What Do You Do When They Don’t Look Like Their Photo? Like, At All?

Name: AnnaYoung man waiting for date

Comment: Hi Moxie,

I have a question that I have to imagine a lot of fellow online daters are wondering:

How can you avoid (or at least minimize) going out with people you meet online whom you’re then not attracted to in person?

I feel like I have posted completely truthful photos of myself and my body online (and I have asked friends of both sexes to verify this). I’m probably what’s considered conventionally attractive (thin, blonde, etc.). Thanks to that, I get a lot of messages (I’m on both OKC and Match). Since I signed up (1 year ago), I have gone out with 75 men (yeah, I kept count – it’s become practically a second job for me). That being said, I have easily gotten over 700 messages, so I’m not just going out with whoever messages me.

I do care a good amount about physical attractiveness – I want someone that I am attracted to physically. I was very attracted to the photos of every single man I went out with; however, in person, over 90% of them looked really different. I felt completely deceived in half of the cases – the person looked so different I was shocked and not even sure if it was him. I’m not just talking about adding an inch or two to height (which I’m fine with). I’m talking like it could have been someone else when I saw them. The photos many of these guys seem to post are the most attractive photos ever, taken from the best angles and in the best lighting (and possibly even retouched – who knows) – they look very little like this in real life.

I know my photos are truthful since almost every single one of these 75 men has wanted a second date, and many have actually remarked that I looked far better than my photos in real life (perhaps because they were just expecting photo attractiveness inflation on my end as well!).

So, I have 2 questions really:

(1) How do I avoid this in the future? Do I just do more due diligence? Ask them to add me on facebook so I can see more photos? Ask for their full name so I can google them? Most of these guys had at least 4 photos posted anyway, though.

(2) If I arrive to a date and the man clearly really, really misrepresented himself physically, what should I do? So far, I’ve just been being polite – having a quick drink with him and saying I have to leave in an hour. I don’t want to be rude, but is it ever acceptable to just show up, and say sorry, I have to go (with or without an explanation) upon seeing him if he’s drastically physically different compared to his photos?

I know you might think this isn’t that big of a deal – so, what – I waste an hour of my time with someone I’m not attracted to. But it’s getting exhausting to keep showing up and feeling deceived by the other person. I work a lot, and my time is valuable, and while I understand everyone exaggerates a little in online dating, I want to stop being so wildly deceived.

Thanks a lot.
Age: 29
City: New York City
State: NY


The unfortunate truth is that deception has become an integral part of dating. Not just online dating, either. By deception I mean stretching of the truth or lies of omission. An inch here, a few years there. We shave, we add, we spin. All of us do it. Those who swear up and down that they’re “totally honest” in their profile are all kind of precious. They’re also the ones who don’t date much or enjoy sitting behind their laptop and moralizing. Good for them.

So the first thing you need to do is expect that someone will not be exactly how they seem. There’s probably going to be something about them that is inconsistent with how they have presented themselves. Also acknowledge that we have a tendency to formulate images in our head of who this person is, compounding the inevitable disappointment.

Some people flat out lie. Others, and I think these people make up the other half of the segment, genuinely believe that they look the way their photos make them look. In preparation for my photo shoot, I read up on how to pose and how lighting and angles play a part in the captured image. I also learned that our brains play a big part in how we see ourselves. So someone might have their picture taken and think they look exactly like the person in the photo. The problem is that that is a one dimensional image that was snapped under a specific kind of light and catching us in a certain moment. We might resemble that person somewhat, but in regular light and normal circumstances, we look different. So a profile photo should never be taken at face value. There will be similarities, hopefully. But there will be differences.

Now that we’ve gotten the realities of this topic out of the way, let’s talk about ways we can gauge or get an idea of how someone will look in person.

First, if the person posts only one photo, you can expect they’ll look nothing like it in person. They’re posting only one because it is the most flattering of them and because they can’t find any others that match it.

Next, if their photos are taken at angles or never show them face on, you can also assume they’ll show up looking like a Picasso. This is why I tell clients that they MUST include one picture of their face taken from a straight on angle. No profile shots, no lighting tricks. You want to see them in normal, every day circumstances, like at a bar or outside or in someone’s home. None of this fancy schmancy early morning sunrise or sunset pics in front of soft light.

