Analysis: Stealing my heart is one thing. Stealing my Canon 5D Mark II? That’s not going to work.
Look, we all want potential suitors to think we’re fun. That’s why we post pictures of ourselves doing wacky things, such as planking, or climbing over a railing in our older brother’s gutter punk jacket. But there’s always that fine line between wacky and awkward to consider, and our subject here just blows right past it.
What is this picture supposed to tell us? That our subject dresses in inappropriately warm clothing as an homage to the Dead Kennedys? That she is so punk rock that she eschews all traditional means of accessing her grandfather’s back patio? That she is clumsier than a baby fawn?
Well there’s nothing endearing about that.
*Gives self high five.*
Analysis: In 2011, just over 1,500,000 people ran marathons throughout the world. 0% of those people looked attractive while doing so. This year, “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy” Zeddie Little became the first human ever to look remotely appealing while running 26.2 miles. What does this mean for OKCupid users? Don’t post a picture of yourself mid-marathon.
I know, I know. “But how will people know that I really ran a marathon?” They’ll know because you mention it a dozen times in your profile, you braggart, just like they know you’re six feet tall when you say you are, because everything people say in their online dating profiles is invariably true.
[Ed: Despite their use of sweatshops and shoes that rarely fit people with wide feet, Nike made the most romantic commercial for shoes ever, in which the female lead looks like a million bucks and change. Just saying.]
Remember that one time you finally decided to date that person you’d known for six years but never taken seriously because they made too many bodily function jokes? It seemed like a good idea at the time. You were both on the rebound, looking for something familiar and comfortable to ease the pain. And it worked. So much so that you decided to get engaged three months later. Because, why not? And after six months of flying back and forth — because you were, of course, dating long distance — you finally moved in together. And it was everything you had hoped for, minus all the things you had hoped for. And then, nearing the one year anniversary of your living together, you popped a Xanax, packed your boxes, and waited for that person to come home from work so you could announce that you were leaving, and there was nothing to be done that could possibly save your broken relationship. Remember all that? No? Because I do.
A week later, I joined OKCupid for the second time. That week, I got an email from the site telling me about my new matches. And, of course, there she was, right at the top, smiling at me, her username an in-joke that we had developed while watching countless LA Lakers games together. And, sure enough, we matched 99%.
Thanks to some well-timed screen captures, I still have her OKCupid profile. Thanks to my friend’s home-brewed hefeweizen, I’ve also got the chutzpah to analyze said profile.
User basics: Female, 26, Sagittarius, has two cats, fake redhead, agnostic, username originated from NBA star Pau Gasol and his humorous facial expressions
First impression: Cute and silly. A girl who wears sunglasses. A girl who likes teal. A girl I would most certainly write.
Enough about me, let’s talk about all the morons on this site: (My Self-Summary) “Here is what I’ve learned so far from this site: An incredible number of dudes describe themselves as “funny” and/or “easygoing.” // If you have to tell people that you have a great sense of humor, you probably don’t. Sorry. I have never, ever, heard an actually funny person exposit that they are funny. Why would they need to? // As for “easygoing,” what does that even mean? Does it mean you’re relaxed? Patient? Does it mean you’re lacking in drive or passion? Maybe it means you really love that song from “Follow That Bird” about Big Bird spending a day on a farm with those kids. I don’t know. It seems like such a non-trait. What’s the opposite of easygoing? “Being a ferocious complainer,” I guess. // I am intuitive, communicative, and competitive.”
Analysis: Yes, we are one and the same. You don’t ask someone to marry you if you have nothing in common. But, really, there’s a place for wrecking all the guys who might want to date you, and that place isn’t a dating website. If the first thing you share with potential suitors is how much you don’t like a certain group of people, you might have anger problems or, you know, just be a “ferocious complainer.”
I teach companies how to use Twitter: (What I’m doing with my life) “I moved to Chicago from Boston about a year ago. I work in word-of-mouth marketing, and I love my job even though sometimes I never want to hear the phrase “social media” again. I have been doing improv for 12 years, which is a weird amount of time to have been doing improv before moving to Chicago. What do you do when you get here? I’m still trying to figure that out.”
Analysis: An impressive command of the English language, but notice that pattern in her humor. It looks like that ferocious complaining she mentioned earlier. Interesting. I’m sure it doesn’t come out in her interpersonal affairs or anything, though.
