A picture is no longer worth a 1,000 words—it's worth all the words. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve swiped right on a guy because he looked handsome and fun in his profile pic. More often than not, I don’t even read what's he's written in his bio. For all I know he could write, “I am serial killer temporarily out on parole. I enjoy eating the brains of babies and gay men.” and I would literally still just swipe right without looking and then proceed to slide into his DMs.
There are two things we can learn from this little anecdote. 1.) I should absolutely be more careful about who I invite over, and (most importantly) 2.) many men, like myself, place a much higher value on a prospective hookup's profile pic than they actually care to admit.
Does this mean we, as a community, are shallow? Probably a little (or a lot), but who isn’t? Of course we only want to date and sleep with people we’re attracted to. There’s nothing immoral about that. We shouldn’t be shamed for not being attracted to everyone. Similarly, we shouldn’t feel obligated to sleep with someone we’re not attracted to.
But I’m getting a little off track here. I don’t want to talk about the beauty issues heavily embedded in the gay community. I want to talk about how to make you look the most attractive, fun, and desirable in your profile pics, knowing how important they are to securing that first date.
Here are some of the big do's and don’ts:
Don’t: Obscure your face
When I see big sunglasses on a guy, I don’t think to myself, “Woah, he’s got a good fashion sense.” I actually think to myself, "What is that guy hiding?" This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Floppy hats. Scuba gear. Big sunglasses. No, no, no, to all of this. We want to see the face that we will potentially be talking to and kissing.
Do: Serve some body-ody-ody
A zoomed in pic of your face gives us an idea of how your face looks, which is great, but we also (without swiping more or asking for additional photos) want to know how your body looks. We don’t just have sex with your face (well, I mean...some men really do), we have sex with all of you. Body included.
Don’t: Have a shirtless gym selfie
Honestly, it’s just not that sexy, and it’s really played out. I’m all for having a shirtless selfie pic on your profile, but as the main picture? Nah. Too basic. Steer clear of this.
Do: Play to your strengths
If you have a great chest and big arms, then maybe a shirtless selfie at the beach is in order. You may not necessarily want to post a pic of you posing and flexing in a Speedo. (You can, but some men might be turned off by it because they find it shallow or too self-absorbed.) But if you’re doing an activity, like playing beach volleyball without your shirt on, and a pic just so happens to reveal your strong abs, chest, shoulders, and arms, that’s a win-win. You’re getting away with showing off without appearing too douche-y.
Similarly, if you have a really nice behind, you should definitely try to somehow incorporate that into the shot as well. Not a zoom-in of your butt, though. Be creative and see if you can subtly get your derriere in the pic.
Don’t: Have anyone else in the pic
It’s awesome that you have friends. Truly, it is. But we’re not trying to date your friends, we’re trying to date you! So make sure to be alone in your profile pics.
Do: Smile or smolder
In other words, a blank, deadless face is a no go. Smiling is completely fine. Giving a sexy smolder is always good. Even giving a ridiculously goofy face is good because it shows you have a fun personality. Just don’t stare blankly into the camera.
Do: Whatever the hell you think will work
These are just guidelines to help you out. Play with it. Try posting more serious photos, fun photos, shirtless photos, suit photos, and see which attracts the most guys. There’s definitely no one correct way to have a killer profile pic for your dating app.
Good luck and happy dating!