Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Internet Dating Chronicles: Eh. Just OkCupid

Before I dive into more dating stories, I want to pause and talk about OkCupid.

OkCupid embodies the phrase: you get what you pay for.  (It's a free site.)  

I've had an OkCupid account for about 4 years now, though I've activated and deactivated it so often that it's probably only been available to the mens a total of one year.  I find the site appalling but feel compelled to look at it often when my account is active for reasons that I do not understand.  

I'm a fan of lists.  Here are the benefits and detriments of OkCupid:


  • It’s free!  When you inevitably do not find the love of your life through the site, you don't feel bitter and dead on the inside because of how undesirable the opposite sex seems to find you.
  • More creative freedom.  The questions asked when creating your profile are much more open and allow for a greater word count in the response section than eHarmony.  This means it’s possible to get more of a sense of someone’s personality from looking at his profile.  Check out the bulleted list (my favorite kind of list!) I made on my profile.  Plus, you know that if he really didn’t fill in anything at all, he really doesn’t give a shit.
Bulleted list within a bulleted list.  I'm so meta.

  • You can look at anyone’s profile.  With eHarmony, I can only look at the people the program has matched me with at the rate at which they decide to deliver them to me, but OkCupid lets you look at anyone in the world regardless of age, match status, gender, or location.
  • You go straight to the messaging.  There’s no multiple choice question section.  Once you start communicating with someone, it’s often within a week that you meet up at some bar around town.
  • Fun quizzes and questions!  The part of me that is still a 15-year-old girl loves that there are all sorts of personality quizzes on the site.  When am I going to die?  When I'm 78.  What is my dating persona? The sonnet (whatever that means).  What type of man turns me on?  The mystery man.  Quality stuff for procrastination.  Once I answered a series of sex-related questions in a row and forgot to answer privately; my activity was posted on OkCupid and I was extremely popular for about an hour...oops.
But does the way this person answers about kids correlate to how much privacy they'll give a partner?  Tricky.


  • It's time consuming.  There’s a lot of sorting that has to happen if you’re taking a proactive approach. Since it’s free, it seems that everyone and his brother has signed up for the service.  Some of these guys are super active and others create a page and then rarely come back to it.  It’s also just a larger pool of users and you can access them at any time. 
  • It makes you feel unworthy. OkCupid classifies its users into leagues according to how many people have rated your looks or personality highly.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t search and find people in a higher league than your own, but it does take more work.  And it’s kind of depressing to look at the matches on your list and realize they’re a reflection of how the opposite gender views you.  From what I can tell, I’m about a 4 on a scale of 1-10 in the world of OkCupid.  
  • Less monitoring.  OkCupid isn’t always great at monitoring uploaded pictures the way eHamony is.  I’ve seen a few penises in my time on the site…
  • Kockamamy matching and labeling.  The algorithms used for creating match percentages is flawed, in my opinion.  OkCupid uses multiple choice questions created by users to who is a good match.  Users are presented with a question like “How willing are you to try something new in bed?” or “Would you ever get an abortion?” that they answer.  Then, you decide which answer selections would be acceptable from a possible match and select how important that question is to you.  Are these really good indicators for a love connection?  The tricky part is that anything you rate as being really important or mandatory, often shows up in a tab called “personality” on your profile.  Something I answered led to me having a “more kinky” label on my personality tab, which led to a bunch of weird dudes sending me messages.
Here's my personality, according to OkCupid.

  • Serial daters and dudes just looking for hookups.  OkCupid is not necessarily the place where people looking for serious relationships should flock.  Yes, it does give you the option of stating if you are looking for new friends, activity partners, casual sex, short term dating or long term dating, but people lie.  I went out with a guy who was supposedly looking for new friends who only wanted to get in my pants, and I went out with a guy who was supposedly looking for long term dating who only wanted to get in my patns.  There are also, clearly, guys spamming the inboxes of the women in their match list.  Why in the world would I reply to someone who cut and paste the same message into several messages and then maybe added one little P.S. that related to me as a human being?  Gross.  
Through OkCupid, I've met some of the worst, most disrespectful or awkward men and also some of the most interesting.  I don't think this is where I'll meet my ultimate match, but it's absolutely a good place to find a date.    For anyone looking to get back in the saddle of dating after a divorce, break-up or long ass dry spell, I highly recommend the site.  It allows you to wade in slowly by browsing profiles and ignoring messages or to jump into the freezing water all at once by meeting the first person who contacts you.  

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