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Let's face it: fishing for a mate requires a photo of the real you

Date

Julieanne Strachan

A lack of reality in social media might be harming users' social opportunities.

A lack of reality in social media might be harming users' social opportunities. Photo: Getty Images

FIRST things first - it's time to update your profile pic, no more celebrity doppelgangers, pictures of your pet cat or photos of sunsets on a beach you once visited.

In fact the whole site will need a revamp before you send a friend request to Mr or Miss right.

Shouldn't we all pick our own names once we turn 18? 

It's something I was intoning about recently to my husband's groomsman. He caught my garter at the reception, so, as I told him, I feel I have a stake/vested interest in him finding a partner.

Stephani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga. <i>Photo: Tery Richardson</i>

Stephani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga. Photo: Tery Richardson

Right now, his profile pic is baffling. He's a good-looking guy but his picture isn't even of him. It's of a slightly deranged-looking semi-naked man wearing heavily padded, skimpy underwear, hearing protection, eye protection and who looks to be yelling.

Swannie, the groomsman, tells me that this guy is some kind of male cult hero who is so tough he relishes being shot in the groin and the padding is there to protect him. And all his mates really love it.

I can't tell you how wrong this line of thinking is.

The conversation went something like this:

Swannie: But my mates think it's awesome.

Me: You'll never interest a woman with that pic.

Swannie: But only my friends get to see it and they already know how I look.

Me: It's a lost advertising opportunity. Yes, your friends see it, but their friends see it as well and their sisters, female cousins, potentially single women: they could see a nice picture of you instead and say ''who's that guy?'' ''introduce me to that guy''. You need to change it.

My husband: You should come out to see us more often, Swannie, it's great that she's nagging somebody else for a change.

Me: Where's dessert?

I was single a few years ago and, after a long relationship, my Facebook page was a mess. It was full of pictures of me that were half in shadow (taken on the Skytower on an overcast day). The pics would have been lovely if they hadn't been taken in the dark.

Plus, worse, there were pics of my old boyfriend on there - us at a costume party, us at the Skytower.

Once I had been on my first date with my now husband, I immediately revamped it to get rid of all the old stuff. This was, as I saw it, an advertising opportunity. And it pays to advertise.

So I got out my prettiest picture, taken by a photographer friend in a studio, put that up as a profile pic and sent Mr Right a friend request.

It worked.

Naming rights

When my best friend, Siborne, got married in 2010, we all went to Daylesford in Victoria for her hens weekend.

It's customary to humiliate the bride and we gave that a try.

We presented her with her outfit for the evening - a vibrant pink, circa 1980s dress and veil.

Instead she relished it - telling us it was the outfit she would have chosen to get married in when she was five years old. I remember when she was five years old and she would have had her hair crimped too, for the occasion.

But, for pure shock value, nobody I have ever met can stop a room like Siborne can.

It is as though she can suck all the oxygen out of a room in a millisecond and leave everybody breathless.

Here's how she did it on her hens weekend. About a dozen of her closest friends were walking with her to a lunch spot in town, when one of us asked that curly question:

Hen friend: ''Siborne, will you take Jeremy's last name when you get married?''

Siborne: (calling over her shoulder) ''No. I'd rather be the property of my father than the property of my husband.''

Wow. Just wow. Nobody said anything after that. No feminist chit-chat about ''hey it's all about choice and you can do what you like''.

After I started breathing again, I started to think about it. If men and women belong to themselves and not their fathers or spouses, shouldn't we all pick our own names once we turn 18? Shouldn't we use those growing-up years to consider what we'd like to be called when we are truly our own person - a fully fledged voting 18-year-old? After all Lady Gaga has done it.

Shouldn't I be Julieanne Glitterpants by now?

When my wedding day was looming I told people I would change my last name. But I haven't. I intended to. I just wanted to keep my newspaper byline. I told people I would change my important details - like my passport, bank cards and drivers licence to my husband's name.

But that was harder than I thought. I would have two names: real Julieanne and fake Julieanne - but which was which? And why is neither one Glitterpants?

The first warning sign came about a year ago - in the lead-up to the Queen's visit to Canberra. I needed to apply for special security clearance to go to press events. I needed to show a signed declaration from my boss, drivers licence, passport, passport photos and more. How much longer, I asked myself, would this process take if I was running around with two names - two identities?

Sod it, I'll stay one person, I decided. Julieanne Strachan it is, at least for now. One day - Glitterpants.

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