Use the Ugly Photo

A bit of fun today so don’t take it too seriously…


One of my friends is currently exploring the world of online-dating. With some pretty interesting observations, experiences and results. I think she’s a brave woman. Without giving away her identity (I’ve been warned), it’s fair to say that, for this particular person – who happens to be a divorced mother working long hours in the corporate world – the online dating model seems to be a convenient, practical and logical place to start. In theory, it’s a great idea. Makes total sense.

Practically… well, that’s another story.

It seems that, when it comes to the matter of describing and displaying the… er… aah… product(?) on the relevant websites, some blokes are over-promising and under-delivering. To say the least. In fact, if my friend is to be believed, almost every bloke in the date-osphere (I made that word up) is committing some kind of cyber-fraud by representing themselves with ten year-old photos (or older) and personal profiles that are largely works of fiction. To this point in time her dating experiences have ranged from scary, to hilarious, to creepy to amazing.

And not amazing in a good way.

And I’m not talking about two or three dates with a few random weirdos. No, she’s been on more than a dozen dates over the last four months so her ‘sample’ group is a reasonably large one. On behalf of all the relatively normal, mildly dysfunctional, slightly chubby, slightly insecure males of the world, I felt compelled to make an apology to her. I clumsily tried to convince her that not all blokes are frauds. Although considering her experience, I totally understand her very low expectations, skepticism and sense of frustration.

I Don’t Get It

Personally, I don’t get it. I don’t get why blokes (or women, for that matter) do it. Why put up completely misrepresentative information and pictures when it will most probably result in disappointment, resentment and awkwardness? If not, downright anger? Do these guys think that when they finally meet in person their awesome personality and charisma will somehow distract their date from the physical reality of the fatter, older, uglier fraud sitting before them?    

“And by the way Jane, I’m not really an astronaut.”

Good grief men. Get a grip.

While it might seem like a good idea to pump oneself up (to a prospective date), any decent sale’s training will teach you that to over-promise and under-deliver is the quickest way to damage your brand, alienate your target market and create disconnection.

Not to mention, make yourself look like a dick.

Of course, I’m no expert in the world of cyber-dating (or any dating, for that matter) but I do think it might be wise to portray one’s wares in a realistic and authentic light. And while I don’t think I’ll ever travel the cyber-dating road myself, if I was to, I think my plan would be to publish an underwhelming personal profile with a not-very-flattering photo.

Under promise, over-deliver.

That way I don’t have to see the disappointment on their face. ;)

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

dave February 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm

…but Craig, this why i waited all these months to post an updated photo of me on FB…not really online dating i know….it just looks better :)

Now if i could only do something about my man boobs….????


Craig February 5, 2013 at 12:43 pm

You’re in that rare group Dave whose current photo is an improvement. Good for you!

Now, about those man boobs… ;)


dave February 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Craig, just wondering though, are there any dumbell exercises (or any other type) for helping me improve this area of my physique? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Evan February 5, 2013 at 1:08 pm

The trouble may be that the honest ones don’t get any interest. A problem in ‘sales’ in other domains too.


Fi February 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Hilarious Craig it’s all in the science of data !!!!!

Just watching midday TV now (working hard of course)
‘The View’ ever heard of it…. 4 chicks talking stuff……but relevant today…
Forty million people date on-line each year.
Most don’t find true love. Thanks to Amy Webb who tried a different tack and pretended to be a bloke…..

Data, a Love Story, her odds just got a whole lot better

Enjoy Girls…

Fi x


Lisa February 5, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Oh this is hilarious Craig – you have hit the nail on the head!

I have been cyber-dating for several years now (unsuccessfully so it would seem as I’m still single!) and for the most part you are correct when you say – “Do these guys think that when they finally meet in person their awesome personality and charisma will somehow distract their date from the physical reality of the fatter, older, uglier fraud sitting before them?”


At least half the guys don’t put a picture up at all and when I request a picture apparently that makes me “shallow” that I’d want to see what my potential date looks like. Their amazing charisma is all I should be needing apparently. On a more accurate note, in my experience no picture means either 1) ugly or 2) married or 3) both.

Of those who do put a picture, it is often 10 or more years old. I was chatting to a guy just last week who had a picture on his profile which was 20 years old!

For those who just plain know they are not in the uber attractive category, they plead for women to just “give them a chance” because their super duper awesome personality is all that matters…. so it seems.

I just wonder why these guys who don’t feel it’s important to be physically attracted to your partner, are still single because by their standards, they should have been able to pick the first girl off the shelf because of course “looks don’t matter”. There are after all several million profiles available. Oh wait, then again how could that happen when they only contact the women who’s picture they like?


Nikki February 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Interesting topic. I shouldn’t really comment because I have NO experience in dating at all, but from watching my sister who’s been in the on line dating game for three years now (also with no long term future prospects coming her way out of it), I’m surprised she hasn’t given up on the hunt! But, in her favour although she looks great, is great, she hasn’t met anyone any other way. So, how do you meet someone these days without online dating? Does anyone know anyone that’s been asked out face to face on a chance meeting? Or does that only happen in movies and the olden days?


grasshopper February 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Omg! Laughed when I read today’s post! So true, I fall into the same category as your friend, single mother of two for the last ten years, working hard in the corporate world but like you wouldn’t dream of going down that road of cyber dating! Apart from the fact I just wouldn’t put my self thru that, my sister has & the stories she has told me are exactly the same as your friend’s. I keep asking her why she persists, she says it’s a numbers game! You have to kiss a lot of frogs! No thanks, I’d rather stay home & stick to kissing the love of my life, my kitty! :) I believe in the law of attraction! You create your own reality! One day my Prince will come! And I ain’t kissing any frogs in the meantime! Lol! …. Always my Messenger, Craig, Now i know I’m doing the right thing & staying true to my beliefs, Thank you……Grasshopper xx


Anonymous February 5, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I think your friend is brave as well. There are so many people out there. I hope she meets a few she likes.