Also, you need to be able to see a noticeable similarity between all of their photos. They don’t have to look exactly the same in every shot, but you should be able to recognize them.

There’s a debate as to whether people should use photographs taken by professional photographers. Many photographers now offer a service where they take pictures for clients that look like regular candids. (The photographer from my shoot does this.) I will use two of the pictures I posted here last week, but I’ll have at least 3 regular pictures taken by friends so that people could compare and contrast. I would not use a set of professional photos for your profile without including shots of you that were snapped by friends.

Wearing sunglasses in more than a couple photos should also be considered a red flag.  Definitely if they’re wearing them in their primary photo.

The photos should be clear or even crisp. Fuzzy photos or ones with an orangeish tint or that are stretched typically mean that they were taken with outdated cameras. They are older photos and are now pixelated. As mobile phones continue to be improved, so does the clarity of the photos taken by the camera on that phone.

Those are the technical tips that I can pass along. Now for the ones that require a little critical thinking.

So you come across a hottie on OKCupid or Match. The first thing you need to ask yourself is why someone that objectively good looking is using a dating site. I’m talking about the people who are really, really ridiculously good looking. Why are they there? They could be on that site for the same reason you are. They don’t have to be lying. But you should still have that thought in your head as you read their profile. No red flags? Okay. Proceed.

Next up is how eager or available they make themselves to meet. If they appear to be dragging their feet, it’s quite possible that they know – because it has happened before – that their date will be disappointed. They’re aware of their deception and are nervous about meeting.

Finally, ask yourself this: are you wildly shallow? Yes, attraction is important. You’ll get no argument for me on that one. But if your primary reason for meeting someone is their looks, then you’re contributing to the outcome. Because, see, that’s exactly what those people are hoping for. That’s why they’re posting such incredibly flattering photos.

To be honest,  I don’t understand how you could have so many instances of there being a great disparity between how someone looks in a photo versus in person. It happens once or twice and you learn pretty quickly how to spot those people. If these guys are all posting recent photos and putting up 3-5 and they look reasonably similar in each, something is off with your story. You don’t appear to be learning the tricks. Either that or you’re ignoring your experiences strictly because they’re very attractive.

700 messages across two sites in a year isn’t all that impressive. I’m 44. I get the same amount. We are women on an online dating site.You’re presenting yourself as selective, but are you? Because it sounds to me like you’re overlooking obvious red flags strictly because a guy is really attractive. That’s the number one reason why people end up on the dates you describe.


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35 Responses to “What Do You Do When They Don’t Look Like Their Photo? Like, At All?”

  1. mari Says:

    It is true, people often don’t look like their photos – but their profiles are often very informative of the type of people they are so think when you are picking guys to respond too you should consider more than their photo. In fact, I would assume they look vaguely like their photo and go in with that expectation. I think all of Moxie’s suggestions have merit as far as weeding people out before you meet them. And IMO definitely don’t facebook them beforehand, really bad idea to have 75 bad dates now linked to you on Facebook. Do wonder if you should look a bit deeper than looks – as my friend says, looks fade but stupid is forever. So..in all 75 dates you didn’t find a single person that you wanted to continue to see? Clearly being attracted to someone’s looks is very important, but you also want someone who you like, who likes you, who is kind, financially stable, etc etc..- looks aren’t everything…and I guess its possible all 75 were ugly, but that seems doubtful.

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  2. jane Says:

    Moxie is spot on with the advice here. All those flags are exactly what you should be looking for. Multiple photos that all give the same impression of their looks, clear and close up shots, no weird angles or filters. Since we dont have a 3D image of them to go on, our mind fills in the blanks with its best guesses, which can be way off. This is why photos are so tricky, when we see a person in real life and our mind takes thousands of instantaneous snapshots mentally to form an overall average image, with photos you’re just getting one fraction of that overall image. So the more clear and focused photos you see, the more close the image you form will likely get to be what you encounter in real life. I definitely dont fault you for wanting physical attraction. I agree with that. And if you’re young and attractive yourself theres no harm in wanting a young and attractive man!

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  3. AnnieNonymous Says:

    Moxie has covered the main points already, but here’s something else to consider: how is the LW presenting herself? She mentioned that she’s generally attractive – thin and blonde. Many men will see certain kinds of pictures of a woman who looks like that and think “sexually compliant.” Even men who don’t go for blondes will hit up a girl who looks like she’ll put out. Were most of your pictures taken while you were wearing a tight black dress and holding a neon-colored drink in a nightclub?

