Note: I feel the need to clarify that I’m not guaranteeing that you will actually score in real life. I cannot help you with your flirting and closing abilities. If you can’t think of anything better to say than, “Hey, what’s up?”, or you set off a girl’s rapedar, that’s on you. I can, however, get you right-swiped (which, let’s be honest, is really the most fun part of this game).
If you are a Tinderite, or if you read my first Tinder post, you know that it is your picture— not your hobbies or your employment status or your ability to differentiate between “good” and “well”— that gets you past the sudden death swiping round. You get one chance to make a good first impression, so DO NOT FUCK IT UP. You won’t believe how many guys, when asked, “What made you choose a picture of you with a stripper for a dating app?” respond with, “Duh, uh… I dunno… I guess it just chooses pictures from my Facebook page.” Well, what if your Facebook profile pic is of your Kindergarten class, like this genius? Whoopsies! So just give that swiping finger a rest for a few more minutes and follow these ten simple profile picture Dos and Dont’s to guaranteed Tinder success (and by guaranteed I mean in no way guaranteed).
1. DON’T INCLUDE OTHER WOMEN IN YOUR PROFILE PIC.
This sounds like a no brainer, right? Well, not from what I’ve seen. I don’t care if she’s your sister, your cousin, your fuck buddy, or your wife… just don’t do it. Because all your potential match will be able to see is the inevitable bitch fight waiting to happen, and she will left-swipe you faster than that guy with three teeth wearing the Female Body Inspector t-shirt.
2.DO LEAD WITH A PHOTO OF YOURSELF HOLDING A BABY ANIMAL.
Cat, tiger, puppy, rat, whatever. A baby is a baby is a baby, and women LOVE them. Seriously, the SPCA should do a fundraising event where a $10 donation gets you a picture with an adorable puppy for your online dating profile pic. OMG I’m going to single-handedly save all the homeless animals out there!!! Older dogs, while adorable, are less effective than puppies. They send the message, “This is my first and only true love. You will never quite match up.” And, let’s face it. It’s probably true.
3. DON’T THINK THIS PUPPY RULE APPLIES TO YOUR KIDS.
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Now I know that there are plenty of single guys with kids that are on Tinder looking for… whatever… just like everyone else. I’m not saying you should withhold this piece of information. Put it in your description and even include a picture of you and your children 3-4 deep. But on Tinder you get ONE SHOT at the right swipe, and a girl who is looking to casually date or hook up will see your adorable 2-year-old staring back at her and freak the fuck out, as words like “stepmom,” “ex wife,” and “I hate you,” circle through her head. And it will be a damn shame… because she’s probably hot. And if you’re posting a pic of you and a niece/nephew/friend’s kid to go for the “Look, I’m fatherly” angle, we will still wonder if it’s yours. Left. Swipe.
4. DO BE A FIREFIGHTER.
I don’t mean dress up as a fireman and take a picture. I mean be a hot, calendar-worthy, life-risking, badass firefighter… and 100% of your right swipes will turn into matches. If you are not a firefighter, at least be a cowboy (a real one) or a pilot (flight suit required) or some other profession where you save people’s lives. Remember that these only count if this profession is reflected in your profile picture. Otherwise, for all we know, you are a junior suit salesman at the Men’s Warehouse.
5. DON’T POST A PICTURE OF YOU AND YOUR BOYS BRO-ING OUT.
I would like to remind you that you are not a girl, and this is not a trip to the bathroom. You are a big boy, and this is a dating site, so man up and do this one solo. We all know that bros come before hos, but when you’re trying to pick up chicks, you may want to make it a little less obvious and nix the pics of you and your boys in coordinating Affliction t-shirts.
6. DO SHOW US SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO.
How many of you immediately thought of things like, “Doggy style,” “Watching Katy Perry bounce around in slow motion,” or “Peeing in the bushes because I can”? Got that out of your system? Good. A picture speaks 1,000 words… or in the world of Tinder, a few hundred characters. So let your potential match know what to expect from you and make her aware of the type of girl you are looking to attract. Does she need to be outdoorsy? Does she need to love wine? Does she need to be liberal? Does she need to know to calm the fuck down when you say you’re going hunting with your brother this weekend? These things are important to clarify up front. Just make sure you can see at least part of your face, lest you fall victim to the reflexive left-swipe.
7. DON’T DO THE MUSCLE SELFIE.
Just. Don’t. I know I just said to lead with a picture doing something you love, and this will show that you love yourself more than anything, but just don’t do it. I mean, if you are trying to find someone who is attracted to a complete douche, then by all means, put it out there. But I am optimistic that a good chunk of you gym rats has something to offer beneath those vanity muscles, so lead with that. A rare exception would be if you are, in fact, an underwear model. You are allowed to put that out there, Marky Mark, and we will all thank you for it.
8. DO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR
Unfortunately for us ladies, not everyone can look like George Clooney. We get it, and we have come to accept it. In fact, we know we’re not perfect, and we can get a little insecure and intimidated if you are. So if you don’t have a six-pack, a chiseled jawline, a full head of hair, or anything that could be remotely described as “attractive,” have no fear. Show us your sense of humor up front, and you’ll at least make it through the swiping round. And remember, when in doubt, you fucking love puppies.
9. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, POST A PICTURE OF YOURSELF IN BLACK FACE.
Seriously? What the fuck is wrong with you?!!!
10. DO SAVE YOUR AWKWARD FAMILY PHOTOS FOR awkwardfamilyphotos.com.
I really didn’t want to sound like a complete asshole, but you’ve forced my hand here. I know you’re family-oriented, and these pictures of you looking like you’re making out with your mother, or subjecting your baby to lying in a straw-filled manger when Americans typically don’t have to do that, are probably really important to you. But I beg you to keep them off Tinder. This is for your own good. I mean, if you’re looking to be ridiculed and posted to awkwardfamilyphotos.com or a random person’s blog against your will, then more power to you. But if you’re a nice person who’s really looking to meet someone, then just save this shit for the mantle place. Please.
BONUS: GET ON FACEBOOK AND “UNLIKE” DEXTER
While this has nothing to do with your profile picture, just do yourself a quick favor and “unlike” Dexter from your Facebook page, would you? Because when I see that we have two things in common, and one of them is Dexter, I begin to have visions of myself swathed in plastic wrap… and not in a good way. While you’re at it, you may want to consider “liking” a few other things just to fill the space. Might I suggest things like Cuddling, John Hughes Films, Listening, and Puppies. Really, anything that doesn’t make a woman fear that your first date will take place in something called a “kill room” will suffice.