Guys – Let’s Talk Dating Profile Photos

Long time no post!  My apologies.  I’ve been doing something or other that’s kept me busy, although if I really had to stop and think about it I might have to admit I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time watching episodes of Chopped.  But, putting that aside…

It’s time to talk dating profile photos.  Because I’m looking at a set of them this morning and I just want to shake my head.  Guys, guys, guys.  Come on!  Think about the purpose of your main profile photo.

It’s to get a woman to click on your profile and see all the great, cool things you say about yourself.  (And, please, tell me you’re saying great, cool things and not the same ol’, same ol’ “I like to ski and mountain bike and watch sports” that seems to be the default profile in Colorado.)

So, what am I seeing that pulled me out of my Chopped-induced absence?

  • No photo at all.

Hate to break it to y’all, but ya gotta put up a photo.  Girls aren’t quite as shallow as men, but I can assure you that an empty photo box has absolutely no appeal.  So unless you luck out and get one of those women who clicks on every profile hoping for a hidden gem, you lose.

  • Photo of guy in full-on helmet/skiing gear going through powder

This is a specific one I’m looking at this morning, but the general issue is one where I can’t see the guy’s face, eyes, or body shape.  Look, it’s awesome that you can shred some whatever on the ski slopes. (I don’t ski, so does nothing for me…)  But, dude.  Why am I going to click through to see more about you?  You could be hella hot (I’ll assume not since you didn’t lead with the photo that shows that…), but I will never know.

  • Photo that is cut off in some weird way

Look.  I get it.  Not everyone doing online dating is tech savvy, but come on.  You upload a photo.  They ask you to crop it.  You do.  If what you see on the screen when you preview is the top part of your baseball cap.  Or, worse yet, your crotch.  (I’m looking at you Eric.)  Then fix it!  Or choose a different photo.  Your main profile photo is the most important photo you put up there.  Get it right.

  • Photo of two dudes

Am I getting a package deal here?  You two looking for the woman to complete your perfect bromance?  No?  Then, don’t make your main profile photo a picture of you and another dude.  Actually, of you and anyone else.  This is about you and me getting together, right?  Then show me you.  (Because, you know, that friend of yours is kinda hot and I’m thinking I’m more interested in him right now than I am you…)

  • The mug shot

I’m sure it’s not really a mug shot.  I’m not seeing height lines behind the guy’s picture and he isn’t holding up one of those numbered signs.  But, man, that photo looks a bit serial killer.  Plain white wall.  Staring straight ahead.  No smile.  Intense eyes.  Yikes!  You have a photo, so you’re ahead of the first guy on the list.  And looks like you had a friend to take it for you.  Good, good.  But come on.  Sit down at your dining room table and chat with your buddy while he takes a couple of photos for you.  They’ll look real and natural.  Not…scary.

  • The professional headshot

It’s great that your company had someone come in and take headshots of everyone.  And it’s a nice photo.  Suit and tie, looking pretty dapper.  But this is dating not professional networking.  I give a pass on this one.  It’s not a deal-breaker.  But I note it.  And I keep an eye out for other signs that the guy I’m communicating with doesn’t understand the difference between dating and making a business deal.  Or can’t turn off the work mindset.

So, there you have it.  My mini rant of the day. I meant to post a couple months back when a buddy of mine started online dating again and was having some difficulties, but ya know.  I got distracted trying to figure out how you can make a dish using kimchi, pomegranate molasses, yak meat, and coconut macaroons.

(I did write a book last year that walks through all this stuff, ya know.  If this was post was an earth-shattering insight for you, might want to check it out: Online Dating For Men: The Basics.  Although, that’s not why I wrote the post.  I just wanted to rant a bit.  As usual.)

Wanta Love Me? Better Love My Dog

A friend e-mailed me yesterday and told me to check out Dear Abby’s column for the day.  It was full of advice from men to women on what not to do online dating.  I’ve chosen not to write about it, because my reaction was much like my reaction to the eHarmony blog post about profile pictures.  (As in, “Wow, assholes.”)

Although, I will say that I am now highly tempted to take a selfie in my bathroom mirror and post it on my dating profile to weed out all the guys who have been online dating so long that they’ve become judgmental jerks who accuse women of having no friends if they choose to take a selfie of themselves in the bathroom mirror rather than call a friend over to take a photo for them.

(Guess what?  Not all of us document every single social outing and not all of us feel that it’s so important to have the perfect profile photo that we would actually waste time spent with our friends having them photograph us.)