    There’s another side of this, a vibe I’m getting from this email. There’s a certain kind of girl who’ll coast on being blonde, like that automatically makes her the hottest girl in any room. She’ll see a genuinely pretty brunette with the guy she likes and think, “How could he like HER? She’s not even blonde!” Being blonde and thin have so little to do with how facial features come together and the overall presence of someone that might be considered attractive. If she’s approaching online dating as if the hottest guys are going to compete for her because she’s blonde (and therefore implicitly attractive) she needs to re-evaluate what she’s putting out there. In short, she needs to try harder. The world isn’t going to fall at your feet just because you show up in a bar with a decent body.

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  4. D'Alias Says:

    Why don’t you ask them to text you a snapshot on the spot? Or before you meet at least? Generally, I’d say that’s pretty obnoxious but if you are really so focused on looks then you will probably gel with a guy who is similarly swayed by physical appearance (yours and his own). He prob won’t find you obnoxious. Looks change and fade. They take WORK to maximize at any age, generally more so as we get older. So if you’re looking for long term compatibility you will prob fare better with somebody who prioritized holding on to theirs.

    Also, these guys might not be doing it on purpose. I have the gift/curse of taking beautiful photos where I look prettier and skinnier than I am in real life. My sister, who clears the room
    in person, almost never has a photo that does her looks justice. If you assume
    malice of ALL these guys you’ll just make yourself bitter.

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  5. Chloe Says:

    I had a few instances like this while online dating, I don’t think the disparity between the picture and the reality is the real issue here though, it’s the expectation. I was on Oasis and Match, dated a lot and kept finding myself disappointed. I filled out those tick boxes ‘Height, Weight, Romantic’ I knew exactly what I wanted and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less!!

    Then a few weeks ago I was sat in a bar, bemoaning my rubbish dating life when this guy walked towards me, caught my eye and smiled, BOOM! Tummy flip, lightening bolt, the works. And he had the same thing!

    We are now as ‘wuvved up’ as two people can be in the early stages but it’s great and going really well.

    So how does he compare to the tick boxes I hear you ask? He doesn’t, at all! Shorter, balder, older, chubbier, but do you know what none of that matters.

    The moral of the story? I now wish that during my dating time I hadn’t been so hung up on landing the hot guys, I wish I had spent some more time with the Average Joe’s, I was shallow and expected a lot and when it comes to love none of that matters.

    That hour with the guy who is putting up a slightly deceptive picture because he’s a little insecure about his looks in the shallow world of online dating might just be the best hour of your life, take a chance!

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  6. Freddy Says:

    Ugh….yes…its an issue…that’s why I prefer speed dating (shameless plug for Moxie). While I think flattering photos are fair play…but they need to be current…I love when you see say 5 photos….4 of which are lovely & youthful. …and the final photo looks like it could be the persons parent…ie. …add 30lbs and 10 years

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  7. Scott Says:

    I agree with many of Moxie’s points above, and also want to further elaborate a point that Chloe made above:

    OP, if looks are as important as you make them out to be, and you consistently are disappointed by those you meet on both Match and OK Cupid, then perhaps it’s time to change your game plan and meet guys in different ways where you automatically see them face to face to avoid that disappointment…I’m thinking, as Chloe pointed out, to stop “ticking off the boxes” and just be in the moment, and live your life outside of internet dating…Go to a meetup group, try speeddating, do singles sports’ leagues like Zog Sports here in NYC, do walking tours, etc. etc. It’s one thing if you’re stuck in the middle of Missouri and must resort to internet dating, but you’re in NYC after all – there are MANY other avenues to meet guys, even if you do work quite a bit. Plus, even if you don’t meet Mr. Wonderful at such events, then at least you’re expanding your social circle to meet other folks who may have quality single guy friends to match you up with….AND, it’s a better use of time than sitting around and counting the number of internet dating messages you’ve received…

    I also agree with Chloe above that maybe giving the Average Joe a shot isn’t such a bad thing. I mean, really, 75 dates and you didn’t want to see the vast majority of them again because their pictures didn’t match their in person appearance? There was nothing else redeeming about them to warrant a second date? You come off as more than a little shallow by saying that…

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    • Chloe Says:

      I should have said in my post ”During my online dating time’ because I don’t know that this will work out but I do know I won’t be going back to online dating.

