Girls, Be Honest: A Man's Profile Pictures Are the #1 Priority in Online Dating, Right?

I know all about the stereotype: Men care more about looks. Yeah, well, I'm not sure I believe it.

I'm also not saying there's anything intrinsically wrong with caring about looks; we all should and we all do. It's just that when it comes to online dating, I think we all know how it works, right? Just like in real life, guys do ALL the approaching and girls just sit there and field messages and winks and any other contacts that come their way. I've dated several women I met on dating sites and they all admit that this is what happens. Here's a direct quote from one of them:

"Nah, I never searched profiles. What for? I kept getting like 25 emails a day."

Of course, that's insanely frustrating from a male perspective because the average guy's success rate is what, maybe one in ten? One in twenty? Worse? I think my success rate was probably one in ten and I'm just talking about getting a reply back; I'm not referring to ultimately dating the person. Basically, girls get to sit back and screen offers while guys send out fifty messages and hope they get a few replies from promising matches. I wish it wasn't this way but it is. And it doesn't seem to matter which service or app you use, either.

So, if all these girls only have to screen approaches, you know the first test has to involve the guy's pictures. It's the easiest way to weed out the ones she doesn't want and besides, those pictures are always front-and-center. They'll only start reading if they like the pictures, right? C'mon, just admit it, ladies. If this wasn't true, I'm almost certain I'd get a lot more replies than I do, and I'm sure ALL guys would get a lot more responses. There are times when I find a girl who's an absolutely perfect match in terms of everything; likes and dislikes, hobbies, personality, etc. And yet, I know if my profile pics aren't good enough, it won't matter.

On the flip side, I imagine girls have the same mentality: "I won't get a lot of messages from guys if my pictures suck." Okay, that's somewhat true but don't forget that we have to search through hundreds and hundreds of profiles, so maybe we don't have hours and hours to read all those profiles. You, on the other hand, even if you are getting your 25 emails a day, should be able to select at least ten profiles you'll actually want to READ, right? And besides, if you really do care more about the "other things," as you girls always claim you do, I'd think you'd be very interested in fantastic matches, regardless of what the pictures are like.

Now obviously, I don't expect anybody to respond if I'm not their type at all. Just because they're mine doesn't mean the vice versa is true. And I understand that. Even so, I wonder if girls are putting WAY too much emphasis on these pictures and when I say that, maybe we're all putting too much emphasis on the pics (both guys AND girls). Maybe if we actually read a bit more and looked a bit less, we'd be more likely to interact with different types of people.

Hey, attraction is attraction. If it isn't there, there isn't much you can do about it. But I've taken a risk a couple times; I've gone out with girls who I thought weren't exactly beautiful, but we had a lot in common, so I gave them a chance. How many girls out there can say the same...?


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What Girls Said 23

  • 8d

    Online or IRL, looks matter. No shit.

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  • 9d

    If he's got amazing pictures but his communication skills are non existent, the picture means NOTHING tome...
    Do the math...

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  • 2d

    Obviously how someone looks in their profile attracts everyone right away. Both males and females and I think it's very hypocritical of males to try and deny it but put full blame on us females. On the sites I use, you don't even see the person's profile/bio/etc until you click on them. Yes, there is that whole % nonsense, but you don't know how compatible you are until you've talked to them for a little while. Personally with me, I get all of these sleazy greasy looking guys calling me pretty and trying to get into my pants. I'm not a fool, I'm there to possibly meet someone, not get hit on by guys I wouldn't give the time of day. Is that a bad thing? No, because we all have our preference. But the bottom line is, some of these guys on dating sites just look a mess.

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  • 2d

    yeah it has a big effect

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  • 3d

    I have really only used okcupid when looking for guys to date. The picture is important, but so is the % compatibility. If someone has a % below 70, I don't bother looking at their profile. The thing most people are not being shallow for looking at pictures and maybe not clicking on that person because attraction does play a role in our relationships. I have given a chance to guys I wasn't attracted to and I just wasted my time, on the other hand I have gone on a date w/good looking guys and they have a terrible personality. The girls you gave a chance, did you have a relationship w/them or just went on one date w/them?

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  • 4d

    good point

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  • 5d

    Don't make it about what GIRLS want. Like you guys care what a girl's heart and brains look like.

