There’s a good chance you’re familiar with the band Creed’s genre-defining butt-rock anthem “With Arms Wide Open,” in which Scott Stapp croons: “With arms wide open under the sunlight / Welcome to this place, I’ll show you everything.” But listen up, men. Just as you would not divulge a love of Creed in your Tinder bio, you should probably avoid using photos in which you pose the way Stapp describes: standing outside, arms thrown apart like you’re welcoming a potential match to some bright utopia of your own design. It’s wildly played out at this point.
It’s not so bad as, say, the pictures with drugged-up tigers that plagued dating apps in the mid-2010s. And yes, sweetie, it’s nice that you went on a hike. However, you might reflect that such a common stance doesn’t set you apart from every other Dan, Matt and Caleb looking for love. Perhaps you heard an NPR segment back in 2016 that suggested the “expansive” aura of an open-arm shot makes you appear “fun” and leads to more dates. If it worked back then, the level of saturation has since neutralized the effect. Hell, it’s been four years since this parody article about a dude’s arms getting stuck that way. Try something else. How about a rap squat?
I get it, honestly. You’re standing in front of a majestic view, your favorite theme park, a national monument or cool street mural. You want to convey the enormity of the scene — the bounty this world has to offer — and you slip right into guru mode. “Behold,” say those outstretched arms, “all that could be yours, if only you’ll meet me for coffee this week.” Trouble is, this has more than a whiff of the conqueror to it, the guy who would be lord and master of the landscape he surveys. And you are, ultimately, some rando, not Alexander the Great. I’m not saying to stuff your hands in your pockets when you finally summit the peak, but acting like you’ve conjured the scene is a little corny, even if you’re ripped.
Don’t believe me? Check out this stock photo:
Does anyone want to go to the movies or have a picnic with this guy? Feels like he’d turn any low-key hang into a spectacle. I’m reminded of when Beto O’Rourke ran for president and kept standing on countertops for no reason. Settle down! You aren’t communing with the spirit of nature, Eric. I don’t care how many shrooms you took. Being comfortable with yourself means you needn’t turn everything into a moment of grandeur, and dating involves creating room for another person in your life. The open-arms pic suggests, accurately or not, that you’ll always want to be the center of attention, the protagonist of reality. True, you’re not the 50th guy in a row holding up a fish, but you can still do better. Leave this gimmick to the professionals.