Bumble, Happn, Tinder, Grindr, Thrinder, Hornet, PoF: not Macbook updates, but apps for finding love/a bed for the night/a disabled bathroom for 15 minutes (delete as applicable).
In an age where our screen addiction means people walk under buses because their phones promised them a Pokémon, it should be no surprise that we’ve delegated courtship as well. Why try and flirt over subwoofers when you can create a profile, curate your finest assets and book a one-way ticket on the swipetrain to romance?
But the course of true love never did run smooth. Digital dating inspires some men to hone the profile of a sociopath, as ill-judged photos tip self-promotion into self-sabotage. Potential partners don’t care about your crew, your colour run, or your penis. At least, not until after they’ve seen it in the, ahem, flesh.
Even if you’re an Abercrombie & Fitch model, your profile should leave something to the imagination. You’re a human being, not a car – potential buyers don’t need to see under the hood. Leave your six-pack as a third date surprise.
If you can’t resist – or don’t intend to get past date one – then context is all. A holiday snap is passable. Save the ill-lit #abday selfies for the Love Island application form. Lest people think you’ll spend more time on your own body more than theirs.
Oh, you went to Thailand? You rode an elephant? You even patted a sleeping tiger in chains? Well, kudos for abetting an industry that captures then drugs wild animals. Snaps of your investment in cruelty are neither cute, nor worldly.
That doesn’t mean the animal kingdom is off limits, though. Man’s best friend can be man’s best feature, showcasing your nurturing side rather than making you seem like Dr Do Little to alleviate that tiger’s pain. Plus, you’re guaranteed a right swipe from anyone whose flat’s too small to have their own.
An entire personality doesn’t fit into five photos, but you have to hit some key notes – primarily, that you have friends. Which is where group shots come in. Potential bedfellows should know how deep you roll, but not if it leaves them playing Where’s Wally. Especially if the Wally they want is the better-looking guy standing next to you.
The remedy here is logistical. Open with your best solo portraits (not selfies, because they’ll picture you taking, deleting, taking again) then let the raucous group shots seal the deal. Everyone loves their friends – just don’t risk potential mates loving them too.
Imagine, for a moment, you woke up one morning, wandered to the front door, and found a phallus bulging through your letterbox. Welcome to life as anyone who speaks to men online.
So before you release that dick pic, ask how turned on someone is meant to be by something that looks like like a prosthetic from ALIEN? Zip. Oh, and you’re also committing sexual harassment. Not suave.
Of course, a consenting show-me-yours-if-I-show-you-mine can make distances seem shorter, and solve late night frustration. Be sensible though. It may seem hot to feature your countenance at climax, but you don’t know where it could end up: Pornhub, social media, or even your workplace (shudder). God bless Snapchat’s auto-delete.
Social media has muddied our charitable practices. It was commendable when Bethany from year 10 chemistry volunteered at a Zambian orphanage; less so when she plastered your newsfeed with images of ‘deepest darkest Africa’ and white saviour Westerners ‘rescuing’ indigenous people. The same rules apply on your dating profile.
The fix? Save it for the first date. Photos of charity work can seem boastful, but an anecdote that sheds light on your six months in an ebola clinic are interesting and, more importantly, quite impressive. You’ll be wanting an extra spoon with that humble pie.