Pretty sure a nice guy trying online dating for the first time wouldn’t think like that and I’m happy to skip the guys who’ve been doing it for a decade.  (There are probably reasons why they have yet to find someone…)

Anyway.

One of the comments on there did prompt me to write this post.  Basically, the guy said he didn’t care if a woman loved her dog because he was dating her not the dog, so leave the dog out of it.

I beg to disagree.  I have a puppy that I love and adore and she is very much a part of my life and very much a part of dating me.

Why?

Well, let’s see…

Before I had the puppy I might sleep until 9:30 or so each morning.  Now?  She has me up at 5:45 most days, 6 at the latest.

Before I had the puppy I might not have any issue going out straight after work and staying out until two or three or four in the morning.  Now?  If I think I’m going to be gone for more than a couple of hours, I drop the pup off at daycare.  (Seriously.)  That means that a night out on the town that goes past 8:30 PM requires me to board her.  I don’t do it often.

Before I had the puppy I was willing to pick up and go anywhere with no notice.  Random road trip to Canada just because?  Sure, why not.  Last minute trip to the Olympics because a friend had an extra ticket?  Count me in.  Go live in Eastern Europe for a couple of months?  Okay.  Now?  If I can’t drive there, it’s a hard sell.  And even if I can, I have to think about the benefits to me versus the hardship on her.  Generally, if it’s going to be more than a few nights, she has to come with me and then that really limits what I can do once I’m there.

I treat having a dog a bit like I would having a human child.

I chose to take on my puppy.  I accepted responsibility for her and I take it seriously, which means any guy I date would have to do so as well.  It will affect everything from how long our first date is to whose place we stay at if it gets to that point to what we do together in terms of travel and meals and social events.

So, to that guy who posted about not caring about a woman’s dog because he’s not dating the dog he’s dating her?  I say “NEXT.  Move along, pal.  You are not the man for me and your advice is complete and utter crap for anyone like me.”

I want a guy who sees my dog and either has one of his own and thinks, “Yes, perfect fit.”  Or sees us and thinks, “I want to be a part of that.”

Pretty sure it works the same way with women that have kids.  If they have split custody, then, yeah, you can just date them, casually, on the weekends they don’t have their kids.  But if they’re a single mom raising a kid all alone, then you are dating them and their child.  That IS part of the deal.

Look, here’s the bottom-line truth about all of this: Most people looking to date aren’t looking to date you.  And you aren’t actually looking to date most of them.  They want casual, you want serious.  You want beer and french fries, they want champagne and steak.  You’re very image conscious, they think showers are over-rated.  Whatever it is, most people out there are not the ones for you, and there’s no point in trying to make them the ones for you.

I don’t like facial hair on men.  Am I going to tell every guy to shave off his facial hair before posting a profile photo?  Absolutely not, because I want to be able to eliminate guys who routinely have facial hair from my list of possibles.  What good does it do me if the guy doesn’t have facial hair in his photos, but shows up with a beard on our first date?

Instead of telling people to change to fit your view of what they should be, accept the fact that not everyone is what you want and move on to find someone who is the one for you.

 

Who Knew EHarmony Now Employs Complete Assholes?

A friend of mine recently joined eHarmony and she passed along this link:

Terrible Profile Photos and the Women Who Take Them

I’m not disagreeing with the advice in the post.  I completely agree that glamour shots and cat lady photos are not the way to go.  Nor is the party shot, group photo, or photo with some random dude.  Eye contact, good lighting, and a smile do in fact work the best for women on dating sites.

But, man, is the person who wrote that post coming off as an ass.  There’s a difference between being funny/sarcastic and just sounding like a jerk who doesn’t like women much.  Well, kudos to whoever wrote this because he crossed into jerk territory.  Nice contrast to the grandpa-like founder in all their commercials.

If you’d like a non-jerk set of suggestions for your profile photos, check out OKCupid’s posts instead:

Don’t Be Ugly By Accident or Your Looks and Your Inbox or The Mathematics of Beauty

Similar advice, but without the douchey attitude.

Okay, stepping off of my little soap box now.  But, seriously, if you’re a guy and dating, don’t sound like that anywhere the women you’re trying to contact can see.  And if you’re a dating website that wants new female members, you might wanta avoid that tone, too.  Just sayin’.

Online Dating and Safe Sex

As I’ve mentioned, a few of my friends recently ventured into the world of online dating.  As a seasoned pro I gave them advice.  What photos they might want to post, the disappointments they might face, exercising a little caution before meeting a complete stranger they found on the internet live and in person.

