The question used to be: “Why are you online dating?" However now, considering an estimated 30 to 40 million North Americans use dating sites, the question is: “Why aren’t you?”
For single women, like myself, this should come as good news. However, when I look at my own online dating experiences I can’t help but wonder if we’re really putting our best foot forward when it comes to meeting potential partners online.
Last year, after ending a long term relationship, I finally decided to lose my online dating virginity. Within 24 hours of creating a profile, I was chest deep in creepy messages from potential suitors, nonsensical profiles, and terrible cell phone-meets-mirror photography. I felt a bit like an anthropologist thrown into a brand new world that I had only heard about in stories from friends. The endless onslaught of shirtless selfies, badly-lit, blurry photos and portraits that could double as mug shots all lead me to believe that the majority of Canadian men have no idea what they are doing - especially when it comes to choosing the right profile photos.
I’ve heard my male friends complain about similar challenges when it comes to meeting women online, however I can only speak to what I’ve experienced on my side of the fence. Guys, if you’re looking to meet women online here are a few things you should consider before you click the “upload” button.
Keep in mind that your user photo is your first impression. It’s your calling card to the female population and it’s what we use to gauge whether you’re a potential serial killer. Absolutely no good can come from the self administered “cell phone in the mirror shot”, especially if the mirror is cloudy (which it usually is). Not only do these photos send the message that you’re a lonely soul without any friends to take photos of you, it also says “I don’t own any Windex.”
Take cue from Justin Timberlake, Mr. “Suit and Tie” himself, and wear some proper clothes - at the very least, a shirt. The reason women fantasize about guys like Don Draper is because he seems like the kind of guy who would never post a shirtless photo of himself online with the caption, “selfie of my sweet tats!.” And no, a wetsuit is not the same as a suit, and body paint is not a suitable replacement for a T-shirt.
Unless you’re looking to kill a woman’s libido, we don’t need to see multiple photos of you in a Santa suit, wrapping your arms around a random selection scantily clad women or simulating copulation with a tree - all things I’ve seen in actual online dating profiles. Also, if 50% of your photos include you wearing a Halloween costume, you’re doing it wrong. Same goes for the man who instead of posting a photo of himself, posted a photo of a cabbage.
If you’re looking to make a good first impression, use a photo that is in focus, well-lit, shows your face in a friendly and inviting manner - a smile never hurts! When assessing potential mates we’re much more likely to go for a guy who looks friendly and inviting, rather than someone who looks like they were pulled from a police lineup.
Instead of opting for a collection of mirror selfies - chose a minimum of three different photos taken at different angles and in different settings. If you love playing the drums, hiking or have travelled the globe, it never hurts to include photos that reflect these interests. Make sure you include at least one (fully clothed) full body shot. We want to be able to picture you as an actual person, not a disembodied head. If you don’t have many photos of yourself, ask a friend to take a few of you. If they care about your dating future, they’ll likely lend a helping hand.
If you play your cards right, there will come a time when we’ll want to see your abs. In the meantime, take this opportunity to woo us with your thoughtfulness, taste and proper grammar. Make us want more. Be a gentleman. I’m sharing these tips because I believe in you. That shirtless selfie you took in the mirror? You’re better than that. We all are.