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27-Feb-2018 11:54

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If you're not online-dating, you might not realize how common it is to swipe through profiles with guns: They're usually images of someone hunting or practicing at a shooting range, but sometimes it's just an image of a gun or two, no person in the photo.I asked Tinder, Bumble, Ok Cupid, Match and Hinge whether they kept data on such profiles, and none had any they could share.When gun ownership is among the first things I learn about someone, it becomes a much bigger piece of a narrower characterization, a visual that says: Ladies, look at me and my gun(s). To be looking for love, on the internet or anywhere else, means that at best I meet the love of my life. At worst, I meet someone who sends me unsolicited pictures of his genitalia (according to Match, about half of single women have received one); someone who stalks or harasses me; someone who assaults me; someone who is verbally or physically abusive.Perhaps I escape that abusive relationship alive (though half of female homicides are perpetrated by a current or former male intimate partner).There are all kinds of photos that don't belong in online-dating profiles: the shirtless selfie; the faraway shot or the artsy pic where it's hard to tell what the person looks like; the group shot where it's hard to tell whose profile it is; the photo with a child where it's hard to tell if that's a nephew or a son; or anything with sunglasses. Yes, even if he's "just hunting."I'm not opposed to dating a gun owner.(If you can't look me in the eye while mediated by a screen, how will you do it in person? The man I dated most recently was in the military and, I learned as I got to know him, kept an unloaded gun in his house.If owning a gun isn't a dealbreaker, why do I swipe left on men who include images of themselves with firearms in their dating profiles?Dating profiles are meant to portray the important aspects of a person's life, says online dating coach Laurie Davis, founder of e Flirt Expert.

"It's a very aggressive photo for a platform where the aim is for you to find love."If an online dater likes hunting and wants to portray that in their profile, Davis recommends posting a photo in camouflage rather than holding a gun.The same thing happens with women, in that conventionally attractive (slim and young) female visitors see five times as many messages as “medium” women, and 28 times as many as women judged unattractive do.If we consider that the likelihood of an encounter grows with more messages received, it’s no wonder both men and women embellish their photos and profiles.(There are also niche dating sites for gun enthusiasts who strictly want to find love with other gun enthusiasts.)My Bumble guy might spend an occasional afternoon at a shooting range, but by the time we talked about this, it was a small piece of information within the larger picture of who he was.

Online-dating profiles offer sound bites about a person as opposed to a nuanced debate about gun control that you might have over dinner or drinks. That's not what these men mean to convey with images of themselves hunting or practicing at the shooting range? But here's what these men might not realize when they create these profiles: As a woman, I'm already very aware that I could be the target of violence at any time -- whether I'm walking home at night or I'm out with a Tinder date.However, it’s not just the desire to find a new partner quickly that inclines people to lie.