Being Shirtless (And Other Dating Profile Photo Mistakes)

Posted on October 10, 2012


I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover—or a man by his dating profile picture. But no online dater in her right mind would agree to go out with a guy without giving his picture some serious consideration. It continues to shock me how many guys post photos that are laughingly unhelpful or, worse, an instant turnoff. Therefore, for the sake of online daters everywhere, I introduce you to my list of the top ten worst things a guy can do in his online dating profile picture:

1. Be shirtless. I don’t care how many muscles you have. (OK, I do care, but that’s more of a fun third-date surprise than something to shove in my face before we’ve ever met). Ladies will almost always opt for a smiling face over a bulging bicep.

2. Pose for a professional photographer. My first thought is never that you’re an actor who needed headshots, but rather that you paid to have photos taken just for your dating profile. Use a photo where you look like a human being, not an airbrushed Ken doll.

3. Hug a woman. Oh, you have such hot lady friends—that totally makes me want to date you! Oh wait, no, no it doesn’t. Unless that woman is your 90-year-old grandma (and even then, you might want to reconsider), cut that girl’s face out of your photo.

4. Look away from the camera. Really? You’re going to post a photo of the back of your head? No matter how good or bald-spot-free your hair looks, I’m gonna pass.

5. Cliffdive, play soccer or bike ride. You jumped off a cliff in Puerto Rico? That’s awesome. You just ran the Tough Mudder? Cool. Write about it in your profile or tell me about it on our first date. But unless I can see what you’re face looks like—not just your soccer uniform from afar—that first date will never happen.

6. Drink with all your frat buddies. Unless you’re 100% confident that you are the most attractive man in that group, chances are I’m just going to be yearning for a date with one of your friends instead.

7. Post a photo of your dog—alone. That’s just weird. Cute, but weird.

8. Play with little kids. I will assume they’re your offspring. Oh, they’re your nieces? You were just trying to show me how sweet and lovable you are? Too late, I’ve already moved on to someone who’s not a potential baby daddy.

9. Wear huge sunglasses, a ski mask or a ridiculous costume. (I was once emailed by a guy wearing full Cookie Monster garb in his photo.) I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If I can’t see your face, I don’t want to date you.

10. Photograph yourself in a mirror. This isn’t MySpace. You look like a douchebag.

—Raz, 25, NYC

Posted in: My Stories