I felt like I was packing for Mars. Suiting up for OKCupid, as it were, by inputting my personal stats (“White / 5’4” / Gemini and its fun to think about”) and uploading the best picture of myself I could find. Choosing from a drop-down menu of relationship choices (“I’m looking for new friends, long-term dating, casual sex”) and pondering a bunch of inane “Questions” with terrible seriousness (STALE is to STEAL as 89475 is to… / Does finding a long-term partner give you license to “let yourself go,” ie – lower your standards of personal hygiene or appearance or gain large amounts of weight?)
I was always that girl who swore she would never do online dating. Sigh.
There was no dramatic blastoff. Suddenly there I was! An OKCupid profile-of-a-person like any other. I had decided while filling out said profile that I was going to complete each section with honesty and with the first ideas that came to my mind with conviction. I was going to take it seriously, and I wasn’t going to finesse my profile for anyone (goddammit!).
And that was the first sign I’d entered a new cosmic system.
All the times I’d fallen for guys, pretending to be passionate about their various opinions, hobbies, causes and/or emotional issues (or at least convincing myself that I was passionate about them…) All the times I’d put HIM first and ME second (“relationships take work. love takes sacrifice.”) All the times I’d let my personal pursuits fall by the wayside (in the spirit of the “common good” – “we” don’t have time.)
In my ‘real’ life I was an amorphous body of dark matter – inexplicable, ever-changing, serving some mysterious “higher” purpose. And online? Well, when I said I couldn’t live without the Ara Pacis (among 5 other mind-f*cking pieces of art) – I totally meant it. While indulging in this solipsistic exercise, I had found…myself…more truly and more strange….
So I thought to myself. Ok, Cupid. This is worth a shot.
The following are my thoughts and observations after less than a week engaging (and disengaging) with OKCupid. I’ve never been on another online dating site, so I leave it to you, dear readers, to weigh in on whether my experience applies elsewhere… Maybe I’m doing this right. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. But so far I am definitely feeling that there’s something to be said for taking (at least!) a breather on another planet, far from home. Here goes.
1. The OKCupid romantic process is totally familiar – and less ambiguous – than other kinds of social networking.
OKCupid is just a sketchier Facebook! When I signed up, I was afraid I was going to feel lame having a “dating profile” out there. I was afraid I was going to feel judged-in-abstentia by men all over New York. But actually. Having an OKCupid profile feels exactly the same as having a Facebook profile. Or a Twitter handle. Sure – there are major differences – the main one being that you can see who’s been looking at your profile and they can see if you’ve been looking at theirs. But whatever, since everyone is on the site for a reason (whether that reason is finding their soulmate or finding a good lay), there’s no reason to stress about who is eyeing you – or not. And if anything, having a clear disincentive NOT to stalk the guy who didn’t write you back is a HEALTHY thing.
And it’s great to have less ambiguity. No wondering if that was a platonic poke or not. No stressing over what his friend request means. If you’ve been winked at…that dude is interested. So what do YOU think of HIM? How nice for a gal to have the opportunity to ponder and decide for herself!
2. You CAN truly connect with people (and judge them!) via electronic messages on OKCupid.
On the one hand, DUH. Jess and I have been making the point that techno-romance can be meaningful since we started the WTF?! project. On the other hand, it still came as a surprise to me how quickly I could be intrigued by a guy just by reading his profile. AND how quickly I could tell (from his profile or from his message to me) that we would have no real chemistry. And if it’s a no go, then no need to spare feelings or even write back. You’re so inundated with “messages” and “winks” and “favorites” and “matches” that you don’t really owe a guy anything at all. And you can’t take it personally if he doesn’t get back to you. Pressure’s off! Again, the refreshing point is whether YOU are into HIM. or NOT. I am all about it.
3. OKCupid is an instant dah.
Within 24 hours of putting up my profile, I’d been “winked” at, added to “favorites,” propositioned, asked to dinner, asked to drinks and asked to play strip chess (hot!). ’nuff said.
