Online Dating Sites

The Attraction Factor Test

"A picture speaks a thousand words..." and most of those words you wouldn't even use when you finally get to meet the actual person.

This just may be the concurrent theme running through the majority of meet ups between two prospective online daters who are seeing each other face-to-face for the first time. Spurred on by profile photos displaying the image of a rather attractive person, usual first reactions range from the outraged "Who the heck are you?" to a rather vague "Uh, do I know you?" In some rare and rude instances, one party beats a hasty retreat.

That is not to say that most single people using web match making services are Quasimodos and Medusas. The fact still remains that many singles post photos which, suffice it to say, do not represent the true physical appearance of their owners. A report written by a forty-something single mother who subscribes to confirms just that.

Web photos can be year's out-of-date, displaying fuller heads of hair, flatter tummies and only a single chin. The reason behind this virtual camouflage lies in the fact that a dater's photo will determine whether his or her personal is given attention or passed over completely.

Some singles that opt not to post their pictures at all get left out of the equation entirely. Most internet daters limit their searches only to personal ads with photos. Most subscribers even request that they not be contacted by website members who have none to show.

Web personals can be a risky medium because one doesn't get to actually see their prospects. At least, not at first. Apart from the usual height, weight, hair and eye color (all of which may also prove to be misleading), photos remain the primary visual reference by which a hopeful can judge prospective dates. Because this is not always a reliable source to base decisions on, some internet matchmaking services are starting to offer streaming webcam so members can better determine attractiveness.

One will be surprised at the vast number of the uninformed who post photographs that range from the laughably contrived to "dawn of the dead" specimens that are usually considered no-no's in the online dating arena. There are reports of really cheesy shots involving oiled naked chests and an abundance of body hair, and pictures taken from the top of the head, whose only prominent features include a patrician nose overlooking a generous amount of cleavage. Then there are the "men-about-town" whose favorite poses always include some sleek piece of machinery in the background (sometimes a Camaro, sometimes a speedboat), or the artsy-fartsy chicks who go for black-and-white photos to project an aura of intellectualism, and to cover up any evidence of skin imperfection.

Even in cyberspace, "survival of the fittest" still rules, with appearance being the number one qualifying factor for acceptability. If you Google "online dating photos" over the Internet, thousands of articles come up offering various types of advice on how to get the best image, the most advantageous poses, optimum lighting, and digitally engineered special effects to catch the interest of the millions of web singles who scrutinize an equal number of profile photos each day.

In fact, a highly profitable niche has recently sprung up for digital photographers who specialize in online dating photographs. Web sites advertising their services, portfolios, evidence of success stories, and even advice and monthly newsletters abound over the World Wide Web.

Still, the fact remains that reality is not told by the photograph. Internet daters will do well to remember that eventually, the truth shall come out, and may just quite unfortunately; set them free – still dateless, still unattached, and still searching for the next gullible prospect.

Posted at 11:10 PM on Jan 23, 2008 By

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