It's all about the pictures (duh).
Online dating is gross. Online dating is exciting. Online dating is online dating.
So I'm back on Tinder again (don't know how long that will last), I've discovered Hinge (join that one, really, you'll thank me later), and I'm giving OKCupid one more chance (why the hell not, right?).
Despite the differences in all three, there's one truth all these dating sites have in common: Everyone is lying on all of them.
Even when the person you're talking to is being honest about all their basic physical characteristics, the lying happens in all that goes unsaid, what my friend Dr. Brad Blanton calls the "most pernicious form of lying."
So many guys are busy complaining to their friends privately about women they browse or even meet off these sites but they rarely tell the women their harsh critiques directly. (Obviously, the same sniping happens all the time with women talking about men -- and for gay and lesbian dating as well.)
This is a fact that bums me out. I love to hear what people are actually thinking and saying rather than being politely indulged.
Which led me to decide, why not share the wealth of what men are really, truly, brutally thinking with the rest of the world?
To assist in creating a more open discussion (or maybe just out of a sick sense of curiosity), I've asked hundreds of guys from these sites to share with me their most straight-up advice that they would never want to tell a woman to her face, and I've collected the most memorable 15 reactions I received.
Please realize: I'm not endorsing ANY of these critiques or bits of advice or the wording. Are many of these responses filled with a fairly depressing amount of body obsession (to say the least)? Why yes. Yes, they are.
But they're also honest, which counts for something, I think. In the interest of the truth, I wanted to present them here in all of their unfiltered glory. Think of it as overhearing a bunch of secret (and at times very superficial and obnoxious) conversations at a bar. You might not think these guys are saints, but it's a fascinating eavesdrop to say the least.
And, here we go:
1. Be in the moment. "A first date shouldn't be a fucking marriage interview."
2. Stop catfishing and expecting Tinder not to be Tinder. "Having a realistic picture that looks like how you actually look is number one. When I joined Hinge, I assumed there would be some overselling online, but I would say at least 7 out of 10 people use misleading pics. Also Tinder is a hookup app. Don't get self-righteous in your statement saying, 'If you're into hookups, swipe left.' If you're looking for a soulmate, try eHarmony. Oh, and please, more inspirational quotes from Marilyn Monroe. Also, if you're going to post pics from 5 years ago, then I'll find some when I had more hair."
3. Wait a while before you become an armchair psychologist. "Don't give advice. Who gives advice on the first date? We just met. I don't even know who you are."
4. Be interesting. "People are looking for social equals and perceived beauty. I lose interest if someone isn't actually talking to me. Like a real conversation. To me, slow replies and uncertain availability to meet = bad. Good = basic conversation. Solitary quotes as a bio have me rolling my eyes. Usually it's some pseudo spiritual 'eat pray love' bullshit that does not exude intelligence or thoughtfulness but makes me think the woman is too lazy or inept to speak for herself. Also, the no bio is a swipe to the left."
5. Don't hide, and don't be basic. "As much as I like yoga and traveling, it seems like every woman is a super yogi and a world traveler. Also why so many head shots and no body pics? Be proud of what you look like and attract someone who likes your type."
6. Stop thinking it's about you. "If somebody doesn't like or respect you after fucking you on the first date, waiting three more dates isn't going to help."
7. Think like a man. "In terms of what you look like, men really only care about tits or ass. Not tits and ass. It's one or the other. So if you want lots of responses, pictures demonstrating tits or ass will do more for your response rate than anything else you could possibly do. Many women will stipulate that, 'I don't want the kind of guy who responds to tits or ass,' but that is a poor strategy because you have just excluded all men. All of them."
8. Show, don't tell. "The written profile counts, Tinder be damned. Making assertions about yourself in your profile demonstrates low emotional intelligence in my opinion. Describing yourself as attractive, smart or fun is not useful. The point is to *demonstrate* that you are attractive (with pics), smart and fun (with words). If you can't help but describe yourself, at least, for every self-descriptor, ask yourself, does this apply to every person in the world? If so, consider leaving it out. Examples:
- 'I love to travel.'
- 'I love food.'
- 'My friends and family are important to me.'
- 'I'm looking for a partner in crime.'
- 'I love to laugh.'
- (And my favorite, which you see in about 50 percent of profiles) 'I love to have a good time.'"
9. No Photoshop allowed. "Please post more than one crisp clear recent realistic shot of your face and physique so that I know beforehand what you look like so I don't need to be surprised on date night and re-evaluate why I'm there. If I could only get back all the wasted driving time, fake polite time and money from dates that should have never happened because my date cyber-lied about their appearance.
- The first picture you post is key. Don't post a picture with four girls uglier than you as most guys will swipe left assuming you are the ugly one.
- Post more than three pics and def more than one. Otherwise some guys will assume you are a hooker if in fact you do look good.
- Make sure you do look good in these pics! I wonder what the hell some girls are thinking! Ask your friends for help picking out good pics!
- The selfie pics are debatable. Only post if in fact it makes you look cute or sexy. Otherwise it truly is just ridiculous and shows you have no friends or that you are so into yourself that it doesn't matter that you have no friends!"
10. Show you, and only you. "I don't need to see five pictures of your dog/cat/cactus. And don't use a wedding photo in a profile. Yes some women have done this, and it always comes off as tacky. I don't care if you're divorced or if you look beautiful in the pic. Don't use it!"
11. Head shots are less attractive than you think. "Having a page full of perfect head shots looking your best is kind of the female equivalent of me having all shirtless pics on mine. I feel like you're selling me something you think I may want instead of you."
12. Life is short so stop wasting time. "Don't use pictures with multiple people in them without pointing out who you are. Don't post only head shots. It makes it seem as if you aren't confident in your figure or you don't want the guy to know what you look like. Don't play games and waste your time as well as the guy's. If you like someone, show you're interested. Don't keep the guy guessing or waiting."
13. Be aggressive (and unique). "It's OK for women to make the first move. Although when a woman is the first one to initiate conversation, I always get, 'Hi, how was your day?' It bores me to tears. I'm sure there is more creativity than that. You get extra points for something different."
14. Be aware of the impression you're giving off. "One picture with your dog, tops. More than that and it gives off a vibe akin to 'yes, a man would be nice, but he will never be as important as my dog.' Entirely rational? Of course not. But 4-5 pics, all with the dog, a bit much to a lot of men. Also, when I'm looking at someone's profile and they're laughing insanely in every photo, my guess is they're probably profoundly sad. Whereas when a girl looks melancholic or lonely, that can be quite attractive."
15. Don't find a new Tinder date while you're meeting a Tinder date in real life. "Leave your goddamned phone off. In fact, take the battery out and swallow it. It takes over four hours to go through the human digestive tract so by the time you're ready to tweet to all your friends what a dish/disaster your date is, the main distraction to real human communication will have been hidden."
So...what do you think of all these BRUTALLY HONEST responses?
Are you sickened? Enraged? Inspired? Disappointed? Bored? Moved to tears? Please be as honest as these guys were. I know you will.
This article was originally published at xoJane. Reprinted with permission from the author.