This is an open letter to all the people on dating sites who don’t post a photo of themselves. Having seen quite a few of these profiles lately, I’m going to tell you the thoughts I have when I see that you have declined to provide a picture.
If you are new to the internet dating world and have not yet acquired a current photo, then you can ignore the rest of this post. You are forgiven—-but only for about a week or two. By then you should have managed to get a friend to take your picture. If you have been on a dating site for a while and have not posted a picture, I assume one or more of the following:
• You think you are not good-looking enough. Surprisingly, the people you seek to attract are not comparing you to film stars. They are comparing you to their sense of their own attractiveness and looking for someone in the same ballpark.
• You think you are too good-looking. In fact, you are just deluding yourself. The really good-looking people don’t even think about it. They are very comfortable in their own skin and like to show it off.
• You think that having your picture on a dating site will harm your career. It won’t. Gone are the days when it was considered somehow weird to be on a dating site. This is the new normal. Nobody cares. However, if you are job-hunting it’s probably wise to hide your dating site profile along with all other social media profiles for a while.
• You want to be able to pick and choose who sees your photo by asking individuals for their email address first. Sorry, buddy, but this is a power play. It means you get to see all the profiles and select from them, using their photos. Am I supposed to feel honored that I was among the chosen? Ha! Not when you have deliberately created an uneven field.
• You have posted pictures of your pet(s) and you think that says enough about you. You are right, but what it says about you isn’t as good as you think it is.
• You have posted pictures of exotic locations instead of personal photos so that we think you are a wealthy cosmopolitan. Actually, I tend to think that since you’ve been everywhere you probably won’t want to go again. You’ve already see the pyramids and Mount Kilimanjaro, so I guess I won’t be going there with you.
• You have posted pictures of your vehicles and house instead of yourself. Sigh. All you are doing is attracting gold-diggers, which is probably not what you intended. It’s nice that you are proud of your motorcycle/car/RV/ATV/house, but when that is all I see I start to wonder about your values.
• You are in jail and think that your orange jumpsuit might put people off. You are right.
• You think that if your picture is available your spouse will see it. This is the most likely reason for not including a photo, and is what I always assume to be the case.
It’s a dating site, for goodness’ sake! They are established on the basis of a photo and an introduction. We have no other way of deciding whether or not we would like to correspond with you. Get in the game, or stop wasting our time. While you are deciding, I’m just going to continue making up stories about you!
Postscript: When I wrote this, I was reacting to men’s profiles, and I thought that the same principles would probably apply to women. However, it has since been pointed out to me that there are some people for whom it is inadvisable to post a dating site picture. Among these are people who are being stalked and teachers who would not want their students to see their profile. In addition, many women are so ill-used by judgments made about their bodies that they choose to be known first by their abilities and interests. So, I now feel a little less indignant and a little more understanding. Just a little.