I thought I’d covered it all.

Seems I needed to play mom to a teenager and have a little chat about safe sex.

My one friend spent about a month getting ready for online dating.  She debated which websites to use, which photos to post, thought about what kind of guy she wanted….and yet she forgot to prepare for what would happen if she was successful.

Sex.

Because  let’s face it, unless you have strong religious, social, or moral beliefs that lead you to abstain from sex, once you’re dating someone you’re going to have sex with them.

So prepare for it.

If you’re a guy, buy condoms you’re willing to use.  And get an STD test so you can provide it to your partner if she asks for it.

If you’re a woman and not already on a form of contraceptive, get on one.  And in enough time for it to matter.  (You can’t start the pill on Monday and have sex on Tuesday).  And women should still get some condoms because the pill or a diaphragm or an IUD aren’t going to protect you from nastiness.  And get tested, of course.

And then USE THE CONDOMS.

Condoms do no one any good if they’re sitting in the drawer by your bed while you’re having sex.

And if you can’t bring up the subject with the person you’re about to have sex with then you probably shouldn’t be sleeping with that person.  And if they don’t bring it up with you, ask yourself how many other times they’ve been in that situation and just gone ahead without having the conversation.  And what that might mean to your sexual health.

It’s not fun.  It’s not sexy.  But neither is getting an STD.

I still have these horror images from 8th grade sex ed class (this is back in the AIDS lecture days) when the teacher drew a little picture of two people in bed and then started showing the math of how many people they were really in bed with when you take into account the other people each of them had slept with and the other people each of those people had slept with and the other people each of those people had slept with and….Yeah.

Aside from STDs, you also don’t want to get pregnant with someone you barely know’s kid.  I know a girl who just had a very cute little baby girl with a guy she really can’t stand because of one night of not being careful.  Her life from here on out is not going to be easy.

And relying on “I’m getting older, so I can’t be fertile enough to get pregnant that easily” is STUPID.

If you’re in your mid-30’s and trying to conceive you have about a 60% chance of getting pregnant in a year of trying.  And since the odds go down with every month you try (since the couples who don’t get pregnant right away are more likely to have fertility issues), let’s ballpark this and say that in the first three months of a new relationship when you’re bonking like bunnies you probably have an 80% chance of getting pregnant.

Those aren’t odds I’d want to play with.

You sleep with someone once without protection, okay, fine.  We make mistakes.  (Might get pregnant or an STD even that once, but fine.)

You keep sleeping with someone without protection?  Come on now.

So, if you’re venturing out into the dating world, along with new clothes and a new haircut, get some condoms.  At a minimum.  And use them.

Should You Go For the MBA or the Mrs.?

So, I read this little article: Susan Patton: A Little Valentine’s Day Straight Talk and it made me sigh and shake my head.

Like this quote:

“Despite all of the focus on professional advancement, for most of you the cornerstone of your future happiness will be the man you marry.”

I have a problem with the concept that my future happiness is going to rest in one single human being.  Not in what I accomplish.  Not in what I experience.  Not in my wide and diverse group of friends.  But in one single, solitary individual.

I call bullshit.

I say that’s something my grandma believed.  Both of them.  Even the one that was married ten times.  (Maybe particularly the one that was married ten times who never seemed to be able to live without being someone’s wife.)

Is there value to be had in a one-on-one relationship with someone that you face life with as a partner and equal?  Absolutely.

Is that where you should derive all of your future happiness from?  No.

I think placing that much of a burden on another human being is a recipe for divorce.  That’s too much to ask of anyone.

You should find your happiness within yourself and let another person enhance that, not rely on them to define you.

I, as you know, am single.  Always have been.  I am also highly educated to the point of scaring people when it comes up in conversation.

I do not rely on anyone else to make my life a life worth living.

I have traveled to over twenty countries, lived in three.  I have done any number of adventure activities and have friends from all over the world.  I have thrived in my chosen career and been proud of it, but my work has not defined me.

I have lived a GOOD life.

One that was not based upon being someone else’s wife or partner.

Which is why I call bullshit on that article.

Now.  Having said that…

When you are a highly-educated woman, it is HARD to find an equal in this world.  And, when I look back over my life to date, I think that the two times I had the highest possibility of meeting men that were at my intellectual level were when I was in college.

(As long as I could look past the drunken, stoned behavior and their apparent need to get through as many women as they could while they were there…Not all of them, but a pretty high number of the social ones.)

