We need to talk about online dating profile photos

As I began to write this, I thought it was going to be about some of the funny stuff I’ve encountered while dating. But as I wrote (and wrote), things I first thought were just quirks started to become sticks in my craw.

And it seems I can’t write one post about these craw-sticks.

I have a terrible feeling it’s going to be the first of a few.

But, for now, I’ll just come out with it: we need to talk about online dating. Not just online dating, but online dating profiles.

If you’ve never had one, it’s kind of like a resume for a job you know nothing about – some people really care about the impression they give in the effort to snag the best in the business, while others… well… others just do the bare minimum to get the dole.

Photo vs No Photo

If I can give one piece of advice to anyone who has a dating profile, it’s this: For the love of Gary Sweet, get a decent profile picture.

Seriously, the amount of profiles I scroll past that don’t have photos at all completely baffles me.

I don’t find it ‘mysterious’. I find it’s an automatic no.


A couple of months ago a guy contacted me who didn’t have a photo. Immediately, I trotted out the line: “Hey, thanks for your message. Here’s the thing. I don’t think it’s fair play that you’ve seen my photos and, while it’s your prerogative, for reasons unknown you’ve hidden yours. It’s because of this I’m going to leave it there, all the best to you”.

Without getting too intense about it, to me, if a profile doesn’t have a picture, it kinda screams three possible things about that person: insecurity with the way they look, arrogance that their personality alone will blow you away, or general dodgy-ness that they may not be who they say they are and next thing you know you’re emailing Neve and Max from Catfish and their sleuthing finds that your ‘boyfriend’ is a 67-year-old woman seeing out the remainder of her GBH sentence at Bandyup with her best mate Catherine Birnie.

If guys realised how many more women would speak to them if they had a picture, they would have every picture ever taken of them ever on their profile. Ever. #Fact.

Anyway, to my disbelief, the guy wrote back. He said he had no idea that hiding his picture could affect his prospects. He immediately un-hid them. The thing is, he wasn’t even that gross. I still didn’t want to date him.

He is now married.

Actually, I have no idea if he’s married. I don’t know anything about that man.

Another picture-less message I got from a bloke was met with the same general reply of yeah nah. So he obliged.  As it turned out, I wasn’t attracted to him and, again, wished him well. It was then he called me a ‘fucking superficial judgmental bitch’. After I stopped laughing, I fired off a message telling him that physical chemistry was kind of an imperative piece of the relationship puzzle.

I also told him to fuck off.

What this jerk didn’t understand was that you can’t whinge ‘uggh, don’t judge a book by its cover’ and expect the guilt trip to work like a love potion. With online dating, judging a book by its cover is the ENTIRE POINT of online dating.

You’re not swiping right because their profile says they ‘love to laugh’ (gaaah, who the fuck doesn’t?) or that they went to the School of Hard Knocks (about 75 per cent of male profiles say this, I wish I was kidding) or because they once owned a copy of Garfield At Large…

You swipe right because, frankly, they flood the basement.

If they don’t, you swipe left.

That’s it. That’s all it is.

Genuinely Garbage Photos

Mate, you’re on a dating site. You want to attract someone, not give them the impression you’re going to put them in a shallow grave… or that you’re currently serving time for putting someone in a shallow grave.


garbageAnd using that webcam you bought from a Brashs fire sale in 1998 to take your profile picture? Not only am I going to assume you took the picture in 1998, you might as well not have a picture at all… and we now know how that ends up.

My work colleague Cam summed it up perfectly: “Honey, if they can’t use tech, they’re not for you”.


Animals + Objects

Another thing. Fish.

I wish I dated fish because just about every damn profile features a fish. I would confidently say that 3/4 of profiles look like an online bulletin board for Fishing World magazine. And if it’s not fish, it’s cars, or motorbikes, or fricken boats. And I don’t mean they’re posing with them. They’re just pictures of inanimate objects. I swipe left. Clearly those pics are there to attract other men, right?



And speaking of animals, another kind of grossly over-represented photo is that of blokes patting big cats, like tigers.

I mean, the reason why these big kitties are so sedate is because they’re actually sedated.

I have a caveat on my own profile that states if a guy has a picture of himself with one of these drugged animals, it’s an immediate deal-breaker. Like Judge Judy said, “don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining”, don’t show me a picture of you wearing a Chang T-shirt and some Oakley knock-offs while patting a doped-up big cat that’s chained to a concrete pole and tell me you’ve been ‘travelling’.

FFS, Keep Your Kids Off Tinder

It’s not just the single dads either, a lot of uncles do it. The difference being that uncles are like vegans, they will make it abundantly clear they’re not the father.


Look, I can see how you’d think kids can appeal to women, I totally get it, but to me, that’s the problem.

When I see a young child on Tinder, eHarmony, RSVP or Plenty Of Fish (yes, I belong to four, stop judging me) I feel like the child is being used like a prop to prove what a great dad they are. Like appealing to my maternal side will stop me in my left-swipe tracks when I suddenly realise that “OMGGGG, your kid is so cute, maybe we should get that drink after all”.

I remember I was checking out one guy but got completely turned off when I genuinely couldn’t tell if the girl in one of his pictures was an ex-wife or just an unimpressed 16-year-old daughter. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably mentioned it in your profile. Trust me, that’s enough.

We’ve all heard that blokes are visual creatures, and yet so many of them just don’t seem to care how others might see them.

Men may be visual creatures…  but don’t forget, so are women. 


Need some help in how to take a decent picture of yourself?

Sure, there are some great articles on how to take a selfie, but my all-time favourite tips come from New York photographer, Peter Hurley…

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