      I think you are right Scott, the OP needs to get out and do things differently, socialise, have fun and judge people on who they are not what they look like. I have a number of friends who have done the online thing this year and all of them have ended up meeting people offline. I know that for every story I can recount there are the stories of online success but its the tick box thing that makes the process unreal.

      By ticking those initial boxes you are building up an unrealistic expectation, and by judging each person on that tiny thumbnail picture detracts so much from the individual behind it. You are never going to meet someone who is hot AND ticks all those boxes, Mr/Miss perfect just isn’t out there, the quicker we get used to that the better.

      The OP’s problem is she is looking at the thumbnail, flicking through a few pictures and basing her decision to date only on that, I do wonder if she has ever dated someone who she didn’t judge as hot but who’s profile made her laugh, filled her with anticipation or inspired her to delve further.

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  8. noquay Says:

    The only way to be sure that someone looks like a photo is to see them IRL. In NYC, I am assuming that someone in your age group would have many opportunities to do this. The amount of messages one receives means nothing. A lot of guys will send messages to everyone and anyone hoping some will be answered. To have 100% of the dudes you want not match their photos is incredibly high. I get about 30% of guys that don’t match and that’s probably because I can much older and face it, a lot of guys let themselves go as they age and try to hide health problems although we womyn are supposed to still be in top shape. Like a previous commenter said “it takes work”, it does. Something is off here; either you are selecting”too good to be true” dudes or are missing vital red flags, such as a reluctance to meet right away. Some of us don’t photograph worth a damn, someone who appears fit but doesn’t look good may be much better in person. If a guy doesn’t cut it looks-wise or lied about some aspects of his life, be polite, stay in for an hour, then don’t contact him again. Be very cautious about divulging where you live or work

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  9. Jef Says:

    If a date doesn’t look like her photo I turn around and run.

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  10. mindstar Says:

    The real takeaway from the OP’s post is how picky she is. She got over 700 messages in a year. AS Moxie correctly pointed out not really a big thing in NYC and especially for someone still in their 20s. Some of the youngsters I work with get 30-40 messages a day.

    But of those 700+ ONLY 75 were good enough on paper(and in their pics)for the OP to meet for a date. So say a little over 10%. Of that selcted group of 75 over 90% of them turned her off in person. Thus only 1% of the people who messages her were ultimately acceptable to her.

    If you feel only 1 out of every 100 people you see is attractive you have too big an opinion of yourself

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    • jane Says:

      Those odds sound pretty normal to me for a woman. Do you really leave your house in the morning and see multiple people you’re attracted to everyday? I go many days without seeing any men Id consider myself attracted to. Call it picky if you want, Id call it knowing what you like and dont like. Sexual attraction is a pretty instant thing for both sexes, its either there or its not. Its a waste of time, both to OP and to the guys she dates, to go out with them being 99% sure she’d never sleep with them. Maybe the frequency of women giving these guys a chance for that 1 percent hope is why so many men complain about finding themselves in the friend zone after dates.

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      • mindstar Says:

        Absolutely but perhaps that’s because I live in New York City. There are attractive women everywhere.

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    • Steve Says:

      she didn’t even say that the 10% of guys she met (or 1% of total) was attractive, she said only that 90% looked much different. She didn’t say she went out for a 2nd date with any of them. So it was probably considerably less than 1%. I don’t agree with the above analogy, though since these were not random people but already screened for ones she liked based on multiple factors. Why is that in real life you see women all the time with seemingly ordinary guys but online you have to be Mr. Perfect, something I just don’t understand.

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  11. Yvonne Says:

    While I’ve had the experience of meeting men who have looked worse than their profile photos, most have looked more or less like their pictures, and once in a while, a guy actually looks BETTER in person. So I’m surprised that the OP hasn’t had that happen to her at all.

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    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      You and the OP are more likely having the exact same experience. The difference is solely in perception and expectations. I truly believe this. Most likely, your expectations are more reasonable/realistic. As someone else suggested, a still photograph is a moment in time and with fixed lighting and can never, ever, ever, ever, ever be a perfect rendition of an actual living, moving person. I think this is (or should be) internalized in most people – we appropriately discount what we see in a photograph based on our experience, filling in the “blind spots” but not firmly tying our expectations to what we know is solely our imagination. For whatever reason, the OP is not doing this.

