Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A guy's dating profile photo: DO POST!!

Great Photos Guys Should Consider Posting
 1) At least one picture that shows you socializing or interacting with people in a friendly, casual way. 
This serves as a great conversation starter, and it makes us think "Could he be a hot model?" less and "Would I hang out with him in real life?" more.  And usually the latter is what you want us thinking....I think. Even a picture with you with a dog shows that you are good at incorporating others into your life.

2) Include at least one, but no more than two "travel photos."
 Maybe you've never left the state.  Chance are, you have trees, seasons, water, sunsets, sunrises, downtown architecture, or something else of visual interest near you.  Consider this to be your travel photo.  It shows that you get out and about.  And not just at the bar or at a sporting event.  And those out-and-about pictures might be you with the ocean, mountains, Eiffel Tower, etc. behind you, making perfect sense why you needed to capture the moment and not way for a trusted photographer to walk by.  Make it interesting by drinking a cup coffee, striking a yoga pose, or inviting some goofy tourists to join you if you must add something.

3) Let us see your: eyes, teeth, hair.
I get it, people are self-conscious.  Just do it from a small distance (no more than 12 feet away, though) if that makes you more comfortable.  If a guy never shows his eyes, teeth, or hair, I'm going to assume he's missing all of his teeth and hair, and that his eyes scare little children.  I get wanting to get people to give you a shot before you reveal that you didn't get to have braces and that male-pattern baldness runs in the family, but really, that worst of all is when a guy doesn't present himself with self-accepting warmth and confidence.  It's like he doesn't feel good in his own skin.  You don't even have to show all three in a single picture.  And really, a guy who doesn't smile a full smile, well, he just seems sad/hurt/angry/cynical/upset/touch.  But granted, some guys might be going for that. 

4) A real smile.
Be sure to include a picture of you laughing at a friend's joke, smiling huge with your nephews, or grinning ear-to-ear with friends at a football game.  Whatever it took, include that picture that shows you not really posing as much as brimming with cheer.  You look hot that way.

Why else smile? Women smile almost 50% more frequently than men do.  And over 60% of men's photos are unsmiling. Stand out and look attractive by owning that smile.

5) Your style.
Are you the blurry-guitarist-on-stage type?  Are you the guy who likes to geek out with a dorky pose and a huge grin with your computer in the background?  Do you find your element teetering on rocks alongside a river or up a snowbank on a Colorado February morning?  Then do it!  Maybe it's with your motorcycle, with your hunting buddies, or with your chopsticks and rice.  Forget all of the rules just this once and include that picture that really just makes you think "this is the me that I've learned to love, own, and be."

Others that should go without saying:
Make sure you have least one sober picture.

Have five pictures with identical smiles? Switch it up by doing a "I have a secret" smile, doing a "I'm about to tell you a great joke" smile, or a "I just stopped laughing" smile.  I know those sound so contrived and cheesy, but it helps us go past the "school picture day, I look handsome this way" smile and really imagine wanting to sit down for drinks with you.

Keep your pictures current and realistic.

Interested on more regarding this?  I really liked OKCupid's study on the trends they've noticed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/17/online-dating-profile-pic_n_465227.html

A guy's dating profile picture: Don't Post!!

This is Part II of a 3-Part Series.

Photos that Guys Should Avoid Posting
1) By the computer's warm glow.
Okay, get rid of all sketchy lighting, please. A dark room.  A pillow shot with only the flash of the camera.  A computer screen bringing out the green of your skin.  Good lighting will make you look good, warm, approachable. Avoid all others.

2) All suited up...for work.
Are you going to a friend's wedding in a suit, or are you wearing a tux for a night out with the boys?  Go for it!  But if you have a professional "I'm a solid bet for your investment" picture--suit or not--you will be attracting women who are looking for a guy with a certain kind of a job.  They may also be excited to see the warmth of your personality.  Now, some professional photographers do great, more relaxed professional shots.  But please, don't include only those pictures.  It makes us feel like we're flipping through a 17-year-old's senior picture photo session.

3) Surrounded by hot girls.
If it's with your best girl friend on her wedding day, rock it.  If it's with the wholesome girl next door who is near and dear to your heart, be careful.  If it's with your relatives, go for it.  And if it's with the hot girls who let you and your roommate stand next to them to take a picture while out at the bar, don't do it!!!  It comes across that you're trying to prove that you interact with hot girls.  Or it scares off other "don't consider themselves to be comparably hot" girls because they think that the women in your photos reflect your expectations.

4) Disproportionate number of self-taken pictures.
This makes it seem like the only person who wants to hang out with you is....you.  And that you're the only one who knows how to make yourself look attractive.  We envision you getting ready for a beer at Applebee's with your best guy bud at 9p.m., catching yourself in the mirror, and then thinking, "Man, I don't get more cleaned up than this."  You then proceed to take 20 mirror pictures, and we see the supposed best.  Just doesn't paint a pretty picture.  Cap yourself at ONE self-taken at home picture or in the car, and TWO self-taken out-and-about pictures (assuming you're having some other pictures mixed in, too).  See travel pictures below.

