Yes, folks, it’s that time again – the third part in my many-part series devoted to online dating! But before we get going, I want to share one photo from this past weekend (side note: blog + no makeup = scary). My best friend from high school, Allison, and her husband Enrique and two-and-a-half year-old daughter Mirah visited from DC. We did what Allison and I do best – very little! Mirah takes after her Mom and is the most low-key, good-natured toddler on the planet, and was a joy to be around. Just like I talked about in this post, friendship takes effort – and my friendship with Allison is no exception. xoxo!
OK – now back to that online dating thing. In case you missed it, in Part I I discussed the online dating market, summarized in the chart below:
In Part II, I began a thorough analysis of each dating site, starting with the one I’ve used most recently, Tinder. Part III is dedicated to the top left portion of the Dating Site Map – OKCupid!
I first heard about OKCupid (OKC) in the fall of 2012 from my friend Pratt’s younger sister, Teresa. Teresa had recently moved from Brooklyn to San Francisco, and as a young single woman she was an excellent source for dating advice (still is!). She encouraged me to check out this new dating site called OKC that was all the rage on the East and West Coasts (match.com was sooo last year). Not one to shy away from new opportunities to meet my husband, I signed up right away.
The first thing I noticed about OKC was that it was FREE. Having previously been a paying member of both JDate and Match.com, this was refreshing. The next thing I noticed was less obvious. Like the dating sites before it, OKC has personal profiles, complete with photos and a series of questions. What makes it stand out from the crowd is its “tone”. I distinctly remember thinking, “now THIS dating site gets it!”. For example, rather than ask the standard, “what do you like to do” questions, OKC digs a little deeper, with questions like, “the six things I could never do without”, and “I’m really good at…”. Clever questions like these make the dreaded process of completing an online dating profile actually fun – or at the very least, less painful.
But what really makes OKC different from the rest of the market (as I’ve experienced it) is their matching process. Apparently Match.com thinks that “you both enjoy basketball” and “he likes to go out to restaurants too” are the building blocks of a successful relationship. On the contrary, OKC knows that it takes more than a mutual interest in bowling to make a match. Instead, they peel off a few more layers by asking a lengthy series of questions with straightforward answers. They also ask what answers you’ll “accept” in a match, and how important the question is to you.
For example, there are serious questions like this one:
And silly but fun questions like this one:
There are hundreds of questions, and no, you don’t have to answer all of them. But the more you do, the more OKC will get to know you, and the better they’ll be able to “match” you with your perfect mate. Now, of course, everyone knows there is more to compatibility than whether or not you believe that “Passion is more important in a relationship than dedication” or “I like horror movies”. But these questions give you an insight into the other person that is nearly impossible to get on more traditional dating sites. And just like with the clever profile questions, these matching questions make the online dating process a little more fun.
OKC has all the ingredients of a successful online dating site—it’s free, it’s quirky, and the match questions are entertaining and insightful. Should be a winner, right? Wrong. Despite all of its unique qualities, OKC seems to attract less-than-desirable singles – and lots of them. Of course, that’s not true across the board – after all, I’m at least moderately desirable and I’m on the site. But from my experience, the men (and I’m sure many of the women) are just a bunch of losers / douchebags / weirdos ….not my type. Need some proof? Check out these characters:
And as luck would have it, men just like the ones above come flocking in droves on OKC. When I first joined, I was shocked at the number of emails I received daily. On Match, I would spend hours writing up clever emails, only to receive little to no response. But on OKC, I received multiple emails every day with little to no effort on my part. But I soon came to see that quantity does not equal quality (see above graph). Sure, I was receiving emails, but they contained little to no content – things like, “Hey beautiful” and “How are you” don’t exactly make me want to respond, especially after reading a boring and/or sparse profile. Someone who takes the time to comment on something in my profile is far more likely to catch my attention, and that rarely happens on OKC. Need proof? Here is a just a small snapshot of my messages:
You may be reading this thinking, “she sounds awfully picky”, but take my word for it when I say that I’m just being smart. It’s easy to spot these guys in person, but it’s trickier to spot them online – which is why you have to be extra diligent. If a guy seems like a jerk in his profile or his one-word email, he probably is. Now, it wouldn’t be fair of me not to mention that I have been on a few dates with people I met on OKC. A couple of guys were normal, one was not but I ended up dating him for a bit before realizing that. Not all guys (and gals) on OKC are lame – just most of them.
The question remains, if OKC is so bad, why am I still on it? The answer is simple – why not? It’s free, highly entertaining (see above examples), harmless, and you never know – perhaps a great guy will stumble across my profile and send me an email with more content than “hey hot stuff”. Highly unlikely, but hey – I’m an optimist!
Have you tried OKC? OK, or not so OK?