      They say that only an insane person can draw a perfect circle freehand.

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      • Yvonne Says:

        Actually, we are not going to be attracted to the vast majority of people we meet. That’s just reality. However, we can try to relax our judgement just a little and try to find things that are attractive about the other person. You can be wildly attracted to someone who is an awful person – where does that get you?

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  12. Grizzly Says:

    Well, it depends a lot on what kind of camera you use. Your standard inexpensive point-and-shoot digital camera will generally produce pictures that are pretty faithful. Use one of these and take a good twenty or thirty shots, and you will end up with 2 or 3 that work.

    Cell phones and those little front-facing cameras on computers make everybody look bad. Never use them.

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  13. LostSailor Says:

    If 90% of the 75 men Anna has met for a first date “looked really different” and in half of those cases she felt completely deceived…the person looked so different I was shocked and not even sure if it was him then there is something quite wrong. With Anna.

    Anyone whose done almost any online dating has come across people who do not much look like their photos. But not so radically so that we’re “completely deceived” and don’t actually recognize the person from the photo, and certainly not with such frequency. Anna doesn’t give any detail about how these men look different, just that she’s “shocked.” She was “very attracted” to the photos, but not at all attracted to the actual men, and she cares a lot about physical attractiveness.

    So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and echo Moxie’ most important advice: Anna needs to ask herself if she is wildly shallow. I’m not confident she can, but I will put in that, yes, she is wildly shallow. She is likely as attractive as she thinks she is, for now, at 29, blonde, and thin. And she expects that men who are allowed to date her beyond that one, excruciating hour must be up to her standards of perfection. That’s the only reason I can come up with for her feeling so often “wildly deceived.” She likes the idea of the perfect man, while actual human beings, even the most attractive, come with flaws.

    As for how to avoid such villainous deception, any request to connect on Facebook or full name to Google to me will result in a “No thanks, have a nice life.” I don’t connect with anyone on Facebook who I don’t know already fairly well. And Googling me won’t actually bring up much of anything (though one aggregation site with mostly incorrect information says about me under Education “LostSailor has a history”–yes, yes I do. Plus, I dislike dating paranoid people.

    And there really isn’t any excuse to covertly show up at a first date to scope out your date’s looks and bail if you’re less than impressed. So sorry Anna’s feels so exhausted wasting her valuable time with these ogres. I’m not saying bailing isn’t an option, but only in the most extreme cases.

    I can have a drink and pleasant conversation with just about anyone for an hour, and even enjoy it even if I’m not attracted to them. I’ve only ever bailed on one date and it was an extreme circumstance. When my date arrived at the venue I’d suggested, I actually didn’t recognize her at all. But she saw me and I was a bit startled when she sat down. But she called me by name and introduced herself and it was all I could do to stop my jaw from hitting the floor. She was a completely different person from the photos she’d posted and extremely overweight. When I asked her about it she looked worried and admitted that the photos were of a friend and not her at all. When I asked why she would do this, she told me that she never got any responses or attention when she used her own photos, but did when she used her friend’s. I put enough cash on the table for the drink I’d ordered plus tip, got up, and walked out. She started texting almost immediately about why I would do that and I later replied that “I don’t date liars” and blocked her number. Like I said, an extreme case.

    Anna might want to work on getting over herself…

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  14. Anna Says:


    The is the original poster, Anna. First, thanks a lot for the advice Moxie. Very helpful. While I knew some of it (i.e. avoid those with only 1 photo), the point about making sure the person has at least one photo looking straight at the camera was not something I was looking for before, and absolutely will now. I’ve definitely fallen for a lot of profiles where every photo is taken at some sort of angle.

    I just want to point out in general that a lot of men’s photos in the age range I’m targeting (29 – 38) seem to focus way more on the guy’s body versus his face – there will be a bunch of photos of him biking, running, swimming, etc. – anything to show off his body, and then perhaps one only one photo of his face. I assume this is because women maybe care more about the guy’s body. This doesn’t really help me, since I care far more about what his face looks like.

    As for whether I am shallow, I don’t think so. I don’t think I should even have to explain why I want a guy I’m physically attracted to…I think this is just logical (and I think men should want to be with women who are physically attracted to them!). I would like to point out that I do NOT care about a wide variety of other things that I think many other “shallow” women (particularly NYC women) care about (i.e. how much money he makes).

