Recently, curiosity got the better of me (I’m not dead though, re: curiosity doesn’t kill the cat) and I signed up for Tinder to see what all the fuss was about. Really, there’s too much fuss, it’s not all that, but it got me thinking about the types of image we put out to others in the hope they might find us vaguely appealing.
For those of you who don’t know, Tinder is a matchmaking app which works on the rather superficial basis of swiping instantaneously left or right (left being reject and like being right, rather confusingly!) through a series of pictures of potential partners (be they for the night, the week, month or presumably in the minds of some hopefuls, for life). Whilst some users do provide extra details such as their interests, the decision to swipe left or right rests largely on the basis of one or two pictures: it is a call based on first impressions. Which is why it is all the more baffling the choice of pictures which users opt to display. Are these really the types of impressions they are wanting to give off?
Here is my list of the most puzzling picture types and impression they give off:
1. Pictures with children, especially babies scream: “I will like you, I will do you and I will leave you (…pregnant)”.
Fine yes, fair enough if you’ve got a five year old from a previous relationship that means all the world to you and you want that known from the get go, then by all means put up your cute snap together. Maybe some women, particularly women with their own kids, might find this endearing. What I don’t get however, are the dozens of ‘new-daddy’ pictures where beefy man sits looking soft and gentle with a newborn in his arms and gazes adoringly at the camera. WTF? Since Tinder is primarily a pick up/ dating app you are clearly on there to get some, which makes the choice of picture so baffling. What exactly are prospective women meant to think: ‘Ooh there goes a lovely, caring guy who most definitely hasn’t ditched the mother of his recently born child, or worse is doing the dirty behind her back?’ Sure, it could be the case that she has in fact left him, or that the child is a niece or nephew but why oh why include the baby in your picture in the first place? It’s hardly an incentive to swipe right and it certainly doesn’t scream ‘trust me’.
2. The ‘man with gun’ shot says: “Don’t fuck with me, I’ve got a gun (and know how to shoot it)”.
Men: remember WHO you are trying to impress here. This is a hetro-sexual dating app (there are homosexual equivalents, including grindr) therefore you should be putting out an image that will appeal to a FEMALE, not some mates down the pub! Given the horrific world wide stats on domestic violence and partner homicide (committed largely, though not exclusively by men on women) why ON EARTH would any man think a woman is looking for a guy to quite literally ‘take her out’.. with a GUN?!! Your paint ball, macho-macho-look-at-me-with-a-camouflaged-face pic or here’s-me-in-my-military-uniform snap are just about the limit guys. The this-is-me-shooting-an-AK47-in-Vietnam shot just makes you look like a douche!
3. The ‘why bother with the face, I’m all about the bod’ gym shot suggests: “I have no personality and once you’ve licked cream off my chest two or three times you will be very, very bored”.
Again men, stop thinking like a man! YOU may be all about the body, but we’re not. Sure a consideration of what’s going on under those layers does sneak across our minds as we swipe, but it’s not the all encompassing factor, and you’re forgetting face is important too. After all it’s not much use to have the body of an Adonis in front of us if we’re staring into the eyes of Shrek. As photographer (or at very least editor) of the picture, you decide where our focus lies, and on putting it squarely on one part of your body, you’ve made it too narrow. Think again.
4. The cheesy line sign guy implies: “I recognise I am neither a looker or have a good personality, so instead rely on cheesy chat up lines. Prepare to be bored senseless.”
Why oh why do you do it to yourself guys?! You might not consider yourself all that tasty, but someone else might. And besides that’s the whole point, you LET the other person decide. Given that it’s anonymous and what you don’t know won’t hurt you (you should certainly feel less hurt than a rejection in person) you should truly put yourself out there warts and all, without the gimmicks and see whose boxes you tick. By putting up a front, YOU’RE reducing your chances,(not your looks).
5. The ‘wasted’ shot says: “Me drunk ain’t pretty!”
Yes, you’re having a good time. NO, you don’t look good doing it.
6. The ‘web cam selfie’ shows: poor dedication to the cause.
So you’d kind of like to meet someone, but you can’t be arsed to put the effort in to even select a decent shot. Smooth guys, real smooth.
7. The ‘I’m deep and pensive’ shot suggests “I’m an arrogant twat”.
It’s also hard to tell whether you’re just stoned or not.
8. The ‘crazy eyes’ smile suggests “I’m crazy and might come and stalk you if you don’t agree to come on a second date with me”.
Yes, you want seem nice and sociable. Nope, stop, you’ve gone too far: now you just seem crazy! Retract!
9. Pictures at odd angles suggest: you’ve got something to hide.
It’s not artsy and you’re not hipster. If there’s no justifiable reason for the angle on your photo (which there usually isn’t) it just means you’re shit at photography and/ or labouring under a misapprehension.
10. Staring at the camera shots means ‘I’m intense. Too intense’.
Stop staring at me, it’s creepy. ‘Nuf said.
And finally guys, if you’re gonna wear sunglasses or a suit: do yourselves a favour and make it look GOOD! It may have taken us a while to catch on, but now we’re clued up to it: Any fool can look half decent in sunnies or a suit, so therefore you’ve got to up your A game, if you’re gonna use that risky sink or swim strategy.
So thanks Tinder for that illuminating insight into the world of virtual dating, but I think I’ll swipe left (to the app).
(Caveat: I haven’t got access at the moment to the women’s selection on tinder (for straight guys) but I’m sure there are equal a number of photo flaws on there too… If I get a chance to see that I’ll do a sister post to even the score, but if you have any suggestions for more male or female faux pas then please comment on them below. I’d love to hear your thoughts too and see if you agree with mine.