This Is Harder Than Bathing Suit Shopping

I know, not many things are harder than shopping for a new bathing suit, but finding new headshots for your online dating profile is surely on that short list.

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As I’m preparing to dive back into, I’m editing my profile to reflect what’s currently going on in my life and gathering new photos to post. I’m of the opinion that one should update at least their main headshot every six months or so, and I usually do that. But I’ve been off the site for a month or two now and want to go back with a full new set of pix…and it’s HARD to find just the right shots.

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I know that the photos should be clear, in focus and current (just like you, I looked hotter ten years ago. But those must sadly remain in the family albums and not be posted online). I have shots I like but…and maybe I’m too picky…I am a graphic designer in “real life” and review and edit photos as part of my day job, so I get a little nutty if the lighting isn’t perfect, or a stray hair has blown across my face, I haven’t found any that are “just right”.

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It’s not that I don’t have lots to choose from. My friends all know I’m updating the profile pix so, everytime we’re out somewhere someone is whipping out their smart phone and snapping a pix of me. I have photos of me eating, drinking wine, eating some more, drinking yet more wine…LOL Holy Cow I shudder to think of what those pix would attract on Match!

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I’m not big on over-editing anything in Photoshop (and I could make myself look hotter than Angeling Jolie, I know how!). I want the photos to be the real me – although I have one I edited to make me look like a character in a Graphic Novel, I may post that just for fun. I also think I’m obsessing a bit too much on what I think would attract that elusive Mr. Darling (tell me to stop doing that, will ya?).

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Ah well, I’m not in a great rush to re-up my Match membership so I have some time to cull the photos down to my faves. How many photos do you have posted on your profile? Are you happy with them? Bought any cute bathing suits lately??

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Why Is That Man Sucking On A Fish?

I’ve noticed an alarming (Well, to me anyway) trend in online dating profile pictures. Where once I would find a smiling headshot and perhaps a full-length shot or two (one in jeans or something equally casual and maybe one in a suit, i.e. “See, I clean up good”), I’m now finding a slew of obviously posed action shots. Are they meant to tell a story? I’m assuming, yes.

I’ve concluded that the theme of this story is “I may be over 40, but I’m not in a wheelchair yet, baby”. Recently, on one profile alone, I found pictures of this man swimming, skiing, riding a dirt bike, golfing, and doing something that looked like jogging. Wow, it made me wonder when this person found time to date!

I’ve seen many a profile lately with at least one or two photos of the profile writer doing something athletic, usually outdoors, along with a lengthy description of how “in shape” he is and how he’s looking for a “physically active” partner, or someone who enjoys “outdoor activities”. Seriously? I may just be getting too cynical for my own good but all I can picture is meeting this man, going on a single hike or boat outing with him and then discovering he really prefers sitting in front of the TV. C’mon, you’re thinking that too, right?

But wait…there’s more.

Just the other day I saw a photo of a man in his tennis outfit (which was obviously from the 1980’s…OH those short shorts!!) swinging a racket…IN HIS LIVING ROOM. It was a very messy living room too. The clutter covering his couch was enough of a deal breaker for me, the tennis getup was just the icing on the cake of my rejection…LOL

But wait…there’s even more.

Flipping through some profiles, I almost gagged when I saw a (very out-of-focus) shot of a man sucking on a large shiny, metallic looking thing. My reaction was “DEAR GOD! I HOPE THAT’S A TROUT”. Sometimes prayers are answered. On second glance I saw that it was indeed a large fish and he was actually holding it up and kissing it. I will take the high road and assume he was just celebrating a big catch.

I won’t even get into the picture of that guy on OK Cupid, dressed in pink baby doll pajamas….that one almost gave me stress-induced glaucoma.

So, I need to know, are you finding more and more off-the-wall pictures of guys trying too hard, or sharing TMI about their personal peccadilloes with their photos? Maybe it’s just me, with my knack for finding the bizarre, but I hope not.


