Science Connection Member Polylogue, part 6
Synopsis: Most members commenting on photos have made the point that they find photos a very helpful addition to the biographical profile/mini-profile and they would like to see more members have photos available (72% do, at present). Some members have even advocated that photos be mandatory. However, we prefer to leave this up to members. There are various reasons (see below) why members either don't want to or don't feel it's necessary to provide a photo with their profile. We (the SC staff) do think, though, that members without a photo available with their profile should have a photo on hand to provide to other members at an appropriate time. Before meeting in person (especially if travel is involved) everyone would appreciate having an idea of what their new friend/acquaintance looks like.
Members have also made the point that photos should be reasonably up-to-date, and of sufficient
quality to give a decent idea of what the member looks like. Thus, photos in which members are
wearing hats and sunglasses or in which members are a minute feature in a landscape have been
Members who prefer not to use a photo or who view them as non-essential
- One note on photos: neither of us had photos in our bio, and I have never seen a photo of him that shows his empathy & kindness - or his intelligence. These are what make him wonderful (although he's handsome & sexy too).
- Having perused the local paper's personals last fall with most disappointing results, I
decided to give Science Connection a try this spring, hoping to find more intelligent and interesting
women. Boy did I! Within a few days, I had a dozen replies, one of which turned out to be a most
wonderful woman that I am now in a serious relationship with. ...
On the topic of photos: I always supply my photo in case it is of paramount interest to the other party at the start. I like to eventually see a photo because it gives clues to emotional happiness, and more importantly, to physical fitness, something that is important to my outdoor interests like hiking. There is always a 'right' moment to ask tactfully if the photo has not yet been volunteered. Getting the photo is not a big deal if properly handled. Just my opinion.
- I would like to respond to the guy who commented that putting a profile in without a photo is like going to a party with a bag over your head, and that no one worthwhile will respond. Actually, I have found this not to be true at all. I belong to several Internet match sites and, until recently, I did not have my photo on any of them, although I consider myself to be attractive and did have my photo available to Science Connection members who ordered my profile. One reason I was hesitant to put it on-line was because there was someone from my past who I did not want to know my whereabouts. Unfortunately he recently caught up with me so the point is now moot, and I have to deal with that. But anyway, regardless, I have had many responses from men who liked my profile, and I have been out with quite a few of them after sending them my photo privately. They were mostly quite nice and intelligent. I haven't met "Mr. Right" yet, but I'm working on it and continue to keep a positive attitude. And, by the way, I have also responded to many profiles of men who had no photo posted...and most of them turned out to be pretty decent looking too! Take a chance, guys. There are lots of good reasons why people don't like to post a photo.
- I will not give out either my last name or a photo until I know the person I'm writing to
quite well. For me, it's simply a good sense safety issue. I live alone and I don't want to be stalked,
attacked, etc. It would be nice to think that no one who joins Science Connection would do such a
thing, but in my opinion, to make that assumption would be folly.
Additionally, as I see it, a man who cannot understand that kind of concern in a woman who lives alone is probably not very sensitive to women's feelings in general. If he doesn't want to begin to get to know me without a photo or a last name, I'm likely better off without him.
Male members have called me insecure and made other quite insulting comments because of my stand on these issues. I have eventually concluded that it's actually an excellent tool for screening them out.
I'm in my 50's so perhaps am more cautious than younger women might be.
- I have chosen not to include a photo with my profile - not because I have anything to hide, mind you. Rather, it is because Science Connection advertises itself as geared largely towards science professionals, of which I am one. It is therefore conceivable to me that other members of my own professional community may belong to Science Connection, and that they could happen upon my profile and identify me through my photo - and I do not necessarily want this aspect of my personal life to be available to my colleagues. Has anyone else thought of this issue?
- Downside to photos? I agree with the comment in the previous newsletter that there can be a downside to the availability of photos with profiles, especially those available on the internet. Since I knew I would probably fall under the same bias of choosing people based on looks (if it were easily available), I force myself to look at the photos only after I have read through the full bio profiles. This way, the photos only serve as an additional tool to evaluate someone rather than representing the basis of my initial judgment.
