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Chasing The American Dream

November 21, 2004

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I’m so amused lately by looking at these online pictures of various women on JDate. I’m sure the men do the same thing, but I haven’t done the research to confirm. How many times have you thought to yourself, “Why the hell would anyone put THAT picture in a profile?” Too many, if you ask me. I’ve boiled it down to a few themes. Sorry girls, but here is my David Letterman top 16 list (in no particular order) of the ones that immediately throw up the red flag as definite “No-No’s.”

1. Glamour shot. Ahh, the perfect photo. The best of the best. Anything else is surely gonna be downhill from here. Knowing this, why do you include other pictures which look absolutely nothing like the glamour pic? It’s like you’re looking at two totally different people and I have a real good guess which picture looks more like the real you.
2. Glamour shot + poses. Even worse than #1. You get glamour plus the phony pose. The hand under the chin. The tilt of the head. The side profile. Way too stilted for me. Give me a candid shot any day.
3. Vacation shot. “Here I am. Look at me! I’m on the French Riviera! I’m on the Italian coast. I’m cool!” Uh, no. You’re not.
4. Revealing shot. I suppose the intent of showing all that cleavage is to say, “Hey, check me out. I’m sexy. I’ve got a bod!” To me, it’s you saying you’re one of the seven dwarfs. I think his name is Sleazy. It also tells me you’re desperate. Yes, your bod’s impressive but your brains are questionable.
5. Action shot. “Here I am flying down a ski slope, or water skiing, or horseback riding. See? I’m athletic and cool and because this picture is taken so far away, you can’t even see my face!” Hey, I’m happy you’re having fun and are athletic, but the whole point of the picture is for us to actually see your face.
6. Blurry shot. This one totally boggles my mind. Why on earth would you put a blurry, fuzzy, hazy picture out there where we can’t even tell if you’re a girl or a guy? Makes absolutely no sense and shows you have none.
7. No shot. First reaction? OK, what are you hiding? You tell me in your profile that, “I don’t need a picture or please request a picture.” Obviously, you don’t get why we are all here. This may be the biggest red flag out there.
8. High school shot. This one sucks, too. You tease me and pull me in with the old high school or college picture. Then I stare at the other attached photos and wonder, if indeed, this is the same person? If so, you really seemed to have aged a good 10 years. Big-time turn-off.
9. Different hair style/color shots. I’m not sure I get this one either. You’ve got two to four pictures and your hairstyle is different in every one of them. My immediate question is, “OK, so which one are you? Which one of these do you actually look like? Are you really a blonde or brunette? Is your hair straight or curly these days.” Perhaps it shows your sense of style, but I would rather know simply what you look like TODAY!
10. Food shots. This one baffles me. Do you think it’s really attractive for me to see you with a mouthful of pizza or you chugging a beer? Two words come to mind. Trailer trash.
11. Hats & other clothes. Tony Bennett once sang something about “Rags to Riches.” Beware of these extremes. Hey you! Yeah you. The girl that’s dressed to the nines ready to attend the Academy Awards. Sure, you’re swanky and stylin'. But I think I’d rather see a dose of reality rather than what you look like one or two days out of the year. Hats? Again, stylish perhaps, and even that’s a stretch. But what’s underneath? What are you covering up? Conversely, what’s with the tattered Cinderella-type look? I think, ideally you should fall somewhere in between Rags and Riches.
12. Black & White shot. Can someone tell me what the attraction is here? Is this style supposed to make you look hotter or more fashionable or something? To me, this comes dangerously close to #1 and is often combined with #1 which makes it totally unacceptable.
13. Group shot. You know this one, right? You tell me, “That’s me over there, to the left of the fat girl and to the right of the bartender.” I scratch my head and search and say, “Uh, WHERE exactly are you?” Geez Louise, can’t you find a solo picture of yourself? I could care less about these other people.
14. Boyfriend shot. I think this one pisses me off the most. You have the friggin’ gall to put a picture out there on a dating service and you showcase your former boyfriend, husband, or whatever the hell he is? Do you really think us guys want to see your ex? Puh-leeze. This is classless and is a total turn-off. Like I said for #13, can’t you find a solo picture?
15. Boyfriend cut-out shot. Not quite as bad as #14. At least you made an effort to cut him out. But really. That half-cut out face you’re leaning on and that arm around your waist make it fairly obvious. You should really try to remove any and all remnants of your ex, OK?
16. Silly shot. I guess the intent here is to show me you’re a real goofball. A Silly girl. Hey, I’m a silly boy, too. But I think there’s a better time and place for revealing that. Frankly, looking at you sticking your tongue at me or making some contorted facial expression makes me fly right by your picture. Once again, I’m thinking, “This is the best picture you could come up with?”

