We’re always told, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and I’m here to tell you to judge it. Yes, when you are literally talking about a book maybe that advice applies but when referring to people the proverb doesn’t quite hold water. The famous phrase isn’t “Love at first good conversation” for a reason. As shallow as it sounds, attraction is the initial driving force in a relationship. I’m not saying someone’s personality can’t help or be a deal breaker, but looks are definitely important, especially in the beginning.
A picture says a thousand words and they’re not all necessarily benevolent. There is a creep factor that seems to seep through pictures if you are in fact a creep. It’s this little thing we like to call intuition. If someone looks off, they most likely are off. However, I grew up being told to give people chances regardless of looks because attraction is something that can develop. Yes, maybe if you were friends first or met in person, but online it’s better to be safe than sorry.
I have already given a few examples of my tumultuous relationship with dating, but here’s another one that supports my argument:
For this round of online dating I have really been trying to find someone with similar interests and what can be perceived as a good personality (from the little information you have on a website) and a good match for me. This guy contacted me and my first reaction to his pictures was a weird feeling in my gut. I decided that I needed to be open minded and look at the whole profile and to my surprise I was actually laughing out loud. *Side note: If you can make me laugh, it’s pretty much a guarantee I’ll give you a shot.* I replied and we had some good banter back and forth. Some questionable areas of conversation arose about family and upbringing. The only person he has a relationship with is his Dad and he moved around his whole life (a ton in recent years) so he did not have a huge family or social circle. That should have been my second red flag after my gut reaction.
Despite the fact that my creep alarm was on high alert, I agreed to meet him. My rationalization was that I am looking for a relationship so being open to different people and situations is part of the deal. Much to my dismay, the date didn’t go well from the very beginning.
I was pulling up to the restaurant in my car trying to find parking when I saw this really short guy flipping his hair, like Justin Beiber, in a full Adidas sweatsuit and what looked like K Swiss sneakers. I, of course, knew this was my date and again my stomach sank a little. I found parking and walked up to him as he kept doing the hair flip. As he turned toward me, it was like I was staring at the poster child for the Aryan race with what appeared to be a boil on his face the size of a walnut. Awesome. Off to another great start!
So we sit down to dinner in an overly crowded but, thankfully, dimly lit area of the restaurant. For a few minutes we did have a good conversation and some laughs (if a third party came along they would think we were having a great date). We started talking about holidays with the family and how he had missed that growing up. I actually felt bad and thought maybe he was a good person with a bad sense of style and skin problems. Wrong, I began to talk about one of my family’s Passover seders when he asked what a seder was. I explained that I’m Jewish and on Passover we have a seder and gave him a quick history behind it. He then replied, “Oh you’re Jewish?”. After that things went downhill. I kept staring at the boil as he spoke of his family roots. Immediately after I declared my Jew status, he informed me that his grandparents were most likely Nazis in Germany, and said this while smiling. The creep vibe started to spread through out my body as the conversation spiraled to a crashing stop. I thought, am I really desperate enough to be taking dates with Hitler Youth?
Love may be blind but unfortunately so is desperation. All the signs were there to begin with. Had I just trusted my intuition, I could have avoided this confusing/alarming date with the boiled faced anti-semite. He had the appearance of a German Men’s Junior soccer player and the essence of a rapist. Combine that with the Nazi ancestry and I was pretty much in hell. I now have a rule that if I have a gag reflex to your picture, for any reason, I’m moving onto the next contestant.
Dating should be mostly fun and giving everyone under the sun a chance does not do you any good. It’s admirable to not be shallow or materialistic but I rather not have to deal with a neo Nazi with a penchant for nomadic living. I’m starting to theorize that his moving around was not a coincidence! Let’s just say the FBI’s most wanted list now has more meaning in my life.
Basically, if the picture is not up to par then the person probably isn’t either. It’s good to take pride in how you look and present yourself, even in a profile. It says a lot about you and is a good way to separate the possible mates from the improbable. Plus if you’re attracted from just a picture and profile…that’s not a bad sign. Use caution when: A person has only one picture that is a self pic, far away shots, mug shots (or anything resembling), or has a picture that causes a physical reaction. Those are warning signs to stay away. Ignoring them does not make you a better person and will most likely involve an awkward or uncomfortable situation that leaves you right where you started. Maybe a little bit more disturbed but still single and looking.
So the decision is up to you. Judge a book by it’s cover or don’t. But ask yourself this, do you really want to be the face on the milk carton?
Until the next charmer,