I’ve done plenty of online dating. I’ve paid for match.com three times (twice using the 6-month guarantee, for a total of 30 months), for eHarmony once (for a six month period), and for chemistry.com once (for only a month). In case you can’t do the math on your own, I’ve been on an online dating site for a total of over three years of the past six. Out of that, I’ve had two major relationships, two minor ones, and a bunch of “three dates, you’re out” flings.
My last match subscription ended at the end of February, and I vowed that I was giving up. On online dating, on dating, on life. I thought, You know what? I’m just going to be alone for the rest of my life, that’s just how it’s gonna be, and there’s nothing I can do about it. (Yes, I was in a fairly depressed state.)
But then, the next day, I got my optimism back and started thinking that I needed a fresh start. (This is one of the reasons I sometimes wonder, half-jokingly, if I’m bipolar.) I’ve been on match for far too long, and I’m giving up on it. I was not impressed with Chemistry.com. I had liked my time on eHarmony, though, so figured I’d give that a go. Except, do you know how expensive it is? And did I mention I don’t have a job?
I’ve always been against free dating sites, my thought being that you get what you pay for. Also, I had pretty much assumed that sites like Plenty of Fish and OkCupid were mainly “hook up” sites, and that’s not what I was in the market for. But one day in early February I stumbled across an interesting blog post over at the OKCupid Blog: The Best Questions for a First Date. The people over at OKC wanted to know, “What questions are easy to bring up [on a first date], yet correlate to the deeper, unspeakable, issues people actually care about?” Turns out, if you want to know if you’re date puts out on the first date, ask her if she likes the taste of beer. If you want to know what they’re political leanings are, ask if they like simple or complex people. And if you want to know how religious your date is, ask how much spelling and grammar mistakes annoy them.
I laughed when I first read the article, but I was impressed with the vast amount of statistics and algorithms OKC used to come up with the correlations. I started reading some other blog posts that they did, and became fascinated. The Mathematics of Beauty looked at the messages received by women vs. measured attractiveness. They found that iPhone users have more sex, and that generally the more attractive a picture is, the more likely it is to be out of date. They found that “the MySpace shot is the single most effective photo type for women,” and that man should flaunt their chest and abs if they’ve got them.
You see, OKC gets all this information from a vast collection of questions that users are encouraged (but not required) to answer. You can answer all of them, or ten of them, or none of them, it’s up to the user. But, the more answers you provide, the more OKC will know about you as they try to match you with someone. And, as you’re looking at people’s profiles, you can compare their answers to yours, getting a good feel for the person’s politics, outlook on life, intelligence, and sexual attitude. You can see what they’re looking for out of life and in a partner.
So it’s kind of like a mesh between eHarmony (with the questions and the matching), and match.com (with the ability to search).
And I know this because I joined.
Stay tuned for a run down on some of the more interesting questions, and for my experience so far.