Most people will say it’s always better to smile in a photo. You look friendly, happy, welcoming, etc. when you smile. But is that truly the case for an online dating profile photo? What sort of facial expression works in dating profiles to catch the eye of potential matches?
An OKCupid blog post set out to examine dating profile facial expressions in detail. The author found some interesting results just by poring over the vast collection of photos on the site. Women smile in 56% of their photos, while men smile in just 37% of theirs. Meanwhile, men make a “flirty face” just 2% of the time, while women make it about 9% of the time. So that’s how the actual pics shake out; now what actually WORKS?
By and large, the flirty face gets a woman the most messages from prospective dates, but there’s a caveat: She must be flirting AT the camera, not away from it. Women who make the flirty face but don’t make eye contact with the camera get much worse results. It makes sense when you think about it. Men like to be flirted with, but they don’t like to think you’re flirting at someone off to their side. So ladies, send the bedroom eyes at the camera lens, and you’re most likely to get a response.
For the men, the pics that got them the most messages were non-smiling, and also, strangely, non-eye-contact. A man staring off to the side, stone-faced, is more successful than it seems like he should be. The author theorizes that it makes the man look more mysterious, and therefore, more interesting. And once again, if a man makes a flirty face, he needs to do it AT the camera, not off to the side of it.
But most men don’t do the flirty face at all.