Welcome to CNET’s Love Syncs, where we answer your questions about online dating. I’m Erin Carson, staff reporter, resident young-enough person, refrigerdating correspondent, curator of odd stuff on the internet, most likely to leave you on “read.”
This week: There’s something fishy with online dating.
Q: What’s the deal with fish in guys’ profile pics?
A: You can’t tell what color Brad’s eyes are. They’re hidden behind a pair of mirrored Oakleys. The eyes you can see, however, are those of a large bass — glassy, forlorn, staring into the camera as the fish’s lifeless body slumps in a pair of human hands. “How did I get here?” they seem to ask, immortalized in a Tinder profile alongside the eyes of so many of my aquatic brethren.
WHAT EVEN IS TINDER? the fish asks itself as the shutter clicks.
So yeah, the fish profile pic is definitely a thing. Why? Perhaps the answer is given to the fish as it passes into the GREAT RIVER IN THE SKY.
Most likely, it has to do with the fact that people often use lifestyle photos of themselves in their profiles. And they should! It’s a great way to let a prospective match know who you are and what you’re into.
Plus, fishing is a popular pastime. So much so that 40% of Americans aged 16 and up participate in wildlife-related activities like fishing and hunting, according to a 2017 survey from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. And if you don’t believe the US Fish and Wildlife Service, take note of the Tumblr “Tinder Guys Holding Fish,” where you can peruse countless examples of fish and the fisherman who hooked them.
If all this sounds unfamiliar to you, you might live in a place where fishing is less common. Different regions come with different trends. You’ll see more profiles with guitars in Nashville, Tennessee, more software engineer job titles in the Bay Area, and SO MUCH DAMN SEERSUCKER if you’re swiping around in Louisville, Kentucky, during the Kentucky Derby.
Is it an extremely breathable fabric? Sure. But at what cost?
Anyway. What makes the whole dudes-with-fish situation particularly amusing are the photos where the guys seem to be offering the fish to their prospective dates, as if assuring them of their ability to one day provide for a family. When society crumbles, this Manly Man can catch dinner with an expert flick of the wrist. In reality, it’s unlikely the fish is being presented as a promise of future fortune. Reader, allow me to let you in on a secret: Folks hold the fish forward to the camera because it makes the fish look bigger.
So, how should you feel about the venerable fish pic? Well, if you’re outdoorsy yourself, then you’ve got something in common — scales! Take your clues where you can. If the tackle-box life isn’t for you, maybe stay on the lookout for the kinds of photos that better match your lifestyle.
But hey, what’s more romantic than a trout who’s been dispatched to meet his maker?
CNET’s Love Syncs is an advice column focusing on online dating. If you’ve got a question about finding love via app, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.