The conversation always starts with “hello” and “where you guys from,” but quickly turns into a picture trading war. I get everything from shirtless pics to x-rated dick pics taken from dozens of different angles, and then an assortment of face pics in different settings. For those without Scruff Pro, sending pictures can be a pain in the ass. You first have to go through your photo gallery, find the image you want and continue that process until the guy on the other end gives some type of validation that he’s satisfied with your face, physique or manhood. It really has come down to a science when picking the perfect image. I hate having to scroll through more than 2,000 pictures to find the best ones. I just keep it simple and grab my most recent snapshots. While we don’t have the paid version of the app, others do. They’re able to send a dozen pictures at one time. They choose their best images and proceed to create a photo album of themselves in their prime.

In our experience, guys tend to send pictures that closely represent what they currently look like. That’s what we do. For example, I used to be clean-shaven. I believe it would be misleading to share photos of me without a beard or of me, 20 pounds lighter because it’s not what I currently look like. I thought that was how it was supposed to play out on hook-up apps. I’ve never really been catfished or tricked on social media because I’m usually good at identifying those kinds of guys before any meetup takes place.

We’re in a new city, so of course we’re going to explore some. It’s all an adventure, so on our new journey a few weeks ago, we met a guy online and proceeded to meet. The conversation took place, and as I mentioned above, we shared a dozen or so pictures with one another. The interest was there based on what we saw. We were expecting to have a fun time as well as make a new friend in the process.

About 15 minutes later and a knock at the door, our expectations were quickly shot down when the guy we’d been chatting with greeted us with a big smile on his face, but that was one of the only similarities we’d seen in his pictures. Shocked and confused, we didn’t say anything and invited him in. We’re not the kind of guys to turn someone away; I just don’t have that in me. For the next 20 minutes, I kept replaying in my head the photos he initially sent us. I’d say the majority of them were taken years ago and it is evident in person.

After he departed, we both agreed. He didn’t look like his pictures at all. It was the same person but in quite a different form. We’re not shallow and probably would’ve been ok with his “current” photos if he’d sent them initially. Like many of us, we expect for someone to present an accurate representation of themselves, ESPECIALLY if we’ll all be hanging out. Look, the guy was very friendly and courteous to both of us. We had no complaints about his attitude or behavior, but go the full mile and be upfront about what you really look like at the moment. It’s just a courteous gesture.

Maybe there should be an expiration date attached to pictures more than six months old. I get those guys wanting to put their best pictures forward, so they can impress and eventually undress their potential suitors. But let us not lead anyone on just so you can fulfill your own desires. In the end, we’ll realize you don’t look like your photos and the onset of disappointment will linger over the remnants of a lackluster play session.

This isn’t Facebook where timestamps accompany every picture description. Scruff indeed isn’t the place to give viewers a deep dive into your life’s past with pictures dated back to when Razr phones and digital cameras with flashes filled profile pictures across Myspace and Facebook. Keep it honest with those you seek to play with. They’ll eventually see the real you, so why not put your honest foot forward and keep it transparent? No one likes a jaw-dropping entrance in your apartment, not even those who catfish you.

I end with this: I understand the need to feel accepted in a world where six-packs or muscle bodies dominate every social media app and every magazine cover. I think the majority of us have spent years working on self-esteem issues and essentially just not giving a shit what people think. It’s ok to be rejected. It says nothing about who you are as a person, but the preferences of the person who’s choosing to engage or not. I’ve been rejected by men numerous times, but I accept that I won’t be the ideal guy for everyone. What’s most important is that we stay true to ourselves and stay honest to others around us. Reassurance doesn’t just come in the form of a sexual encounter but through friendship as well.

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