    And I’m definitely not the blonde in the tight black dress holding a neon drink. I have a full body photo on my profile of me in a dress, but it’s a classy one (I’m a working professional).

    To break the numbers down – I went out with 75 men (so far). ~90% of them I wouldn’t want to go out with again based on looks alone (so, ~68 of them). Of those 68, half (34) looked way, way worse than their photos (yes, to the point that I was only able to tell it was the actual guy I was supposed to meet based on his height, hair color, and the fact that he was sitting at whatever bar we had planned to meet at).

    The other 34 looked I would say looked 30% worse. They had physical traits that they’d clearly hidden in their photos (i.e. significant hair loss where none was depicted in their photos; a large beaked nose; etc.). I didn’t feel like these men were as deceitful since I could still certainly tell it was them, just a worse version versus their photos.

    So that leaves the 7 out of 75 men that I met that I was in fact attracted to. 1 of them I dated for 2 months, but it didn’t go anywhere (the feeling was mutual). The other five I went out with on somewhere between 2 and 6 dates, with the guy breaking it off about half of the time and me breaking it off about the other half of the time (because of personality differences, lack of chemistry, etc.). The other remaining 1 guy out of those 7 whom I was attracted to didn’t ask me out on a second date, but I would have liked him to.

    You didn’t answer my second question though, and that question is about what do I do with those 34 men (described 2 paragraphs above) whom have just truly BS’ed their photos. I don’t want to waste my time, and I don’t want to waste his money (I have yet to have a guy accept my offer to split a drinks bill, so the guy always pays) if the minute I see him, I know there’s no way I’d date him. To the commentator who said it was just an hour of my time, so who cares, that’s not really true – it could be an hour of drinks, but you also have to factor in commuting time (walking, cab, subway, whatever) plus the time I’ve spent getting ready for the date. The could easily add another 1-1.5 hours to this.

    I guess it’s just a frustrating situation.

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    • Steve Says:

      not meant to sound harsh, but the guys are not going to feel very sorry for you and your problem of lining up 75 guys and picking and choosing who you want, for the most part, and at no cost to you (outside of commuting expenses). Try being a guy, many of who have mostly empty inboxes and the ones that do get dates get lined up with dozens of others providing free entertainment to you and others to search for your Mr. Perfect. As for the wasting of time, that is part of online dating you just have to deal with. For most everybody, not just you, most online meetings are not going to lead to anything, whether it is because of looks, chemistry or any other of many reasons. You want all the benefits of online dating without the problems. If you want to eliminate the time wasting, all you can really do is meet people in real world situations. That way you know what you see is what you are getting. How about trying a male oriented athletic pursuit.

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    • LostSailor Says:

      Anna, you may not think you’re shallow, but the evidence is otherwise. While it’s perfectly fine to want to date someone who is physically attractive and to whom you are attracted, you seem to be taking it to an extreme.

      You say you don’t care about a “wide variety” of other things those other shallow NYC women care about, like money, but you miss the fact shallow comes into it when you care about only that one thing. For you, that single trait is physical attractiveness. You can’t see anything beyond that. You never mention anything about these men other than 45% were somehow unrecognizable (and the startlingly high percentage is a huge red flag about you) and 45% were just repulsive. That’s an unbelievably bad batting average. And if it keeps happening to you that often, it perhaps points to a problem with you and not these “deceitful” men.

      But let’s flip the script. If a man wrote in with the same complaint, that 90% of his dates turned out to be unattractive bordering on downright ugly and he could never date an unattractive woman and how does he find such a goddess online, he’d be run out of here on a rail and be called shallow or worse. If the shoe fits…

      As for your second question, you have I think two choices. One is to just suck it up for the time it takes to have one drink. Your time isn’t more valuable than their time and effort. It’s the price of dating. Live with it. The second is to be upfront with these men; demand a selfie or a skype session before meeting so you can avoid these frustratingly unattractive men and they won’t waste their time with such a shallow, self-centered woman. Win-win…

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    • meh Says:

      I don’t think you’re shallow. you have every right to find a man you are attracted to. you don’t have to apologize for that. a man wants to be with a woman who is attracted to him. we want hot women, there is nothing wrong with a woman wanting a hot man.

