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We at first thought this was just because, typically, you can kind of see down the girl’s shirt with the camera at that angle—indeed, that seems to be the point of shot in the first place — so we excluded all cleavage-showing shots from the pool and ran the numbers again.

No change: it’s still the best shot; better, in fact, than straight-up boob pics (more on those later). The male “Ab Shot” has the same reputation as the My Space Shot — it’s an Internet cliché that supposedly everyone thinks is only for bozos.

If you want worthwhile messages in your inbox, the value of being conversation-worthy, as opposed to merely sexy, cannot be overstated.

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For a 31 year-old ab shower, that ratio has regressed to much closer to the average.

Because of our restricted data set for this post, we can only make confident claims for 19 to 31 year-olds right now, but it’s our strong suspicion that this downward trend continues with age.

To wit: a journalist was visiting our office recently, and when we told her we were researching user photos, the first thing she said was “please tell me people hate it when guys show off their abs.” We hadn’t finished running the numbers yet, so we confidently reassured her that people did. Of course, there is some self-selection here: the guys showing off their abs are the ones with abs worth showing, and naturally the best bodies get lots of messages.

So we can’t recommend this photo tactic to every man.

Outfits more sophisticated than a simple collared shirt fare poorly: There are no clear myths associated with showing cleavage in your picture.

Most “experts” recommend you don’t, but everyone knows that breasts get attention, so to treat that recommendation as a “myth” would be disingenuous.

All my bar charts are zeroed on the average picture. One of the first things we noticed when diving into our pool of photos is that men and women have very different approaches to the camera.

Now, you’re always told to look happy and make eye contact in social situations, but at least for your online dating photo, that’s just not optimal advice.

Certain social etiquettes apply even online: if you’re going to be making eyes at someone, it should be with the person looking at your picture.

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