5) Post-bet or post-winter pictures.
Maybe you placed a bet to grow out your moustache as long as possible.  Maybe NoShave November turned into a GrizzlyMan contest.  Whatever it is, you got furry and sordid, but your mom and your friends all commented on how great you looked once you shaved.  So you hold onto that picture.  The picture to show that you once did honor your inner beast, and now you're posting it to attract ladies.  Different suggestion.  Love that photo, print it out, frame it, put it on your fridge or in your bathroom.  Own it, man, and commemorate away.  Just not on your "hey, let's meet up" picture.   (Caveat: if that's the one picture of you making it to the top of Everest or of you meeting an important politician, sure, go ahead, take a gamble and post it.)

6)  Letting your tongue hang out or throwing signs.
I hate that this needs its own category.  Notice that women who are in the pictures where men are sticking out their tongues are rarely looking charmed or happy to see that.  It might be hilarious, though! I might just not understand it because I have never met you and I don't know you and the friends in that picture!!!  Well, that is all correct.  And the people who are looking at your profile don't know you yet or know the context of that photo's moment.

7) Looking off in the distance.
So, if there's even the suggestion that you're looking at friends, at the sunset, or at something else, it's not a big deal.  But when you're looking at the wall to give us your profile, when you're looking off-center at your computer screen so you can see the webcam's image, or when you're

And a couple other hints: 
Stop blurring or black-boxing out your ex-girlfriends and other people who were in the picture with you.  Either crop or use a different picture.  It's kind of 2005 to blur/black box a person out.
Avoid the "does this make me look hot?" screening for your photos.  Focus more on the "does this make me look approachable enough that a person would want to interact with me?" angle.  After all, we have to talk with you before doing anything with your hotness.  Now, if you can be hot and approachable, all the power to you.

You are currently in Part II of a 3-part series.
See the starting logic of this series here in Part 1.

See more about what you SHOULD post here.

Guy's pictures for online dating...a few words

Oh, online dating...
I have done the online dating thing off and on for years now.  Let me take a moment to absorb the truth of that statement, remember that it it's no longer the stigmatized lion's den, and remind myself of the great guys I've met because of it.

What am I talking about?
Okay, ready to move on.  If you are a guy wanting to post a picture for women to seriously consider dating you (or just safely engaging with you in public or in private), your choice of picture is important.

No, I'm not just talking about your hotness factor.  I'm talking about your approachability, social presence, warmth, etc.  I get it, it's superficial in many ways, but that's online dating for you, that's dating for you, and that's representing yourself with a picture for you.

What makes me an expert?  Just real life experience.  I have sat with friends over the years, and we just walk away baffled by the pictures some guys post.  Sometimes, they're attached to the picture.  Sometimes it's in the BestFace or HotorNot vein.  While these opinions are just mine, I've definitely consulted with many other friends about these ideas.  The statistics below are pretty much all made up on my speculation, but I have a diverse group of quality friends, so just consider all of this food for thought.

Also, this is really focused the heterosexual-woman-looking-at-a-guy-who-likes-women population.  It seems like that's huge enough of a population to generalize for, I don't want to overspeak for LGBT preferences, too.

This is Part 1 a 3-part post.

See more about what NOT to post here.
See more about what you SHOULD post here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sus nombres.

I cringe at the feeling a guy must have two months into a relationship.  I can just picture it. 

"Jonathan," she says and smiles.  Jason looks at her and wonders why she repeated the name of the store clerk.  He asks her why she smiled at his name.

"Oh," she says, slightly embarrassed and caught off guard.  Well, she might as well just tell him.

"You see, it's one of the names I know I would name my [or perhaps she dares to say "our"] son."


Why spend my whole life picking out names for the children I have yet to have with the man I have yet to meet?

Well, it's happened. Maybe it's because the countless wedding invitations have been replaced by countless baby showers.  Or maybe it's because I have a clock that ticks just as loudly as every other 29 year old woman.  Either way, baby names are a hot topic amongst my friends whose stomachs have swollen to the size of watermelons.

And I have my list.  I realized that so many names have been nice, but not for me.  And there are certain names I'm always drawn to.  So, without further adieu, I thought I'd record the names that keep popping into my mind.  While plenty of variables (a disagreeable father, a clashing last name, a sudden realization otherwise, etc.) may change my mind, these names are the ones I like rolling off my tongue, in no particular order:

1) Elizaria ("Elly" or "Ria" or "Zadi")

2) Eladio ("Lawdee" or "Elly") ---really loving this one, although I've known one person with it who isn't someone I'd really want my kid to be associated with.  Also, it means "Greek" which is a little underwhelming.

3) Rogelio ("Ro") ----this one surprises me, but I don't see myself liking it long term.  It means "famous spearman", which, like Eladio, doesn't impress me much.

