Posted by: Shar & Mare | September 27, 2010

(Too?) Great Expectations

“I’m taking my picture off of the dating site I’m on”, a girlfriend informed me over dinner last week.

“I wait and wait for men to contact me and when they do …well…I just can’t get past what the picture looks like. And when I do finally get to the point where I meet someone, they show up and I’m so turned off by their looks that I can’t even concentrate on what they’re saying”.

This struck me as a little extreme. I know that looks are a part of the package, I’m as guilty as the next gal of not responding to men who I just can’t visualize locking lips with, based on their photo. But at some point I think we need to learn to look past the photo and spend more time reading through the profile to discover the personality behind the pix.

Personality…that thing that animates us, that makes our eyes light up when we smile and lets us send out the warmth, heart and soul of who we really are colors our looks in more ways than we realize. How can you tell any of this from a teensy, usually slightly out-of-focus, headshot? You can’t.

I’ve had a few online dating experiences that really drove this point home for me. A few years back I met someone who’d contacted me on His profile pic had come up in a few of my searches but I never contacted him because he was just too good looking. Model-handsome with black hair, a classic profile, roman nose, and a confident smile, I thought that he probably had hundreds of emails from single women. I didn’t want to get lost in the stampede so I never contacted him…but…HE contacted me. We emailed, spoke on the phone (far too briefly as it turned out) and met at a local bar/restaurant. When he walked in, I noticed that he was just as gorgeous in person – this of course was a premature assessment. As it turned out he was …let me put this bluntly…dumb as a stone, and a little full of himself too. As the night wore on he actually, physically started to get less and less good looking to me. The wrapping became completely overshadowed by his not-so-pretty personality.

The second experience happened when I met the man whom I would date for the following two years. His photo was not bad, but not great; he was OK looking. He did however, write a witty and charming email so we talked and met for dinner. He was just as sweet and charming in person as he was in writing and by the end of the evening I was noticing how his smile made a little dimple pop up on his cheek and OH…how adorable the way his hair swept over his brow like that.

Months later my friend Jean commented that she thought my new BF was just so drab and nerdy-looking when I first introduced them, but …then…he started to get really sort of hot-looking…and wasn’t that odd? No, not odd, it was the way his personality and intelligence colored and animated his looks, it really did make him better looking.

So, do me a favor, the next time you find a profile online and the persons headshot is OK, not great or beautiful…just OK. Take the time to meet him or her for coffee, a drink, some conversation. Find out what they really look like. Let me know how it goes…:)



  1. Cheers to the wise lady that wrote this! I agree completely. I actually think these dating sites should eliminate the pictures or make it possible not to view them until you are ready, like telling the gender of a baby during an ultrasound. I met my true love, Jim, in a virtual world called Second Life. We spent hours talking in avatar form, which varied from young women to old men to all kinds of animals and mythical beasts (though no kinky stuff with the animal forms, just not my thing.)

  2. Sylvie, I’ve heard from a few people (both men and women) who’ve met in virtual worlds. Hmmmm, maybe this is the future of online dating? There’s definitely a plus to being able to just chat with someone for a period of time without feeling the need to meet right away.

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