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    • 4d

      YES. IF the heart and mind aren't right, I don't care how good looking you are; you're untouchable!

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    • 2d

      Upon reading what the person was MyTaking about, I agree with what he says about online dating. I would go as far as to suggest any type of dating is like this unless you do that dating in the dark shit or something. But, after the initial outward packaging, looses it's "magic" and looks fade, you better hope you are left with a personality and intelligence you can live with. When the girl has crusties in her eyes and bad breath in the morning, and wears ill fitting sweats, and she didn't get a chance to take a shower because of things coming up so she's not her freshest. Or she is in labour and not looking "her best" in any light. At the end of the day, women are humans who do what guys do. It took me a while to really accept this, as women are really beautiful overall and are really good at hiding their imperfections.

    • 1d

      @MrMysteryMan I don't agree with the coordinator title. It's not JUST women who only pay attention to looks in the profile pictures on dating sites. Guys do that too. So let's not make this about a gender. Cause doing that would be just plain stupid. Both genders only look at looks on the profile pics before swiping left or right. Cry me a river. Men and women both are guilty of this

  • 8d

    It is the first thing you see that pulls you in

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  • 8d

    Lol. 25? I live in Houston... try 50-75. Sometimes accidentally clicking on a notification and clicking through to the app resulted in like 10-15 new messages and I've had a guy sitting next to me to witness just that. Which really comes back to a combo of Houston's population and what I assume to be guys just sending in their application to every profile they have a second to click on. PoF is definitely... mmm... interesting.

    As far as the actual question... mmmm... as much as I'm one of the types that used to go into denial...:shrug: you're right. That and maybe subject lines. I don't know... the icons are small... but I admit... if the picture catches my attention... I click through to the profile before even checking out the message. Now... even if they're attractive... if their about me was a turn off... well... strike out... probably didn't open the message. Other days I just clicked messages before reviewing them... but ultimately... if he didn't seem like my 'type'... I didn't really actively engage. That's not to say I gave beefcakes more attention... in fact, I've already said my piece around here on how much attraction matters and why for me.

    This has it's flaws though... I can admit that. My boyfriend and I met in person. On our first date I learned he'd favorited me on OKC...(OKC came up... he used his phone to look up my profile... and when it came up... it was already listed as a favorite. I think... if I'd seen him... or his profile I would have mistakenly assumed him to be not my type simply based on the stupid percentages where we were 'only' 60-70%. and I have mine filtering out anything below 80%. And although I definitely found him attractive... I also probably would have assumed I wasn't the type a guy like him would fall for... and mistakenly found a reason to write him off before getting to know him.

    Bottom line.. I've learned those lessons... dating is hard... get to know people... meet people... don't make my mistakes... even though I did actually... still... end up finding love despite them? But still... stay open to people... ESPECIALLY if you DO find them attractive and don't make assumptions based on a loose profile. Sometimes people describe themselves poorly... and more importantly... often people will surprise you. Find out from experience, not judgements.

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  • 8d

    Liking someone is about the total package. If he's attractive but douchey, no, his looks would not be the main priority, his terrible personality would be all I could think of. Now, if I knew nothing about him and was only going off pictures, of course that would be my number 1 priority in trying to get to know him more. Looks aren't a big deal to me, so, if he wasn't conventionally hot but had awesome interests and we got along well, I would definitely be all over him. And just like the douchey hot guy, if he was douchey, then I wouldn't like him.

    Take away: of course looks are most important when you don't know anything about someone/their dating profile is bare.
    So, guys, give women details so we can go by more than your looks :) It's common sense.

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  • 8d

    I'm pretty sure nobody wants to date someone they think is ugly.

    Also it's really not that serious. Average doesn't mean ugly, and if average guys were striking out as much as people like to think I doubt we'd have the billions of people on the planet that we do.

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    • 8d

      a lot of guys think that just because they're average, they're considered ugly. They just need more confidence in themselves agree?

    • 8d

      @CHRIS11796 Yeah definitely! Average people are still very good looking people, and if most people are average then that means most people are good looking. Very few people are outstandingly "beautiful" and even with that it's all subjective. I think very few people are ugly, and if they are it's probably from something severe or a terrible accident or something bad. The average Joe is still very much beautiful.

