I have decided, after much deliberation, to succumb to this online dating phenomenon. I do so rather reluctantly. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned or I just have a lot of pride, but I actually do not believe in online dating at all. I just think it reduces people to a commodity, to a degree. I feel like there’s something to be said about seeing a person as a human first–literally–and your potential partner or what-have-you second. This is a lot easier to do (in my opinion) when you see them in real life than when you see them as a picture on a website. Regardless, I’ve decided to give it a go.
My reason for making this decision probably spells my imminent failure (but then again, which person has a dignified reason to resort to online dating? I’m letting too much of my pride show).
What happened was, I found someone (before I started online dating) who I felt was actually worth the time I was spending on him. He’s very smart and very handsome. He also speaks my language, which has an allure that I never thought it would have. There’s a lot about me that he understands without me ever having to explain it. I’ve been surrounded all my life by people who think I’m a novelty, or some exotic beauty. It would be nice to just be a human around someone.
However, he isn’t looking for a relationship at the moment, so we’ve agreed to be friends for now. It’s not as sad as it sounds. He lives far away, and we’re both oh-so-busy graduate students anyway. Sometimes it’s pleasant to observe someone from afar.
I came back to my little college town with the goal of doing a better job of building community for myself. I’ve been doing so by spending lots of time with my mostly female, platonic friends. We have a lot of fun, but since we’re platonic and all, it’s not really possible to cuddle with them before going to bed at night. Not that that’s a requirement for me to get by, but it would be nice.
Thus, I began my social experiment. That’s probably a terrible way to think of it, but at this point, I really can’t take this process seriously. It’s hilarious.
Deception at it’s finest: Creating an OKCupid Profile
I decided I would try both OKCupid and Tinder, since a good handful of my friends are on both. I started with OKCupid.
I actually really like most of the profile questions. They’re probably all the things I consider, but never give voice to (because we intuitive types can’t always explain what we’re thinking). Some of the ones I like:
- Would you strongly prefer to go out with someone of your own racial background?
- Do you believe your country would be more or less safe if every adult owned a gun?
- Say you’ve started seeing someone you really like. As far as you’re concerned, how long will it take before you have sex?
- What is the most exciting thing about getting to know someone?
In your profile, you have the option of filling out any number out of 8 different sections: My self summary, What I’m doing with my life, I’m really good at, favorite books, movies, shows, music and food, Six things I could never do without, I spend a lot of time thinking about, On a typical Friday night I am…, You should message me if.
I filled out all 8, to varying degrees, as well as most of the “My details” section on the right side. I’ve decided to indicated that I’m “heteroflexible”. I mean, it’s true. All of my relationships have been with men. But I’ve been attracted to women before, and I’m not completely closed off to the possibility of dating one, though if the person in question is looking for a life partner, I might have to disappoint.
Even before I was finished writing, people were already liking my page. I must have received 15 likes in that first hour alone, though since I refuse to upgrade, I can’t view who is liking me. I’m guessing the likes were coming because I had uploaded a picture before I started filling out sections. I used that picture of me from the “About me” page, with the hat. People seem to really like that picture…
Anyway, then I started browsing people. I already notice some patterns. First, women are more likely to write more in their profile sections than men. They tend to include more details about what they like and what they are like. The profiles in which men were very detailed included a lot of lists or, oddly enough, were from men in very tech-y fields. The vast majority of straight men’s profiles are very stereotypically like…”I like hamburgers. I’m a chill dude.” In other words, I don’t find significant enough details in most men’s profiles to really piece together a person.
I noticed that the vast majority of my profile views are from straight white dudes. Go figure.
Lastly, maybe this is just the area I’m in, but I also notice that there are a lot of skinny ginger guys who post a lot of shirtless pictures. I don’t know what that’s all about, but I’m decidedly not attracted to the aesthetic.
Not surprisingly, I received two messages within two hours of creating a profile. One was from a Middle Eastern guy with a kid. The other was from a SWD. I’m pretty naive, so I messaged both of them back (after briefly consulting with my other online-dating-savvy friends this morning, I soon learned that this is a no-no. From this point on, I don’t plan on replying to anyone I’m not actually interested in, at least in some way). It literally took 4 messages for Middle Eastern guy to suggest meeting up. White guy was hinting at it by the second. Clearly, folks are thirsty.
I reached my first match within 3 hours of browsing around. It’s with a woman. She has a lovely profile photo, very flirty with red lipstick and curly brown hair. I just feel like if we were ever to meet, I’d want more so to be her friend than her date. Maybe I’ll message her. We’ll see how that goes.
24(ish) Hours Later
I received 4 more messages from random people who I’m probably not going to reply to. I think the best one so far just said “hey hun”.
It’s kind of cool, I’m close enough to New York that people from there are included in my radius. I’m definitely seeing more diverse profiles when I browse New Yorkers. My friends caution me that I might receive messages from crazies in the city. I don’t doubt it.