The next two comments are from"successful" members.
Members advocating the use of photos
- I think all members should try to include a photo or two. Not that decisions are based on them, but it really helps to have a mental picture when reading or talking to the members.
- I don't buy the rants, sermons, and excuses from those without photos -- I bet most are too
lazy, too inept, or (often inaccurately, if experience is any guide) find themselves unattractive. Our
species almost always makes initial mating contacts visually. Males especially respond to visual cues.
Things radiate from the right person's face and stance that transcend arbitrary notions of beauty.
Women who were not beauty contest material have enchanted me, and plenty of beauties have failed
to coax Cupid into firing arrows at me. The right face in a photo can put a glow on a profile, but even
a negative reaction to a picture has the positive aspect of saving both parties time, money, and
disappointment, while helping make progress toward the one they seek.
Neither gender should assume that both sexes respond to the same stimulus in the same way. Most men find women by looking for them. If you want to connect with a man, show him your picture. Sooner or later he sees you anyway.
- Remove obstacles, add incentives, be honest, find a match. When at a singles event, you
don't wear a ring (not even a friendship ring) on your ring finger; you willingly eliminate that possible
obstacle. And you certainly do not hide your face. When corresponding, tacitly the ring is off; why
would you take advantage of this chance to hide your face? Everyone is "attractive" in their own way,
and you can honestly say so of yourself; but not providing a photo may be not really honest.
Man or woman, eventually your appearance will be somewhat of a factor, no matter what else also matters; why not get it over with without having to be asked and before either party invests in travel? Don't expect everyone to be selective as to appearance; often they are nothing special, themselves. Or, get rid of those to whom looks matter. Let the natural selection occur.
- The recurring complaints from female members about the men wanting to see pictures is wearing. I am a man who wants to see pictures. I want to see them as a poor substitute for what really works for me as a way to get a preliminary sense of what a woman is about: seeing her in person, even if for a few moments only. This is not about finding Cindy Crawford, it is about finding a woman at peace with herself and about unconsciously and semiconsciously picking up the personality clues that show in a person's face, manner, dress, and speech. I can instinctively (not analytically) learn more about a woman in a half minute of watching her while she talks than in studying a profile for an hour. A photo is not the same, but it is a hundred times more valuable than the details of the average profile. Faces show a lot. Frankly, women who think that only the intellectual credentials and listed interests on their written profiles (resumes) should matter frighten me. I do enjoy very much the intellectual component of the weltanschauung of my female friends, but intellectual women are now commonplace. But intellectual single women in middle age who are psychologically well-adjusted with a balanced sense of life apparently are not. In my search, a woman's attitude towards men and how they see her has been an important clue, and a chip on the shoulder about the photos is never a good start.
- I am sick of the whining, mostly by women, against the concept of photos. It's a common theme on personals' sites. I've met many people through personal ads, more than I care to admit. The one irrefutable fact is that I am NOT attracted to everyone. If I could be attracted to anyone physically, then I wouldn't be single. More simply put, if I were capable of "analytically" overriding my physical attraction needs, I wouldn't need apply that skill to someone who lived 2000 miles away. Logically (and logistically) it would be much simpler to find someone closer to home. That's not to say that I'm looking for Cindy Crawford, as one member put it. Far from it, actually. But there are certain physical characteristics that I find attractive, and I cannot be with someone whom I do not find attractive. Sorry, but I believe that respondents who think that filtering by appearance is a sign of superficiality and lack of character are doing so only to mask their own feelings of inadequacy. Like yourself for who you are, and people might like you for who you are. I might not, but ignore me: Someone else will like you for how you look. And who knows, maybe I would. Isn't a relationship where both people are attracted to the entire package a more robust one? Wouldn't it be ironic to find that the person who IS physically attracted to you (and who is otherwise perfect as well) had actually been filtered out of your equation because you weren't willing to acknowledge physical attraction as a valid consideration? For me, no photo means no interest, unless you happen to live nearby. I've been burned too many times.
