It’s a bit of an editorial dilemma. My site is called It’s Not a Match, which makes my use of Match.com rather integral. For years this was not a problem. I knew how to use Match, had no problem finding women there who appealed to me, and was generally happy with the site. Well, happy in that “I’m gonna devote an entire blog to chronicling my ludicrous experiences there” kinda way. But still, I was a Match man, and every other site I used paled in comparison. But then I moved to Los Angeles, and something changed. All of a sudden, Match kinda sucked.
I don’t know how else to say it. The site worked the same, but it stopped working for me. For some reason I couldn’t find many Los Angeles women I was interested in. In my new city, Match seemed to have two options: 1) the borderline homeless and 2) women with boob jobs. That was it. I don’t know how girls who appeared to live either on the beach or inside a pot dispensary could afford online dating – or why they made it a priority – but they all seemed to be on Match. Alternately, I could go with the Triple B’s: Blondes with Botox and Breast implants. Unfortunately that’s not really the look I’m going for, and it’s REALLY not really the brain I’m looking for, so I was screwed. Which is why I turned to OkCupid, and now I don’t think I’m ever going back.
Look, dating sites are tremendously regional. For whatever reason, a certain type of person seems to be attracted to a certain type of service in each location. When I lived in DC, everyone insisted Lavalife was the best site for hookups. Now I think it’s a place where you can buy actual lava. I’ve been told that EHarmony is the way to find someone of substance in Boston, which is funny because everywhere else it’s the way to find someone in a cult. In New York, OkCupid was a bastion of the skinny-jeaned and rarely cleaned. Not a great place to find a date, but if you were trying to hire a graphic designer with a loose interpretation of the word “deadline,” you could do a lot worse. For some reason however, in Los Angeles, smart, funny, and normal all belong on OkCupid.com. But even if they didn’t, I might just stick with the site anyway. Because honestly, it just works better.
Match is a very straight-forward site, which is both a strength and a weakness. You give them a bunch of money, tell them what you’re looking for, and they give you a ton of options. It’s nice, because you know no one is there to fuck around. There’s nothing really to do. It would be like fucking around in a parking lot. On Match, you date, or you log-off. But OkCupid gives you a lot more options, and therefore encourages a lot more people to be on the site. I used to think the bells and whistles were silly, but now I’ve seen the light. Here’s my favorite things about the OkCupid experience.
1) It’s free. Don’t get me wrong, blogging pays very, very well. But my horses have to eat just as much as the next millionaire’s, you know? Look, is saving the $15 or so a month, nice? Absolutely. But the best thing about a free dating site is that it attracts all kinds – and some of the kinds you won’t find on Match are really great. Shy folks, curious folks, folks who are a little ambivalent about Internet dating to begin with. And sometimes those can be the best ones. Because trust me, the further you can get away from us grizzled Internet dating veterans, the better. We’re nuts.
2) How Often She Replies. Hover over the “write a message” button on OkCupid, and you know what appears? A little note telling you how often your desired responds to their email. It says, “Often,” “Sometimes,” “Rarely,” or “You’re Better Off Sending a Letter to the Moon.” Sure, it’s good to know if you’re dealing with someone who rarely writes back, but I find this most helpful when I encounter an “Often.” I’ve seen the kind of emails women get – hell, I write a lot of ‘em – and any lady that responds “often” to all the wackjobs that come her way has got to have a screw loose herself. Or be a saint. A lonely, lonely saint. Thanks, but no thanks, Oftens. I’ll take my chances with the Sometimes.
3) “No One Has Written Her This Week.” Honestly, this may be my favorite OkCupid function. If you’re scrolling down a list of potential ladies or gentlemen, you will occasionally see this encouraging message:
No one’s contacted her this week! Go for it!
How great is that?! It’s like there a guy standing behind you at the bar whispering in your ear, “Hey, see that chick over there? Pretty cute, right? Well no one has had the balls to talk to her all night, and she’s single. Get off your ass!” I will see that message on OkCups and often be offended enough for her that I email, just to even things out. “Wait, no one’s written this woman this week? She seems great! That’s an outrage. I’m emailing right now, just to set the universe straight.” And then we hit it off. In fact, I emailed one of these girls tonight. We’ll probably get married. Thanks, OkCupid!
4) OkCupid TELLS YOU IF YOU’VE WRITTEN SOMEONE BEFORE!!! On Match, I can’t tell you how many times I’d send a girl my standard introductory email, then have her respond, “Yeah, you wrote me pretty much the same email a month ago. Wasn’t interested then, not interested now.” Actually, I can tell you how many times, but I won’t because it’s embarrassing. OkCupid indicates plainly if you’ve written someone before, and when the message was sent. Seems like a pretty obvious function, right? Well Match doesn’t provide it, making you look even more like a dick than you already do.
5) Quickmatch. Remember “Hot or Not?” That website where you rated stranger’s pictures, based solely on their appearance and your personal level of human decency? Well, OkCupid’s most popular function, Quickmatch, works on the same principle, except you if rate a person high enough they will automatically alert the person of your interest. No profiles to read, no emails to send. It’s the lazy man or woman’s (let’s be honest: man’s) way to Internet date, and it’s foolish to think you can meet people through Quickmatch alone, but it’s a great way to begin your vetting process. And it’s actually, you know, fun, which is not something you often encounter on a dating website.
So with all that said, what am I gonna do? I’m an OkCupid convert, and I don’t think I’m going. Do I change the name of my site? “It’s Not a Positive Encounter That Started On OkCupid.com” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. And who knows if the URL is even available? Decisions, decisions…