9 Ways Women Lie With Their Online Dating Photos
Turns out there might be a grain of truth to this online dating adage: Women worry about men being serial killers and men worry about women being fat.
In a 2009 study, Putting Your Best Face Forward: The Accuracy of Online Dating Photographs, researchers from Cornell University evaluated 54 heterosexual online daters (27 male and 27 female) to determine how closely their online dating photos matched their appearances in person.
Photos of female online daters contained an average of three “discrepancies” (defined in the study as aspects of a photo and/or the person in the photo that deviate from the person’s actual appearance), compared to 1.33 in photos of male online daters.
Here are nine types of discrepancies the study looked for in participants’ online dating photos and the percentages of men and women guilty of having them in their pics:
1. Photos that give a misleading perception of the subject’s weight
Examples include a carefully cropped photo, a photoshopped photo or an old photo from when the subject’s body type was significantly different.
2. Photos that give a misleading perception of the subject’s age
Old photos can lead a viewer of your profile to believe you’re younger, or younger looking, than you actually are.
3. Photos that give a misleading perception of the subject’s skin
A low-resolution picture can hide the subject’s skin imperfections and the flash can make the subject’s skin appear lighter than it actually is.
4. Photos that give a misleading perception of the subject’s hair style
If you make a radical change to your hair, you should update your online dating photos to avoid any unwanted surprises once you’re on a first date.
5. Photos that give a misleading perception of the subject’s hair length
Again, your pictures should match your current look.
6. Photos that give a misleading perception of the subject’s teeth
If you can’t see a woman’s teeth in any of her pictures, you never know what they’ll look like until you meet her in person. If her teeth are visible in her pics, you don’t know if she photoshopped them to look whiter, straighter, etc.
7. Photos that appear to have been taken by a professional photographer
Professional photographers utilize certain techniques to make their subjects appear more attractive in the photos.
8. Photos that have been cropped
If the picture only shows her face, you have no idea what kind of body type she has, setting up a potentially awkward encounter if you meet her in person.
9. Photos that have been retouched
Software such as Photoshop has made it easy for anyone to enhance his or her appearance in pictures. Evidently, men aren’t quite vain enough to engage in this practice.
Selecting photos for your online dating profile, according to the researchers, represents a precarious balance between honesty and the desire to appear as attractive as possible. Basically, you might be able to get more dates as a result of exaggerating your appearance in your online dating photos, but then you might struggle getting further than the first date. Being significantly misled about the physical appearance of a person you met online can be a deal breaker for most people.
On the other hand, you might not mind if you show up for a first date with a woman you met online and her hair is a little lighter than it appears in her pictures, or she’s a little shorter than you thought.
If you show up for that date and find an obese Turkish drag queen waiting for you, then it’s a different story.
About Luke Harold Luke Harold is a journalist who has written for publications including the Philadelphia Inquirer and Orange County Register.