Will The Real Profile Picture, Please Stand Up

I ventured back on recently and found a profile that interested me. I clicked on the pics and found myself puzzled. The pics did not seem to match. The person looked completely different in both pics. In one, very appealing and in the other heavier with less hair and like a country bumpkin. I switched back and forth between the 2 pics and neither of them looked like the other. They represented two different people. It was sort of weird. I figured the uglier pic was the more accurate and moved on. Yes, I know, I know … that is very shallow. But, if there was no chemistry with at least the photo, I had little hope for the real thing. Sorry for being honest.

In yet another, I clicked on the 2 pics and in one photo the guy had a full head of hair. In the other, he was bald. Now, whereas I love a full head of hair on a guy, I am also attracted to bald men. So, not having hair was an issue. The issue is — which pic is accurate? Either you have hair or you don’t. This is pretty simple.

My friends joke that I need to update my pics. Yes I do. But, at least in all of them, my smile does not change much and I have my hair.

My advice to people is to make sure your pics reflect what you look like so there are no surprises when meeting in person or having to experience subsequent rejections. It will be easier on everyone involved. Trust me!!

Share any similar experiences where the reality differed from what was presented on the person’s profile.

Keep Your Shirt On Buddy!

A profile photo FAIL

I don’t prowl around on dating sites everyday. My day job and working on LifeBytes, Real Stories of Online Dating keeps me too busy. YES…I KNOW, it’s hard to find time to date because I’m working on an anthology of ONLINE DATING STORIES…there’s an O’Henry short story in there somewhere.

Anyway, I try to hop onto or one of the other sites that I’m registered on about once a week and then I madly read through profile after profile (one of my girlfriends calls this my “testosterone shopping spree”) and send out an email or two to men who catch my eye.

Lately though I’ve noticed an alarming trend in men’s profiles. Posting the dreaded “Shirtless pix”, taken with a phone and out of focus. This trend in headshots is followed closely by photos of pets. I find it alarming that the dog and cat photos almost always have better composition and focus than the pix of their owners.

Am I supposed to find this lack of upper body clothing charming? Sexy? Appealing in any way? I don’t. So guys, here’s some profile pix advice: Keep Your Shirt ON! Yes, I’m sure you go to the gym and work out, we all do. I’m sure that despite your age (that you’ve lied about on your profile…it’s OK we all fudge a bit there) you are in splendid shape. I have no doubt that you are extremely proud of your biceps, triceps and any and all other -ceps in your musculature. But I don’t want your bare chest to be the first glimpse I have of you!

What I first want to see is: your smile, your eyes, and the cute way your eyes crinkle up when you smile. I want to see your face…in focus and not in a shot taken from ten feet away, six years ago at your nieces Bat-Mitzvah.

I don’t want to see your naked chest until we’ve: emailed, talked, met for coffee or a drink or dinner, have decided to date each other and then…on a special evening that preferably includes wine, roses and some well-placed candlelight…then and only then…should you shed the shirt. Easy, right? Look, we gals like the anticipation as much as you all do, maybe even more. It’s as simple as that.

Sure he's cute, but I'll bet he's not willing to pick up the tab at dinner.

And about those pix of your dogs and cats: I like animals, truly I do, and I tend to gravitate towards men who are animal lovers. I think it says something about a man’s character when he can get all misty eyed over the beloved mutt he rescued from the pound. But honey…listen carefully here….I’m not interested in dating your cat, or your dog, or your goldfish. When I read your profile I want to hear about YOU, see YOU. If we hit it off I will meet your pets, and you will meet my cat. We will, if all goes well in our online dating game, eventually create a warm and very hairy blended family. Until then dudes, keep you shirts on and please curb your dogs.


Table MISmanners

Can you want to laugh, cry and get sick all on the same date?

I know, it’s a challenge, but I think I have been successful with that.

I recently had a first date with someone I met online. Aside from his gaining about 100 pounds since since posting his profile photo, I was more amazed at his table manners … er, mis-manners.

He burped his way through dinner. And, not a “gee, let me cover that up and say excuse me afterward type burp.” No way. This was a loud, open your mouth and let the entire restaurant hear and smell your disgustingness. At first, I was appalled. After 10 “Power Belches”, I almost thought I was on a “Candid Camera – Howie Do It” type show and had to suppress my laughter. After 30 times (over the course of 15 minutes), I realized I was not a victim on a comedy reality show. By then my stomach was doing back flips and I feared getting sick at the table.

