Who's allowed to appear in your dating profile pictures?
We had a bit of controversy in our Dating Kinda Sucks Facebook group the other dayyyyy…
You see, what had happened was that a member posted some screenshots of his dating profile for critique and review by our members. Overall, the opinions were pretty similar, except for one exception: one of the nine photos had a photo of him in a Halloween costume with a girl in a bunny costume. (In the interest of privacy I won’t post the photo but I did include an artist’s likeness):
The other eight photos showed him being goofy, having fun, and demonstrated a wide range of activities and interests. Everyone in the group loved his photos except for the one with the girl.
Almost every single woman (with a few notable exceptions) took issue with the photo. The rationale ranged from “That makes me think she’s the type you like” to “Why would you include a picture of another woman in your profile if you’re trying to find a date” to “Are you trying to show off that you have hot friends?” to “It turns me off to see someone with another woman in his profile” and even more. I disagreed with their assessments, calling that gut reaction a projection based on insecurity, and, as you might guess, some degree of chaos ensued.
So here we are. The question has not been resolved and I think it merits analysis. For the ease of discussion, I’ll focus this on men. Men, is it acceptable for you to have a photo with a woman in your dating profile? The answer is both yes and no, depending on the situation.
When it’s a NO:
First of all, if you have multiple photos of you with lots of people of all genders in your photos, that’s a big mistake. Most of the photos should be of you and you alone. Tell a story with your photos, but you should very clearly be the main focus of each photo. Everyone knows that if you can’t tell who the person is in a group photo in a dating profile, it’s always (ALWAYS) the ugliest person in the photo. ALWAYS.
If, however, you have one out of a set of photos that is you with a woman, it’s generally going to be fine unless one or more of the following scenarios exist:
- It’s an intimate photo (not like it’s a shot of her blowing you or anything, but something where there’s a sexual intimacy, from sitting on your lap to kissing you to laying in bed together to, sure, blowing you.)
- She’s scantily clad and you’re not. If you’re both at the beach in bathing suits, that’s one thing, but if she’s a stripper and you’re putting a dollar bill in her buttcrack with your mouth while your idiot buddy takes a photo, that’s going to be a no from me, dawg.
- She’s in a wedding dress and you’re the groom. If I have to explain this one, you shouldn’t be dating. Go lock yourself in a monastery.
- All of your other photos are douchebag fuckboy photos. And by that I mean photos of you showing off luxury items that you probably bought with your dad’s credit card while being a shitty tipper and treating servers like dirt. If your photos give off a general theme of vainglorious machismo, materialism, and douchecanoery, nobody should swipe right on your greasy micro-dicked self anyway.
- If she’s in a wedding dress while blowing you and you’re putting a dollar in her buttcrack while you wave around a wad of cash and your fake Rolex, that’s a definite no. And a Yikes.
When it’s a YES:
If you have multiple photos that show you doing activities and tell a great story of who you are, there is absolutely no problem with posting a photo with a woman if it doesn’t meet the aforementioned scenarios. Picture with your best friend (who’s *gasp* a woman)? Fine. Your sister? Yup. Mom? Sure. Grandma? Of course. Celebrity? Absolutely. Random woman from somewhere? Only if the photo is an important one to show. Ex? Only if the photo really shows something about you that would be missing. Current girlfriend or wife? Dude, get off the dating apps, unless you’re poly or open, in which case EVERY photo should be of the two of you, and you should very clearly state it in your profile (and if you’re not willing to do that, stay the fuck off the apps).
But, you may ask, what about all of the women who had a problem with a very normal, non-douchebag profile that had half of a woman in one photo?
Don’t worry about them. Part of using dating apps is to screen out people who aren’t a good match, and in my not-so-humble opinion, if someone is going to be so *gnash* upset about the fact that you dared *gasp* to post a photo with a woman *shriek* on your dating profile, suffice it to say they’re probably not a good match for you.
Here are their arguments why they’ll swipe left, along with my rebuttals:
- It makes me think that she’s his type and I don’t look like that. That’s entirely you projecting a lack of confidence onto one static image in a dating profile.
- He’s probably cheating on her on the dating app. That’s baggage from past relationships rearing its ugly head. People deserve the benefit of the doubt unless red flags and gut feelings tell you otherwise.
- Why does he have to show off a hot girl? If you consider posting a photo with someone “showing them off” you’re being weirdly sexist and definitely allowing your insecurities to take rein.
- It says “Look I take pictures with hot girls.” Do you even hear yourself? So if she was ugly it would be okay? Does that logic make any sense to you? People are friends with hot women and men and take photos together for a wide variety of reasons, and it’s almost never “Look I take pictures with my hot friends.”
- It sends the wrong message. What message is that? I have friends? I know how to be social? I’m not a loner? An innocent picture with someone of another gender doesn’t send any message except what you let yourself think it does.
- It might be an ex. Who the fuck cares? I’m friends with all of my exes, and we do things together. If you can’t handle a simple photo, imagine how terribly you’ll handle it if she and I talk on the phone!
- If you’re on a dating site to meet women, why would you post a pic with another woman? Because looking for someone to date and being friends with women is two very different things.
- Who knows what their relationship is? Who cares what it is? As people get more comfortable with their sexuality and the societal stigma recedes, any person in a photo could have a relationship with the principal figure. Two guys having a beer could show a bisexual guy on a date, but it was a good photo of him so he used it in his profile.
Every single argument against a man having a photo with a woman in his dating profile is built on insecurity, projection, and baggage. While in certain contexts, as I mentioned above, those are valid questions and statements, they become invalid when applied across the board to every single photo of people of different genders on a dating app.
In my opinion, and in my life, I’m okay with missing out on the women who feel that way. I want them to swipe left and not right. Most of my friends are women, I am friends with my exes, and many of the women in my life would be considered hot too. If a woman seeing an innocent picture on my dating profile is struck by such a wave of jealousy, insecurity, dislike, or other negative emotion that she reacts like that, I can only imagine how fully incapable she would be of participating in any aspect of my real life. In the end, it’s entirely her loss, and my gain.
P.S. To my female friends and the women listeners and readers who are going to see this and get upset at me: I’m not saying that you’re too insecure or too jealous or crazy. We all have our insecurities and issues. What I am saying is that when you project those insecurities into the dating world and make assumptions and try to control situations you have no place trying to control, it only harms you in the long run. Next time, look at the big picture, examine the context, and decide whether you’d rather live your life avoiding the “mights” when you could just swipe right and find out for sure. I can get in my own head too, and I have to step back, take a breath and realize that everyone’s story is different and I should find out from them what it is instead of writing it for them.