4. You’re still yourself on OKCupid. Maybe even moreso.
As I said, it felt so great to be so honest about who I was and what I was doing – on OKCupid and in life. It was clarifying to put myself out there very openly, freely and explicitly. And it was interesting to ponder how important it was to me how often a potential love interest showered…or whether someone would be surprised going through his (or my!) personal belongings after an untimely death (all real OKCupid questions).
I always loved the Bogart line in Casablanca where he says that Captain Renault is just like any other man only moreso. There’s a heightened quality to every interaction on OKCupid. You get to express yourself however you want. He gets to express himself however he wants. Ironically, the light-year distance between computers seems to distill people’s personalities – not muddle them. Sweet.
5. You are in control on OKCupid. You set the rules.
Like I said, you really don’t owe anyone anything. Who cares? No one’s even using their real names. Are you interested or are you not? The choices are clear, your reactions are sharp and immediate, and you can respond without fear that the gossip is going to get back to your grandmother’s best friend’s cousin who set the two of you up.
By the same token, it’s up to YOU how much you invest in each interaction on the site. Want to dwell on the stream of guys who look at your profile and don’t message or wink? Go ahead. Feel blown off and rejected. But it’s your choice to be scrolling through those guys rather than looking at all the “matches” in your “quiver” or searching for dudes who like the same esoteric book you really like. If you’re determined to feel undesirable, then you’ll feel that way on OKCupid the same way you do in the real world. But it’s up to you.
OKCupid is not that different from my ‘real,’ flesh-and-blood, f*cked up love life.
For the first few days, I was checking in incessantly. Every time I got a message I would read it right away. I felt manic and crazy but it was awesome to be getting so much instant affirmation! But guess what? It wears off. And the desire for true connection remains. So who cares about the guys you feel nothing for. It’s all about engaging with that dude who’s really sexy, or that dude who’s really smart, or that dude who wrote you the sweetest message.
The OKCupid universe is a micro-cosm of my everyday experience, but every interaction is heightened and expedited. There’s definitely an adrenaline rush that accompanies every OKCupid! email that hits your inbox – whereas Dating & Hookup in non-virtual-reality can be slow-moving and subtle – but the fundamental emotions and decisions are the same.
So I’m left to ponder. Where is connection – and love – truly, and strangely, to be found?
Full disclosure. Sometimes galaxies collide. This guy (in my dah?) convinced me to try OKCupid. We were taking a walk with my dog (I call it the Bear-non-date) and he was telling me that online dating would be fun and interesting for me even though – of course – I wasn’t “one of those girls who needed it.” Besides, he pointed out. People you connect with can be hard to find, and it feels scary to leave Love and even Friendship up to the vagaries of Fate. “What if you and I had never met?!” he said to me.
He’s a good salesman. He convinced me. I signed up as soon as he left. For the record, we’re a 53% match on OKCupid so I don’t think he’ll be showing up in my quiver any time soon… Even though we’re fast friends and have a gazillion shared obsessions that somehow don’t show up on our profiles.
What the f*ck is up with that?! Will he and I ride off into the sunset as dear friends? Or is there a spark of something more fundamental in our connection? Or will his “Height: 6’2” and “Body Type: Athletic” (and, poorly displayed on OKCupid, baby blues) render him squarely a Hot Sex Prospect in my dah?
I guess we’ll never know unless he winks at me.
Rebecca Coale - aka Becky - is a writer, musician and producer. She and childhood best friend Jessica Donalds created Dating & Hookup and founded J&R Creative Media. Becky blogs about love poetry and modern life & womanhood. She lives with her husband, Howard Coale, and their family in Manhattan and Philadelphia.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
We strictly monitor all profiles & you can block anyone you don't want to talk to. molly eskam onlyfans free Single ladies can often be found at common coffee shops or cafes. Plus, the C stands for casual so there'll be no confusion when it comes to what you are seeking for. carl dean and dolly parton open marriage Studies have found that about 35% of sexual behavior on cable television is with persons who are not in established committed relationships.
Follow me on Twitter