And you wanted to be on The Amazing Race: (I’m really good at) “I’m bad at reading maps, swimming, and following what is going on during action sequences in movies. But I’ve got a pretty solid handle on everything else.”
Analysis: Whether its hyperbole or hubris, our subject’s response is a warning, one that harkens back to the third word she used to describe herself: competitive. This is a euphemism for “stubborn” and “intractable.” If the meatloaf she makes isn’t up to your liking, don’t let her know. Write your congressman (and hope she doesn’t find the email while digging through the files on your laptop when you’re away on business, because she will do just that).
My poor fool is hanged: (My favorite books, movies, music, and food) “My favorite book has been King Lear for a long time. The Hotel New Hampshire is another one I usually name. Right now I am reading Asaf Ronen’s Directing Improv, and I think it’s great.
I don’t watch many movies more than once, but I have watched The Muppets Take Manhattan enough times to be able to sing along with the underscoring between scenes. I think that makes it my favorite movie.
[Last.fm list] I’m not sure how reflective of my favorites that is. Every month or two, I inevitably fall in love with one terrible Top 40 song. Right now that song is Rihanna’s “Rude Boy.” I love it. It’s terrible.
Buffalo chicken on anything. Avocado on anything. Potatoes, all of them. Various berries.
P.S. These lists have been my least favorite part of filling out this profile, and also the last way I would ever try to choose a partner. Seriously, are favorite foods a dealbreaker or dealmaker for people? I once dated a guy who only ate Wonder Bread and Dinty Moore beef stew directly out of the can. I can handle it. If you skimmed or skipped this section, high-five.”
Analysis: We must credit our subject with this: she’s got foreshadowing down. It should come as no surprise that she’s taken yet another opportunity to flex her ferocious complainer muscles, humorous though her response may be.
To be fair, The Muppets Take Manhattan is, indeed, one of the five greatest movies of all time, and her love of this movie was probably the deciding factor in my asking her to marry me. Ironic thing about that is — as she so astutely notes in her response — such overlap in taste does not a dealbreaker (or dealmaker) make.
(NB: I am not the ex who only ate Wonder Bread and Dinty Moore beef stew. I imagine he’s probably dead now.)
Crazy cat lady alert: (The six things I could never do without) “My feet (2); a cat’s feet (4)”
Analysis: She could not have given a more honest answer. The amount of time she spent petting her cats with her feet and/or touching their feet was greater than the amount of time she spent doing anything else, sleep included.
But I do feel the need to commemorate my cats’ half-birthdays: (On a typical Friday night I am) “Running, spinning or otherwise at the gym. Friday nights are one of the absolute best times to be at the gym. After that, I’m home. Or sometimes out. I don’t feel the need to commemorate Friday night for being Friday night, but if something’s going on, I’m game. Actually, on the first Friday of every month I suggest going to Town Hall Pub and seeing this show: [improv group, now defunct]”
Analysis: She doesn’t feel the need to commemorate Friday night, but she does feel the need to let us all know that in what can only be described as defensive language.
(She is, however, absolutely right. Going to the gym on Friday night is the absolute best.)
Most of those questions involve bodily fluids: (The most private thing I’m willing to admit) “Can probably be found among all of those publicly-answered questions. Some of my “make public” choices may have been ill-advised. Lucky you.”
Dyslexics need not apply: (You should message me if) “You answered the “definate” question and marked it mandatory.”
Analysis: Really? Really.
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Final thoughts: There is no doubt about it, our subject has a well-developed, highly-specific sense of humor. Its manifestations, though, are colored with negativity, directed towards potential suitors, the dating website itself, and people in general. Several comedians will tell you that for someone to be a successful comic, he or she must have endured a certain degree of suffering and maintain a relatively fucked up view of the world. While this is most likely true, there are degrees to which a comic performer may be tainted, and our subject, though adept at hiding it for the most part, is definitely on the “considerably more messed up” end of the spectrum.
Of course, the fact that I not only matched 99% with her but also asked her to be my wife speaks volumes about my own personal issues. So there’s that.
Analysis: Not a joke, the caption for this photo reads: “Reporting in Lahore, after a suicide bombing.” You know what that means, folks? It means our subject has serious boundary issues.
If you think it’s okay to post a picture of yourself — no matter how smoking hot you look — interviewing a man with human blood splattered across his clothing on a dating website, you are 100% incorrect. It’s annoying enough when people post images of themselves in exotic locations (e.g. “My friend and I [sic] in front of McDonalds in Cairo.”), but when people up the ante by including the residue of human-induced fatal tragedies, they cross the critically important line that separates datable people from exhibitionist sociopaths.
