The dating site I've been using, OkCupid, has been letting me down lately. I haven't heard from anyone terribly interesting in a long time. Which is kinda depressing when you're me, and you work from home, and you're a workaholic, and everyone at every party you go to is married or a 23-year-old intern.
Could it be that my problem is my picture? I wondered this when I saw that OkCupid had crunched some data about the biggest myths of online profile pictures.
I reviewed the myths and came up with six tips for choosing the best profile pic.
MYTH #1: SMILING INTO THE CAMERA IS BEST
Women who put up as their main pic a shot of themselves smiling into the camera do fare better than those who don't smile, it's true. They also get more responses than those who smile away from the camera.
Tip No. 1: The single best kind of photo women can use is one in which they're flirting into the camera — making a pouty-sexy face or some such.
But do not flirt away from the camera, women, because that will work against you — probably because the men will think you are slutty for flirting with some phantom dude who is out of the frame.
Tip No. 2: Interestingly, when it comes to male profiles, the best ones are of men who are not smiling and are looking away.
(Funny how the gender stereotypes get reversed here. Online, in the pictures, a woman should come off as sexually aggressive, whereas a man should assume a passive role. What do you guys make of this?)
MYTH #2: DON'T TAKE YOUR OWN PHOTO
As it turns out, people with self-taken photos do just as well as anyone else in the online meat market.
Tip No. 3: Profiles that feature a self-taken MySpace-style photo — in which a girl holds the phone slightly above her head and makes a coy face — do best of all. This apparently had nothing to do with the amount of cleavage shown, as OkCupid took out all the major-cleave shots. So what's the magic here? Possibly just that women look best from that angle.
MYTH #3: DON'T SHOW TOO MUCH SKIN
When it comes to women showing off their bods, those who showed some cleavage in their pics did better than those who didn't — and as women age, this effect increased.
Tip No. 4: It's never going to work against you to show some dé-coll-e-however-you-spell-it...and the older you get, the more it will help to elevate you above the masses.
In addition to too much skin, too much partying can work against you. Guys who put up pics of themselves with their buddies don't do all that well, relatively. These kinds of pictures do tend to invite a little too much interpretation — a guy might look like he has loser friends or like he is an aging frat boy trying too hard to hold on to his glory days.
Tip No. 5: Err on the side of caution and forgo this kind of shot. Especially the one in which you're doing a keg stand. Trust me.
MYTH #4: MAKE SURE YOUR FACE IS SHOWING IN YOUR MAIN SHOT
Tip No. 6: Turns out, it's cool to use a main pic where your face isn't very clear.
That is, as long as you're doing something interesting enough to elicit some questions or spark an e-mail conversation, such as deep-sea diving, playing guitar, walking through the desert.
I will attest to the effectiveness of this by saying I had a pic up for a while of myself looking at my feet and smiling quite shyly — not a bit of flirtatiousness exposed — that my friend David took of me in his apartment. His electric keyboard stood in the background. I cannot tell you how often guys wrote to me, saying, "Hey, you seem cool. Are you a musician?"
I took that pic down a while back. At the moment, I have only three shots up: One is a professional head shot, one is a self-taken one of me smiling away from the camera, and one is of me singing karaoke ("Positively Fourth Street"), which I put up for the purposes of showing that I was not a "secret internet fatty." I guess I should take one of me with some cleave and of me doing something interesting, huh?
If you want more online dating pointers from me by way of OkCupid, check out these posts:
Laptop Backpacks That Provide Both Fashion and Function
Stylish, take-anywhere backpacks that fit your laptop (and everything else, too).
By Julia Marzovilla
Charlotte Tilbury Is Honoring the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee With a "Timeless" Limited-Edition Collection
You can already scoop up a few pieces from the royal-inspired set.
By Samantha Holender
Fashion Brands That Recycle, Resell, or Upcycle Your Old Clothes
Here's what to do with your unwanted pieces.
By Rachael Noll
Four Flirting Fun Facts--With Research to Back Them Up!
My pal Judy Dutton just wrote an excellent new book: How We Do It: How the Science of Sex Can Make You a Better Lover. She's chatted with me about the psychological studies that show how best to flirt; what kind of pick-up lines work best; and what you're really saying with your body language.
By Maura Kelly
How the Normalization of Anal Sex Has Shifted the Conversation About Consent
And why it's more important to be having these discussions than ever.
By Gigi Engle
Experts Say These Are the Types of Questions You Should Be Asking on Dates
Gird your loins.
By Lori Keong
8 First Date Tips for Every Feminist
First date tips for feminists
By Alanna Greco
More and More Rapes Are Being Reported by People Who Met Their Attacker on Dating Apps
Here's what you need to know.
By Megan Friedman
23 Things You Shouldn't Do in Your Online Dating Profile
Just refrain from talking about the zombie apocalypse, okay?
By Alexandra Tunell
I Wasted Two Years "Dating" a Man I Never Met
We talked on the phone for hours a day, professed our love, and had intimate phone sex — but never a single date.
By Laurie Sandell
Men Think You're Not Trustworthy When You Enhance Your Dating-Profile Pics
But they'll date you anyway.
By Diana Bruk