Women are far more selective than men on Tinder. You've always known this deep down, but now the data bears it out. Statistically, men swipe right three times more often than women. When you're fighting odds like that, you have to fight dirty. Our forefathers shot at columns of Redcoats from behind boulders and now you have to do whatever you can to convince women to swipe right.
If you want to get those matches, you have to give the ladies what they want.
This leads us to the question that has plagued mankind since the first caveman at a cave-bar watched a hot cavewoman go home with a wack cavedude wearing a tacky ill-fitting fur: "What do women want?"
No matter how many times you watch The Notebook or how many articles about introverts you read on Thought Catalog, you're never going to know for sure. But, we can know what some women want.
In hopes of creating the perfect Tinder profile picture, I asked thirty of my female Facebook friends to weigh in on what gets them to swipe right. I asked them:
"What clothing item or accessory (belt, hat, dog, gun, sandwich, or even haircut) is immediately appealing -- the one thing in a profile picture that is an automatic plus, the one thing that makes you swipe right?"
I got a variety of answers, but ten items kept cropping up again and again, leading to a relative consensus among a diverse group of ladies spread out across the country and across a generation (ages 21-35). Then I took the results for a test drive, using their input to create field tested Tinder pics.
I don't think I've found the perfect answer, but digital dating, like the rest of life, is about the journey, not the destination. What I have a found is a little perspective into the other side of smartphone courtship. Here are 10 Items Proven to Make Your Tinder Profile Picture Look More Stylish.
A Shirt That Fits
Flannel or Plaid Anything
Anything Remotely Outdoorsy
Something Funny or Self-Aware
A Baby or Small Child
What Not to Do: Definite Dealbreakers
The ladies also offered some insight on how to make your pics a lot worse. Here are the items that our gracious volunteers shouted out as dealbreakers:
"Can you tell them to stop taking selfies in their cars, bathrooms, and at the gym?" - Liz, 27
"Group shots can not be all your photos. Feels like you are trying to hide." - Danielle, 25
"I understand wanting to seem 'fun' or 'spontaneous' when there's partying pics but I couldn't care less about when you bonged whiskey that one time." - Alison, 28
"I've seen pics where faces of misc. friends are blocked out. But that makes me think things went sour with an ex. And I don't want any part of that crazy." - Amanda, 25
"I can't figure out why guys post pics of themselves with girls ... is it a misguided attempt to prove you have totes have female friends!! or some sort of 'well these ladies like what they see AMIRIGHT'" - Karen, 24
"When there is a lady in the pic I'm like....so you fucked her? That's neat." - Casey, 27
"If it's a fedora, I'm out." - Laura, 30
"Being in LA, I'm anti-headshots." - Lydia, 30
"Some men don't understand that there are other things to wear besides a football jersey." - Vanna, 25
"No TapOut t-shirts. No pics in the club." - Subhah, 25
"'Artsty' profile pics are just distracting and make me think you're compensating for being lame IRL." - Emily, 24
"I am not a fan of photos of that *one time* you went surfing." - Nika, 28
"Don't take a selfie in the bathroom mirror. I know you did not wash your hands." - Tanesha, 30
Brenden Gallagher is a writer in Los Angeles. Share your Tinder pic tricks with him @muddycreekU.
Shouts to James Wong for the photos (@xameswong) and Stiv Brown for the Photoshop.
And thanks to all the ladies who contributed their thoughts to the piece.