Each day seems to bring a new online-dating revelation meant to erode our collective faith in courtship/humanity.First there was Ok Cupid’s disturbing, data-based glimpse into modern attraction.Sometimes, after clicking on hundreds of photos, I begin to see patterns emerging (my male friends admit to having similar observations).I know I probably overthink what these photographs mean (not every woman who posts pics like these fits my admittedly superficial profiling).
Better yet, don’t smile and look away from the camera.As a child, Mum taught me not to make judgments based solely on appearances… This is because it’s human nature and also because the words people use to describe themselves – laid-back, fun-loving, etc – all blur together, while photos can trigger an instant reaction: cool, hot, scary obnoxious, adorable. However, on a dating site I’m not seeing someone as she naturally exists: I’m seeing the pic that she picked. The majority of women’s online dating pictures make them seem awesome. On a dating site, the first, second and third things everyone looks at – whether male or female, but probably especially if you’re male – are the photos. Just like in real life, I see someone and can’t help but feel attracted to her or not – and often I’ll even imagine an entire story: A voice, a personality, a date, sex, a life together – based on nothing but a blurry selfie.In reality, I’ve found that my impressions of a woman’s photos only sometimes match up with her personality.The one with the big smile turns out to be depressed; the one with the scowl turns out to be lovely.
You may have heard about this study as it made the rounds on sites like Psychology Today, Business Insider, and countless other news outlets.