Analysis: “Hey — remember that time I got drunk backstage at the Simi Valley Theater Company’s production of Death of a Salesman, put on that sombrero, and rode around on my brother’s BMX bike?”
“Sure. We all do.”
“I think I’m going to use that as one of my OKCupid profile pics.”
Analysis: I don’t care if your LP is on iTunes and Spotify — unless you are a rock star, or look remarkably more attractive while holding a guitar, the “here’s my band” photo is out. Not only does this picture tell us that our subject has horrible taste in color (what is that — vanilla pudding yellow?), but he takes his band way more seriously than any of his bandmates (who we’ll get to in a second), and he’s had the same jeans since 1995. If he doesn’t smell like cigarettes and Jack Daniels, nobody does.
How about his band, though? You’ve got the slightly overweight bass player who is laughing because he had to pawn his axe just minutes before taking this photo in order to make the final payment on his mid-90s Ford Mustang. Then you’ve got the drummer, doing his best Jesus pose and waiting desperately for the photo shoot to end so he can go score some black tar heroin. And finally, the kid, who is clearly way too cool to be hanging out with these guys, but their Craiglist ad was the first one he saw, so he’s stuck with them until he gets the balls to quit.
And what do they sound like? Probably a cross between Slayer, Pearl Jam, and Hootie and the Blowfish. Something like that.
Analysis: I’m replacing all my OKCupid pictures with images of beautiful landscapes and unrecognizably small people. This looks like ad for one of those Tamron lenses with the 18mm-270mm zoom (minus the zoomed-in shot that actually shows us how well the lens works, and just whom the lens is pointed at). All I’m wondering about when I look at this picture is: a) who took that picture? b) why was he standing so far away from her? and c) how much is the next flight to Honolulu?
Analysis: Nothing says “high status” like a lifestyle that allows someone to grow a two-foot-long beard. If our subject isn’t a teamster or a roadie, it’s very likely that his only sources of income are regional beard-growing competitions (though not national ones — he’s got a long way to go there). Unconventional and obstinate (he’s certainly heard “cut your beard” at least 1000 times in the last year, yet has never complied), the only thing he’s got going for him is his Gimli impression (but points for his managing to keep that beard free of food and animal waste).
Frankly, we here at Inspecting Cupid think the “favorites” question is a pain in the ass. It takes forever to fill out, never gives a complete picture of our tastes, and more and more it’s seeming as though everyone’s favorite movie is The Big Lebowski. That being said, user answers to this prompt are often the most fruitful for analysis, so today we’re going to look at what his favorite books say about him.
I sense a pattern here: [Male, 35] “Reading A Game Of Thrones right now, with a few books waiting in the wings after…Dexter series and The Road. I really liked Deliverance and I once bought a copy of White Fang off of a homeless woman. That was a good one. I Am Legend was one of the best sci-fi/horror short stories that I’ve read in years. “
Analysis: So, in other words, this guy only reads books that have been turned into movies or TV shows. Perfect. And let’s put our hands together for his extreme act of charity — paying a homeless woman for a book about a wild animal’s domestication (is that some sort of brilliant metaphor our subject is laying on us, or what?).
That’s the one by JD Golding, right?: [Male, 21] “Catcher in the rye lord of the flies”
Analysis: See what happens when you eschew commas? You end up inventing books that would make every teenage outcast squirm with delight. Who among us would not read a book called “Catcher in the Rye Lord of the Flies”?
Also, there’s something to be said about a college-aged guy whose favorite books are both required reading in most high schools. Unfortunately, that “something” is nothing good.
…if it’ll help me get laid: [Male, 19] “I am into whatever” [Entirety of “favorites” answer]
Wait, the movie or the book?: [Male, 25] “Angels and demons” [Entirety of “favorites” answer]
Funny how? Like I’m a clown? Like I’m here to amuse you?: [Male, 22] “anything funny” [Entirety of “favorites” answer]
First rule of Chuck Palahniuk club is don’t spell his name correctly: [Male, 24] “i love anything written by chuck palinak”
Even my toilet is made from books: [Male, 36] “Most of my apartment is books. I have thousands of them. Thousands of albums too. That’s basically all I have, books, music, and musical instruments. I also have pots & pans. I just cooked scrambled tofu for dinner with roasted broccoli.” [Entirety of “favorites” answer]
Analysis: Though vaguely related to the topic at hand, our subject’s answer shows little discipline, and reveals a personality wrought with stream-of-consciousness tendencies. He’s the kind of guy who converses almost exclusively in parenthetical statements and wonders why, at the end of what he perceives to have been a wonderful date, women don’t want to see him again.
