An MPSIM Question on Internet Dating

Hey all,

I had a bit of an odd question that I’ve run past some friends and gotten their take on, but figured that this whole community might have a bit of a different view on the topic. First, though, some unnecessary history!

About 5 months after getting out of a 4 year relationship (and after a very fun rebound relationship overseas), I was starting to realize that after graduating university and working in a job that consists of me and 4 other guys, meeting new girls would be a bit tough without really putting a bit of effort into it. To this end, I put up a profile on PoF and OKcupid after being told by a couple friends that they had met their partners on either or.

Fast forward a solid 6 or 7 months later, I’ve garnered a couple dates off the sites (nothing long term), but a bit of an odd phenomena surfaced. So… here’s the question:

I used to think of myself as very broadly open minded when it came to women. I’ve dated girls of all shapes, sizes and races without a care to how she ‘fits’ into the Hollywood beauty profile. Since I’ve given this whole internet dating thing a whirl, though, I’ve become incredibly hesitant to even reply to a girl who doesn’t have a picture on her profile.

Case in point, there’s a girl who recently added me to a ‘favorites’ list. Once I picked myself up off the floor and got over the trembling and shakes, I looked over her profile. On paper, she seems like a thoroughly interesting girl; we share a fair few hobbies and I even love the way she writes. Still… no picture means I’m waffling over whether to fire off a message.

Does this make me shallow? Does the fact that I don’t want to APPEAR shallow and actually ask for a photo factor in? Is this all just an unhealthy level of background paranoia and I should get over it and ask the girl to chat?

Having lurked here for years and years, I do very much value the opinions of those on this board! If you’ve experience in the internet dating world, so much the better!

  • Budista

I don’t think wanting to know what someone looks like is shallow. It just means that we’re creatures who are first outwardly attracted to physical characteristics. As to whether or not that means you’re paranoid, I don’t believe so. Just like in real life dating, all things must be taken into account.

So my advice to you would just be to ask. Tell her you’d like a face to go with the image you have in your head. 'Tis as easy as that. :slight_smile: Back when I tried my hand at this, for the longest time I didn’t have a picture simply because I didn’t have a digital camera. So maybe she hasn’t had good enough cause to bother yet. But no matter what, chatting hurts nothing. Go for it.

And welcome to the Dope. We’re glad to have you!

I personally don’t mind discriminating against people that don’t put up pictures. But I do want to fully encourage you to at least chat. Build a decent amount of comfort before asking blatantly for a picture. If she still resists give you a picture, then that’s going to be a dealbreaker and you can call me shallow for that. You HAVE to see someone before you meet them ever in person, simple as that.

For the record, I skimmed the OP, so if I’m way off base here, my apologies.

I’ve been finding dates online since the stone age. I’m no looker myself, but I do want to see a picture first. Not because I’m shallow - I’m afraid that the guys might be too hot for me and will be thoroughly turned off by how I look outside of my decent profile pics. I want to see them so I can compare us.

There are those with no picture in their profiles because they want to remain anonymous from co-workers, neighbors, or their kids. The sane among them will cough up a picture upon request and won’t think you shallow for asking. The woman who favorited you saw your picture, right? I agree it’s a little awkward to have to ask (the most sensitive of these pictureless ones will have a note saying “photo available” in their profiles) but I think it’s an important part of the overall impression.

If someone danced around the topic of sending a picture, it is most likely because they are trying to hide something about their appearance, and hoping they will charm you in person despite the fact that they are in fact 20 years or 3 standard deviations from the mean away from the weight they claimed. (And sorry, faithfool, it may sound all right to you but if you’re Internet dating and it’s somehow beyond you to scan a photo or have a friend snap a digital one, that’s going to sound pretty weak to a lot of people unless “I’m a Luddite hermit” is part of your sales pitch.)

I think part of this phenomenon (and I may be totally off-base here) is because at the moment, we have a natural distrust for the anonymity of the internet. Too many scams, too many falsehoods… Heck, too much -spam- without any way to verify someone is who they say they are. I think that when we see information, but can’t attach it to a human being, only an internet profile, something within us naturally distrusts it.

