The folks at match.com had a rough week. They posted a series of ads in London Tube stations showing, among other images, a model with red hair and a face full of freckles and a handsome man with one blue eye and one brown. The images were accompanied by the tagline, “If you don’t like your imperfections, someone else will,”. Using the word “imperfections” was clearly where they went wrong. Soon thereafter criticisms of the ad were popping up on Twitter and throughout the social media eco-sphere and within a couple days match.com pulled the campaign and issued an apology.
As an avid online/app dater, I actually liked this campaign or at least the sentiment around it. Perhaps they could have used a less offensive word, but the idea that we all have things that we don’t like about ourselves is universally true. And the fact that other people don’t see or even like the things we view as flaws is also true.
Creating an online dating profile, uploading your pictures and putting yourself out there into the world as someone who wants to meet someone else can be daunting. We might add a filter or two to our pictures and get just the right angle to present ourselves in the best possible light, but we are still so judgmental of ourselves and our perceived imperfections. Myself included.
Here’s how self-judgmental I can be. I am 45 years old. I am a real woman with a real woman’s body. One of my eyebrows is higher than the other. My nose is too big for my face. I have a chip on one of my front teeth. If I try to get a tan, I will burn, peel and I will be pasty white again. I am one cheeseburger away from having cankles. My stomach is untoned and mushy. My upper arms are saggy. My tits are giving into gravity. My ass has a ton of cellulite. My thighs are thick. I have sprouts of grey hair that I obsessively cover with henna. My hands look old.
I have been using dating apps for the last 18 months. Meeting men who I find attractive has not been a problem. And if you ask them, they will tell you they see something very different than the imperfections that I see in myself. They love my curvy body. They tell me that I have the most beautiful eyes. They love my white skin. Not one of them is concerned with my ankles! They are worried about their bodies – their faces, their hair. Are they toned and muscular enough? Do I find them attractive?
match.com did have the right idea, however unfortunately communicated. Chances are very high that the things you don’t love about yourself are either not visible or liked by someone you are going to meet. Something you think is a flaw can be highly desirable and attractive to another. And we all have things we don’t like about ourselves and view as imperfections. No one is perfect. We are all human beings who desire and need to connect with each other. So relax and enjoy dating. Go forth, flaws and all, and connect!