Okay, Cupid, Find Me a Match: Adventures in Online Dating

How do gay people manage to meet other gay people? My answer is usually, “I have NO idea how to meet gay people. That’s why I’m perpetually single.” My one answer is online dating.

I’ve been a member of many dating sites, and only one really caters to the needs of the gay and straight singles community equally: OKCupid. My experiences with OKCupid have produced mixed results, and, until recently, I had basically given up on the site completely. Those experiences have taught me how to make the site work for me, rather than getting worked over by it. Here they are so you can learn from them too:

The mediocre OKCupid date:
In my experience, telling someone in your first message that you are interested in romance has usually resulted in being completely ignored or attracting the needy and desperate. I always go with the “I’m looking for friends” approach. The only issue with having to be subtle about your intentions is that the first meeting exists in the ambiguous space between “I want romance” and “I want friends.”

On one OKCupid date, I met up with a girl at a pizza parlor that she requested because she couldn’t eat cheese and they made soy cheese pizza. I was already sure this wouldn’t work when she said that not only could she not eat cheese, but didn’t even like cheese. She was funny and we had a lot to talk about, but inviting her back to my place only resulted in getting high, doing yard work and playing Super Mario on my Super Nintendo. We mostly laughed about how ridiculous our OKCupid date ended up being and didn’t connect after that night. We ran into each other again at a local gay bar a month or two later, but neither of us really tried to make a lasting connection. We’re still Facebook friends, and we share the occasional comment or “like.” The majority of my OKCupid dates go a little something like this. Our match rating was 97%.

The “I’m embarrassed for myself” OKCupid date:
Although this particular date started off well enough, I ended up scaring her off by adding her on Facebook too soon. This act can be the life or death of a good date, I’ve found. We had a lot in common, which, at first, I thought was a good thing, but it turned out that we had nothing to disagree on. We had so much in common that we even almost had the same birthday.

I can admittedly get really excited when I feel something on a first date. In my excitement, I searched for her on Facebook. Because, who am I kidding? I wanted to Facebook stalk her. I sent her a text warning her that I had added her as a friend and she got pretty defensive: “How did you know my last name?!” She accepted my friend request, but never responded to my invite to lunch a few days later. I unfriended her pretty quickly after that, to save my own dignity. Our match rating was 95%.

The awesome OKCupid date:
Although this is a recent development, I’ve somehow managed to not only meet someone on OKCupid, but really enjoy her too. I can’t go into the details of this just yet because I don’t want to jinx it, but needless to say, it was a perfect first date. My awesome OKCupid date and I have a match rating of 92%.

I’ve learned to mostly ignore the match percentage in my pursuits in online dating because, as you can see, they really make no difference. My concern with dating sites is that there can be something dangerous about dating someone who is JUST like you. With OKCupid, matches are selected based on questions you answer and how important their responses are to you. You can decide whether you’d like someone to agree or disagree with your answer, but how often do we want someone to disagree with us? This often results in your matches having almost identical opinions. If you’re going to pick anyone, shoot for someone in the lower 90 percentile. This has proven to be the most successful because you are just similar enough that your differences are intriguing.

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