So, I don’t think it’s bad advice to say “keep an eye out” when you’re in college.  College does provide a concentrated group of individuals of a similar age and inclination who are forced to spend a lot of time together.  That alone makes it a good place to meet a future mate.

Now, having said that, I have another issue with that article.  And that’s the assumption that men that don’t attend a college like that or don’t have a certain type of career aren’t a valid option.

In undergrad, instead of dating future investment bankers and lawyers, I actually dated a local cop.  And I have to say that, even to this day, he was one of the most compatible people I have ever dated.  He was intelligent in a non-pretentious way.  (Another quote from the article, “When the conversation turns to Jean Cocteau or Henrik Ibsen, the Bayeux Tapestry or Noam Chomsky….”  Haha.  No.  Not my friends, thanks.  I HATE pretentious people.)  I respected that man because he was driven within his chosen field and a good human being who treated me well and respected women.

That’s more than I can say for many, many of the men I went to school with.

More recently, I found myself highly compatible with yet another man who never went to college.  A man in a very non-traditional career who yet again was highly intelligent, driven in his chosen profession, a decent human being, and content with his life.  A man who also wasn’t the least bit intimidated by my income versus his because he was secure in himself and knew that life is not all about how much you earn or whether you drive a BMW.

So, yes.  If you are attending a top college and want that stereotypical future CEO husband, lock him down in undergrad.  Be the first wife, because you won’t be the trophy wife with that good an education.

Better yet, though.  Look outside the narrow confines of that limited future upper class group of classmates your locked in with and find a man who will be secure enough in himself to let you be you.  Even if that is someone who outearns him and didn’t feel like settling down and having kids until she’d reached the C-Suite.

If He Isn’t Acting, Walk Away

This really is advice for the ladies.

As a woman I have more than once liked a guy and not acted on it for any number of ridiculous reasons.  I don’t want to ruin a good friendship, I’m not sure he’s ready for it, I’m just not in a perfect place for a relationship, I’ve been burned before by being the one who acts first, etc., etc.  So, for a guy, if you like a woman and she isn’t throwing herself at you, you probably still have a good chance.

For a woman who likes a guy (or a guy who likes a guy), if he isn’t acting, it probably isn’t going to happen.

I was watching The Bachelor this week.  (Why?  I do not know.  If I hear him call one more woman bella or say ‘yay, yay, yay’ about another chick…I’m sure it works on a one-to-one basis, but not when he does it with every woman.)

Anyway.  I was watching The Bachelor and I saw two perfect examples of this.

The first was when Juan Pablo said he wasn’t going to kiss any of the girls on one of his group dates.  Seems he’d already kissed six girls and wanted to set a good example for his daughter, so he said he was going to refrain from kissing anyone else.

And then what did he do?  He went and made out with some chick.

Why?  Because she had really pretty lips and teeth.

Not the first man to do something like that.  And certainly not the last.

The second was when his front-runner basically told him that she’d dated a man with a young daughter before and that it hadn’t worked for her.  Not only that, she clearly showed signs of not liking kids.  And definitely not wanting the three kids that he wants to have.

What did he do?  Tell her how wonderful she was, make out with her, and give her a “let’s keep going” rose.  Ostensibly for her honesty.  In reality because he’s sexually attracted to her.

That’s what men do.  If they’re attracted, they act.

This is the hardest thing to realize as a woman: Men Act.

If they like a woman, they act.

Yes, I’m generalizing.  I’m sure there are some guys out there who don’t act or who haven’t acted.

But more women have wasted more time holding out for a guy who really didn’t have an interest in them than have ever walked away from a guy who really did want them but was holding himself back.

So, my advice to the ladies: If you like a guy and he isn’t acting.  WALK AWAY.  Don’t stay friends.  Don’t keep flirting.

WALK AWAY.

If I’m wrong, he’ll come after you.  And if I’m not?  You’ll free yourself up to meet someone who is interested.

Walk away.

That is all.

Online Dating Does Work

Not for everyone, but it does work.

I was thinking about this today because a friend of mine who met her husband online just had a baby.  And she and her husband really are a good match.  They wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for online dating.

Another friend of mine met his wife online as well.  And four, five years later (?) they’re still going strong.

I think what both of my friends had in common was a very positive attitude towards the whole thing.

My friend who just had the baby went on a large number of dates from the site she was on.  She wasn’t trying to be overly selective up front.  She was just trying to get out there and meet people and see what happened.