Kayley February 6, 2013 at 7:34 am

Can relate to this one totally. Started internet dating this time last year and the kind of men that were on one of the sites did vary between creapy to amazing (not in a good way)…BUT, the good ones are also there too as I met the most amazing man that has shown me what real love is and is willing to help me unpack my baggage. So please tell your friend not to give up. You just have to sort through the toads to find your frog.


Mish February 6, 2013 at 8:10 am

I really enjoyed your blog and as a user of cyber-dating I could relate all to well to your friends experiences!
I am here to say that it can work and diamonds can be found amongst gravel – I met and last year married the man I met on a dating website… but we were both the exceptions (as he told me that he went on similiar dates with women who were less than they advertised) – in that both believe honesty IS the best policy!
All the very best to your friend!


Anonymous February 6, 2013 at 8:54 am

My view is that online dating is no better and no worse than trying your luck in other places. I did online dating starting in my mid-twenties on and off for around 10 years with no luck. Lots of great dates, but no one that really stood out. Then about two months into my foray on eHarmony I met my future husband. I would suggest that the sites where there is a higher cost of entry tends to weed out those that aren’t serious about making a match! Not sure if it weeds out those with misleadiing photos :)


Trolley Wife February 6, 2013 at 11:08 am

Whoop NICE Anonymous congrats


Anonymous February 6, 2013 at 9:19 am

Anyone talking to anyone via the internet that they don’t know needs to watch ‘Catfish’ the documentary and and tv series. Fantastic viewing and really eye opening on how many people lie about their looks, jobs, and even sex!


Trolley Wife February 6, 2013 at 11:15 am

Mmm, how very funny and frustrating. Do women put up misleading photos also? I totally agree Craig. I think I would put up a nice one (not too fake) and maybe a makeup free one, where not looking glam at all. I have heard there are a lot of “players’ on RSVP. Maybe people should just get down to Daisey’s or the Dorset or any of those over 28′s places. Only takes one other nice person to be there.

That being said, gym or work or what ever hobby you have might have, might be a better way of meeting a “right” person. Still, I have to say I rarely put up an Ugga shot on F.B, and we all have those accidental bad angle or eyes half shut etc jobs.


It can happen February 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I met my now husband online, we have known each other six years and have been married for two.
However, we were both scrupulously honest about what we wanted and what we looked like.
No point saying you’re a size 12 if you’re a 24, or you are attractive when you look like “jabba the hut”. I kid you not and for some reason, known only to himself, he thought he was damn attractive.
Honesty is the only thing that will achieve the result you are looking for and from my experience it’s about finding what is right for you.


Josh February 6, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Gday Craig,

As a male who has been on/off online dating for a few years now i can honestly tell you that the males out there are not the only ones committing cyber fraud. I have now been on 3 dates with girls that have looked absolutely nothing like what they have described. One described herself as blonde, was a brunette in her photo and when i met her was a full blown red head. Posing in the right light, from the right angle and showing only the face or favourable ah… bits is not only frequent but i would say normal from girls on the online dating sites. I cant speak for the males they are probably just as bad, but as you said i dont get it! Are we all not on there to meet someone, not deceive people into turning up for a date that within a minute they no longer want to be on!


The Schubinator February 6, 2013 at 9:05 pm

I’m attractive, 48 (but look mid thirties) and am a 52kg size 8. When I put a picture and profile on a dating site and list my preferences for men as between 45 and 50, non-smokers and health and fitness conscious the only repsonses I get are from smoking, overweight men in their late 50′s or 60′s. I can only assume that the men that see my picture and read my profile must think the photo is 20 years old and I’m really overweight and ugly. Being honest has not worked for me!!


Frankie February 7, 2013 at 7:26 am

Oh Craig – I had to laugh. I have been on and off cyber dating sites for the past 6 years. And it is sooo misleading. Being honest doesn’t seem to do me any favours – mostly when I make the ‘first contact’ I am ignored and have been thinking I should dumb down my profile.

Now I am not young or a size six, but I am fit and healthy and love doing all sorts of things. Gregarious and enthusiastic. And, obviously, those are not things that the guys are looking for – apparently. Otherwise would I not get some sort of reaction to my initial ‘hello’? And, what is even more frustrating, when you do initiate contact you get no response whatsoever – not even a ‘thanks but no thanks’. Hmmm……..

I am about to go off again – but maybe will stay just a little longer given the comments above.

Love your writing……… :o )


Vivienne February 7, 2013 at 8:46 am

Sorry Craig, I’m a bit late to this conversation, but I can say there are some success stories. I met my lovely husband online. We were both honest on our profiles. We’re not people that would have gone and met at a pub or party – we’re both a little bit too shy for that. It worked perfectly for us, and we’ve been happily married for nearly 9 years.


sweetpea February 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm

These people are brave no? I still prefer the “old school” way… if you are a “dick” or vice versa…at least you are facing each other…you get to see the pimple, the wart, the whole shebang… and even smell smells? Cyber never picks up the b.o factor. (True…. just get on a bus…) …takes more courage to walk in to that bar, reception, that party, and just front up…and say g’day…someone is bound to love ya… or hate ya…and they can assess instantly… and move on… no song and dance…and turd polishing… which is akin to…. yes my resume is a true account…

Yep. Up front and personal… b.o may be your thang… some women love the solo man… so you can both tip the beloved softdrink down each other’s shirts… sounds interactive to me….


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