I couldn’t take it. I got up, threw $10 on the table and said I had to go and literally RAN out of the restaurant.

We all have bodily functions and sometimes they are not well timed. But this was so over the top it was hard to believe it was not staged.

Have you ever had something like this happen to you? Please say yes and share. :-)


The Seduction of Prose

Early on in my dating adventures I connected with a man online. He had a nice looking profile picture that looked as if it had been taken professionally. It had, turns out he did stand-up comedy as a hobby. Nice, I like funny men. He also had a day job as a copywriter….and wow could he write copy. Not only was his profile write up intelligent and clever but he could punctuate a sentence and spell, skills that seems to escape many men when writing dating profiles and emails.

I sent him a short note to say that I thought we may have some things in common, not the least of which was the importance of capitalizing the letter “I” when referring to oneself in writing. “Hemingway” wrote back and we began an email correspondence that lasted for weeks. His letters had me smitten…charmed. He could describe an average day at his office and make me feel as if I were lost in the great American novel. I was seduced by his prose, drawn in and head over heels in love with his sentence structure. I would write back, usually on my lunch hour. Agonizing over how to word each and every sentence, I’d check and edit and rewrite until my letters were as perfect as Hemingway’s seemed to me. After about a month of this I knew I had to meet him.

We set up a date for lunch over the Thanksgiving weekend. In the days leading up to our date the emails flew even faster, filled with enchanting exchanges; even chatting of the banalities of our daily lives took on the scent of blooming passion. I knew in my reader’s soul that Hemingway was my muse, my personal author, my one and only.

Promptly at the appointed time my doorbell rang. I opened my front door to find the neighbor’s garden gnome standing on my porch. Why wasn’t it in my neighbor’s garden where it belonged, I wondered? In the next split second I realized, to my horror, that this gnome was actually Hemingway. He was three inches shorter than he’d stated in his profile, about a foot wider and at least ten years older than his profile photo. My face fell, his face lit up…yes, he thought I was just adorable.

I considered feigning an illness, cold, flu, gingivitis, anything. But I didn’t, he was after all an amazing writer and that for me covers a lot of flaws. So off to lunch we went. I have to admit he was as good a conversationalist as he was a writer, so the date wasn’t completely unbearable. No, what cinched the final NO decision for me was the way he stared at me. I was at a zoo once and there was a chimp that was watching the crowd with a sort of bemused stare. He was a little cross-eyed and his tongue kept poking out from the corner of his mouth, as if he wanted to lick his lips but had forgotten how. THAT’S how Hemingway was staring at me. It was a bit uncomfortable at first and, after an hour, absolutely creepy.

Now when I connect with someone online my rule-of-thumb is “email quickly, meet swiftly”. Two, no more than three emails, a phone call and that’s it – we need to meet.

In the swirling vortex of online dating three things are certain: an email will tell you more about a person than their profile, a phone call will tell you even more about that person, and meeting them will tell you the rest of what you need to know; and that will happen in the first five to ten minutes of said meeting. Does that sound harsh? Maybe it is. Realistically though, it’s just internet dating survival.

Of course, I’m still a sucker for a guy who knows what a compound sentence is…and can use it.


The Reviews Are In

A friend recently sent me an email to say that she was referring her recently divorced sister to the LifeBytes blog to read about online dating. It seems that sis is anxious to get back into the dating pool but a bit overwhelmed by the concept of dating online. Write a profile? List my Turn-ons and Turn-offs? Email? I need to post a PICTURE TOO??!! No Virginia, you don’t just go the local sock-hop and wait for a boy to kiss you anymore. Add to this the fact that there are so many sites out there to choose from and I can see where the newly-single would find the prospects of remaining perpetually-single quite appealing.

Ah but the internet is good for so much more than dating…research for instance. Mariann and I recently connected with a site called – the perfect place to start researching the various sites out there if you’re a “newbie” or even if you’re a veteran dater just looking to compare sites.