- What's all this fuss about photographs? With Science Connection we are showered with
seemingly interesting people, and the problem is to cut the list down. If you object to being asked for
a photograph, just cross him or her off the list. If, on the other hand, you prefer to see a photo, you
can just ignore those who don't offer one.
I like to see a photo because I like to see the person I'm speaking to, whether he or she looks like Cindy Crawford (whoever she is) or Donald Duck.
- My focus is less on the cosmetic after failure with two "trophies". As an aged borderline
homely Sci. Conn. member my picture was included. Pictures, while rather superficial, are a part of
Pictures can serve both parties; it's probably not pleasant or suitable for a woman to meet me unaware of the above. A photograph serves to winnow out those who would not care for my appearance, thereby saving discomfiture.
Sci. Conn. is a superb service - far better than the others.
- There appears to be this raging SC controversy of whether to provide a photo or not. In my opinion, the answer lies with the importance one places on the physical or chemistry. I for one find that good chemistry is critically important. If it isn't present, I do not care how nice the person is or how positive their credentials in other areas; I don't want a relationship. I tried going the route of meeting people without seeing what they look like. It just does not work for me. To have a blind date with someone in your hometown is one thing. To spend hundreds of dollars and many hours of time to arrange to meet someone hundreds or thousands of miles away, only to find there is no chemistry, is a major disappointment. I just will not do it again. The way I have avoided this (when I was an active member) is to not make contact with anyone who did not provide a picture. Nothing gained, nothing lost.
- I would like to respond to a comment made by a member in the Aug. newsletter. He said that he found that to his dismay he was finding himself attracted to the photos he found "cute" and thought that this distracted from him being "intellectual and disciplined". I think that he has it all wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong about using a photo as one of the pieces of the puzzle to determine whether or not to make contact with someone. I offer no excuse for making a judgment based partly on visual impression, since visual chemistry is naturally important. The writer (rightly so) does not excuse himself for looking at someone's list of interests, education, religion, hobbies, etc. It is all put on the table for consideration. The thing is that we all have to be intelligent enough to not let visual impression be the only or overwhelming guide. If someone does this then they are hurting themselves and he or she will find that they have weeded themselves out of the process. And this would likely be a good thing because this displays a weakness in the personal makeup that could lead to a bad relationship.
Quality of photos
- A member made several comments by phone on the use of photos by members. First, either a recent photo should be used (one 10 or 20 years old is very misleading), or if an old one is used then its date should be given. The member is perplexed by photos of members wearing sunglasses, as this rather defeats the purpose of seeing what the member looks like. In her opinion, the surroundings are not important - better to see what someone looks like than to have a lovely landscape and a distant and indistinct view of the person.
- I often remind myself of the cliche "a picture's worth a thousand words" as I look at photos
that members choose to include with their bioprofiles. My suggestion is that before sending a
photograph, we show it to several people opposite in gender asking them to tell us what messages are
communicated by this image.
Visualize this: I'm looking at a photo of a man sitting behind a desk. His arms are folded tightly. The shirt he wears is tight. His expression is very serious. No objects are on the desk, on the wall or in the room. The diffused light suggests that a window is off to the left. As I look at this photo, I wonder if he wants to maintain privacy at this stage or to initially communicate a neutrality about his world. But, at the same time, I find myself interpreting.
This is a shared thing - messages sent and messages received. So, in this same picture is a suggestion of an austerity that's harsh enough to prevent me from contacting this man.
I chose to become a member of SC because our common meeting ground is rooted in Nature. I personally like photos that suggest ways in which we show our ease within this environment. Raise a glass to the vineyards of the world or sit under a willow in an Adirondack chair, but keep in mind that this photo can be an added, not redundant, significant message. It can communicate things that are difficult to put into the text of the bioprofile.
- The following is in response to a earlier
comment that "few women submit even adequate pictures":
If the women included in "few women" are anything like me, then it's no wonder men find the pictures lacking. I am horribly non-photogenic. I submitted the best ones I could find that were less than 6 months old, and hoped they would be enough to verify my stats on my bio profile.
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