When I saw the “upload your photo” option in SYAS it never occurred to me to upload anything beside a standard smiling headshot. But after picking through a number of male profiles, I can see that I’m missing quite a lot of the wisdom that goes into picking a profile picture. For the men out there who are wondering what to put up, here’s a rundown of what your fellows are presenting to us. And if anyone can do a rundown of what female photos look like, I’d appreciate that too.
There are about six major categories of profile pictures.
This subject is gazing solemnly into the distance. If he’s turned a moody quarter profile to the camera, he is trying to look like a visionary. In reality, he usually looks like he needs an antacid. If he’s turned away from the camera, then you can hardly see his face at all. In this case, chances are he just wants you to notice that he’s looking over the Old City walls into the sunset, which is his way of showing that he’s a sensitive, inspired man, with a love of the Land of Israel. Or else he thinks his profile is his strongest side. Women: beware of that.
The Natty Dresser:
This photo was taken five minutes before his family left for a cousin’s wedding. His father straightened his tie, his mother brushed a speck of lint from his lapel, and his sister took the photo against the wall in the front hall. Alternatively, it was taken at the simcha itself. In this case, the background is cluttered with tables and bottles, his face is flushed from dancing, and there might even be a disembodied arm around his shoulder. Point is: he cleans up nicely. Women: this is probably what he’ll look like on your first date and never again for the rest of your mutual lives (excepting the occasional wedding).
The Family Man:
Every woman wants a man who is good with kids, right? So, it follows that if he puts up a photo of himself cooing at his niece or throwing his nephew in the air, it can only score points. (Er, they are his nieces and nephews, right? Not his? What was that marriage status again?)
Alternatively, he’ll put up a photo of him with his entire family. The sheer quantity of siblings should assure you that he’s not spoiled. Or the quantity of sisters will assure you that he knows a ceramic hair iron from a diffuser, among other essential items. Men: avoid this one if you have a brother around the same age as you.
These photos are almost invariably taken at the top of a mountain. The subject is wearing a backpack or skis. Sometimes he’s even wearing goggles. The point isn’t for you to be able to see him. It’s so you can see that he’s healthy, fit, adventurous, and good at something. (Hey, he made it to the top, right? So what if it was via ski lift…)
A subset of this genre is the Traveler photo. In this case, again, the subject is dwarfed by his surroundings, which can range from huge sand dunes in the Gobi Desert to a coral reef underwater. Point being, he’s been around, you know? Seen the world a bit. Not one 0f those boring types who have never been out of NYC in their lives. You can be he won’t take you to a lounge either. Probably.
The Cool Dude:
The cool dude photo is often posted along with the Natty Dresser photo, lest you get the wrong impression. In the cool dude photo, the subject is wearing shades, a snug black t-shirt, and a self-satisfied smirk. Yeah man, he’s cool. Fingers crossed that coolness is as important to you as it is to him.
Don’t think this guy has no friends. He does. And he’s fun to be around. Just to make sure you know, he’s posting a photo of himself playing his guitar at a kumzitz with his friends. The friends are mostly cut out so you don’t confuse the subject, and the subject himself is looking down at the frets, so you can’t really see his face. But you see the guitar. What girl doesn’t like a guitar? And those disembodied arms on the side. See – other people like him. Why wouldn’t you?
With all this apparent thought going into male profile pictures, I can see that I’m playing at a disadvantage. Time to dig up a photo of me climbing some sand dunes. I think I might have been wearing sunglasses that morning, which is a 2-in-1 score. Or are the points categories different for women?
With thanks to Relarella.
And a hat tip to the Curious Jew for pointing out that, coincidentally, SoG posted about profile pictures just a day and a half ago.