Everyone posts photos online to publicly filter what they want others to see and perceive about their lives. One of the five reasons why I don’t have any online dating profiles is because other people take advantage of the fact that they are able to portray themselves visually in a manner that doesn’t accurately reflect who they are. We live in a day and time where everyone has direct access to photo editing software and other online tools that enhances ones physical features. With the simple touch of a few quick-fix buttons or by dragging an arrow across a facial flaw, the everyday individual can edit their appearance to look a little less than perfect. Since placing myself in the public eye five years ago, I too have put forth special efforts to erase pimples, desaturate oil blotches on my skin or crop certain unflattering parts of my body out of certain photographs. Despite our character strengths, many of us are aware of the fact that other individuals will immediately form an initial opinion based upon how we look in our pictures, defaults and social network avatars.
Through numerous conversations that Ive had with friends who do seek romantic and sexual relationships online, Ive discovered that many of them are often fooled by the people they pursue. The person they see cropped, colored and contrasted in various, carefully selected photos doesn’t often reflect the individual they eventually meet face-to-face. I find it rather intriguing that many people are disappointed once meeting their online dates for the first time. It isn’t always the fact that the date doesn’t closely resemble the images they’ve posted of themselves online. More than likely, the individual possesses certain mannerisms and personality traits that weren’t displayed or easily detectable through simply viewing their profile pictures.
What an individual ‘gives’ in their online pics has everything to do with their forced poses and contrived position, combined with their natural appeal and physical make up. Someone like actress, Meagan Good, automatically ‘gives’ sex kitten, regardless of her wardrobe, makeup or stance. However, singer, Brandy has to force her sex kitten persona for she automatically ‘gives’ sweet, safe and cutesy. Meanwhile, many guys use the pics posted on their social networks and online dating profiles to forcibly ‘give’ a bravado that doesn’t at all match their natural look or everyday behaviors. The majority of these photos send a message of intense, sexual prowess and the parallel of bedroom dominance. Guys who frequent various social networks and dating websites also have a way of using their online photos to ‘give’ a misleading and exaggerated presentation of their lifestyle and living conditions.
A lot of people, especially guys, butch themselves up to appear more masculine and ‘hard’ in their online photographs. Others, will retake the same shot fifteen to twenty times in order to frame the perfect, ‘tougher than your average’ photograph. Once they’ve captured what they consider to be the ideal, manly shot, the pic is edited to remove any additional, external flaws. The picture is then posted and added to the collection of other online photos that would lead most people to believe that he isn’t the soft, guy-next-door that his friends and family know him to be.
As human beings, it is extremely difficult to sometimes suspend our preconceived ideas about other people, solely based upon how an individual physically and visually presents themselves. Online photos have become a very misleading representation of people in modern society. We see someone always captured in neat, clean, expensive attire, and we assume that the person also speaks eloquently, lives in a nice home and carries themselves with a touch of class. Individuals who are always posting pics while they’re working out at the gym are assumed to also live healthy, everyday lives. Those who often post pics of their vacations, poolside time spent with friends and random, shopping trips, ‘give off’ that they’re sublimely happy and content with life.
Many of us are guilty of creating a character sketch of other people; strictly based upon what we initially see of them. As we cruise someone’s Facebook photo albums or filtered, Instagram pics, our subconscious mind forms an idea of who this individual is. If we don’t have prior knowledge of the person and have never engaged with them beyond basic, online messaging, it becomes very easy to assume that their personality and aura matches the character sketch that we’ve drawn in our heads.
Sometimes, a single photo can reflect the true essence of someone’s character, values, personality and interests. However, these traits become more evident, visually, when one is displayed in a series of unedited photographs that span a period of time. In order to avoid being disappointed upon meeting an online date face-to-face for the first time, try to see them beyond their photographs. If you meet them with a clear mind and little to no expectations, you may discover pieces of that individual that are more attractive and appealing than the images that initially captured your attention.