This is the second post from our Los Angeles-based Date Reporter Rachel Nina Schwartz. She’ll be documenting her experience dating in LA. Catch up on her story here. In this post she covers Picking a Profile Photo and Filling out your Profile — including how to know whether to skip a question.
A late night sexting session perhaps? I wish. Nope, I’m looking for pictures to post on the HowAboutWe profile I’ve just created. They need to be attractive but not too fashionable, approachable but individual, universal yet specific to me. I need full-body to show what my whole person looks like, but without being obnoxious or sleazy. I need photos that show my face (look, no sunglasses!) preferably from various angles. That way prospective dates will understand I’m not hiding anything on the other side of my head they can’t see.
I need shots in good lighting, shots on vacation, shots with dogs or friends or babies. All of these have to be somewhat recent and reflect what I actually look like because that is important when creating online profiles! I mean, I certainly appreciate it. In fact, when I encounter a profile where a guy has five photos and looks totally different in each one, this is an immediate red flag. So are photos conspicuously engineered with lots of faux-vintage filters or exaggerated angles. Consistency is important, but then again so is variety. Where does that leave me? I choose seven photos including my all-time favorite — one with nice soft lighting where my hair looks awesome and fluffy. Done. Moving on.
I head to the section where I answer a few questions about myself that would indicate to potential dates the sort of person I might be. Education, Faith, Politics, Height, Career. I love that the Career field is auto-populated with Graphic Designer. Obviously. I type in Designer/Writer, and share that the most awesome place I’ve visited is Istanbul (which ties back nicely to the vacation photo I’ve posted). I play with the sliding bar to exhibit how frequently I smoke, drink and exercise. These are good questions and certainly things I want to know right away about other people! Because I’m tired I skip the 5 sentence self-summary. I would not want to be held to anything I post right now and first impressions are key. I take the easy way out and write answers only to questions I can nail. Or maybe I’m just embarrassed to say that my first concert was Alanis Morisette.
HowAboutWe doesn’t seem to be on the same page as other sites with the zillions of “matching” questions and I’m somewhat thankful for that. It’s nice to create a profile (especially on a site with good UI/UX) quickly and without exhausting myself on multiple choice questions. I pause for a moment to come up with a great date suggestion because that’s the point of the site! It’s got to be exceptional, and something that I’d really want to do anyway so even if the date’s not wonderful at least there was some redeeming value. In fact, when I see A first date no-no I start typing Not having a plan and then realize, well shoot that would never happen on HowAboutWe because that’s the whole point!
I post an idea I’m excited about that seems fun, original and appealing and involves snacks, drinks and nice views. I pat myself on the back. I’m finished! I spent more time on photos than anything else, but hey, humans are visually oriented creatures and as I said, I tend to art direct real life. I’ll get back to answering those “important” questions shortly, but first I’m off to check all the replies I’m getting to my date!
Rachel Nina Schwartz is a designer based in New York who is currently in LA for the summer, where she will be writing about her dating experiences. She looks forward to learning how to surf and reveling in a climate conducive to good hair days. Check out her other project, StateofDate.com.