Now I Get It

One dull evening, my flatmates and I decided to sign up for ZivugZone. Separately, we sat at our laptops uploading photos and writing descriptive paragraphs. Then we microwaved some popcorn and waited.

It didn’t take too long. The messages started arriving. For one of my flatmates, about three a night. For me — every couple of days. Not that it mattered. The guys who messaged us had depressingly boring profiles. Not one bothered to upload a photo. Their messages were invariably “Hi. Wanna talk?” And their description went “I’m a nice guy looking for a pretty girl.”

This was pretty standard for the site, we discovered, scrolling through the options.  I wondered: are the women this bad too?

So I created a male profile. I wanted to see if the female profiles were as bad as the male. And yeah: I wanted to scope the competition.

And boy was there competition. Everyone had a photo. And some of those photos were gorgeous. I despaired as I scrolled through a smorgasbord of pictures clearly taken at weddings, their subjects posing in perfectly ironed hair and impeccable makeup. I didn’t even bother to read their names or descriptive paragraphs.  I just went “Pretty — really pretty — gorgeous — whoa! — Shnasty — Ooh, look at her I should give up now…” I felt like such a guy.

Then a photo caught my eye. It was different. The clothes and hair weren’t elaborate – -she was wearing a zip-up sweatshirt and denim skirt. She was standing in the midground, facing a log cabin, peering flirtatiously over her shoulder at the camera. She wasn’t just pretty — she was cute.   I stopped and read her description. She said she was a fun girl who enjoyed traveling and playing in the sunshine. Okay, it wasn’t quite like that, but that’s the impression it gave. She sounded like every man’s dream. I practically asked her out. Then I remembered that I’m not really a man — just posing as one.

Then I realized something even more embarrassing:  the girl in the picture was my flatmate.

I double-checked the name. “Goldy S.” Yep. That was my flatmate.

Amy Webb says your descriptive paragraph should be less than 99 words and include “sunshine,” “smile,” and “girl” in it. And Goldy’s sure as heck did. So I decided to do an experiment. I copy-pasted her paragraph wholesale into my profile and waited for the messages to roll in.

They didn’t.

“Can I use a photo of you too?” I asked next. I thought a good next step would be to pair her photo with a humdrum, non-sunshiny paragraph and see what happened.

No,” she replied, possibly not wanting to go into competition with herself.

So I left it at that. I never completed the experiment.

Well, someone went and took the experiment all the way!

“[Comedian Alli Reed] created the fake OKCupid profile, ‘aaroncarterfan,’ using a picture of her best friend who is a model, ‘hoping to prove that there exists an online dating profile so loathsome that no man would message it,’ despite how attractive the picture is.”

Full Article Here

She wrote that she’s very good at convincing people that she’s pregnant, and that she enjoys knocking the coffee cups out of the hands of homeless people because “it is sooooooo funny.”

She got 150 messages in 24 hours.

So there you go, ladies. It’s all about the picture.

Well, maybe not all. You should probably still have a 99-word sunshiny paragraph, rather than a list of your vices. But if you want anyone to even glance at that paragraph, you’re going to need a pretty darn good photo.

So get snapping.

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Do Photos Expire?

I had a weird dating experience.

The dude requested a photo, and, as usual, I didn’t provide one until I got one.

The photo I got was of a fellow who looked a lot like an accountant. Thin, glasses, many lines rippling out from his huge, endearingly dorky smile.

So when I opened the door to my date, I wasn’t entirely sure who was standing there. I stared for slightly longer than is normal. Could this possibly be the same guy? If he gained  weight, trimmed his hair different, took off the glasses… No way. It still couldn’t be.

After the date with Date Guy, I immediately fired up my laptop to compare him to Photo Guy. No resemblance to my forensically untrained eye. Was it possible that someone could change their appearance so drastically in a few years?

I emailed the shadchan, just in case she’d maybe mixed up the photos in her files. But she insisted that she’d forwarded the exact photo that Guy had sent her.

Naturally, I began wondering. Maybe Photo Guy hadn’t felt well, so he’d sent Date Guy in his place? Maybe Date Guy felt self-conscious about his appearance and preferred to use Photo Guy’s photo? Maybe they were twins, and didn’t realize how unidentical they were? Maybe Photo Guy had undergone an extreme makeover and become Date Guy? I had to discard the last one. I mean, they must give you an “After” photo for those things.