So if your intent is to impress me with any of these picture themes, obviously you’ve come up far short. Why? Well like the title says, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.


  • Goodness gracious! I tried to post a blog and I went through 15 sites on the way here!
    You are a bit harsh. I am younger and I (theoretically) should have no prob grabbing a date. Haha you say?!? After 1 year in my area I have had plenty... if you count topheavy, brainless iwannahotchickbymyside guys "counting" as real potentials. I even (gasp!) tried Match, but still the same old yuckie trashy men. Trophy Girl is what comes to mind.
    Anyhow, back to the point. I have posted pics that were at most 1.5 years old, but all were most certainly representative of my current self. Is that wrong? So maybe I changed my hair? Cut a couple inches. Had a few highlights. So maybe I gained or dropped a few pounds? WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE ME?
    And secondly, maybe the point of posting 45 different pictures of the same gal, maybe I am trying to show that I am differnt, changing, or something of the sort. Maybe, yes, just maybe, I am the chamelon you are wanting. And maybe, if you can pull a pic of yourself from 10 years back and see the same, maybe that is something YOU need to deal with. Don't hash on the women who are throwing themselves out there. Are you not doing the same? How would you feel if someone told you, "Hey skinny boy, your glasses are way 80s, you have no balls to date the real way, and by the way, the desperate women you refer to in your blog are much better off than you!" feel?
    Let's get real, how picky do you want to be? More importantly, how picky CAN you be?? Are you in a position to write off these women???

    Let that be the judge.

    You can write all your corny postings you want, but when the day ends, when the sun goes down, when it is time to go to bed, where are you? and, more importantly, who are you with?????

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:05 PM, November 21, 2004  

  • Anon,

    Nice post. So in other words, you're asking me out, right?

    By Blogger Plantation, at 4:32 PM, November 21, 2004  

  • No. Did you hear a word I said?
    So what gives?
    Maybe I am 220 back in grade school. Maybe not.
    Maybe I am heinous. Maybe not.
    That's what you are asking for, right? The "perfect" picture??
    If you knew nothing other than what I just "blogged", then how is that different than a "no picture" on JDATE?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:13 PM, November 21, 2004  

  • Anon,

    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. My post and reply to you reeks of humor and sarcasm. If your JDate profile didn't say you like sarcasm, then I guess you wouldn't get it. Believe me, I'll be ragging on myself plenty. Thanks for stopping back by. Say, did you read my first post? Remember the line I quoted from Garden State? "If you can't laugh at yourself, life's going to seem a whole lot longer than you'd like."

    By Blogger Plantation, at 5:31 PM, November 21, 2004  

  • I have never been, or been posted on, JDATE.
    But I know you have.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:49 PM, November 21, 2004  

  • I move that all pictures ought to be daguerreotypes. Or, at least in sepia tones.

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 1:40 PM, November 22, 2004  

  • Regarding "Garden State:" Long life is good.

