Several years ago I went out to meet a chap for the first time. I knew I was carrying extra weight and so I chose black jeans, a black t-shirt and a black jacket. It was too hot for this outfit but black is slimming right?
I saw the chap in question and I approached him with a smile. He looked up and gaped at me, unable to compose himself quickly enough for me not to know why he had that look on his face.
Whilst the photos on my dating profile were relatively recent, I had been very careful to crop them to only show from the neck up. Because I was really unhappy with how I looked at that time and despite my listing my body type as average, it was not. I was really overweight and that’s what I should have said. But I was so busy lying to myself that I was convinced that my black on black outfit did in fact make me look “average”. It didn’t.
This chap I went out with did manage to re-arrange his features and greet me politely. We had a nice evening, good conversation and so on and we had a couple of texts afterwards but it was clear that we were never going to be in a relationship.
Last night I went out to meet someone for a quick drink before I went on to my other engagement. For some reason, which I can’t quite explain, I had almost asked this man whether the one photo on his profile (always a warning sign) was recent. I just had the feeling it wasn’t. When I turned up to meet with him, it was very clearly not recent. I would judge it to have been in the region of five years old. At least. I think I managed to maintain a poker face but I was annoyed. He was quite overweight, not “average” at all, and a lot of that weight was in his face so that his features were actually not instantly recognizable from the photo I had seen.
I was briefly tempted to ask him then and there how old his photo was. But I didn’t. Because I get it. I really do. You’re lonely, you want to connect with someone, you know you’re a decent person with a lot of love to give. You know you’ve gained weight and you’re not loving how you look so you post an older photo where you’re happy with your appearance and then, well, once you meet with people, they’ll see how great you are and won’t notice the physical stuff.
But the thing is, you’re lying. Right from the start, the first thing I find out about you is a lie. If we met at a party would I speak to you even though I can see what you really look like? Probably. And I probably will like you if you’re a nice guy. Would I have gone out with you if you’d posted an honest photo? Maybe, maybe not. But that’s a chance we all have to take. By posting an old photo you’ve drawn me in on false pretenses and that’s not fair. It also makes me wonder what else you’ve lied about.
Recently I’ve started seeing this on internet dating profiles, “if you don’t look like your picture when you turn up then you’re buying the drinks until you do”, or some version of this. Which makes me think that posting old photos is a recurring theme. I wouldn’t date anyone who had this on their profile, mainly because it speaks to a meanness of character and lack of understanding as to what motivates people to do the things they do. But it does get frustrating after a while. It’s certainly happened to me on more than one occasion, which is why I am careful to ensure that my photos are up to date, and that you can see more than just the neck up.
Dating is hard work. There are feelings involved and those feelings can get hurt. But if I am brave enough to show you who I am then I would hope you’d pay me that same courtesy too. I think that’s only fair.