I’ve written and thought a lot about the men I met and observed while scrolling through the Bumbleverse. Men choose a staggeringly diverse array of images, in terms of number, quality, and content. But, a few key types emerged, including the “Chill Adventurer” that I discussed a few blogs ago. Here, I want to share some of the other types or themes that made my top 20 list.
Before I get into the list, I’ll let you in on how I’m trying to make sense of what these images tell us about men and how they present themselves. Like I said, a lot of the pictures were quite bizarre and many were downright unflattering, which seemed to contradict the purpose of being on a dating app…to look semi-hot and/or get the attention of your paramour to bee.
They might serve another purpose, these zany visuals, that is linked with Bumble’s design. On this app guys have to wait until women select them, which was frustrating to many male users. This was often reflected in their profiles or conversations: “Why doesn’t someone say hi?”; “HELLO OUT THERE”; “Don’t start a conversation you’re not going to finish.”
This impatience and discomfort may make some men choose weird photos to stand out to women and from their competition. This behaviour is seen in other avenues of the animal kingdom, where male animals and insects alike display themselves in wildly attractive ways as they compete amongst one another with the hopes of being selected by the females.
What do the Images Reveal?
But the variety of men, oh my! As my yoga teacher said upon viewing the pictures I would often be screaming about while entering the studio: “Oh, the humanity.” Some come spicily close to some of the ones I’ve seen on Grindr: men in cowboy boots and a cutsie pose; the hillbilly guy in a wifebeater leaning playfully into the back of a truck; and men showing off their bodies in ways that border on humiliation (i.e., short-shorts, being sprayed by a hose). These images reveal men who play, engage in risk, and are willing to trade their ‘good looks’ for the bonus points of being picked from among the crowd by the right-swiping maidens in the hive.
Ok, but If I knocked on his door would he answer wearing nothing but a ball cap and obscenely small underwear? If I walked by the carnage of cheap wigs and make-up, would he think he had a chance with me? He likely wouldn’t, have a chance I mean, and this makes me wonder some more about these images. Maybe they’re not even about appearing sexually attractive.
Maybe they’re part of a fantasy, an opportunity to express themselves in ways not normally accessible. The fact that the gaze is strictly female is also interesting to think about—for our eyes only, not the prying eyes of other men. Maybe it’s about having the freedom to represent themselves however they like. I also think it’s just good old-fashioned male confidence: this is ME, love it or leave it!
Lists to Lust After: Top 2-10
2. The Traveller- Depicted in readily identifiable places (i.e., NYC, Dubai, LA, Paris), often qualified by number of countries visited, a display of countries via flag emojis, and places they’ve just returned from or hope to get to in the future. The Game of Thrones chair features large. These chairs are found in just five locations throughout the world: Brasil, Canada, Sweden, Spain, and the UK. I think it’s super ugly and cheap looking, but it’s a fav. among the male travelling types on Bumble.
3. The Active Guy- Zip-lining, competition photos while running or biking, much athletic wear.
4. The Nice Guy- Sweet, small smile that often involves a tilt to the head and maybe an old person.
5. The Snuggly Guy- Pictured having fun with dogs and kids, cats less so.
6. The Serious Guy- More common than you might think. Imagine: Blue steel. Take me seriously because I take myself seriously and don’t forget, I’m taking a serious picture of myself.
7. The Wild Guy- Frequently seen drinking booze, in Mexico or another beach-oriented spot. He’s often emitting open-mouthed screams while wearing ball caps and shades.
8. The Eyebrow Guy- Also more common than you would think. It’s basically serious guy with one raised eyebrow and a snarly, sneaky mouth that says: ‘I don’t caaarreee…I’m funny.’
9. The Money Guy- This includes the many “entrepreneurs” and “venture capitalists” and they usually wear dress shirts (light purple colour tucked into non-pleated black pants) and have short slick hair, sometimes a big watch is visible. They’re often featured in a business/luxury oriented public place, maybe a vacation scene which reflects their life of leisure, money, and adventure.
10. The Daydream Guy- These ones are typically lying down and seen vacationing in warm places. Many feature close-ups of their faces and the big eyes seem to tell us that they are sweet people who like romance and want affection.
Next time, I’ll take you through the rest of the list and include my reflections on a few extra special images that didn’t make the cut. What might these outlier pics say about the men who use Bumble? How do you select the pictures on your best swiping platforms?