I’m getting a little personal today. I’m not usually one to bitch and moan on a blog just to relieve my frustration, partly because I know nobody would read it anyway. I’m hoping the links I post here will cure someone of their naivete before they finally bite the bullet and create that OKCupid account they’ve been meaning to make.
I do my best not to believe stereotypes and give people a fair break, especially regarding gender, but nothing frustrates my efforts more than online dating sites. I’ve used OKCupid three times in the past decade — each time making a new profile and starting fresh, because when you never get a single reply from anyone, you’re obviously doing something wrong, right? — and all it has taught me is that online dating is a “World War I”-grade exercise in futility, so much so that I felt the urge to post something about it here, in case anyone happens onto my dumb little site who is also thinking about trying it. If nothing else, you should know what you’re getting into before you consider signing up. Don’t go into online dating expecting it to make things easier, because it really doesn’t. All it offers is another front for (theoretically) meeting new people to go out with.
According to this article from 2010 by Christian Rudder of OKCupid, paying for an online dating service is most definitely a waste of time and money. It makes a brilliant case against the financial swindle that is the paid dating site, using eharmony and match.com as its main examples.
However, Rudder says this early in the article: “As a founder of OkCupid I’m of course motivated to point out our competitors’ flaws. So take what I have to say today with a grain of salt.” After a bit of online research and using OKCupid so many times myself, the irony of this statement, and the article as a whole, becomes clear to me: the only difference between OKCupid and every other dating site is a paid subscription. Rudder even states at the beginning of the article that all dating sites suffer from the same problem: women get messages from unsuitable matches, either because the messages are lewd and stupid, or the women themselves have impossible standards; and men get far too few replies, if any at all, for the same reasons. All dating sites have this issue, including OKCupid. Ergo, if the free site is just as broken and useless as a paid site, there’s no point in using either site. Ergo, Rudder’s article not only tells you why you should avoid sites that aren’t OKCupid, it also inadvertently tells you why you should avoid OKCupid as well.
There’s also the fact that match.com bought OKCupid in recent years and tried to purge this article from the ‘net. Whether it was to save face, or stop people from realizing how futile online dating is in general, is anyone’s guess.
The long and short of it is, online dating is broken whether you pay for it or not. This brings us to article two, where a math genius had to hack the “best” dating site of all to make the service remotely useful. The result? He got engaged to a nice young lady….after almost a hundred bogus dates.
Let’s recap: like any other man using a dating site, Chris McKinlay couldn’t get a message in his inbox, much less anyone willing to meet him in person, still less someone willing to stay with him. So he hacked the site using multiple accounts — most of them fake and run by bots — to gather info on potential matches that the site itself didn’t bother gathering, resulting in his profile becoming so ideal to so many women his inbox was obese with excited messages. And even then, it still took nearly a hundred dates before he found anyone who was worth a shit.
Considering all of the above, what chance is there for normal members who use the sites as intended? They don’t have the skill and knowhow to create an army of automatons to reverse-break the site for them, and dating sites certainly aren’t going to take notes from what McKinlay did and improve their services. It’s too much money and effort, and the user turnover rate would be astronomical: dating sites would be virtual ghost towns with only occasional activity spikes for short periods, then everyone would find someone and vacate the site again. That’s bad business. And that’s still assuming women are replying to any suitors, because like it or not, the men are still expected to take the initiative, and still expected to stand in line at the exclusive night club and pray they’re hip enough to get in (unless they hacked the site, of course).
Online dating has always been one big joke to me. These sites are supposed to make it easier for single people to meet and do stuff together; if I wanted the headache and insecurity of feeling invisible, or feeling like everything I’m doing is wrong, I would be asking women out in person. Having a profile on any of these sites is like being a single woman on birth control: all it gives you is a daily reminder that nobody likes you. Stick to masturbation, or hobbies, or whatever occupies your time when you’re home alone.
If nothing else, you should take this away from my rant: if you feel like you can’t find anybody, you’re not alone. Apparently everyone on OKCupid feels the same as you do, and it probably isn’t entirely your fault, either (unless you’re the one sending all those dumbass messages; take it to the Meet’n’Fuck sites already).