User basics: Female, 21, Aquarius, Atheist, doesn’t want kids, has cats, strict vegetarian, British, looking for new friends (seriously!)
First impression: What is a friend? Someone whose shoulder you cry on when your mother steals your jelly beans? Someone who borrows your front-clasping bra and never gives it back? Someone who sleeps with your brother and doesn’t tell you until it’s too late? Whatever your idea of a friend is, our subject today would certainly fit the bill to some extent (unless you’re particularly conservative, or averse to people with glasses). She also requested this profile analysis, so she’s in dire need of some attention, and that’s just what we’re going to give her (once we decipher all the British in her profile).
“The only ones for me are the mad ones”: (My self-summary) “I once saw Barry Chuckle* in Tesco.** I’m still desperate to go on Fun House.*** I deeply enjoy sequins and flowers. // I like to get lost and talk mad spindling nonsense and sit on street corners and eat sweets and take stupid pictures and play exquisite corpse and drink beer and sing Craig David**** songs and write on things you’re not supposed to write on and have enthusiastic and emotional conversations about biscuits***** and laugh and that sort of thing.”
*Mustachioed British comedian.
**British grocery store chain.
***Messy-as-hell kids gameshow from the 1990s. Almost identical to the US version with the same name.
****British R&B singer with a neatly manicured chinstrap beard.
Analysis: Our subject was clearly born in the wrong era and would have been right at home with Kerouac, Ginsberg, and the rest of the Beats. She likes to mess around, get weird, and navigate time and space. She’s your buddy, your pal, the kind of person who’d let you puke in the back seat of her car and she wouldn’t care (well, okay — maybe a little). And she likes cookies.
Suit up!: (What I’m doing with my life) “Making music, making zines, thinking about how much I love suits.”
Analysis: Look at our subject here, playing by her own rules (just like an Aquarius!). She tells us what she’s thinking about before she’s even asked, which won’t be a one-time thing. And if anyone out there doubts the extent of her eccentricity, her reference to a (deceased?) mode of independent journalism should put said doubts to rest.
Sounds fun. Or gross?: (I’m really good at) “schlomping.”
Analysis: There are two definitions of “schlomping” on Urban Dictionary. One is “a cool relaxed way of chilling.” The other? Decidedly NSFW. Here’s to hoping that our subject is referencing the former definition.
[Ed: A particularly well-informed reader has provided this Ikea advertisement as the source of “schlomping.”]
From the “Smart Ass Files, Volume 246”: (The first things people usually notice about me) “The way that I levitate.”
Analysis: In other words “this question bugs the piss out of me.” Bravo, Aquarius girl.
We are out of mashed potatoes: (Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food) ”I like mad, inventive sci-fi (Douglas Adams, Rob Grant), existentialist novels (Nausea, Steppenwolf) and cheeky poetry (Please Mrs Butler, Edward Lear). // I love Studio Ghibli (Panda! Go Panda! is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen). Some of my favourite films are Withnail & I, I’m A Cyborg But That’s Okay, The Cube, Local Hero. // I’ve recently become re-obsessed with The Mighty Boosh. Also the live action Sailor Moon series is absolute genius and is on Youtube. Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Lizzie McGuire are old favourites. // As far as music goes I’m all over the place dipping my toes into various genres. My top artists on Last.fm are heavily synthpop inclined though, with a bit of David Bowie and Marc Bolan on the side. My favourite band is Split Enz. // Food is pretty great. The first foods that came to mind were cakes, crumpets, and mashed potatoes. Make of that what you will.”
Analysis: Perhaps most interesting here is the juxtaposition of old soul/young soul media. Our subject is clearly trying to balance her desire to retain the more pleasant aspects of her childhood with her natural inclination towards a more spiritually enlightened and philosophically charged existence. Such a struggle limits one’s ability to engage in meaningful romantic relationships, as the emotional range and volatility, however internalized, makes commitment to any individual all that more difficult. Methinks our subject actually realizes some of this, hence her desire to find friends — and only friends — on a dating site.
Don’t fake the funk: (The six things I could never do without) “Glittered buns, party hats, Howard Moon’s vast range of elbow patches, ink cats, the funk, and cinnamon swirls.”
