a scanned photo. On the other hand, this also makes me ask the question: was the last great photo of yourself really taken eight years ago, before digital cameras were mainstream? And if so, a follow-up: if you died tomorrow, would it require the Jaws of Life and a crane to excavate you from your bedroom? Or did you grow an ass shaped tumor on your face? I’m not trying to be cruel, but agreeing to an online date with someone is like leasing a used car without driving it – it pays to have excellent photos and up-to-date information. There could have been some serious shit that happened to that car in the last few years. I simply want what is fair and just: full disclosure, i.e., a current fucking photo.

The Pet Photo: Oh wow, a cute doggie. Two cute doggies. And a cat! WTF are you thinking people? I couldn’t give two shits about your pets. Unless you have a tiger or a llama, I’m not interested. I don’t want to have intimate conversations with your pet, I don’t want to take long moonlit walks on the beach with your pet, nor do I want to get naked with your fucking pet. Seriously, if you like dogs or cats or badgers, and that’s an issue for you and your future love, write it up in your profile. I don’t need a slide show. Looking at people’s pets is about as interesting as looking at your neighbor’s vacation photos. I’d rather get my thighs waxed. In my humble opinion, the worst-case scenario for a prospective online dater is to pursue anything with someone who has a profile with multiple pictures of that person’s pet. This basically means, at the end of the day, you mean nothing compared to that person’s dog/cat, and you have to earn your place in her household and the pet is your competition: a creature that is cute, cuddly and will take all the shit she can dish out without much more than a woof-woof or a meow. If you think this is ludicrous, trust a man with true-life experience. My ex-girlfriend was one of these types and I am seriously convinced at the end of our relationship her pussycat was getting more pussy than I was.

The Kissy Face: Okay, so this is more of a girl profile related problem, but it may very well affect gay men too, who knows? Anyway – enough with the kissy faces, ladies! I don’t know what slut-turned-celebrity-socialite is to blame for this trend of picture posing with pursed lips and squinty eyes, but I am sick to death of it. It’s not cute. I find it self-absorbed and trite, a “look how cute I am” declaration with all the originality of Zoolander’s purposefully satirical ‘Magnum’ modeling pose. In all seriousness, I have scanned through a girl’s profile that featured upwards of ten versions of the kissy face. After seeing so many in a row it makes me think you girls are suffering from some sort of palsy or you are experimenting with turd flavored cough-drops, because there’s no other excuse for so many asshole-lipped pictures.

The Ugly by Comparison: As someone with a degree in business and marketing, this one offends me on an academic level. Do not post pictures of yourself with people who are much better looking than you are, this should be simple common sense. You don’t put BMW’s in a Hyundai commercial, because it sure as hell doesn’t help you sell Hyndais. I’m no dog, but if my BFF was George Clooney there’s no goddamn way he’s going to be in any of my profile pictures – the second a girl sees that picture she’s thinking to herself, “Screw this mutt, I’ll take the upgrade.” Rule of thumb: don’t post pictures with friends that make you look ugly by comparison. Stick with friends that are equal to or less than your level of attractiveness.

The Look at Me and My Hot Platonic Friends: Another common online dating photo is the one in which the profile owner is posing with numerous attractive friends of the opposite sex. The issue with these photos is that there is a fairly obvious subtext at work. In fact, I think you could name these photos Look at Me and My Hot Friends (That I Could Have Sex With Whenever I Want). As a potential dater, this makes me think that this person doesn’t really need a date except to perhaps inflate her ego a little more. To paraphrase Chris Rock, these platonic friends are really just dicks in glass boxes: break in case of emergency. Who wants to compete with a harem? You can’t help but look at the other guys and wonder which ones she’s slept with – and this goes equal for girls in a guy’s photo. Guys avoid parties that are ‘sausage fests’, and you can bet your ass they’ll avoid a girl who seems to be a walking sausage fest – they know they’re better off searching for an unoccupied bun for their own frankfurter.

The Eyes: The eyes are the windows to the soul – it’s this type of rubbish that has led to the awful eye-close-ups that are so frequently included in people’s profiles. The eyes are the most overused ‘artsy’ online dating photos…ever. I can tell if you have pretty eyes from a regular portrait photo. If the picture is so close to your eye that it might reveal the early stages of glaucoma then this is too much. You’re not doing a Visine commercial, so zoom the fuck out. I want to see the whole face. The only exceptions I can possibly fathom for an eye close-up are as follows: you are a traditional Muslim and wear a full burkha, you are an Eskimo and wear a balaclava to keep your mouth from freezing shut, or you are a ninja and need to protect your anonymity because you’re a career assassin.

The Who’s Who: I just came across this one a moment ago – a girl’s profile with four photos, each one with two girls in it, none featuring one girl or the other more prominently. Who the hell is who?? Unless your username is MenageATrois or HottieConjoinedTwins, this makes no sense to me. If you’re not a package deal, get your friend the hell out of your photos! Is it that hard to take a solo picture? Do you ladies go potty together too? And hold hands? How about a little independence… Oh, and if you are the ugly one in the photos, that’s deceptive advertising. Don’t make me take you to court. And do you really think that ruse will work offline?

The Aerial: One of the sad results of small digital cameras and camera phones is the advent of the aerial photo. Girls will hold a tiny camera up over their heads and shoot downward towards some lamely coy facial expression, sometimes sultry, sometimes wounded. Almost never is this angle complementary. You know what people generally use aerial photography for? Shooting air-force bases, power plants, aircraft carriers, massive factories, towering mountains and expansive islands. You know, stuff too enormous to be seen in a normal ground level pictures.  These pictures inspire awe at the size of their subjects. I’m not sure you girls are intending for this effect. Big girls with large breasts are especially fond of this photo since their twin endowments eclipse their equally large bellies. The geometry of these photos is like three bowling balls mushed together. It’s misleading and honestly, whether or not someone is drawn to this pose is irrelevant unless you ladies plan on dating someone three feet taller than you are.

The Ex: Another species of online dating photos that kill me are the ‘me and my ex’ pics. These are usually photos of a couple that is intimately posed – embracing each other and beaming at the camera or sharing a wistful look – but one of the faces is blurred out. I must ask: has it really been such a short time since your last relationship that you can’t find any other picture to put on your profile? Is there really any more blatant way to say, “I’m on the rebound!” Are you expecting your profile viewers to imagine their faces in lieu of the fuzzy spot where your ex’s mug used to be? I just think it seems tacky and makes me think the person in the photo isn’t quite over their last relationship…that they are thinking, I’ve never looked so good as when I was in his/her arms. Personally, at this point, I crack a few jokes and move on to the next profile – I’m not interested in being the rebound guy. Check your emotional baggage at the door.


  1. Katie

    Thanks for the tips, I now know I need to weed out all the pictures of me with my teacup poodle. But I’m leaving the ones with me and my girlfriends, cause they are better looking than I am and I want to confuse potential suitors.

  2. Emily

    Seriously? I mean, I winked at you because I thought you were cute, but obviously you didn’t like the pics of me and my badger or me and my ugly friends. Forget the wink, I’m so over you.

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