You would totally dig the Declaration of Independence: [Male, 32] “Primary and secondary historical sources. Plus all the main mantastic type novels(Catcher, Wind up Bird Chronicle, Heart of Darkness, anything Carl Sagan)”
Analysis: I just started reading Haruki Murakami, and “mantastic” is one of the absolute last words I’d use to describe his work. “Surrealistic”? Sure. “Nouveau noir”? I suppose. But grouping The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle with Heart of Darkness is a total “which one of these is not like the other?” fail.
More important here, however, is the “historical sources” inclusion. The first date with this guy definitely consists of breaking into the Library of Congress, stealing George Washington’s 1762 almanac, and dramatically reading from it while enjoying a supper of mutton and mead. Bring it on, history boy!
Another in a series of readers who insist we run their profiles through the Inspecting Cupid microscope.
User basics: Female, 18, Taurus, not-too-serious Catholic, has dogs, and dabbles in Italian
First impression: Warm, friendly, inviting — and brave enough to give her first name in her self-summary. I usually don’t give out that information until the third date, but I’m a bit cautious, if not completely paranoid. Our subject smiles in every single one of her pictures, though at times looks somewhat noncommittal about it, as though she’s pretending to enjoy a really boring anecdote about grocery shopping.
Dogs make excellent fuzzy blankets: (My self-summary) “i’m [____], im a freshman psych major at montclair state. i play violin & a little keyboard. i’m an art minor, i like to paint, draw and sculpt. i’m a creative person, so art in all forms is really important to me. i believe in positive energy and good vibes. i love yoga and meditation, its a big part of my life. i like to shop, and paint my nails, and do a couple of other stereotypical “girl” things. i have two dogs and i love them, and i wish i had a cat. i love big sweaters and fuzzy blankets. cuddling is essential. i have a blog, you can check it out here [link provided] if you want. i just like to be myself and have fun. no apologies.”
Analysis: There are two types of people on the internet — those who will share their first name and blog url without ever having met you, and those who are terribly afraid of strangers tracking them down and stealing their kidneys while they sleep. It’s hard to tell if people in the former category are trusting, naive, or both, but there is something welcoming about those types, no matter how ill-advised their sharing may be.
“Creative” is one of those words that gives me hives so bad that I have to crawl into my full-body moisturizing suit for at least two hours before I’m able to rejoin the human race. It’s also redundant if one gives adequate supporting details, which our subject does. Once she tells us she plays violin and enjoys painting, drawing and sculpting, we know she’s creative, and we’re ready to move on and hear about her love of all things fuzzy.
My next tattoo is going to be the words “NO APOLOGIES” spread across my clavicles, because that is some real gangster shit.
I’ve never met anyone who actually knows what a speech pathologist does: (What I’m doing with my life) “going to school for psychology, eventually i want to be a speech pathologist, or a clinical psychologist. i’m not sure yet.”
How does one get good at tanning?: (I’m really good at) “psychology, finding cute shoes, painting, talking, music, blogging, having fun, texting, tanning, making people laugh, having a fun time.”
Analysis: There’s a saying in Japanese: 能ある鷹は爪を隠す. [No aru taka wa tsume o kakusu.] What it means is “the talented hawk hides its talons.” Nowhere is this more applicable than to people who are true masters of psychology. When I was 18, and knew I was obsessed with how humans think and behave, I told everyone. Result? Completely changed the way people acted around me, thereby undermining whatever psychological edge I thought that I had. A true master, however, will never let subjects know they are being watched, and so long as you broadcast that you’re “good at psychology” — an odd phrase, to be sure — people will always be performing for you, consciously or subconsciously.
More generally, our subject’s answer feels a bit like she’s over-betting the pot — listing eleven things when three or four would do. However, it’s not as though she’s listing things such as “open heart surgery,” “triathlons,” or “poker,” areas where expertise takes thousands of hours of work to achieve (in which case she’d come off as excessively boastful). This response is simply enthusiasm run amok, which is minimally offensive, if that.
Dear OKCupid — let’s abandon this prompt. Please?: (The first things people usually notice about me) “you tell me?”
Analysis: The first thing I noticed about you is that you ended what seems to be a declarative statement with a question mark? (Also, the “you tell me” answer to this question just begs stupid guys to write stupid things about parts of your body.)
