10 Basic Rules For Choosing An Online Dating Profile Picture

Sometimes it is important to get back to basics in the over-50 dating game. I sort of assumed anyone who is out there trying to find a mate would know what sort of photos to present to the world, but there is evidence to indicate perhaps not.

Yes, there is more to dating and mating and enjoying a relationship than physical attraction, so no need to point that out. And yes, these bits of advice apply to both women and men. And yes, who am I to be giving advice about what people look like. OK... But we all respond initially to appearance, so a few basics are worth keeping in mind.

1) Don't make your best photo your primary one. (The primary photo is the one that pops up in the array of all the other people on that page.) If your primary photo is fabulous and the others are not, you're setting yourself up for those viewing you to be disappointed as they scroll through the other pictures, and therefore for you to be disappointed. Make your primary photo a good one, just not the best.

2) This next point would seem utterly obvious, and yet, apparently it isn't: Don't include bad photos! I'm not talking about photos of you making a funny face, though I don't quite see the point of those, but why include photos that simply aren't flattering? Plenty of people do.

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3) Photos of yourself when you were a little bit younger (five years? 10?) are OK and to a certain extent, expected. Photos of you when you were 21 (if you're now 60) are pointless. Let's operate on the assumption that we all think we looked better when we were in college. Unless you are Benjamin Button, if you've been out of college more than 30 years, those photos aren't helpful

4) Have more than one photo, ideally more than three or four. If you only post one and it's really flattering, there may be the perception that you just happened to get lucky. And if you only post only one and it's not so wonderful, it will be difficult to expect dating prowlers to want to find out more about your wide range of interests, unique accomplishments and ability to look as good in a little black dress as you do in jeans - one of those boilerplate profile comments that continue to baffle.

5) Don't include photos that clearly contradict your profile. If you describe yourself as "athletic and toned" and you post photos with extra layers of tonnage, that probably isn't helping your cause. Different body types are wonderful, and most people are fine with dating folks of varying shapes and sizes. Just make an effort to have words and pictures coincide.

6) Pictures of you next to the Eiffel Tower or Great Wall of China (as long as we can see you) are fine. We enjoy seeing where you've traveled, and it may even reveal something about you. Pictures of just the Eiffel Tower or Great Wall are ridiculous. We know what those places look like. We are interested in seeing you.

7) Please include at least one full-length photo. Part of the rationale for this is explained in Number 5 above - we want to know that how you describe yourself is in touch with the reality of what you look like, and part is that bodies tend to be attached to heads, and if/when you meet, presumably both body and head will be there.

8) If you're in a group photo, tell us who you are. Now, one might think that it is obvious where you are, but it often isn't. If the photo is of you and your kids or grandkids, we can probably tell. If it's you and five other women your age on "girls night out" help us find you. This shouldn't be "Where's Waldo?"

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9) If you are wearing sunglasses in all of your photos, or they are fuzzy, or far away, don't expect to be flooded with emails (I'm told, understandably, that women don't like photos of guys wearing sunglasses, or undershirts. I get it.)

10) Don't have photos standing next to cardboard cutouts of Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton or anyone. No particular reason. It just bugs me.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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