Me?  I’m a paranoid freak who thinks there are some seriously crazy people out there, so I am always pretty aggressive in weeding guys out before I meet them.  Which, since I’m still single and she’s not, kind of shows that her method is more successful.

Then again, she’s also a relationship person and I’m not.  I think between her first boyfriend and her husband she spent maybe six months of her life single.

I’m a firm believer that if you just keep trying you’ll eventually find someone.

All you have to do is look around at the people who do end up with someone and you’ll generally see a pattern of people who keep getting into relationships until they find one that sticks.

Of course, a lot of those people also have some pretty miserable experiences along the way.  My friend had at least one dating experience that would’ve completely freaked me out and probably driven me into hiding for a good six months.

The key I think is to be open, approach it with a positive attitude, and keep trying.

(And if that fails you can do what I did and write a book explaining all the things that just made you want to throw your hands up in despair…)

Bad Breakup Advice

I was reading an article called “The best way to break up” on Yahoo!.

They should’ve titled the article “How to Be a Patronizing F*$! When You Dump a Chick.”

On slide one they recommend that a man treat breaking up with a woman like a business meeting, complete with an “implementation deadline” and a plan to be somewhere else after he’s had his say.

On slide two they say, and I quote, “And, as with any cornered animal, don’t touch her.”

Cornered animal?  Wow.  The person who wrote the article has a lot of respect for women, don’t they?

This is the same person who recommends that a man ask the woman questions like, “Why do you think we could never agree on holiday destinations?”

Now, let’s just stop a moment and picture this break-up.

You’ve been dating someone six months.  They invite you to a neutral coffee shop that neither of you have been to before.  They tell you that they have to leave in half an hour for an appointment.  And then they inform you that they’re breaking up with you because they just don’t feel compatible enough with you and ask you, “Well, why do you think we were never able to agree on what to do on Friday nights?”

Hurry, now.  Time is ticking.  They have somewhere else to be.

I just read the next slide.  Even better.  The article recommends doing all of this in a newscaster’s voice.  Because, you know, being cold and impersonal will help soften the blow.

Oh, and the last slide.  If she reacts poorly to the man treating her like an employee he’s firing (instead of someone he possibly cared for) and says nasty things on Facebook the man is supposed to send her a polite business-like response asking her to please discuss this in private because she’s damaging his reputation.

Here’s a thought.  If a man is in a relationship that requires a talk to end it, then he needs to man up and spend the time to end it properly.  By, I don’t know, acknowledging the woman’s feelings and appreciating the fact that she may be hurt and want explanations and that that may take time.  She may even cry.  She may even want to discuss it.

Even if a man has moved on emotionally, he should suck it up for a few hours to end things well.  Not follow The Distant Entitled Jerk’s Guide to Getting Out of a Relationship.

My advice: A break-up is not a business transaction.  Don’t treat it like one.

 

Songs I Like That Creep Me Out

Every once in a while there will be a song that comes out that I really like.  Until I start listening to the lyrics.

And then I wonder, what the hell am I listening to this for?

One recent example that has received more than its fair share of criticism is Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke.

Pretty sure no one needs a link to it, since the damned song is everywhere.

I’ll be driving along in the car, it comes on, I start singing along and then I think.  “Ew.  That’s just…not right.”

It shows an offensive attitude toward women that I do not need to rehash here.

Damned catchy sound, though.  Very hard not to bop along to.

I’ll share this feminist parody of it instead:

The other song that I keep hearing and liking until I remember the lyrics is Redneck Crazy by Tyler Farr.

Another catchy song.

But the lyrics are about a jilted ex parking his truck on a woman’s lawn, getting drunk, and throwing objects at her house.  Seems she broke the heart of the wrong man according to the lyrics.

Um, showing up drunk at your ex’s house and threatening or engaging in violence is a RED FLAG.

Here’s a hint to any men out there:  Don’t let a woman know you identify with this song.

Because no woman wants an angry, psycho ex.  (At least no sane, rational woman does.)

It may seem harmless to get a little drunk and do something stupid to your ex, especially if she cheated.  Or to fantasize about it.

But, you gotta remember that a lot of women are killed by their partners every year.  Or, more often, their recently ex-partners.  (Men like that do not take it well when a woman leaves them.)

A man who identifies with doing something like this, even if he never has, is a man who would send me heading for the exit as fast as I could find it.

Which is why every time I find myself listening to this song, I change the channel.  It’s got a great sound.  But the message sucks.