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.
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.