  • 8d

    Guys care about looks way more than woman do. Most woman will date anybody thats not ugly if he has a good personality but guys only go for the hot girls and then complain the girls don't value them.

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  • 8d

    Yep. But it's definitely the same for men too, unless they are desperate and they have no standards.

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  • 8d

    Yeah, it's true.

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  • 8d

    For me, it's education first, similarities second, and looks third. I found one of the greatest loves of my life because he had the same oddball degree in geology that I am pursuing. I shouldn't say strictly education, because trades are great, too. Goals mean a lot to me, though. I didn't care for his profile pic at all! In fact, in my head I was thinking " no, no, no, no, no" but when we got together it was instant chemistry.

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  • 9d

    The photo is what you look at first before reading his bio. If a man had an unappealing photo, would you start a conversation with him or continue searching? Majority of women would probably continue searching and there's about 1% chance she'll read his bio even after looking at the unappealing photo. Me personally, looks aren't everything. He could look like Ryan Reynolds but if he has a crap personality, well then it's a waste of time.

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  • 9d

    Profile pictures matter for both genders. It's a first impression. Anyone who has vision will be influenced by what they see. The generalization isn't that men are the only ones who care about looks--its just that men value youth and looks more than women do. Women value career more than men do. In real life, individuals vary.

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  • 9d

    The most important thing is your first message. I'd say about half of guys start with "Hi" or "What's up?". I'd be surprised if those guys ever get a response. And then another 2 out of 10 start with a cheesy pickup line. So if you write a good genuine first message you're already in the top quarter

    And then secondly your pictures matter, yes. How you look, but also what you do. I generally pass on guys who have only pictures in bars or clubs because that's not what I'm into. Or guys who pose with cars then write something like "btw the car isn't mine". If you're formel 1 driver, don't pose with cars

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    • 8d

      Well, I guess it means my picture sucks. :/ I always come up with something witty or clever about something I read on her profile and it usually ends with me being ignored. To the times I do get a response, it usually is "How are you?" or "Hi"

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    • 8d

      @red324 if there was a girl I would use here name. This is a hypothetical question so there is no name.

    • 8d

      @nalaa

      According to those experiments it does work, and so do shirtless pics (as long as they're not taken in front of a bathroom mirror), and maybe they don't have completely blank bios but they'll say something like "I like to laugh and enjoy life" or some meaningless generic BS like that. But like I said it's a consequence of what these apps and websites are like, in the offline world this wouldn't fly (as much). According to one study the median rate for getting a match on tinder for guys is 1 in 115, it goes up exponentially for hotter guys but is even lower for half of all guys. If women were that picky in real life most would end up crazy cat ladies, luckily they're not.

  • 9d

    If it's a photo that's meh, I can put it down to the fact he might not take as good a photo as he looks. If his profile is awesome and we have loads in common I can look past a meh photo and wanna meet.

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  • 9d

    I care about everything in the profile. Pictures/looks, presentations and details (height, origin, smoker/non smoker, education level, wants kids/doesn't want kids, wants to get married/doesn't want to get married and so on). Everything needs to be at least ok for me to even answer because if it's not then I'm not interested and it's just a waste of time to answer. And if I actually reply saying (in a nice way) that I'm not interested a lot of guys will reply back asking why I'm not interested, start to nag and try to get me to talk to them anyway or start to send really mean, bitter and hateful messages. Some will even reply back asking why I even answered if I'm not interested and that that's just a mean thing to do, so all guys don't want a reply if it's not that she's interested.

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What Guys Said 20

  • 8d

    The problem I find is that most people that online date are not ready or even want to date. They are online just to see whats possible. It makes it very frustrating for the ones who are serious about dating. 4 photos of you in a well lit area... no ball caps, sunglasses, etc. and a profile that gives someone a glimpse into your world is all you really need. Weed out the idiots and for god sake keep meeting people offline as well. Online Dating isn't the END ALL BE ALL.

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  • 8d

    Looks in men do matter a lot to women, despite how much they say it's not true. It is. Everybody cares about looks to some extent, and women are caring about it more than they really admit. I remember being on OkCupid some years ago and the FIRST reason a woman gave me for why she wasn't interested is because she didn't think my looks were special. The FIRST reason she gave. It didn't offend me, I was glad she was honest really, but it is funny because of how much chicks deny it.