      as for your 2nd question. no, you should not waste time “being polite” with those guys. you would be wasting their time & their money too. So just tell the guy “whoah you look nothing like this picture” in a jokey way & pull out your smartphone & ask him what the deal is. he’ll explain & you can leave.

      he will learn not to put up old photos & you can salvage your night. it won’t be easy but in the long run, those guys will learn to stop using photoshop & you will learn how to better spot those pictures.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 9

      • mindstar Says:

        Interesting suggestion meh. Have you ever had to do the same thing with any women you’ve dated and if so what was their reaction?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      • jane Says:

        I completely agree. The other posters here seem to be suggesting that she owes it to these men to give them a chance just to prove she isnt “shallow”. If they are presenting a different image online than they really look like, the fault is THEIRS. No, you cannot lure people in with a false image and then expect that they look past that and see what a wonderful person you are underneath. That is called bait and switch!

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

        • LostSailor Says:

          68 men in one year have “lured” her with false images, baited and switched her, and are so unattractive that she knows she’ll never date them, so unattractive before they even say a word that having a drink and 30 minutes of conversation is an uncalled for imposition on her valuable time? And this in NYC?

          Sorry, that just doesn’t pass even a rudimentary smell test. It’s one thing to have standards. It’s another thing to be borderline delusional about them…

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3

    • noquay Says:

      Yep, dating is frustrating and frequently a waste of time. Still the best thing with these liars is to take the high ground and have a drink. Yep, you’ve wasted time and commute money, but face it, you’re THERE, this time is already shot, might as well be polite. Some other, more deceptive solutions: come to the bar etc early, wear a coat or something that covers your dress and features, sit where you can see and not be seen. He comes in, looks awful, you’re outta there, call him on your cell and say your grandma just died, you were stricken with plague, whatever. Order a drink, head to the ladies, have a friend call in 10 minutes with some fake emergency situation. Or just suck it up, stick it out, then be honest via phone or text once you’re outta there for safety’s sake. Still, something is not right. You shouldn’t get so many of these.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

    • The Other Brad Says:

      Regarding your second question:
      I’d just walk away in those instances. I think you may be looking for anyone with an ounce of credibility to give you the excuse to do that, and I understand your sentiments entirely here. So, if you’re wondering? Don’t sit there for an hour. Go ahead and bolt. Technically, you don’t owe them anything so why bother. It’s what you WANT to do anyway. Now you can say some guy on the internets said it was okay to do.

      On a few occasions in my own experience, there’s been a wild disparity and I didn’t cut it off quickly enough and looking back, I probably should have. Is it rude to cut it short? Yes, I suppose it is, though I also suppose it’s rude to be deceptive about your photos, and it’s interesting to me that women STILL feel as though they have to be polite all the time. You don’t.

      Now–as to some other issues:

      1. The spoof of the Dove Real Beauty sketch artist video is true. Many men think they look like movie stars. So in their mind, they’re not being dishonest.

      2. The high-angle photograph is the one to be most wary of.

      3. I’m not sure that tracking the statistics here is netting you anything, aside from further making dating into a complex and unpredictable form of entertainment, or perhaps online deal-hunting–obviously, not an intentional thing on your part, but like they say, “that which gets measured gets managed.” Consciously or not, you’re managing this whole process so you’re also looking at things with greater scrutiny.

      4. I’ve had women doubt the veracity of my photos in the past, and they’ve asked to see everything from photos of my driver’s license to seeing a photo of me RIGHT THAT SECOND. I’ve complied. Nothing ever wound up happening with any of these women, however. You may have better luck with requesting the instant photo (which can still be tough to verify).

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. Treifalicious Says:

    What do you do when a guy doesn’t look as good as his picture? Sit down, have a drink and talk to him. Even if you are not attracted to him you can at least be nice and have a pleasant evening talking to a nice guy. Then if and when he asks you out a second time just say, “Thanks but no thanks”. Unless, of course, by the end of the conversation you were pleasantly surprised. Then you say yes when he calls.

