So, about those pictures....
Like I said, my "rule" is that I usually don't engage with people online if they have no profile photo. Is it because I'm shallow and only care about looks? No.
It's because online dating is already surrounded by disconnected feelings. It doesn't feel real; you're not emailing or responding to a person - just a profile. A photo adds an element of personality to your profile. If it's not there, I feel like something is missing.
I also feel vulnerable. I post a photo (several, in fact). So, immediately, the guy without a photo knows more about me than I know about him. That puts me at a disadvantage - not how you want to feel when meeting new people.
The biggest reason? It's a trust issue. Someone who doesn't share a photo seems like they have something to hide.
If I were in a relationship, and wanted to use an online dating site to cheat on my SO - I wouldn't show my photo. Why? Too risky. What if one of my SO's single friends came across my profile? If he sees a female living in my area, with my age and general stats, he won't think anything of it. But if he saw my picture...busted.
Last week, I got a "wink" from a guy who had no profile photo - but he had the best profile I've seen in a while - maybe ever. This was someone I'd want to meet, but the fact that he had no photo worried me. I decided to take a chance, and I sent him a message. He responded, but it was one of those responses where you can't really tell if the person is just being polite, or if he's actually interested.
I caught him online later the same day, so I opened up a chat and asked if he'd like to talk. He said he would - but barely got four lines typed before he started having "connection" problems with the chat function. Then, suddenly, he was offline.
That could be anything: Maybe he was on his phone and lost the signal; maybe he was at work and had to sign off quickly; maybe he legitimately lost his internet connection.
Or maybe he's not really single, and doesn't belong on a dating site meeting people. Maybe the person from whom he needs to hide his profile walked in, and he had to sign off - fast.
But - he messaged me on the site the next day, so I wanted to give him a chance. (See, I'm trying.) So, I made a light-hearted request for a photo, and he offered to send me one through regular email. He did - it's a really nice photo.
But now...I had something even more valuable. I took the email address he used and searched it on facebook. I found a profile; the photos were hidden, but I could see parts of his wall and friend list. There was activity, and it appeared legit. Cool.
Then, for fun, a few emails later, I said, "So, do I have to guess your name?" He responded by telling me his first name, and joking that I should've guessed to try and win a prize. Which is a great idea. Except...the name he told me? Didn't match the facebook profile.
Who knows the reason - it could be anything. But the truth is, either he lied to me in that email, or his facebook profile is some elaborate hoax, or he's incredibly secretive. In any case, it doesn't really matter how great a profile he constructed, or how good looking he is.
The problem is, that level of distrust is already there. That's no way to start any relationship or friendship. I guess, in a way, not showing a picture really says more about you than you realize.