I let it slide because I didn’t go out with Date Guy (or Photo Guy) again, so, whatever, you know? But then he showed up as a SYAS suggestion. Photo Guy, I mean. With Date Guy’s biography in his profile. I stared at it again, trying to find some resemblance between Photo Guy and Date Guy. I might as well have had prosopagnosia.

So I did some cyberstalking. Of Date Guy. And although I found out that Spokeo thinks he is somewhat (a lot) older than his profile claims, I couldn’t find any picture of him that wasn’t Photo Guy.

Okay. So Photo Guy and Date Guy are one and the same. How old is the photo?

I’ve got photos of me that are five years old. I look pretty much the same. Even ten years ago, I was thinner, but basically me. Heck, we once had one of those baby-photo-on-a-paper-bag-over-your-head thingies at school, and the teacher didn’t even have to think about mine. I haven’t changed much since I was three, I guess. Just grew more hair.

Even so, I don’t use the five-year-old photo for shidduchim any more. Even though my face is more or less the same, I don’t have the same look. And by “look” I mean the combination of accessories, styles, and physical appearance that most immediately catches people’s eyes.

How often do you replace your photo? Is there a recommended replacement period, like every five years or 100,000 miles as recommended by your Dealership?
If there isn’t, can we create one?

Singles (the Bills & the People)

I would like to bring your attention to a promising new shidduch writer. She’s in Hamodia, but don’t let that give you pause. This is no long-married woman complaining because her daughter is 24 and single. It’s a sharp-tongued woman, recently married at 34, who knows how to make her point on the thin line of civil indignation between anger and apology. The name of the column is “Single as a Dollar Bill” and she (DB) has some great stories. This week she mentioned the shadchan who had her play car service driver so the shadchan could use the trip from Long Island to Brooklyn to get to know her.

That wasn’t the star tale, though. The really good discussion starter was the one about the time she submitted her photo and profile to a shadchan and then arrived for an interview to find the woman sobbing at her dining room table. DB was a little taken aback, naturally. But it only got worse when the shadchan explained why she was so upset.

She had just finished an interview with one of her “Best Bochurim.” BB was a guy with alle gutte ma’alos: the looks, the yichus, the star rating in his yeshiva, brains, blah blah. And after sifting through all the photos in the shadchan’s files he’d complained, “Why don’t you get any pretty girls?”

“I don’t know why I don’t!” wailed the shadchan to our heroine. Which disturbed DB muchly.

Good4 was reading this aloud to Also4 and myself, and at this point she had to interrupt. “What’s the big deal? He wasn’t insulting her specifically.”

“He still called her ugly, even indirectly,” protested Also4, knight errant (or at least mentch). “And even worse, the shadchan agreed.”

“I’m still trying to figure out why the shadchan is so enamored with this jerk,” I said, poking Good4 to make her keep reading.

It turns out this was column #2, so we had to go back and dig up the back issues to find the first one. This one revolved around the recently married DB being told that singles are bitter because they don’t have a married life “Like you and I do.” Also4 enjoyed it particularly. As a single guy in his late 20s in Israel, he’s subject to plenty of pity, condescension, unwanted favors, and advice. I have a feeling we’re going to have to cut out future articles and mail them to him.

Anyway, as of these two articles I’m a fan. I look forward to more good horror stories and acerbic commentary in the future. You go girl.

Visually Unreasonable

A would-be shadchan called my mother about a prospective date.

“Can you fax me Bad4’s profile and a picture?”

My mother made reluctant noises. She doesn’t like this whole “send a photo” business.

“He’s looking for a really beautiful girl, so he needs to see a picture first,” the shadchan explained.

At this point I would have terminated the conversation, saying that the only person who consistently refers to me as beautiful is my grandmother, and she has both a great deal of bias and cataracts. But my mother, bless her, is more zealous for my pride, and she continued the conversation, asking about the young man. He is in college and yeshiva and plans to go to law school.

“Well, I’ll ask my daughter,” my mother said. “Can you provide a profile and a photograph?”

“What do you need a photograph for?” asked the would-be shadchan, baffled.

“Just to know what he looks like,” replied my mother vaguely.

“That’s not how it’s done,” the shadchan worried. “She’ll see him plenty on the first date.”

“True, but she may not want to, if he’s lacking in visual appeal.”

“I just wouldn’t feel comfortable asking him,” the shadchan fretted. “I don’t think he’d be willing.”

My mother insisted.

“This is very unreasonable of you.”

“Well, then I’m afraid he’s just not for us,” my mother said regretfully, and that was that.

 

You go, Ma!