In Dating, Is Red The New Black?

By Erika Ettin Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Dating expert Erika Ettin says there are a few things to keep in mind when posting pictures for your online dating profile.

Tribune News Service

Is red the new black? When online dating is concerned, the answer is a resounding yes ... or is it?

When my clients ask me what to wear in their online dating profile photos, I tend to refer back to an article published by Slate several years ago saying that you should wear a red shirt to get more responses. In fact, for women, "Twenty-one percent of their emails arrived when they wore red, whereas the other colors, black, white, yellow, green, and blue, attracted 14 to 17 percent of the total."

Why red? The study has two explanations.

1. Red is associated with love, plain and simple.

2. People flush red when they are sexually receptive, thus associating the color with attraction for the other person. They say the same is true for both men and women, so start stocking up on red clothes.

While doing some research when writing this article, I came across another piece, on Slate no less, debunking the original claim, saying that the study was based on too small of a sample size to draw any conclusions. So, whether we believe that wearing red will answer our prayers or not, it's still important to remember that, when posting pictures online, you need to keep a few things in mind:

1. The main profile picture should be a clear headshot of yourself. If you don't have at least one clear headshot as your main picture (it's either blurry or too far away), it will look like you're hiding something. You don't want someone to swipe past you because he or she can't see what you look like, automatically assuming the worst.

2. Less is more Believe it or not, Match.com allows a whopping 26 photos in your profile. People have a tendency to look through all of your photos and dismiss you simply because they see just one they don't like. I recommend five pictures total.

3. Be by yourself in the shot There is no need to be compared to your friends. The assumption is that you have friends and a social life, so don't try to "prove" it.

4. Have one "interesting" picture We need to provide some "message bait," or something to catch someone's attention and generate questions.

5. Be accurate The point of doing online dating is to get offline. Don't lie about your looks, people will always find out the truth in the end. If you are getting photos taken by a photographer, which I do recommend if you don't have any current pictures of yourself (and, of the five posted, perhaps two can be professionally done), then follow these guidelines:

-Aim for taking outdoor photos in natural light. Avoid a studio. -Don't wear solid white (tends to wash people out) or crazy attention-grabbing patterns. -For women, opt for something more formfitting than flowy. -For men, make sure your belt matches your shoes. -For women, don't wear anything that covers your neck, like a scarf, making you look closed off. -For men (and everyone!), the iron is your friend.

Now, with these suggestions, whether you break out the red or not (we're still talking shirts here), go ahead and post some photos. And then when you have too many dates to count, you can break out the red again ... this time perhaps a nice bottle of merlot. ___ (Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating)

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