Question: Moxie, one of my female friends and I have been running into something lately and have different opinions on how to handle it, so I’d love your thoughts!
We start talking to a guy online. He has enough pics up that we feel we have a good sense of what he looks like. We exchange numbers in the hopes of planning that first date. Suddenly, it’s the unexpected selfie bomb. It’s usually prefaced by a “I’m heading to the gym” or “Just another day at the office” or something otherwise just as innocuous, and includes a seemingly spur of the moment pic. And…it’s terrible. I don’t know if it’s that all of his 4-8 pics online are old or at the perfect angle or what, but this unsolicited selfie makes me not want to meet him anymore.
My friend says, you liked the online pics enough, continue the convo and set up the date. My response in the three times this has happened to me is to ghost. I think dude is trying to give me a heads up of what he ACTUALLY looks like, and I don’t think I owe him anything at this point so I’d rather ghost than show up for a date I’m not excited about.
What would you do?
I think the first change you need to make is to not exchange phone numbers or email addresses with guys until the day if your date. That way they can’t selfie bomb you or inundate you with text messages. Personally, I do not get why people are randomly taking pictures of themselves to show to strangers they’ve never met. That action alone is enough to make me bail. Selfies rarely flatter anyone. Unless you’re Kim Kardashian and have a lot of practice taking selfies, you usually have to take several shots before you capture one relatively flattering image.
I’m sure the inconsistencies in the men’s looks have to do with then angle of the selfie. Some of his pics might be a couple years old, but even that isn’t long enough for any kind of huge changes to occur in a person’s looks. Yes, a person could gain significant weight in that time frame, but that’s really the only immediately noticeable alteration that one might spot.
It’s difficult to find 4-8 flattering pictures where you look the same. If he has multiple photos on his profile and he looks relatively similar in all of them and he’s not obstructing his face in any way, then I think the photos on his profile are probably more accurate. Additionally, then act of taking and sending a selfie implies a level of familiarity that really shouldn’t be present at this juncture. Keep that in mind, selfie stickers. Oh, and PS? I will bet money he sends those same photos to every woman he meets online and doesn’t even bother taking new ones. I was sexting with my British dude a couple weeks ago and he sent me a dick pic. I recognized it immediately as one he sent me last year and called him on it. “Can you blame me? It’s a flattering pic!” he said in his defense. I gave him a pass because it was a flattering pic.
This quandry exemplifies why I advocate for little to no contact between setting up the first date and meeting. Inevitably something transpires that makes one or both parties reconsider. The best approach is the less is more approach: give people as little reason as possible to reject you.This means no more than 3 or 4 photos, no linking to social media profiles, no verbose about me summaries, no extraneous explanations about how you lean politically even if you’re liberal, no talk about how crazy busy your job is, no mentions of recent break-ups. Less. Not more.
People who make it a point to state that they align with certain inflammatory or provocative ideologies/lifestyles are looking for attention. We see it all the time on the ladyblogs: The writer mentions in her OkCupid profile that she’s kinky or feminist and – BANG! – she’s deluged with angry emails from whiny dudes. Well, no shit. And don’t even get me started on the self-identifying male feminists. They include these admissions not for transparency purposes as they claim but because they want attention. Plain and simple. Avoid.
This is where Tinder and Bumble have it right. Users of these platforms tend to share too much about themselves in the hopes of being perceived as honest or real. Guess what? When it comes to dating we don’t real, we want a fantasy of sorts. At least at first. We want to believe you’re as clever and witty and successful and attractive as your profile makes you seem. Don’t burst that bubble until we’ve met a couple of times. By now, everybody should know that who someone is in their profile is probably somewhat embellished. We all do it. Christ, my profile makes me sound open and engaging and neither could be further from the truth. For the right person, I could be. But for 98% of the schmoes that message me, I’m not.
Give people just enough information to be intrigued and attracted. Leave the more personal stuff for when you meet and get to know each other. That includes a selfie.