Abraham Lincoln had a point when he said, “There are no bad pictures, that’s just how your face looks sometimes.” But do we really want to show a prospective match that face? That potential mate won’t be as forgiving as a friend or relative who knows you look better in person and — even if you don’t — loves you anyway.
From the day I created my first online dating profile, I realized the importance of posting a good photo. When I signed up on a couple of dating sites, I carefully selected what I thought were flattering photos taken by relatives.
I even used a photo taken by a guy I dated. He ghosted me inexplicably after 3 months. Only after I emailed him to ask why I hadn’t heard from him in a week, did he tell me he wanted to break up. As revenge, the very next day after he dumped me, I loaded a photo he had taken of me onto a new dating site. I was angry more than upset and my approach was: new dating site, new profile, and new photo.
Over time, I changed my main photo and after a few months both added and deleted pictures. The idea was to keep things fresh and as current as possible.
The photographer I chose, Joe LeBlanc with Ars Nova Images, also suggested shooting outdoors and we went to a nearby park. I have to admit that when you are over 29 as I am :), natural lighting can take 10 years off of your appearance. When I compared the test shots taken in Joe’s studio with the outdoor test shot, it was easy to go with the outdoor location.
Joe took about 300 photos (so quickly I couldn’t even tell it was that many) and he posed me in several settings in the park. I ended up with some dynamite natural-looking portraits. Sorry I can’t share them with you as Nadia continues to travel incognito on this blog, but I can share the results.
After loading the best photo onto my sites (Match, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, How About We*, and Bumble*), I sat back and waited for what I hoped would be an uptick in views and messages.
It took a few hours and then shazam, incoming! It wasn’t a torrential downpour, but a reasonable summer rain of men. It’s been two weeks since the new photo was posted and I’ve had two dates and more e-mails, views, “likes,” “favorites,” etc. than before.
I haven’t met “the one” yet, but I’m certain I have improved my chances.
Until next week, happy dating or not dating.
*More on my experiences with these two dating venues in a future post.
Erika helps her clients with the world of online dating: writing a unique profile, composing emails that get answered, choosing the best photos, and planning dates. She also offers date coaching to clients.
Erika has a background in business and economics. She applied her professional and people skills to achieve great personal success with online dating. Since starting A Little Nudge, she has worked with hundreds of clients who have gone on to date confidently, marry, get engaged, or enter a relationship.
What is the best way for a 60-something woman to meet a man? Is it online?
As I tell all of my clients, there isn’t a best way to meet someone. There are many options—online dating, singles’ events, classes, groups. The important part is to put yourself out there in some capacity, online or otherwise.
Do you have any recommendations for meeting men in the wild?
Be approachable. Oftentimes, a man wants to approach a woman, but her nose is in her phone, or she has a scowl on her face. The best way to attract someone is to smile and show that you’re open to meeting new people. Men get scared, too!
What is the single biggest complaint you have about online dating from women? From men?
Bad pictures!! I recommend 3 to 5 photos—at least a clear headshot, a nice full-body shot, and a photo of you doing something interesting. In addition, make sure you’re alone in your photos because the last thing you want is for someone to compare you to your friend or family in your own profile. And NO MORE SELFIES!
Is there anything you would do differently now if you were dating (based on what you have learned from your business)?
Have a list of about five non-negotiables and beyond that, give people a chance.
Do you ever “match” your clients?
I do! I have what I call “matchmaking mixers” to get my clients together. It’s always a well-attended, fun time! I’ll be holding another one in DC in June!
What do you think about matchmaking services?
Some are great, and some are not so great. Try to get recommendations from others who have used the matchmaker to see if they were satisfied.
What are your tips for the first date? What if the first date is not spectacular? Should you see him again?
Start with just drinks or coffee (no dinner!) to see where it goes and if you have some rapport. Also, it’s important to go into a first date with no expectations. Simply having a good conversation should be considered a success.
I tell my clients if they’re on the fence about someone to give it one more date. More here:
How should one handle corresponding with 2 or 3 guys at once? How long can a woman date more than one guy?
This is a personal preference and everyone feels differently, but generally, the point of dating more than one person is to find the one who you like best. Once you do that, there’s no need to keep seeing the others. Don’t just see them as a fallback plan, because that means you’re already assuming the outcome of the one you want to pursue… and it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
How can one keep from losing hope?
I do recommend taking a break if you’re feeling jaded… just as long as you get back on the horse. And, as hard as it seems sometimes, remember that it only takes one.
Is a man who has been married 2 or 3 times someone to be wary of? What about a never married man? Should a woman stay away?
Everyone has a story, and nothing is black and white, so rather than making generalizations about people based on their prior marital status, I would hear the story and then use your judgment.
Do you have clients in their 50s and 60s? Do you have any particular advice for women in this age group/stage of life?
Desperate? Not at all! What man wouldn’t be flattered when a pretty lady reaches out to him? J
What if you find out before you meet that a man lied about his age in his dating profile? Should you address it before you meet or during the first meeting?
I generally do not recommend too much “research” before you meet your date, however, I know as well as the next person that, if given enough information, people are going to do their due diligence. If you do, in fact, find that your date has lied, first decide if you’d still like to meet this person. Ask yourself if the lie was too egregious, if you think he’s lying about other things, if he had a good motive, etc. (For the record, I never recommend lying about one’s age.)
Now, if you do decide to go on the date, it’s up to you whether you want to address it or see if it comes out organically. If you think it’ll eat at you the entire time, preventing you from enjoying yourself, then bring it up. He’ll have no more right to be upset with you for bringing it up than you have to be upset with him for doing it in the first place. But ask with some tact. Rather than, “Why did you lie about your age?” which will put him on the defensive, instead perhaps say, “Since I had your info, when I looked you up, I noticed that your age differed a bit from what you posted online. It made me feel a bit uneasy, so I just wanted to address it.”
Are there any games worth playing? Is it important for a woman to play it cool, not be too available?
The long and short of it: No games! We’re all adults, and the mature ones will appreciate that you’re straightforward with your feelings.
Are the “rules” for sex any different for 60 year olds? Do you think baby boomers are having sex any earlier in a relationship?
Just as with a 20-something, 60-somethings all go at their own pace. Go at a pace that’s comfortable for you, and that will differ for every two people. But, it is extremely important to build a foundation with someone before you go too far in the bedroom because once you start having sex, it’s harder to go back to learn about this person’s ins and outs.
Should women lie about their age to compensate for the age bias that exists?
Nope. A lie about your age (even a small one) starts out a relationship on the wrong foot. And it makes your date think, “What else is she lying about?”
Thanks to Erika for providing this guidance! Until next week, happy dating or not dating.