    However, it is apart of life. It is what it is. Just cuz one woman doesn't find my looks special doesn't mean others don't either. Hell, I myself don't even think I'm special looking but I've had a lot of women think otherwise. So it's all just relative.

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  • 8d

    Here's the thing about on-line dating vs in person dating.

    The guy is able to start a conversation with a girl in-person, without having to get her "approval". That allows the guy to show his social skills and charm. If a guy talks to a girl in person to start a conversation, most of the time she will reply, vet rare for a girl to completely ignore a guy talking to her.

    On-line, the girl has to bless the guy with his approval, for any conversation to even begin!

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  • 3d

    nice one

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  • 4d

    TBH, online dating is probably the worst possible avenue you could take to meet women.

    Men are a lot thirstier than women, and online dating removes all effort and location barriers. So women end up getting propositioned by pretty much every guy in the tri-state area who happens to be online.

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  • 7d

    Yes looks tend to matter with both genders, especially if the person has a lot of option or is attractive themselves. That's pretty obvious. Houses near the ocean or with a city view cost more too because people like nice looking things.

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  • 7d

    well duh... women are all about looks... but at the same time are lightning quick to call men out for being shallow... it's the BIG LIE... an unpopular viewpoint that white knights will attack you for and all women will condemn/badmouth you over.

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  • 8d

    Catfish experiment, Fred the shortish overweight, balding 55yo engineer vs Hans the 30 something Army engineering officer, both with same level of education, guess who gets the attention?

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  • 8d

    This is why you shouldn't be on dating sites. You should be approaching girls in person, because girls in person are way different from girls online. And you actually get to have a comversation in person as well.

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    • 8d

      Bs almost every girl in real life hates being approached. They like the idea but the hate it when it happens.

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    • 8d

      na I'm just generalizing the 22 girls that I have approached. But yeah there are.

    • 8d

      @Dim_121 Keep approaching don't give up.

  • 8d

    They do judge by profile pic that was obvious. There is no doubt about that, after all, Its the first thing they get to see in the profile.
    Don't let the politically corrected high standard answers deceive you.
    #HaveANiceDay
    #GoodQuestion

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  • 9d

    If you aren't attractive looking (top 10% of guys), I have bad news for you...

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  • 9d

    Well done.

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  • 9d

    I tell you a secret, Romeos is the biggest player ever exist. Was he hot? Not really. was he prince charming, a guy appear and save the day? Not really. Was he amazingly smart, not really. But most girl want a Romeo. If you could do what romeo do, than you understand it a lot better.

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  • 9d

    they both do (well some people)

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  • 9d

    A man's pictures are the number 1 thing. Women when they look at pictures are window shopping to see what lifestyle you can give them and/or how hot you are.

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  • 9d

    Everyone, both men and women, are drawn in by appearance but won't stay because of appearance.

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  • 9d

    You would do well in learning how to read faces. I can tell within one or two seconds if a person, man or woman, is someone I would enjoy talking to and/or being with simply by examining the corners of their lips and their eyes.

    I learned how to do this long before the Internet was around in the mid 80s. I did it the old fashion way. I went to two libraries and checked out books on body language. I learned a lot. However, most of it is forgotten. The thing I kept was how to read a face. It has proven true all these years and has served me well.

    by the way... I wanted to learn how to read body language as I suspected my then-wife was cheating. Her body language squealed on her. She was.

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  • 9d

    Things like Tinder is 100% looks. I don't even bother with a bio, it really makes no difference. If they think you're attractive, they'll want to find out more anyway, preferably through talking to you. If they don't think you're attractive, chances are they won't even read your bio anyway. The bio is only really considered if you look so so and she's undecided whether or not she's attracted to you, in which case it can work both ways. I've been turned off by just as many girl's bios as I have been turned on by them.

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  • 9d

    It's true but it has a lot to do with the medium. In real life girls will take humor, body language, eye contact, smell and personality into account but online they have less to go on and get many more options and that screws up their usual decision-making process to the point where it really is ffoonly about your profile picture and your height, the brain is funny that way.

    This difference is one of the main reasons online dating has such dismal success rates.

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  • 9d

    This is common knowledge, when people are given access to many things (in this case men) they can afford to be picky. If you feel you are disadvantaged due to your pics when online dating, try dating in real life, where personality, charm, and money have far more initial attraction value.

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