Why Truth in Advertising Is Not A “Whatever, Dude”

Advertising: “Techniques and practices used to bring products, services, opinions, or causes to public notice for the purpose of persuading the public to respond in a certain way.”


So, in my last post, I mentioned how I felt when Danny turned out to be both shorter and much older looking than his posted picture. I think “betrayed” was the word I used because, well, I’m me, but I think what I really meant was “disappointedly deceived”. That he also lived somewhere other than where he said was really the cherry on the sundae of the whole “profile as an artful blend of fiction and fact” kind of thing. A not uncommon scenario, btw.

Now, we’re all human and sensitive to being judged and believe you me, online dating can be one hella Mr. and Miss Universe contest. Who can blame Danny for wanting to make himself appear to be taller/ younger/ more desirably located? To really be yourself in person, you have to be first be noticed and chosen via the computer screen or phone and few of us actually qualify for beauty competitions. I know. Shocker.

Before I go any further, I must be perfectly clear here on behalf of my own profile: I lie. Right up front, I put my age as 45 which is yeah…no. When and why I did this is the subject of its own post. Of. Course. And I come clean by the end of my profile if you actually read it. So. That.

However, I must also be CRYSTALLINE clear about the pictures I post: while they may be up to two years old, they are absolutely representative of how I look right fucking now. Beauty contest or not, truth in POF advertising means pictures that will allow me to RECOGNISE YOU ON SIGHT. Seriously. Is that sooo hard to fathom?

Okay, I totally get that too. Obviously. But I don’t understand how, when wanting to present your “best self” you might feel that justifies putting up a less than accurate pictorial version in hopes that…I dunno…in person, I simply won’t NOTICE the vast differential between what you posted and what you are now? I mean, I’m pretty damn near sighted but I’m not fucking blind, you know? And physical attraction is definitely part of the whole package that I’m looking for as I’m assuming it is for everyone. This isn’t poker, guys and gals as well. You can not bluff to win.

I find myself getting rather worked up just writing about this so obviously it’s still a sore point from this time period and don’t even get me started about the date I had right afterward! He was at least 30+ pounds heavier than anything he had on his profile; it looked like he was man pregnant. I know that sounds mean and it is. I’m sorry. I’m just not attracted to someone that looks like he swallowed a basketball. At lunch. I was so fucking pissed off when we met and it was like I said to my gf Nicolee later: “Would anyone be happy with ME if I showed up looking much older and way fatter than any of my pictures?” NO.

Note: we had no emotional connection either, fyi, with child or not.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and tell you probably every single person lies online, whether it be deliberately or by omission, white or whale. Not only is it fucking challenging enough to write the damn thing, it’s also difficult to portray yourself both honestly and appealingly and I’ll tell you an open secret: a lot of guys just can’t or don’t bother. The number of generic blah blah blahs I’ve read is truly stultifying. Gah! If I see one more list of “sporty things I do that I want you to do too” I. Will. Scream. It’s often so bad I can’t find one single interesting anything to comment on should I want to send a message. Yeah. Online dating. #FTW.

But what I’m saying about truth in advertising is while I may never find out that you last ran a marathon ten years ago – like I’d give a fuck about that – or you never go out for dinner and you actually actively despise sunsets, here’s a spoiler: if we meet, I will see you. Up close. And I WILL notice whether you’re shorter/ fatter/ balder/ whateverer. So why in God’s name would you post pictures that have nothing to do with what you look like now? To meet women who will not be happy you don’t look anything like they thought? Because you have enough charisma and character to overcome that basic untruth? Really?

I know it’s an awful conundrum: current or ATTRACTIVE pictures. If you can’t swing both at the same time, whadya do? WHADYA DO? Online dating is already such a compromise in so many ways, becoming simply one of literally millions of faces in hopes that yours is the one that will catch the eye of the one by which you want to be caught. Plenty of fucking fish, indeed. It’s the ocean version of a needle in the haystack. Why wouldn’t you do anything and everything to make sure your picture has a shot?

However, at the end of the day, we are who we are. Whether the words in your profile are an apt description or not ( and mine are ) your pictures should be ( and mine are ) It may not be fair and it may not be egalitarian and God knows online dating is not for the fucking faint of heart, but if you’re going to do it go big or go home. Be radical. POST WHO YOU ARE and let the chips fall where they may. The truth may not set you free but it will set the tone at honesty and I for one would appreciate that because one pregnant man date is all I can be surprised with in this life. Just saying.

Too harsh? Or too true? Chime in here and let me know if you'd be more understanding than me. I can take it. Ish.

xo Lucy