I found a 2010 article from NYTimes on OkCupid, where I learned some unsurprising things.
If you’re on the site and looking for a new hOnEy, bear in mind these stats from the founders of OkCupid, who run a blog:
- If you’re black, you will have less luck on this site.
- Messages with words like “fascinating” and “cool” had a better success rate than those with “beautiful” or “cutie.”
- If you’re a man, don’t smile in your profile picture or look into the camera.
- If you’re a lady, don’t post photos that show off your hawt bod. Choose ones of you doing something artsy or on vacation somewhere cool.
Now, here are some pro-tips I personally gathered from my few months of scoping out the site:
- If you’re a fella, don’t include emoticons in your messages, and make sure to not mix up “their” and “there” and “they’re” with overwhelming frequency
- When you meet people in person, do not expect them to look like their profile pics.
- (Relatedly, it’s always safe to subtract five inches from the height a man lists on his profile. It’s also safe to imagine them without hair, because that is probably the reality.)
- Just avoid the site in general.
Of course, that article is slightly dated (lol, dated, that relates to what I’m talking about: online dating!) because it’s from 2010. Blackbook brought my attention to a far more recent NYtimes article from just a few days ago, which I think in some respects, is spot on. Shani Silver, a woman mentioned on the site who uses OkCupid, offers a pretty accurate assessment of OKC “dating” culture:
“The word ‘date’ should almost be stricken from the dictionary,” Ms. Silver said. “Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret. It’s one step below a date, and one step above a high-five,” she added.
The article concludes that “courtship culture” is over; but like, duh. Literally any human under 25 could have told you this, in far less words and with far less excitement. This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon, nor a totally terrible one – the traditional idea of courtship is, in many ways, problematic, and boring – but the new landscape is confusing! We’re in strange territory. The article mentions the “mancession,” which I love, because I love when words are smooshed together with “man” (Cannot wait for spring aka MANDALS SEASON!!!!). I think this passage kills it:
A much-publicized study by Reach Advisors, a Boston-based market research group, found that the median income for young, single, childless women is higher than it is for men in many of the country’s biggest cities (though men still dominate the highest-income jobs, according to James Chung, the company’s president). This may be one reason it is not uncommon to walk into the hottest new West Village bistro on a Saturday night and find five smartly dressed young women dining together — the nearest man the waiter. Income equality, or superiority, for women muddles the old, male-dominated dating structure.
“Maybe there’s still a sense of a man taking care of a woman, but our ideology is aligning with the reality of our finances,” Ms. Rosin said. As a man, you might “convince yourself that dating is passé, a relic of a paternalistic era, because you can’t afford to take a woman to a restaurant.”
Many young men these days have no experience in formal dating and feel the need to be faintly ironic about the process — “to ‘date’ in quotation marks” — because they are “worried that they might offend women by dating in an old-fashioned way,” Ms. Rosin said.
“It’s hard to read a woman exactly right these days,” she added. “You don’t know whether, say, choosing the wine without asking her opinion will meet her yearnings for old-fashioned romance or strike her as boorish and macho.”
As an impoverished, wholly-indecisive woman with an out-of-control appetite, I don’t mind when men make the decision about wine, or pay for food, but I understand that these customs are increasingly dated, as men are increasingly poorer / confused about protocol.
Having said this, I’m not on the same page as Cheryl Yeoh, a woman from the article who refuses to set up a date less than a week in advance, because she has standards. Yeoh goes on lots of fancy, traditional dates, to plays and nice restaurants, and sometimes guys buy her roses, because “she refuses to put up with anything less.”
Well, fuck that. I don’t think casual dating is “anything less,” unless you despise it and deep down, want to be given roses on the first date. That’s the thing–we just have to be honest with ourselves. If you’re put-off by the idea of chilling with a guy at his place, watching Homeland and eating boxed mac and cheese because he’s poor and honestly that’s funner than a fancy dinner anyway, than yeah, definitely, sit around and wait for whatever you feel like you deserve. The great thing about being a woman in 2013, besides all the terrible things, is that we have TOTAL agency. Not only can we vote and wear pants and don’t have to part our hair in the middle anymore, we can set the pace of our own dating (or hook-up) life.