About Profile Pictures

I’m finally really getting the problem with showing photos to someone before they go out. I reach this conclusion via SYAS, where the photo is the first thing to slam me in the eyes when I get a new suggestion. And yeah, I can’t seem to help mentally sketching the guy in my head based on superficial impressions.

“Whoa, look at that Adam’s apple… I bet he’s the tall, gawky, nerdy type. Ooh look, he’s a programmer. Who’s surprised, raise your hand. Probably a little socially awkward with a ‘hyuk hyuk’ laugh… okay, shut up, Bad4. You’re really being obnoxious. Who, me? I wasn’t being negative. Nerds are cute. I’ll be able to buy one of those “I love my geek” shirts from ThinkGeek.com. Look! He likes museums… and political events. What does it mean when someone says they ‘like going out to political events’? What’s a political event? Oh gosh, he didn’t use capital ‘i’ in his little personal paragraph. Or commas or apostrophes. Forget it. There are a lot of things I can take. Not txtspk in a dating profile.”

There’s a certain guilty pleasure in being the one doing the judging, but it’s mostly guilt, very little pleasure.  I don’t want to be shallow. And my father, who disapproves of anyone seeing pictures of anyone else before dating, is quick to point out that photos are often a poor representation of a person.

“Remember the guy you said looked like a middle-aged burgomaster in his photo? Well, he was a lot better in person, wasn’t he?”

Yeah, totally true. Good thing I hadn’t judged him by his photo.

“So don’t look at the photos,” my father insists. “At all. And take yours down too.”

“I can’t take mine down!” I protest. That would look like I had something to hide. Who would go out with someone who doesn’t have a profile picture?

“My friend’s neighbor’s daughter didn’t have a picture on her SYAS profile,” my mother informs me. “And she got married through it.”

Okay, score one for the anti-photo crowd. I’m still not convinced. Yes, I might be more willing to go out with someone if I had no photo instead of an awful one, but…

Are my pictures awful? I have no idea. This is not because I didn’t scrape up the best photos available. It’s because, I’ve noticed, people tend to be poor judges of their own photos. You know like those photos people put up on LinkedIn, where they are solemnly gazing off into the distance? The subject means to look visionary, but generally they just look like they have a stomach ache.

In my opinion, nobody should put up a profile picture until they’ve taken an extensive poll of all their acquaintances and a few random strangers to ascertain that the snapshot both resembles them and is also flattering (if possible).  I have not done this. Making such a fuss over a profile picture would be distinctly uncool. Also, I’d need to take more photos.

So, pictures up – or pictures down? I don’t know. But til then, I will try to squinch my eyes shut and not look too hard at the pictures. Cuz judging by the pictures would be shallow. But those lowercase “i”s? Sorry, they’re still a dealbreaker.

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13 thoughts on “About Profile Pictures

  1. You’re right. I won’t go out with someone on SYAS who doesn’t put up a picture. And you’re also right, have friends choose your best pictures for you. I generally don’t judge by the picture, but frankly, many people aren’t very good at describing their personality in any case, so within the general criteria of people I would date on paper, the only other criteria are looks & personality. Personality doesn’t fit on paper, but looks can be approximated by a picture. Which means that the only criterion actually becomes the picture. So if I have to choose between someone who has a picture and someone who doesn’t, who do you think I will choose first?

  2. I’ve received about 90 female profiles during my time on the site. Only one did not have a picture.
    So while in the normal shadchan process I would not ask for a picture, on SYAS it is completely expected and you not including any will be conspicuous.

  3. On one side: I like your father’s views.

    On the other: Not having a picture up on SYAS is conspicuous and would drastically reduce the likelihood someone will go out with you.

  4. I touch on the photo debate in relation to shidduch resumes in my article “Just Send Me Your Resume,” which I posted at http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=166926033774&topic=15820 Some are very against it. And for those who believe it will help them screen out people they will find unattractive, you’re deluding yourself if you believe that pictures can’t lie. The picture can be old, be taken after a professional makeup application and hairstyling, or even Photoshopped to show the person as looking much better than she does at present in real life. Anyway, though, some people are highly biased against those who won’t represent themselves in a photo. The places I blog for require an actual photo — not just a representational profile pic because people seem to assign greater credibility to someone whose face they can see, though the face may really be the face of years ago — rather like a New York driver’s license.

  5. The use of a lower case ‘i’ when referring to one’s self is meant to signify humility. I think you should actively pursue such individuals.

  6. P.S. Hey, why’s your blog in the wrong time zone? Is it so you can put posts up at 4:59 a.m. and let your readers think you’re not nuts because the blog says 5:59 a.m.?

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