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Terrible Profile Photos and The Men Who Post Them

eHarmony Staff

When a match opens your profile for the first time, they are drawing some important conclusions about whether you’re right for them. It’s your only chance to make a first impression. Some men, it turns out, aren’t great at understanding the types of photos that hurt their chances of meeting their match. So as a public service, we’ve collected a range of photos to help men understand what NOT to post on their profiles.

No Photos Surrounded by Other Girls

Why would you put this photo on your dating profile? Are you doing it to show your matches what you look like? Are you doing it to prove you're an awesome party guy who can get next to some pretty hot babes? You know the answer. Your matches will only see a sad man trying to prove how great his life is. If you have so many wonderful women hanging around all the time, why are you on a dating site?

No Couples Photos with Her Cut Out

The price of a photo is now so low as to be incalculable. It used to require paper, a real camera and a trip to the developer. Now, you don't need any of those things. Your phone probably has a pretty good camera built in. So, there is no need to reuse old photos of you and some ex girlfriend. It's insane, really. It took more time to cut her out of the photo than it would to take a new one.

No Expensive Toys

You can see how this all got started. Some men think that women are shallow and only interested in money. So, in order to impress these women they spend a great deal of money on a symbol of their wealth and use it to prove that they are worthy. How silly. Any woman who sees this photo will think you're an insecure tool, not an uber-rich man of the world.

No Strange Angles

Guess what? We're all hip to this trick. If you shoot down on your face, at an exaggerated angle, it hides your double chin. We know what you're doing. All this means is that on the off chance we say yes to a date, we're going to be horribly disappointed when we get a good look at you. It is better to just be yourself in the photo. The people that like it will say yes. The people that don't will never bother you.

No Computer Photos (Especially at Work)

Most work places feature harsh light and cheap bulbs. You're not going to be flattered by the semi-green glow of the fluorescent tube. Computer photos also show a remarkable degree of laziness. You're not enthused enough about your dates to even walk out into the sunlight and have a friend snap a flattering photo. Finally, there's something undeniably creepy about seeing your office work area -- is that an old bag of Doritos?

No Artsy Photos

Your artistic talent can be a strong attractor, but the line between artsy and creepy is subjective. Again, your matches really just want to see what you look like. Your profile description may be the best place to share your love for David Lynch and Brian Eno. Presenting offbeat photos to exhibit your artistic taste is an all or nothing strategy, chasing away people who might make good partners but aren't quite sure what to make of you. Using the preset functions on your Apple to fake artistic talent is even sadder still.

No Children

There is some debate on this issue, but most people feel that an online dating site is not a place to expose identifiable photos of your children to strangers. After all, your kids have no say on being presented here. Most people agree that the words in your profile are where you should bring up your kids and share your love for them. If you eventually meet your match and develop strong feelings you'll certainly want to introduce your children, but offering up photos of them to everyone who comes across your profile doesn't feel like a good idea.

No Weird Clothes

This is an interesting one. If you have a photo wearing weird clothes, it might be the case that you are a weird clothes wearer. If so, using a photo like this one might be considered truth in advertising. However, if you're a normal person who thought that using a photo of you in a weird hat would show that you're a super fun guy with an outrageous sense of humor, you're going to have a tough time getting a date. As a rule, women don't want weird. They want normal, or normal with a slight edge. Let her get to know you as normal before you pull out the shiny silver cowboy hat.

No Sunglasses

Ever hear the saying, "The eyes are the windows to the soul?" It turns out that women like to see a man's eyes. They find them sexy. Hiding yours with sunglasses undercuts one of the fundamental ways you can connect with her. In addition, some small percentage of sunglasses make guys look like self-centered weenies. Why take a chance?

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Date

We suppose men who submit shirtless profile photos are showing a certain confidence. We all know that women love confidence. We also know that women hate profile photos of shirtless men. Why? It shows a cavalier attitude. It shows a lack of good graces. Women might wonder, is this a man I want to introduce to my father? Like so many of these terrible profile photos, more than anything it seems to show a lack of judgment about what is appropriate. No matter how hard your abs may be.

No Smoking

Currently 21% of American adults smoke, and the percentage usually drops a little every year. You're most likely to be matched with someone who doesn't smoke. (Unless you choose otherwise.) Either way, a photo of you with a cigar, cigarette, snuff, or chewing tobacco makes a broad statement about how much you like to smoke. Your match will probably think, "This person must love to smoke. Why else would he/she have a photo of him smoking on his dating profile?" You may smoke outdoors only. You may smoke once a month at the company poker game. You may be a person that chews tobacco only when playing baseball. Your match isn't going to know this, only that you were dying to show the world how much you like tobacco.

No Boozing

You may ask, "If I am a regular drinker, why not use a photo of me drinking?" For the same reason you don't use a photo of you brushing your teeth. It doesn't put you in your best light. Total strangers are drawing conclusions about whether to meet you and, potentially, live with and love you. A person who drinks can be desirable. A person who pushes that aspect of themselves right out of the gate shows a lack of judgment about how others draw conclusions.

No Photos with Guns and Dead Animals

Some hobbies are best discussed during your date, when you have time to talk about them in detail. Some people like to hunt, some people don't, and some don't know enough to have an opinion. By brandishing a gun and showing off your stuffed deer collection, you're likely to alienate two of those three groups. If you wait to discuss it until you've established a rapport, you'll be able to help skeptics understand your side of things.

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