4) Trujillo ("Truji" or "Tru") ---doesn't really have a meaning, as it's a traditional surname.  However, it's a common last name in my family, so it makes me like it all the more.

5) Lope (pronounced low-pay) ---shoot, now that I spell it "low pay", it seems terrible.  I like it as a derivative of "Lopez", a common and important surname in my family, but I think it'd be mispronounced forever and ever as "lope", which isn't great.  Maybe I'll just stick with "Lopez" as a first name (means son of a wolf).

6) Praxedes ("Prax" for short) ---this is a favorite, too.  For a man or woman.  Means "active," which I really like.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hey kids, go talk to strangers!

After reading this post by Ali Goldfield, I felt obliged to reply to her writing.  She hit upon an idea that I suggest might make modern day parents a little uneasy, but that I love.  The idea of talking to strangers.  While she emphasized the role of safety, I see it as being necessary as simply being helpful in raising capable, communicative, and independent adults.

I work with college students.  That means I also work with college students' parents.  I just commented to my own mother last month simply this: "Thank you for teaching us to talk to strangers."

She always taught us to talk to the waiter.  To make conversation upon a new meeting.  To learn about a person's story, despite that person's role in our lives (crossing guard, neighbor, teacher, priest).  To help someone who appears sto need help.  When she needed something at a store, she would encourage us, even at the age of 5 or 6, to ask the store clerk.  And she taught us to smile, shake hands, use "Mr." or "Ms.", and say "please" or "thank you."

Working with college students, and with a history of working with high schoolers, I'm increasingly disappointed and worried at how few are able to talk with strangers.

One student just told me she might need a room change because her shy roommate isn't the friend she was looking for.  A week into school, I asked her what her roommate is majoring in, and she said she didn't know.

Each year, we have most disagreements arise amongst students simply because they don't want to talk to one another.  Parents call offices in their stead.  They complete their forms for them, they answer questions on their behalf, and they "protect" their child (at ages 18-23) of never encountering an uncomfortable situation.  Heaven forbid their adult child needs to learn to walk to an office, make an appointment, and inquire about a policy, a fine, a rule, a decision, a question, an answer, etc.

I went on a trip to the Yellowstone, where people are commonly standing side-by-side getting a glimpse of wildlife.  I was shocked how often my very kind counterparts would be surprised at the fact that I'd offer to take another group's photo for them, ask where someone was from, or ask what they were using a telescopic lens to view.

I'm told that I'm quite friendly (maybe reference the other article about birth order, as I am the youngest?), but really, this was a taught skill.  All of my siblings have this characteristic, and our significant others love to point it out as a common trait.  And while it may make others blush or frazzled to see us talking to a stranger, it is this skill that I've used to befriend best friends, connect some who are disenfranchised, and more simply, found much more quickly what I'm looking for in a store.

The article mentioned the notion of safety.  Yes, let children know what is safe information to share with anyone.  Teach them to hone a gut intuition about people.  Teach them to have manners with encounters with any person.  But please, teach them to communicate, regardless if the person if familiar or new.

Friday, August 31, 2012

On dying.

I'm a hospice volunteer.  That means I hang out with people who are dying.  It makes you think, though.  Well, it makes me think.  These are the main thoughts rattling through my head right now:
  • You don't get to choose how you die.
  • You die the way you live.
  • You get to choose the way you live.

Friday, August 24, 2012

How to make 30 count: things to do before I turn the three-oh.

In a couple weeks, I turn 29 and a half.  Today is August 24, 2012.  On March 19, 2013, I turn 30.  Between now and then, I'd like to do the following.  It might look like an ambitious list, but the next six months are going to pass either way, so it might as well be a productive stretch!
  1. Have lunch with 15 different friends.
  2. Do 100 sit-ups every day for one month.
  3. Go on an overnight get-away with the girls.
  4. Read 2 new books.
  5. Feel like every room in my house is “decorated.”
  6. Go to a dentist, doctor, counselor, and physical therapist.
  7. Run a half marathon.
  8. Get renewed in CPR.
  9. Throw a simple 30th birthday party.
  10. Write letters to ten relatives.
  11. Send homemade gifts to five friends who don't live in Denver.
  12. Lose 30 lbs.
  13. Don’t use any disposable grocery sacks.
  14. Read all of my homework.
  15. Send a care package to my brother.
  16. Go out of my way to make a friend.
  17. Go one month without eating out.
  18. Finish two quilts.
  19. Marry someone.
  20. Attend a Rocky Horror Picture Show with Mom.
  21. Become a Hospice volunteer for at least two people.
  22. Get rid of stuff.
  23. Watch all of Gene Kelley's movies.
  24. Do my own sprint triathlon.
  25. Go camping by myself again.
  26. Buy myself a nice piece of jewelry.
  27. Organize my first 100-mile run.
  28. Make a significant donation every month.
  29. Pay off my car (three months early).
  30. Do at least 30 of my pinterest items...aside from my "before 30" board.