My least favorite punctuation mark is the apostrophe: (Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food)
“music; classical music, favorite composers are bartok and saint-saëns. i listen to a variety of things; lady gaga, bon iver, nicki minaj, bela fleck, one direction, the beatles, air dubai, the maine, grouplove, adele, foster the people, the kooks, mumford & sons, neon trees, radiohead and a lot more.
books; i read often. i like to articles on psych, and anything else that catches my interest. the perks of being a wallflower, blink, sold, go ask alice, girl interrupted, eat pray love, crank, burned, impulse, identical, glass, and more.
tv and films; i love horror movies, whether its a psychological thriller or just mindless murdering and lots of zombies. on tv, i watch rupauls drag race, its always sunny in philadelphia, the office, big bang theory, and friends.
food; my favorite food is pasta, my family is italian so its been my favorite forever. a couple other random favorites are green tea, tomatoes, apples, raspberries and red velvet cake.”
Analysis: The overlap between people who like Always Sunny and Big Bang Theory is about three people, but those sorts of surprises are to be expected from someone who namechecks my boys Bartok and Saint-Saëns off the bat — well done. I hope one day, however, the word “random” resumes its intended function, rather than what it’s become in the last ten years.
(Speaking of the last ten years, I’m thrilled that Perks of Being a Wallflower, a book I loved back in 2000, is still hanging out in the zeitgeist).
And what could be better than mindless murdering and zombies?
Welcome to the Jersey Shore, Mr. Jobs: (The six things I could never do without) “iphone, the beach, high heels, macbook, green tea, a tan”
Sometime between lunch and dinner: (I spend a lot of time thinking about) “art, shoes, psychology, fashion, school, fate, music, the ocean, strangers, colors, love, ideas for paintings, yoga, when do i have time for a nap.”
Analysis: The prefix “psych-” appears seven times in this profile, in case you stopped counting earlier.
I want you to think for a moment about this list, and then choose one entry you feel stands out from the rest. Got it? Good.
That word is “strangers,” right? The rest of the ideas listed are fairly commonplace, and I’m sure if you scraped 100 randomly selected profiles of women aged 18-22, you’d find most of those words appear at least five times. “Strangers,” though? Love it. That tells me everything that the seven instances of “psych” before did, but in a more engaging and specific way. Of course you think about strangers. That’s what psychology is.*
(*NB: I know that’s not exactly what psychology is, but it’s certainly close enough.)
But whatever, indeed — it’s in your favorites list!: (The most private thing I’m willing to admit) “I’m obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race. // Actually, that’s no secret, but whatever.”
Pandora’s Box called — it wanted to thank you for opening it: (You should message me if) “you’re nice, you want to chat, you’re fun, or just for no reason at all.”
Analysis: If the “you tell me” response from the “first things people notice” prompt didn’t do it, the “no reason at all” here is going to unearth some of the craziest people the internet has to offer. Men are mostly stupid animals, and if you give them carte blanche — on the internet of all places — they are going to take that carte blanche, piss on it, then light it on fire. They’re like pyromaniacal dogs with opposable thumbs and no conscience. Be prepared.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Final thoughts: Aside from needing some consolidation, this is a perfectly respectable profile for a young college student, one who has a strong sense of self, but is still deciding what it is she cares about most (besides, you know, psychology). She comes off as a tad chatty and over-eager, but, as noted above, this seems more the result of enthusiasm than an indomitable ego. We wish her the best of luck, both in finding a good man and in acquiring a cat.
Analysis: What the hell is this — a DeVry University freshman orientation team building exercise? Do all these people know they’re part of the online dating profile of a girl who “could watch Elf on repeat” and lists “flip cup” among her major skills? How has this photo not been flagged and our subject — whichever one she is — not been permanently banned from OKCupid? What kind of world do we live in?
I need a nap.
If there’s a tumblr for the Bloods gang please reblog this, she wants to join!
Analysis: ”Upper middle-class White girl with a love for knitting, duck lips, and ironic gang sign usage seeks slightly unstable Corey Feldman look-alike for adventures in boxed wine, Wii Bowling, and cutting each other’s hair. Tickets to Coachella (first weekend only!) a plus.” —This girl’s online dating profile, probably
Analysis: I’m not going to comment on the fake fur. I’m not going to comment on the T-shirt with the ghoul face on it. I’m not even going to comment on the bowling shoes.
I will, however, reference rule #87 of choosing online dating profile photos: never, ever include pictures of yourself that, were you naked, would be used as marketing materials for adult entertainment websites.
Analysis: If you’ve ever wondered what the crotch of a 7-foot-tall, 47-year-old man looks like, today is your lucky day. Perhaps the most exciting thing is our subject’s missing toe, lost via frostbite while climbing Mt. Everest (we presume). Someone should message this guy and let him know that OKCupid is a dating website, not a medical malady picture database.
[Ed: Thanks to Inspecting Cupid reader Jaime for submitting this photo!]