The Dating Photo


Once, when I was much younger, I was amazing. I showcased expert sand castling in rubber ducky swim trunks off the shore of Ocean City. Back then I was a polaroid, not a dating photo with a lot of white space. The quality was clear: I was the favorite.

Then I ran through the CVS 24-hour development center. I displayed a new pair of acid wash jeans and a mullet. I stayed away from refrigerators and landed in the door of a 10th grade girl’s locker.

Now, I prefer to think of myself as a concept.

Thinning hair? I blur the lines. Blotchy skin? I turn on the sepia. Last week I presented a sense of adventure in the wild flowers of an unknown countryside. The setup? Perfect.

I like to blend a touch of beauty (sensitivity, really) into the online world of dating. By focusing on the backdrop more than the profile, I can speak without talking: I am deep. I am solitary. Most importantly, I am free.

At first I was discouraged. Nobody was responding to me. There were no dates and in their absence, my photos began to multiply. Spawns from the nature photo developed Athletic Photo and Travel Photo. These slightly different images said things like “I am sophisticated, but still know how to shoot a bow and arrow through a campground.”

The silence was deafening. Other photographs, photographs that came nowhere near me, sported long hair and flying, animated butterflies. How did they get there? I gazed at filtered lighting, girls on hammocks and many, many bikinis. These photographs were out of reach.

I wrote to the other photos using as little words as possible. An emoticon. A winky. No, not a winky: a face with devil horns.

No dice.

When two months passed, I finally surveyed my competition. I braced myself for higher resolution. I hoped they were all old. Photograph through photograph, I started to relax my swiping.

Thank God, I marveled. We’re all just the same.

10 thoughts on “The Dating Photo

  1. Interesting lens to look at online dating through… literally through a lens. Lol. I don’t do it anymore (too average for online dating, I do much better in person) but when I was involved in online dating my photos were abysmal, no matter what I tried. Your final conclusion is true though, when you look at your competition most of us are the same.

    The link you threw in is interesting, though. There are many sites on the ‘net warning against “bad” Tinder photos and they all reference the same ones… yet these are by and large the most successful photos. Most people prefer a wide angle shot at Machu Picchu over a poorly lit bedroom selfie of a guy who clearly didn’t shower that morning, haha.

  2. Wow 🤩 the Polaroid whom I loved surely granted unto you Squire; knighthood! Splendid work with images and wordplay worthy of a knight good sir/madam I shan’t offend those bidders of me lords, McEwan’s of the Scottish Order of the Bobby Bruce of Olden Tales Erin Go Bragh melord. You beckons we’s serve.”🙏🐕♒️🤩

  3. That was charming, literary, educational, uplifting. Nice pic too. The ultimate online dating site pic must be climbing around Machu Picchu loudly drinking with pals while wearing suits. I might need to create that selfie (photoshop).
    I’m a 69yo new-old-stock batchelor separated 7 months. I’m too cheap to pay a dating site so I keep trying Craigslist>Activities although the Trumpite GOP outlawed it years back under the Non-Acta/Sexta law.
    Now it’s all russbots from some Occupied Crimea gru server farm. Exactly like 100% of the web til 3 November. So my virginity is safe and I won’t get any more stds than I already have. So there’s that. But my pic must be in every Ivan’s database. Great story.

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