I don’t think you’re shallow or acting improperly to want to see what a potential mate looks like. We don’t choose our mates based solely on attraction, but it has to be there, so you do have to see what a woman you’re thinking about dating looks like eventually (and the sooner the better). I met my husband online 10 years ago, when pictures were common but not universal, and I found that it was better to meet people sooner rather than later - you have to be in the same room with someone to know if you can stand being in the same room with someone. Even pictures won’t give you that, but they’ll help with screening.

Shrug, I haven’t used internet dating sites but I’ve used internet renting sites and don’t bother with places that have no pictures (or which only show an irrelevant picture, for example the park that’s 3 blocks away). My impression with those is that either they don’t care enough to take 3-4 relevant pictures and post them or they don’t want to show the goods.

Would you want to date someone who thought that anybody seeing a picture of her would automatically discard her? Either those women aren’t really bothering, or they’re afraid someone will recognize them (so who are they hiding from?), or they’ve got insecurity levels I’d rather not deal with. My impression, of course, and I’m sure there’s wonderful people out there who don’t put up pictures.

Let me add that just because someone HAS a picture on her profile, that doesn’t mean it’s a picture of HER. And if it IS a picture of her, that doesn’t mean it’s a RECENT picture, or one that isn’t wildly misleading in some way.

Bottom line, if this woman you’ve found seems like someone you might be interested, why not reach out? You don’t have anything to lose – if she turns out to be someone you’re not attracted to for whatever reason, you might still have made a friend.

Exactly - this is why you exchange a few emails, talk on the phone a bit, then meet quite quickly if there is interest on both sides (for a non-commital coffee date).

I was on eHarmony, which is a little different because you have to pay to be there. I would automatically block anyone who didn’t have a photo posted, there. Random strangers aren’t going to be wandering around, so it isn’t like people are hiding from kids and co-workers, and if you aren’t serious enough to put yourself out there with a pic, you aren’t serious enough for me to waste my time on.

I can see how it would be different on a free site like OKCupid. I had rotten luck on the free sites, though.

I’m now married to one of the eHarmony guys.

I think it’s become sufficiently de rigueur to have a photo in an online dating profile that I’ve ceased worrying about people without them. When I first tried online dating, digital cameras were less ubiquitous, so I tried not to make a big deal of it. At this point, though, not having a photo is kinda like not having anything written in your profile - to me, it’s like not finishing the profile. On the other hand, I also think that going out once with someone you’re not attracted to isn’t really a terrible thing, so I’m pretty willing to go along with it and see if it pans out. If it’s important to you, ask for a picture, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

Before I met my current girlfriend, I used Internet dating to meet women. With apologies to whom I’m seeing now, the hottest woman I ever dated did not have a picture on her profile. Like you, I was intrigued by how she described herself, and agreed to meet for coffee/drinks. She sent a picture after I asked how I was going to recognize her for our date. When I asked why she didn’t have a picture with the profile, she claimed it thinned out a lot of guys who were just interested in her for her looks (basically, she looked like a cross between Milla Jovavitch (face/hair) and Christina Hendricks (body).

Perhaps it may be a similar situation in your case? In any event, what do you have to lose by answering sans picture, other than the time and money from one date?

Well, to sort of bring it all up to date, I did go ahead and send her a message. I used Random Approach #24 (Seem like a normal guy).

Response? ‘Read and Deleted’ without a word in reply!

Honestly, I just laughed that particular one off. I figure if she’s going to add me to a favorites list and then not respond when I make a point of communicating with her, there’s probably not much there worth pursuing.

Of course, she could just be really shy and not really know how to respond. My definition of normal can certainly be… abnormal at times. Who knows, right? In an odd (and unprecedented) turn of events, three other users all messaged me without any provocation over the last day or so!

The world’s a weird place. The dating world doubly so.

  • Budista

Well, never mind then. :slight_smile:

(It looks like you dodged a bullet with that one - putting you on a favourites list then deleting a reply is not…the usual m.o. for finding a mate.)