Analysis: I have no idea what any of those things are.
Ye olde YouTube: (I spend a lot of time thinking about) “how bloody lovely Tony Hart* is. I watch his programmes on the old Youtube if I ever need to be lulled into a state of calm bliss.”
*Sort of, kind of, almost the British version of Bob Ross, only without the afro, and Mr. Hart specializes in drawing rather than painting.
Analysis: While the sentiment here is actually quite beautiful, its sincerity is unclear. Does our subject really think a lot about Mr. Hart’s loveliness? If so, aren’t their more important things she should be thinking about, such as how much would a woodchuck could chuck, or who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp? With so few hours in the day, one must be judicious about one’s choice of thought matter.
As long as you’re not filling yourself with paint: (On a typical Friday night I am) “Filled with wine or painting. Sometimes both.”
…until I found out he had the clap: (The most private thing I’m willing to admit) “I used to fancy Dick from Dick ‘n’ Dom.”
Analysis: Having a crush on a guy who looks somewhat like Steve from Blue’s Clues hardly qualifies as something worth hiding. Interestingly enough, many women on OKC admit having remarkably innocuous celebrity interests as their most private things, and such admissions are total cop-outs. Either don’t answer the question, or give us something good. Nobody cares if you want to bone Bob Saget — we all do. Double points lost here for this secret being past tense.
I prefer unusual anecdotes: (You should message me if) “you want to swap mundane anecdotes or wander the streets with cheap booze. I know this is a dating site but I’m trying to use it to make friends because friends are nice.”
Analysis: A completely sincere answer that requires no decoding.
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Final thoughts: Some people are not ready to dive into romantic entanglements. Most of those people don’t realize it, and the relationships that result are tumultuous and chaotic (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Occasionally, however, people know themselves well enough that they join a dating website with the sole intention of finding people with whom they can hang out, wander the streets, and get drunk on homemade moonshine. Our subject here is sincere, intelligent, and sentimental — not to mention a little bit out there — and would be a welcome addition to any cutting-edge group, whether it be populated with gutter punks, beats, or artisans.
Analysis: “This picture is a joke… but still freaken awesome :)” We’ll be the judge of that mister minister-turned-comedian.
If you’re over 23 and eating a non-cannabis lollypop at a place where they serve rose-colored martinis to girls in sequined dresses, you’re out of line. If you’re doing so with your shirt three-quarters unbuttoned, you’re no friend of mine. And, if on top of that, you are wearing a rabbit fur vest, a Jesus piece, and sunglasses dangling from a faux gold chain, you, sir, the 34-year-old who’s looking for 18-year-olds to date outside your marriage, are the very opposite of “freaken awesome.”
Analysis: Not going to lie — that is impressive. What it has to do with dating, I’m not sure (though I think we all know what it has to do with sex).
But let’s examine the context for a moment. This was not taken mid-performance or even in a rehearsal studio. It was instead taken (probably) during a thinly-attended rooftop party somewhere in Brooklyn. Which makes this girl a show-off and a hipster, not to mention the kind of girl who will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the one time her ex-fiancee covered her in coconut butter and played her like an accordion.
(Freaking straight leg scorpion, though. Rawr!)
Analysis: The juxtaposition of a plentiful bosom with zombie bite-induced facial flesh wounds is a daring move that confronts potential suitors with a key question: would you fuck a dead person?
After seeing this picture, I’m undecided.
Analysis: If I look that good at 48, I’ll be downright ecstatic. Hell, if I live to 48 I’m throwing a party (a birthday party even!). But if I ever go full Canadian Tuxedo in a non-novelty (e.g. and esp. dating profile!) setting, I invite everyone to kick me square in the balls.
Not to undermine what is OKCupid’s main selling point — besides, of course, its price (and those lovely quizzes that reveal which Power Ranger you’ll end up in a threesome with) — but the match percentages they offer are highly suspect. It’s true — if someone is a 50% match, things aren’t going to work. False negatives are almost nonexistent. False positives however? All the rage. So before you move to Quebec to spend the rest of your life raising alpaca with that dreamy, blue-eyed hunk of meat just because you two match 99%, remember: OKCupid gives more false positives than a 99-Cent Store pregnancy test.
What follows is Part 1 of a new Inspecting Cupid feature called “You are the 99%,” in which we examine users with whom we match 99% and tear them to shreds. Let’s begin, shall we?
