“A picture’s worth a thousand words.” When advertising executive Fred R. Barnard coined the phrase to promote his agency’s ads in 1921, he knew nothing of online dating. And yet here we are, almost a hundred years later, trying to find the man of our dreams based on a few photos and a blurb. But being men, chances are they didn’t put a whole lot of thought into this key step of online dating. But thankfully, if we girls dig deep and understand how to read a dating profile, we can find a treasure trove of information.
Before we begin, commit the following to memory:
Tinder’s Golden Rule
Add ten pounds, add ten years, and take off three inches (in height!). Apply this often. Because with online dating, what you see is not always what you get.
Things To Avoid When Reading Profiles
- He doesn’t have a bio. He either isn’t taking this online dating thing seriously, or he thinks he’s so hot he doesn’t have to write one. Guess what? He does.
- He has an abundance of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. If he can’t be bothered to spell-check his blurb, he sure as hell isn’t going to bring you flowers on your birthday.
- His list of what he’s looking for is ridiculous. If he wants a brunette taller than 5’6” that likes to hunt, watch Game of Thrones, and “can rock stilettos”… he needs to get over himself. He’s superficial and not looking for someone with shared values.
- He’s overly sexual. In general, any man who over-sexualizes women without getting to know them sees them as objects. Meaning, he’s bad in bed or a douchebag.
- He says he’s “funny” or he’ll “make you laugh”. He’s not and he won’t.
- He’s negative. Must not, can’t, doesn’t, etc. When he has a shopping list of pet peeves before even meeting you, chances are his standards are too high or he’s controlling.
- He says he’s “separated” or “going through a divorce”. I’ve had too many heartbreaks by men who say they’re leaving their marriage, with no intention of doing so. What’s happening is he and the old ball and chain are having issues, they’ve “separated,” and he wants to dip his toe into the dating pool while he has a free pass — before going back to his wife!
- He brags about his wealth, credit score, or says he works in Hollywood. He’s a—say it with me girls—DOUCHEBAG!
And finally, the number one thing to avoid in a profile (and trust me, you will see this a lot). Drumroll…
- He says he’s “not looking for drama”. Because we ladies just love drama. We dig arguing and crying and checking into a hotel at three AM with our kids. We especially love breaking up and getting back together over and over, throwing things, and calling our friends in the middle of the night in tears because he stormed out and took the dog with him. Just like Christmas!
Photo Speed Reading
Learning how to read a dating profile can definitely be tricky. Photos, on the other hand, are easier to decipher. If a man truly cares about finding a woman to give his heart, it will reflect in his photos… and quickly.
- He only posts selfies: It’s bad enough when your girlfriends do it.
- Too much Face Tune: Again, it’s bad enough when your girlfriends do it.
- Only group pics: Where’s Waldo?
- Far away or out of focus pictures: He’s hiding something. See Tinder’s Golden Rule above.
- High school or baby throwback pics: We don’t care.
- Pictures with his sports car: He’s a douchebag.
- Wears sunglasses in every photo: Take them off. We want to see your eyes.
- No pictures at all. The dude is 13 years old… or a chick.
How To Read Backgrounds
There is one more key component to the art of how to read a dating profile: the background. Because whatever you see… he thinks it’s okay.
- Dirty living space: Clothes on the floor, an unmade bed, containers of week-old Chinese food. You can only imagine what this place smells like. Trust me, it does. I’ve been there.
- Bent Levolor mini-blinds: Think about it. The last time you noticed bent Levolor blinds were in your college boyfriend’s apartment, upon lifting your head from the floor, after puking up the previous night’s box of red wine. In fact, that was the last time you saw Levolor blinds at all.
- Electric cords everywhere: Why? What are they attached to? And why doesn’t he make any attempt to cover them up? (These cords are generally attached to extension cords and extra power outlets holding even more extension cords.) Any man who doesn’t attempt to hide his electric cords is not going to be bothered to clean his ears, trim his nose hair, or leave the room when he farts.
- Hamster cages (aka Habitrails): Do you remember them? Well, they are alive and well, and in the background of men’s profile photos. (Metal cages and glass terrariums are in the same category.)
- Guns and ammo: If you are into this sort of thing, swipe right. If not, swipe left. Because if he has them on display in his profile, he’s proud of them and wants you to know it.
- Bathroom selfies: For some reason, men love to shoot pictures of themselves in their bathroom. What they don’t realize is we can spot the skank-covered sink, funky shower curtain, dirty towels, and feminine hygiene products on the counter. And let’s not forget the baby in the corner. (Yep, true story). If you don’t step away now, you could end up being the gal who gets to clean up this mess, including the child’s emotional damage.
And now for the all-time, most offensive background. Wait for it…
- Public restroom selfies: Picture this: a man is out with his “bros” who are all swiping. Said man wants in on the fun, so runs to the men’s room to grab a shot. What he doesn’t realize is we can see this is a public restroom. We can see the toilet seat cover dispenser behind him, and we can tell he is sitting down, most likely doing you-know-what! Not sexy. Not at all.
The Perfect Match
In the end, when you are assessing profiles, aside from a nice smile, and non-serial killer eyes, just look for someone who appears to reflect your sensibilities, likes, and values. For example, if you are a sporty person, look for a man who has sporty pics, as opposed to one sitting in his Barkalounger eating pizza. If you enjoy intellectual pursuits, look for the professor, the art collector, someone who loves to read. And if you like Harleys, guess what? There are way too many dudes, sitting on that brand-new Harley (the one the old ball and chain would never let him buy), just waiting to give you a ride. If you get a good feeling in your beautiful gut and don’t see any glaring red flags, swipe right, and keep your fingers crossed that he swipes you back.
And If he doesn’t, his loss.
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DISCLAIMER: The previous is based on my extensive research (aka, 300 dates in three years) on the new paradigm of dating (aka, “online dating”). These are generalizations. I know there are exceptions. I know your Aunt Judi’s next-door neighbor’s daughter met someone with dating profile photo kissing his iguana. But for most, kissing an iguana doesn’t bode well in the relationship department. Therefore, if you don’t want to waste time on dates to nowhere, do what I say, not what I did.