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 8:05 PM, November 22, 2004  

  • women are why men join all men's clubs

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:17 PM, November 23, 2004  

  • ok, so she can't look posed and look good for the camera, but appearing spontaneous or goofy is also a big no-no? She can't be in a beautiful place she's maybe visited, because such a photograph makes her "not cool?" She can't NOT have a picture, but said mandatory picture MUST have the appropriate level of cleavage (presumably determined by you)? She can't be having a beer with friends because that makes her trailer trash? She can't even wear a HAT? Are you for real?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:04 PM, November 26, 2004  

  • My 'adoring' public,

    I am enjoying the controversey and accept the criticism. I've gotten a lot of offline comments on this not shown here. My conclusion? By and large, the men like it, the women hate it. Those that like it leave their names. Those that don't are named Anonymous. I must say, once again, that I could have written this differently and made it a unisex post had I done the research on the men. But I've seen some pics of men. Some women have asked me to evaluate profiles for them.

    So let's take a couple of comparisons. Cleavage vs guns. Maybe guys armed with big bicepts are proud to show this off and naturally hope to attract girls of cleavage. Great for them, I just think it's a bit gross on both sides. Nor would I get excited over a guy showing me a tiny pic of him skydiving. Sure it shows personality, but I really just want to see a face. Guys/girls chuggging beers, sticking tongues out. Guy or girl is not really the issue. The issue to me is that all these are strange choices of photos. But that's only my opinion and opinions, like I've commented, are what make the world go round.

    Keep up the good comments...

    By Blogger Plantation, at 3:18 PM, November 26, 2004  

  • btw - some of us are "anonymous" not because we are ashamed of our comments but because we've no desire to set up a blogger account, but are just reading various sites. w/o an account, comments show up as anon. So, fyi, the previous post is mine-- Tatiana

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:59 PM, November 26, 2004  

  • Thanks 'T' for the correction and your feedback. Call me a dumbass. I didn't know you had to set up an account to add your name. Suppose you can leave your name in your comments. Whatever, my bad. Stay tuned for a follow up post on this subject.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 5:40 PM, November 26, 2004  

  • Todd:

    LOVED your post. I can so relate! Let's be honest, with online dating sites, all we really have to go by are the photos, how many typos there are in a profile and if they even bother to take the time to spell-check. That may seem harsh and shallow but it's reality. If "Anonymous" can't stand the fact that online daters are quick to make judgement calls based on photos, she's thin-skinned and shouldn't use Jdate or Match, etc. in her quest for an open-minded man who can read between the lines (and blurry photos). In fact, I recently posted something similar on my own blog. Like you, I'm continually *amazed* at some of the photos people choose to "market" themselves! You can view my own take on this at this link:


    By Blogger Vendelascity, at 10:57 PM, December 02, 2004  

  • I agree but for one thing. My profile has a pic of me in front of the ocean...it may look like a vacation but, sadly, is not. (I just happen to live by the ocean. It also shows a bit of cleavage b/c during the hot summer they are not as easy to conceal.)

    I only posted it b/c it was a Recent Picture (and I agree that using only old photos is misleading).

    However, that picture can also be a test- if the first thing a guy comments on is "nice picture, you're looking hot" or "great body" (not being conceited, some jerk actually used that as his opening IM line), it can be an insight into what he might be looking for. And what kind of social skills he might lack.

    By Blogger Lyss, at 10:18 AM, December 03, 2004  

  • Lyss,

    You raise some valid points. I happen to agree with them. There are always exceptions to the rules, right? You have a profile name?

    By Blogger Plantation, at 10:54 AM, December 03, 2004  

  • Hi P. Here from JDatersAnonymous. Your points all seem pretty reasonable, except for maybe the hairstyle/color one. Or perhaps I'm just defensive because my profile features 3 different pictures with 3 entirely different sets of hair. What can I say? I change my mind a lot.

    Well, I'll sign my name so you won't think.. I don't know. -Maayan (profile: SusanCalvin)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:24 PM, December 17, 2004  

  • Erm, make that (profile: MsSusanCalvin). You'd think I'd remember that sort of thing wouldn't you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:26 PM, December 17, 2004  

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