Striking the Right Pose

24 Jan

Just Don't

Of all the advice you’ll get as you start building or revamping your online dating avatar concerns photos. Which ones should you post? How many should you post? Should you conduct a photo shoot just for your profile? What pose should you strike? Smiling or serious? For guys of a certain aesthetic, shirt on or off? For girls, purse or pucker? For lip puckerers and pursers, earnestly or ironically? For many people who aren’t supremely confident and/or spontaneous, photo-related decisions are a minefield of doubt, insecurity, and calculation.

Looking at the pictures I’d used in my original dating profile some years ago, it’s a wonder anyone who wasn’t legally blind or extremely inebriated actually contacted me. To state the obvious, the picture is the single most important piece of information you offer to another human being. Would you walk into a bar disheveled, faded, and bloated-looking if you were out to meet someone? So much as it pains me to say it, pay some mind to your photos, but don’t go all Howard Hughes. One time I had to conduct an early-morning photo session, before work, for someone near and dear to me (identity withheld). I found this by turns annoying and absurd, but I appreciated the care he wanted to go into his shots.

OkCupid Trends and other sites might give you some some statistical information and general suggestions: ABS (always be smiling), smile in at least one shot, give one headshot and one body, girls should look coy to be more alluring, guys should be engaged in an activity to show how much they enjoy life, etc. (I enjoy looking at various exotic locales and whimsical adventures, though one might wonder if people who only have photos of extreme situation ever stay put long enough to carry on a relationship…or if they can enjoy the place where they live.) The one advice you’ll hear almost universally, both from dating “experts” and peppering dozens of women’s profiles, is for guys to keep their shirt on and not subject them to previews of their ripped physique. Sound advice but as the always fascinating oktrends demonstrates, maybe qualifying guys should keep their shirts off.

My personal take is that you should put your best foot forward, but not so much that it ends up looking like someone else’s foot at the time of the date. Be your best self, but try not to play with angles and post obsolete photos from a decade ago. What’s the point? By anticipating superficiality you are also playing into it. People like pleasant surprises on first dates, so for the comely among you, why not post a more modest shot? I understand how difficult this is, especially for ladies, who sadly understand that many guys will blow right past their profile if they see an imperfect figure. But deceiving upper body shots and MySpace-angled photos are a medicine that only aggravate the disease. And if you suspect those guys of caring about this as a dealbreaker, what do you think a date would change? I’m not immune to this critique, and have been told that I don’t look like some of my photos. But I know I’ve met the minimum standard of common decency and honesty in the shots I share, so I can sleep soundly at night.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: