Guys, have you ever found yourself bare-chested and flexing before your toothpaste-stained bathroom mirror, an iPhone-clad hand raised before you, taking photo after photo until you capture one you deem a worthy addition to your Tinder profile? You can admit it — this is a safe space. I don’t want to ridicule you, I want to help you.
You see, as our fine nation braces itself for the next year of pivotal political campaigning, I have found myself moderating the greatest dating debate of the decade: Where do we stand on shirtless Tinder pics? And after putting it to a national poll (OK, more like a group text with my friends), I can confidently tell you two things: 1. The vast majority of people do not often feel inclined to glide their thumb to the right when they see your shirtless photo, but nevertheless, 2. There is a “right” way to take such a photo. So take a breath, cover up, and let me walk you through everything you must know before adding your brazen, chest hair-forward photo.
You may be deemed a douche.
Let’s get this out of the way: Your topless photo could elicit an immediate assessment of you that is, well, unkind. When I asked my fellow daters what kind of assumptions they made about men who include shirtless photos on their Tinder profiles, the following keywords prevailed: “douche,” “d-bag,” “douchebag,” “vain,” “shallow,” “vapid,” “superficial,” and “fuckboy.”
So before you post that photo, understand how you risk being characterized. But, that being said, there are actually a decent number of people who assess those with shirtless photos as “healthy, hardworking, goal-oriented self-starters…” Fewer people, so the odds may be against you, but if your bare skin is thick enough to withstand the potential criticism, by all means, have at it.
Location is everything.
This is the center of the venn diagram between “real estate” and “shirtless photos.” Would you want to buy an otherwise lovely home if it was in the middle of a sweaty locker room? Hell no. But you would be remiss not to put in an offer if that same house were located near a breezy beach.
Only post that photo if your shirtlessness makes sense given the context you are in. For example, it is expected that you may be areolas-out on a hike, on a boat, at the beach, playing in a shirts vs. skins game of basketball, or at your annual physical exam at your doctor’s office (though, please, for the love of all that is good, do not take the photo at the same time you are turning your head and coughing).
If your partial nudity is clearly the focal point of the photo, swiftly delete it. This includes chest-nude gym photos, bathroom mirror selfies, or self-timer photos taken in what appears to be your parents’ kitchen (I have seen this more than once, believe it or not). Do. Not. Post. These. In fact, don’t even take them in the first place.
There’s power in numbers.
If you do choose to post a shirtless photo, limit yourself to one. I don’t care if you have multiple pictures that follow the aforementioned guidelines re: location. Don’t overdo it. Shirted or otherwise, your photos should be diverse. I don’t want to see six shots of your wearing six different suits at six different weddings or six different shots of you beside six different lakes proudly holding six different dead fish, either.
Get your house in order.
And no, the fact that you have narrowed it down to just one shirtless snap does not mean it should be featured as your primary profile photo. Let the people stumble upon it as a special surprise. Like “oh, this old thing? Yeah, I was bouldering with my friends and I also look super ripped, IDK. I’m so random, LOL.” It’s like how my third photo is me in a full-on Post Malone costume (not sure how I’m still single, BTW). Maintain an air of mystery, and keep your potential matches guessing.
Get your head in the game, literally.
Even if you closely adhere to the previous guidelines, your efforts will be all for naught should you make the baffling decision to crop your head out of the photo. Is this a misguided attempt at modesty? Do you think that including your face in a photo that is, in your eyes, already a 10/10 would be overwhelming to potential suitors? Or are you grossly overestimating how shallow your fellow daters are and assuming that we are simply here to objectify you? Regardless of your intentions, this is an entirely ineffective way to garner matches. We want to see your face.
Would you, could you in a mirror?
There is no lighting, no location, no holiday, no occasion, no weather, and no context that ever, ever warrants removing your clothing, taking a photo in a mirror, and posting it to Tinder. The venn diagram of “Tinder-appropriate mirror selfies” and “Tinder-appropriate shirtless photos” is actually just two circles that never overlap. They will never even just barely kiss each other. They occupy entirely different planes of existence. So unless you are trying to find your very own wrinkle in time, do not take and share a half-naked mirror selfie.
Heed my advice and you’ll surely go far. And if people don’t like it, well, you do you, dude.