Online dating profile pics – some interesting research

According to research by OKCupid, if a guy wants to attract attention on an online dating site, he should have a mysterious, unsmiling look on his face and preferably be holding an animal. Apparently depicting himself in a travel context will garner him the least responses.

Women should look flirtily (is that a word?!) into the camera, be outdoors and show a hint of cleavage.

Hmm. My online dating pic shows me grinning broadly, indoors, with no cleavage on show. I should switch it for a week and see what happens. Interestingly, I am much more likely to initiate contact with a guy who has a travel photo – to me, that’s interesting and a conversation opener.

For the full report, click here.

Online dating turn-offs #2: Dodgy photos

If you decide to pop your profile on an internet dating site, you’d think the logical thing would be to include an attractive photo of yourself, wouldn’t you? It’s amazing how many guys get deleted from my matches because their photos turn me off. (Yes, I am ruthless!) I’m not referring to discarding the ugly people, but those with the following pics:

  • Shirtless. Come on. As a first impression? If you’re well-built, I’ll worry that looks are everything to you / you won’t consider any girl who’s less than supermodel-esque / you spend an unhealthy amount of time in the gym or on creatine supplements. If you’re weedy, please keep it under wraps, at least until we’ve got to know each other a little. If you’re in between, leave a little to the imagination, why don’tcha? Women are not as visual as men (yes I know, I’ve just contradicted the entire topic of this post!) and you’re more likely to hook us with your sparkling personality than your well-oiled pecs.
  • Face obscured. What is the point of putting a photo up of yourself if we can’t see your face properly? Lose the sunglasses, peaked caps, long hair, etc. etc. and just show us what you look like. I favourited a guy years ago who only had photos of himself in sunglasses on his profile – I wanted to see his eyes before I met up with him. He had beautiful, soulful eyes – no idea why he kept them hidden.
  • Webcam shots. A photo of yourself taken with your webcam will NEVER be flattering. Period. Guaranteed to give you a a big nose and forehead – and creepy pallor.
  • Unidentifiable in a group shot. So your profile pic is a little grainy but hooray, there are six other photos in your profile I can look at. Only problem is that they’re all group photos and it’s impossible to pick out which person you are in any of them. De-lete.
  • With your kids. Personally, I’m not keen on dating a guy who has kids, but then again, never say never. I just don’t think an internet dating site is the best place to show off your family photos. There are weirdos and stalkers out there. If we get chatting and I’m interested, I’ll ask to see a pic of them. Right now, I’m interested in YOU.
  • With members of the opposite sex draped all over you. Oh so you’re reeeally popular with the chicks, are you? Mr Studmuffin? Then why are you on an internet dating site? Hmmm.
  • In what looks like your wedding outfit. Was it YOUR wedding? Are you still married? If you’re divorced, don’t you think it’s highly inappropriate to use your wedding photo as your online dating profile picture?! If it wasn’t your wedding, please say so on your profile: ‘my profile picture was at my best friend’s wedding, where I was the best man’ will help put my mind at rest!
  • With a kitten / dolphin/ in uniform / [insert cheesy cliche here]. I’ve actually become good friends with a guy who used to change his profile photo regularly from one cheesy option to the next. Apparently it worked with other, non-cynical girls… For me, it wasn’t so much a turn-off as great way to tease him: ‘what’s next – you shirtless, tenderly holding a baby?’ Hee hee!

So guys, if you’re reading this, here are my tips for a dating profile picture that will at least get me clicking through to read more about you:

  1. Smile! Look friendly, relaxed, kind and approachable. (Sounds like a no-brainer but seriously, just take a browse on any dating website…) Caveat – only do this if you actually have those qualities. If you’re an unfriendly, stressed out, mean grouch, your photo should reflect that…
  2. Try to find – or take – a photo that captures you attractively and naturally. Make sure it looks like you normally look (lose the airbrushing…) so I can recognise you when we meet up. I’ll find out eventually what you really look like, so why not let me know sooner rather than later?
  3. Show your eyes.
  4. Keep your kit on.
  5. Give us something to work with. Include pictures of you doing something unusual, or in an intriguing place. I’m less concerned about the other people in the photos – I’m not interested in them. This will pique my interest and also gives me a conversation opener.

OK, I’m off to check my matches…