Online Dating: She Doesn’t Look Like Her Pictures!

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It’s a common complaint regarding online dating for both men and women. She looks cute as hell in her Tinder photos. But then when you meet her on that first date you realize that she’s really overweight, or that her pics were taken a few years ago, or that she’s much less attractive than in her photos, or that her face is pretty but her body is anything but. 

-By Caleb Jones

How do you prevent this problem? 

Can you prevent this problem? 

Is it really a problem you need to worry about?

I’ll give you my analysis, but I know other guys have a lot of thoughts and suggestions regarding this topic, so please leave those in the comments below.

Over the past 12 years I have been on online first dates that number well into the triple digits. So, I have a huge sample size from which to draw upon. I’ve also been talking about the topic of online dating with literally hundreds of men all over the world since 2009 and listening to their experiences as well. Given all of this data, I have extrapolated a few overall data points and possible techniques. They may or may not apply across the board, but I think they are at least generally accurate. 

Here they are in no particular order. 

]1. This is usually not a major problem except for men who are extremely picky.

The issue of women showing up to dates not looking like their online dating photos is a problem and it is something I and other men have experienced. I’m not saying it’s not a problem and I’m not saying it never happens. Remember I said this as I continue with my analysis because it’s going to sound like I’m saying the opposite. I am not. 

I am saying that this issue is not a big problem, nor is it a problem that happens all the time, nor does it occur with any statistical extreme if you have lots of online first dates. For example, if I were to place a guess, I would say that less than 5% of every first date I’ve had featured a woman who clearly and obviously looked much uglier than she did in her photos. There’s probably another 10% or so who looked a little less good than their photos presented but they were still easily hot enough to have sex with. 

One of the reasons for this was actually my fault, since with that “ugly” 5%, I would go back to the photos I saw of her on the dating site/app and realize that she actually did look like her photos but I for some reason rushed and swiped/opened her anyway. Maybe I was wearing rose-colored glasses that day. Maybe I was just in a rush that day. Whatever. And I tend to be more discerning than most other men I talk to regarding physical appearance. 

And, of course, sometimes this was not the case at all, and her photos really did look good and in real life she really did look bad. I’m just saying that sometimes this scenario is our fault, not the woman’s. 

That approximate 5% figure doesn’t seem to conflict too much with what other men have reported. It seems to be something that happens infrequently but does happen. 

The men who complain about this problem a lot I have found tend to be men who are unusually picky regarding physical appearance when it comes to women. These would include men such as: 

  • Men who only like really stick-skinny girls and literally refuse to have sex with any woman who weighs more than about 100 pounds regardless of how hot she is. 
  • Higher-income men who do hardcore sugar daddy game and expect nothing but perfect tens on every first date because they’re paying for it. 
  • Men from more upper-class social circles who are obsessed with only having sex with the upper 1% of women such as professional models, celebrities, actresses, wealthy heiresses, and so on. 
  • Men who work in the modeling industry and are thus “accustomed” to only seeing women of a very particular type, namely very tall, skinny, low-body fat, chiseled-faced women. 
  • Men who have blazing oneitis for a recent ex and only want to have sex with women who look just like her. 

Based on my experience and conversations with a lot of men about this, if you find that you are “constantly” having a problem with women showing up to first dates who look “nothing” like their photos, you are most likely in one of those super-picky categories. As I’ve talked about on this blog before, the more picky you are about things like precise facial structure or specific body fat percentages with your women, the more work your dating life will be, and that’s just something you need to accept. 

2. While this problem can be mitigated a little, it can’t ever be completely fixed.

I could give you several examples from my experience, but I’ll give you the one I thought of first. 

Years ago, I was dating a woman who was my ideal physical type, meaning she was short, small, blonde, had decent boobs and a big ass. I found her extremely attractive both physically and in her personality and had a great time being with her. We eventually stopped seeing each other and, as 94% of my women do, she eventually came back to me after about four years. (It usually doesn’t take that long, but it did in her case.) 

Since she was over age 33 she didn’t want to come right over to my place for sex, so I met her at a cheap Mexican restaurant instead. Not my standard system when I bring women back into my life, but as is often the case, women over 33 usually need a little more time to get to sex because of their sky-high ASD.  

When I arrived she was already sitting at the table. She looked great. Small, beautiful, trim face, great cheekbones, the works. She looked just the same as she did four years prior. We ate a quick lunch and talked. I was excited to have sex with her again as soon as possible. When we paid for our respective meals (yes, she paid for her own food, just the way I like it), we both got up from the table to leave. 

I was shocked at what I saw. For the first time in almost four years, I actually saw the rest of her body, since it was covered by the table we were using. Her ass, which used to be big but perfectly shaped, was now a massive, shapeless blob of fat. Her thighs were so thick that she almost walked funny. She had a new fat, flabby gut that was clearly visible under her shirt. 

This woman had gained about 35-40 pounds, not good when you’re only about 5’1”. I’ve already talked about how the vast majority of Western women gain weight over time but that’s not the point of this story. The point is that even though she had radically gained weight, I absolutely could not tell by looking at her from the ribcage up. Her lower body was a glob of fat, but her face was perfectly chiseled, trim, and flawless, with a visible collarbone and everything. It was very weird. (And no, we never had sex. With that body it would have been difficult for me to get sexually aroused enough to actually have sex. We remained friends though. She’s a very nice person.) 

Most women gain weight all over their bodies. If they gain 25 pounds, you can tell in their face and in their body. But some women are just mutants, and have perfectly trim, skinny faces regardless of the weight on the rest of them. 

Other women are fantastically photogenic. My friends in the modeling and photography industries tell me that often the most beautiful women in modeling pictures are actually quite plain-looking in real life. Sometimes photos really do look different than seeing someone in real life. 

The point is, no matter what techniques you use, if you go on enough online first dates you will run into women who don’t look as good as their photos. It’s a small downside of online dating you need to accept. If you absolutely hate that, use daygame or night game instead. Those are difficult too, but at least you can see exactly what you’re getting.

3. There are a few things you can do to mitigate this problem.

None of these things are sure-fire wins, but they will help put the odds in your favor. 

  • Date as young as you can (within your local laws of course). It’s just a fact that the younger a woman is the more likely she’ll look as good as her photos. 
  • In her photos, pay attention to any weird lighting or any filters she’s using. Filters have become the bane of dating in the last few years. (Thanks, Instagram!) Even super attractive women are using filters when they clearly don’t need any. If you suspect she’s using weird lighting or filters, pass.
  • In her photos, pay attention to her collarbone. If it’s clearly visible, your odds are much better (though not 100% as I just demonstrated above). If she’s covering it or if you see her collarbone area but you don’t see a visible collarbone, this is usually indicative of higher body fat. 
  • If you’re suspicious, ask her to send you a live selfie. This means one she actually takes “live” and then sends you, not one she took weeks or months ago. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for this. Women have asked me to do this and I’ve always complied with zero problems (which I recommend you do as well if you are asked). If we do it, they should fucking do it. If she refuses or gives you some excuses, pass. 
  • Extreme facial close-ups in photos are often indicative of other problems, even though one might assume the exact opposite.
  • Obviously never meet up with a woman until you’ve seen a picture of her face. If none of her profile photos show her face (or only show it from a distance so it’s hard to see), ask her to send you a live selfie. If she refuses, regardless of the reason, move on. 

If you guys have other things that have worked for you in the past, please let us know in the comments so we can all benefit.

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