OnlineDatingSites features complete reviews of most of the major sites, including very complete information about what’s allowed or restricted with free or trial memberships as well as the fee structure for full-access membership. The reviews are grouped by Top Ten and specialty (Senior, gay, single-parent, jewish, to name a few) sites. I was really impressed with the way the reviews were structured, easy to read and complete but not so long that you need to spend days reading through them. You can be up and dating in no time.

There is also a blog with posts listing the top dating advice sites for men as well as for women, articles about the advantages of online dating and more. Oh yes, one more thing to note OnlineDatingSites has excellent taste in blogs….LifeBytes is listed as one of their “must-read” blogs..just sayin’.:)

Every dating site has it’s own personality, some have a more casual “just dive in and search our database” approach and some have a more, they call it scientific, approach. With the more structured sites you’re required to fill out a personality test that helps to match you. This can be fun or annoying and time consuming, depending on your own personality (and patience!!) A site like OnlineDatingSites can help to cut through the clutter and allow you to find the site that you’ll feel the most at home with. And that is a huge step in the right direction because… really do need to spend time posting a headshot, reading lots of profiles, sending emails, and……All much easier to do if you’re on the site that suits you best.

A Designer’s Lament

I need to start this post with a Graphic Design Diva’s Hissy Fit. …I put a short profile and a photo up on and made a valiant attempt at trying to figure out how to “work” the site. I am exhausted, and I still haven’t completely figured out this place. Now the Pollyanna side of me is saying “You never know. Don’t judge a site by it’s navigation. Your soul mate may be lurking around on there somewhere. Chin up Girl!” And the Design Diva is screaming “BARF…GAG…it’s ugly here. GET OUT before the place permanently blinds you!” I just can’t get comfortable with this site.

First of all the photos are horrible…all of them. Seems when you upload a photo the site re-sizes your pix….but not proportionately. I’ve yet to see a man on there who doesn’t look like some variation of Mr. Potato Head. Now I’m sure most of these guys are actually normal to great-looking in real life. I’m also sure that the majority of them posted photos that are an accurate depiction of what they look like, but by the time these pix get posted on they have apparently gone through some kind of internet nuclear holocaust, causing them to become Mr. Potato-fied. I am actually afraid to look at the public view of my profile. I don’t want to know what happened to my head.

I did find a rating section on the site though. You can submit your headshot and have members rate you, from a 1 (Fish Again) to a 10 (Great Catch). Am I the only one who finds this too icky to bear? Needless to say I will not be submitting my headshot to this section. There’s also a discussion board, which I just haven’t had time to delve into, and just as well too because, let’s face it, I’m looking for a real-live date – not a discussion board buddy.

I’ve gotten a few emails from men on the site and not one of them is more than one sentence long. Actually most are just a word or two, like “Hi There” or “Va-Va-Voom” (do people really still use that expression??!!), or “Hey Hottie”. I have to be honest, I need more than that verbally. I like to know that the person I’m considering meeting can string a short series of sentences into a coherent message. Call me crazy, but I really do like that. I wonder if this penchant for the briefest possible message has something to do with the structure of the site? Maybe all these gentlemen are so mentally drained from trying to navigate the labyrinth that is PlentyOfFish that basic language skills have now escaped them.

I did briefly reply to a Mr. Potato Head from New York. He wrote “You seem very lovely, it’s a shame that we’re so far from one another”. His profile seemed intelligent and down-to-earth and, although he really is G.I. (geographically inappropriate) I decided to write back with, “Thanks for writing. I enjoyed your profile and I too think it’s too bad that we’re so far apart. I do have cousins who live out your way though. It’s a nice area.” He replied that he might mapquest where I lived and then he mentioned a town that’s about 50 miles south of me! So, I sent him a note telling him to set his mapquest sights to my actual home town….and….never heard back from him. Well, that’s the way it goes with online dating…sometimes they just disappear…onward and upward then.

For now I’m going to leave my profile up on PlentyOfFish…Polyanna usually wins with me. It’s free so it couldn’t hurt, right? In the meantime, I’m open to suggestions for other likely sites. Let me know if you run across an interesting one.

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