Want People To Swipe Right?

If online dating is like a zoo, online dating for outdoorsy people is like a wild animal safari. It’s a jungle out there. But don’t stress. I have some observations from my own experience, that I think could help a lot of folks on their journeys to meet the right friend, lover or life partner.

First, having a special someone in your life is a big deal. You should take this pursuit seriously. Or better yet, with lighthearted stealth and precision craftiness.

The number one thing you need for landing a good date on a dating app is good photos. This is 80 percent of what perspective dates will judge you on. That first impression is right here. Blow this, and Prince or Princess charming is gone before you even had a chance to say something cute or funny.

DO: Get with a real photographer, one whose style you like, and have them capture you. You're going to have to get over that awkward feeling of being in front of the camera, and the right photographer will help with that. Usually a good distraction will assist this process. Get yourself a prop. Play with a puppy, toss a Frisbee, smell a rose, do a hand stand, laugh at a joke. Maybe you even have a skill to show off. All of these things will help you relax in front of the camera.

How to get a photographer? Chances are you know one or several already. If they’re also an outdoorsy dirtbag, they might even be sleeping on your couch. Of, photo schools are always looking for models for their students’ projects; give one a call.

Don't: Use photos of you wearing big sunglasses! You might as well be wearing a welding mask—and how many people do you know are into that? The eyes are the windows to the soul.

Do: Assemble a varied collection of photos of yourself. Get some nice headshots, some of you doing the things you love. Try to find some pics that show your personality. This way you have  a nice story to tell of how good you look, and how much fun you like to have. Most of us are looking for people to have fun with.

Don't: Overdo Photoshop. Go ahead and remove that big zit on your chin, it's not permanent anyhow. Don't go full-on fashion mag, though, or you'll be misrepresenting. 

Don't: Use those Snapchat/FB messenger special effects that put a cartoon dogs ears and nose on your face. Yes, people do this. Some things can't be unseen, folks. Not only do you look ridiculous, but now your audience can't get the picture of you as a dog out of their heads. Also, don't distort your face or body in the pic. I've seen this done, especially the "big eyes" thing, and I'm so shocked I can't tell if I'm having an acid flashback, if you have some serious birth defects, or if you’re just way out of line with your use of phone special effects. If it’s me, I'm swiping left.

Don't: Have photos with you and another person looking like a couple. So does he come with you on your dates? Is this going to be one of those polyamorous relationships? Does he have a bio, too? Is this your psycho ex who’s going to show up at my house with a shotgun? Weird. If the pics don't get better, I'm swiping left. Same thing with group photos. Your first photo should not be of you with a group of friends—I don't know which one is you at this point. I might just swipe right so I can later get your friends’ phone number, though. What's her name? Is she single, too?

The final part of your profile is your description. Think branding! Who are you and what is your story? Keep it simple. You want to save some good surprises for later was well. You people are going to Google your ass and Facebook stalk you as soon as they learn your whole name anyway. Make sure there are a few positive things out there for them to find. If you’re one of those people who have somehow managed to hide from the eyes of Google, there's still hope.  You must know someone with a blog. It doesn't have to be a popular one (although those are better). That photographer sleeping on your couch probably has one. See if you can guest write on their blog. If you can't write, bribe/blackmail (whatever you find the most effective) the person into writing a short blurb about you and make sure to keyword it so you can be found. For key-wording, make sure you include your name + location + hobby/work/activity you might be known for. 

Make yourself sound attractive, and interesting, but not unattainable. Keep in mind the meanings behind the phrases you choose. For example:

  • Recently Divorced = Hopefully horny, probably not looking for anything long term.
  • I have two kids I adore =  Hmmm ... package deal.  
  • Looking for the right person = your biological clock is ticking and you want babies! 
  • No hookups = You might not like sex and/or things are complicated. I mean, it only becomes a hook up if we don’t like each other afterward, right?
  • Open minded = You won't run for the door when you find out I live in my van and sometimes don't shower for a week when I'm out climbing in the desert.
  • Adventurous =  You don't mind getting out of your comfort zone, and perhaps you might even be a little kinky. Wanna go canyoneering or do a big wall? 

Don't be shy to turn your shortcomings into opportunities. For example:

  • Unemployed = Lots of time for adventures and romantic evenings.
  • Your last relationship ended terrible = You’re wise beyond your years.
  • You live in your vehicle = Your life is filled with travel and opportunity.
  • You've been working all month on the blue route at the climbing gym = You’re hard working, passionate, and dedicated.

It’s simple stuff.  With only some good photos and creative wording, your dating profile will be better than 90 percent of the other people out there. Of course, this is just a foot in the door to where you want to go, but you have to start somewhere.  

Photos by Erik Gordon and Elise Giordano.