User basics: Male, 36, Taurus, wants kids, six-figure income in entertainment/media field, answers the leg-shaving question this way:
First impression: When your main profile picture is a MySpace-style iPhone self-portrait, you begin your at bat with one strike on you. Our subject also includes not one, but three travel braggart photos (i.e. pictures that are neither clear nor flattering, but show our subject in exotic locations, such as Paris, India, or Four Corners, Utah). Yes, yes — travel is amazing, and everyone with the means should do it, but you don’t need to include photos of yourself in hideous green Patagonia garb for us to believe that you went to Machu Picchu. So far, this guy feels like a real Duberstein. And yet, we match 99%.
Now, with 25% more viscosity!: (My self-summary) “I’m single and want to go out on dates. I feel like anything I write here without the benefit of eye contact, voice, body language, and reciprical conversation is somewhat meaningless, buuuuuut what the hell.
Some things that describe me:
Some things that describe you:
Analysis: Gold mine. One piece at a time:
“I’m a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”: (What I’m doing with my life) “Exactly what I want. With a few dreams of things I’d like to do mixed in.”
Analysis: Wait, if he’s doing exactly what he wants, but there are still things he’d like to do, then isn’t he not doing exactly what he wants, but rather some diluted version of that?
And I thought I had a bad case of arrested development: (I’m really good at) “Answering questions about myself.. this answer sucks.. but all the other ones totally RULE”
Analysis: The last time I heard the verbs “suck” and “rule” used in tandem was on an episode of Beavis and Butthead. In four years, the guy will be forty. Next!
I bring him everywhere I go: (The first things people usually notice about me) “my soul.”
Analysis: Look, if you’re not going to take this seriously, we’re not taking you seriously. We all know this question is bullshit, but the least you could do is show us some of that “hilarious” you boasted about in your self-summary, rather than dipping your bucket into the well of cliche existential humor.
Way to answer the question, pal: (Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food) “I’ll try anything.. and I’ll have an opinion about it.”
Analysis: In other words, he’s susceptible to peer pressure and will give insufferably long movie reviews unsolicited. Brilliant.
Trains and automobiles?: (The six things I could never do without) “Friends/Family, Restaurants, Bikes, Airplanes, 2 other things.”
Analysis: What’s more asinine — the fact that our subject couldn’t make it to six (and readily implied it), or the fact that he included two modes of transportation among the four(-ish) things he chose to include?
Also, he may think it reveals a refined palate on his part, but listing “restaurants” second — unless you’re a restaurant critic — suggests a certain extravagance. It’s the rich man’s version of the frozen food section, really. It tells us he can’t/won’t cook, and is willing to spend lots of money to have someone else do this for him. Not per se bad, but worth noting.
Hasta la vista, baby: (I spend a lot of time thinking about) “the robot apocalypse.”
Analysis: No you don’t.
What’s the opposite of “IN”?: (On a typical Friday night I am) “OUT”
Analysis: Short, simple, all caps. An assertive, but altogether unclear response. Does our subject mean “out” as in — “hey, honey, I’m going out right now — should be back before midnight, unless something wacky happens at kickball tonight”? Or does he mean “out” as in “I’m going to leave this reality for a while, either via drug-induced coma or a space-time portal I keep in my wardrobe”? Ambiguity is the worst.
Who is Hermes?: (The most private thing I’m willing to admit) “I have tiny vestigial wings on my ankles that allow for brief periods of flight. ..and every Easter they grant one wish to anyone who buys me a Land Rover.”
Analysis: Oh, just shut up already.
And all women just want to be treated like cats: (You should message me if) “If you like the pictures/answers then message me. I’m a gentleman. I’ll make you laugh and treat you like a lady, promise.”
Analysis: It’s great how our subject has to reassure potential suitors that he will treat them like ladies. It’s almost as though people have called him out for not doing that. Not saying it’s a red flag, but… It’s a red flag.
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Final thoughts: Nowhere — except on America’s Got Talent — is playing to one’s strengths more important than in the realm of online dating. However, without adequate self-understanding, it’s impossible to know what those strengths are. This guy thinks he’s funny — no, “hilarious” — yet he’s anything but. He also fails to understand the line between “childlike” and “childish,” his behavior frequently falling into the latter category when he’s probably aiming for the former. If this is what our 99% matches look like, it may be time to search for love somewhere else, such as a hookah bar, or unisex bathroom at a regional airport.