About three years ago I was living in San Francisco and was deep in the throes of an OkCupid dating binge. I wrote this as a cautionary tale.
We’re going to embark on an odyssey of the mind. Back two weeks before everything changed. Before you were a god of the internet dating world. Back to reality.
It’s Valentines Day. Last year you vowed to never spend another Hallmark holiday alone. But here you are, day of, and instead you’re deciding between suicide and filling out an online dating profile. You choose life and OkCupid, because as long as you aren’t paying for it, it’s not desperate.
You pull out the red wine, grab your single gals and sit on the floor writing profiles all night while Nora Ephron characters mumble in the background. You all pause and watch while Sally fake orgasms in a New York delicatessen. Classic lady move.
You put up your 4 best photos. Friends cropped, lookin hot. Visitors start pouring in. Some are remotely attractive. Maybe you can find true love on the internet after all. You keep filling out the questionnaires, making sure you sound mysterious and popular, but not like you’re down for weird stuff. You go out with friends on Friday nights, but sometimes just stay in and watch a documentary [read: Something Borrowed for the 13th time] with your roomies. And before you even finish your profile, you get your first message! Founder of OkCupid. Oh. 6 things you can’t live without…let’s see. Your family, your dog, your friends, [insert favorite candy here], [something to make you sound worldly here] [something you care nothing about but makes you seem like a cool girl that guys like here]. Maybe you put 7 things, just to make sure people know you don’t follow the rules.
The messages start pouring in. And visitors. And emails about matches. So many emails. Telling you people are checking you out. Telling you about all your new messages. Telling you how hot you are and how guys are practically falling over themselves to get a peek at your amazing profile.
You’re promised hotter matches. And that your profile will start popping up for more attractive people. Because hot people have to stick together. The upper crust of OkCupid can’t be bothered to stick their hands out so the proletariat can kiss their rings. There’s no time for that in this fast-paced world of haves and have-nots that we call online dating. But with each move up the ladder there’s a message of caution that you blatantly disregard: don’t let all this go to your head.
I understand you.
I am you.
And now I’m about to fuck you up with some truth. OkCupid is lying to us. No matter how many times they email you otherwise, you are probably mediocre. And if you aren’t getting emails ballooning your self-esteem from an internet site run by complex dating algorithms – chances are you should go back to your hidey-hole, because you’re Gollum.
I know this is hard to hear. I’ve been getting these mood-boosting emails for a while, telling me that ogles of men think that I’m a total catch. (I knew it! This whole not being able to find a boyfriend in the real world is total bullshit. Look at all these men that love me and they don’t even know me!)
But this is just OkCupid spinning us further into its web, luring us to incessantly log onto the mobile version we downloaded so we could get important messages on the go, like “Hey u have a great smile” from guys named CreatureOfDarkness123.
OkCupid is that friend who tells you that clearance rack beige tube top dress that accentuates your spare tire looks great on you. It tells you to wear it out and take pictures in it. It tells you that the guy who won’t see you before 2am is probably just emotionally unavailable, and to keep answering his booty call because soon he’ll figure out that he likes you and will take you on a real date.
It’s time for us to stop listening. Because one day we all realize that everyone we know is getting the same emails. And that is a sad day indeed.
❤ -Lil Baby Whitters