    Life doesn’t have to be that complicated.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  16. wonda Says:

    i haven’t been on as many internet dates as the OP since i’ve only started dating again this summer, but i have had several dates with guys who have really misfepresented themselves and it is so frustrating and rude i want to tell them off.

    still, i do want to say, “hi, you’re 5’9″, not 5’11” like you said, which means if i am wearing heels, i’ll have to lean down to kiss you. and that would ‘t feel good to me, no matter how interesting you are. so, bye,” or “those 40 lbs. you gained since those photos on your profile? totally showing, and definitely an issue bye.”

    but i don’t, because who wants to be THAT person?

    my solution is to spend as little time as i need to communicating before a first meeting and to never EVER accept an invitation for a first meeting anywhere it would be rude to skip out after one drink.

    prince, frogs, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    : )

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

    • noquay Says:

      You don’t have to tell em, they know they suddenly shrank four inches, gained a foot or so of waistline, and that marathon they bragged about running was 30 years ago and now they are in serious heart attack land. Spending as little time as possible before seeing them isn’t going to change that. Actually I like a bit of phone time before I meet; see if there are any red flags that come up; things often slip out in conversation which could save me a long drive as I meet new dudes half way for safety’s sake.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  17. Steve From the City Next Door Says:

    When I was online dating I found poor representation photos where common. This is why the coffee date was invented – I never heard of it before at least. I did notice that as the coffee date became more common the deceptiveness of the photos decreased. Two occasions jump to mind…one straight out admitted she was 15 years older than she had claimed and the photo was 10 years old…another I noticed she didn’t have tattoo in person that was in the photo…I actually asked to see it. I said I loved that cool tattoo in your photo…she blushed and said the photo was actually her younger sister. Oh another didn’t look at all like her photos. Some one suggested an image search tool…that exact photo popped up as some non-us known Chinese actress.

    anyway I think sitting for a quick coffee should be done.

    An additional note, I find the change to throw me off. That is if I had expected something like the look that showed up I would have been fine with them, but since I was expecting something different I am not fine with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  18. Chris from Boston North Says:

    Please keep in mind that men only have the pictures someone did for us, usually meaning a past love….. When out and about, you usually dont have guys saying, Hey take my picture near the bar …… Its odd, so we work with what we have …. Unlike Women whom we expect to take pictures all the time, alone or with a group!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  19. Mark Says:

    A number of thoughts:

    True, some people post photo’s that are not representative. They may be of other people, a few years old, or from angles that mask perceived shortcomings etc. That’s a certain percentage and unfortunately, it happens. Women do it too.

    So a few photo’s. IE full body shot, a headshot at a min.

    Many people look relatively similar to their photo’s. Not exactly, but close enough. a smaller number look almost exactly like their pics, and a rare few look better. Assuming no retouching. A photographer could probably fill you in about lighting, lenses, f stops and the like.


    If you say that you are getting a slew of messages (700+) and actually met 75 of those guys, and 90% looked really different, then something is very wrong.

    90%?? Even factoring hyperbole, that is still way too high. Yep, something is wrong. But I don’t think rests exclusively with the guys on this one. Wrong to the extent that you feel that you are being deceived, then you aren’t screening with much thought. Or you might have set your standards so high that a deviation from that expectation results in a let down on your part.

    Our eye is drawn to what appeals to us. That’s normal. But there is a distinction between critical and hyper critical. You appear to fall into the latter category. You might want to take a moment and re assess things.

    I mention that last bit because unless you you are a 9 or ten all on fronts (not just looks), then the guy you seem to be looking for will have a host of options open to him. He may date you a few times until someone better comes along and he will trade up.

    Be careful of who you are looking for, because sometimes you actually get him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  20. Susan Says:

    I’m going to go with in all likelihood at least 70% of these men did, in fact, look like their photos, within reason. Everyone looks slightly different from different angles, under different lighting conditions or wearing different clothing. It sounds like this woman got idealized versions of these men stuck in her head and expected her dates to look completely flawless. Then she was shattered to discover in person they are real people and no one is perfect. Sure, a handful may have posted inaccurate pictures, but most people post photos when they are dressed up or at their best. Some people are also incredibly photogenic. That doesn’t mean they are deceitful. Even supermodels don’t look like they do in magazines without stylists. That’s not to say they are ugly, just not as glamorous or flawless. I think the problem is she her only concern is with finding a hot guy. Remember: he won’t always be as hot, should you decide to keep him for a long time. Neither will you. Attraction is important, but personality is what you have to live with every day. No wonder her relationships failed when she based them off such shallow criteria.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

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